Fatwa ID: 01309
Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
I am sending this email from UAE, Brother I want to ask one masala regarding visiting the Prophet Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam grave, if he is alive in the grave why won't we ask him to pray to Allah for us as normal we are asking any pious human being when they are alive. If we have a believe that he is alive in his grave so the same criteria apply on Prophet as well.
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
It is the belief of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah that all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah are alive in their graves. Saaiduna Aws Ibn Aws narrates that the Prophet of Allah said: “Send salutations in abundance on me on Friday, as your sending salutations are presented to me. The Companions inquired: “How is it possible that you receive our salutations when your body will have been decayed? The Prophet of Allah said: "Verily Allah has made forbidden on the earth that it eats the bodies of the Prophets" (Sunan Abu Dawud)
The aforementioned question falls under the meaning of tawassul.
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. However there is difference of opinion of the scholars in the tawassul mentioned above in your question. This difference stems from the fact that do the dead hear the living.
The scholars who are of the opinion that the deceased cannot hear present the ayah “The fact is that you cannot make the dead hear you…” (Surah Naml: 80) as their eveidence. On the other side the Hadith narrated by Ibn Umar is presented where The Prophet looked at the people of the well (the well in which the bodies of the pagans killed in the Battle of Badr were thrown) and said, "Have you found true what your Lord promised you?" Somebody said to him, "You are addressing dead people." He replied, "You do not hear better than they but they cannot reply." (Sahih Bukhari: 2.452) (see Fatawa Darul Uloom Doeband vol 5, P461& Ahsanul Fatawa, Vol 4, P191)
Apart from the above many Ahadiths for and against are submitted in evidence for both sides of the argument. In short this issue is debatable and undecided amongst the scholars and that is why you have the different statements as mentioned above. 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 versus 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
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.