Fatwa ID: 01494
Answered by Molana Yusuf Zaman
Seeking help from the graves of our pious predecessors
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
The first Shirk on the earth happened due to the confusion regarding righteous persons (that
they have attributed godly characteristics).
In the Sahih, Ibn Abbas commented on the verse:
"And they have said: You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd nor Suwa` nor Yaghuth nor Ya'uq nor Nasr (names of the idols)." (71:23)
He said: "These are the names of some righteous persons from Noah's (Nuh) people. When they passed away, Satan inspired their people to set up statues in their honour and set them in their gathering places, and to give these statues the names of those departed. They did this but did not worship them until these people passed away and knowledge of their origins were forgotten, then they were worshipped."
Ibn Al-Qaiyim said that most of our predecessors have stated: After the death (of the righteous persons), they confined at their graves and made statues and after much time passed they started worshipping them.
Umar (bin AI-Khattab ) is reported to have said that Allah's Messenger (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said: "Do not exaggerate in praise of me just as the Christians exaggerated in the praise of Jesus,
Son of Mary. I am but a slave, so call me Allah's slave and His Messenger." (Al Bukhari and Muslim)
In (Sahih) Muslim, Abdullah bin Mas'ud reported that
Allah's Messenger said:
"Destroyed are those who are extreme (in religion)." He said it three times.
At- Tabarani narrates with his Isnad (chain of the narrators): During the days of the Prophet there was a hypocrite who used to harm the believers, some of them (the believers) said, “Come (support) with us while we appeal to Allah’s Messenger for assistance against this hypocrite.” The Prophet replied, "Verily, no one should seek to me for assistance. Indeed, it is Allah Who is to be sought for assistance and help."
In the Sahih (i.e. AI-Bukhari and Muslim), 'Aishah
reported: "Umm Salamah mentioned to Allah's Messenger that in Abyssinia she saw a church full of pictures and statues. He said: "When a righteous man or pious worshipper among them dies they build a place of worship over his grave and set up all kinds of pictures and statues. They are the worst of all creatures before Allah. They combine the two evils; worshipping at the graves and-making graven images and statues."
Also in Al-Bukhari and Muslim it is reported that `Aishah narrated: When the death approached Allah’s Messenger he began to draw a piece of cloth (bed sheet) over his face, (sometimes covering andsometimes removing because of distress), he (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said in this state: “Allah’s curse be upon the Jews and the Christians for taking the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” Thus he warned the people about their actions. Had there not been any fear of making the Prophet’s grave a place of worship, his (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) grave would have been as open as the graves of his Companions .
Muslim reported from Jundub bin Abdullah who narrated: I heard the Prophet say only five days before his death: "I am free and clear towards Allah of having any of you as my Khalil (especially close friend). Verily, Allah has taken me as His Khalil just as He had taken Ibrahim as a Khalil. If I would have taken anyone from my Ummah as a Khalil, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a Khalil. Beware! Those who proceeded before you, used to make their Prophets' graves into places of worship. Beware! Don't take (any) graves as places of worship. I forbid you to do so."
He forbade this at the end of his life. After this [forbidding of taking graves as Masjid (place of worship)], he cursed anyone who did any such deed within this context. Prayer at the graves is one of these deeds, even if no Masjid has been built. This is the meaning of his words "He feared (his grave) would be taken as a Masjid". The Companions never built any place of worship around his grave. Any place, which is intended for prayer or where prayer is performed, has indeed been taken as a Masjid. Just as the Prophet (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said: "The whole earth has been made for me a Masjid and it is pure and clean."
Ahmad has reported with a good Sanad that Ibn Mas'ud narrated in a Marfu' Hadith (tradition traced to the Prophet himself): "The most evil men are those upon whom the (signs of) Hour (of Resurrection) comes while they are still alive, and those who take graves as places of worship (Masjid)". [This tradition was also reported by Abu Hatim in his Sahih.]
The conclusion we can come to from the aforementioned article is that it is unlawful for a Muslim to pray and seek assistance or help from the graves of our pious predecessors. However, to seek tawassul through or pious predecessors is permissible.
Allah states in the Quran: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek a means (wasila) to be closer to him…” (Surah Maida: 35)
In another ayah Allah states: “…If they would have come to you when they had wronged themselves to seek Allah's forgiveness and if the Rasool had also asked Allah's forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful.. (Surah Nisa: 64)
It is clear from the above verses that tawassul is permissible and there is no difference between the living and the dead in this matter.
The most pious opinion and method is that the person asks Allah directly and if required through the status of his pious prophet or people and not the deceased (to pray to Allah on his/her behalf). As this could have an effect on the believes of the ordinary people, it is for this reason scholars state that it is undesirable for a person (ordinary individuals as well as scholars) to do dua with the words “bi haqqi rusulika” (right/status of the prophet) as the creation do not have any right over the creator. (Raddul Muhtar, Vol 5, P281) However the above verses clearly indicate the permissibility of tawassul, therefore, if one does use tawassul then one should be precautious in not having any wrong belief and should always remember that Allah alone has influence over everything.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Molana Yusuf Zaman.
Checked and Approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.