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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 18

What Has been Said Concerning the Condemnation of One Who Worships Allah (swt ) at the Grave of a Righteous Man - and Therefore of One Who Worships its Inhabitant

It is authentically reported on the authority of `Aa`ishah that Um Salamah (May Allah be pleased with them both) told the Messenger of Allah (saas ) about a church she had seen in Abyssinia in which there were pictures. The Prophet (saas ) said: "Those people, when a righteous member of their group or a pious slave (of Allah swt ) dies, they build a mosque over his grave and make images therein; by so doing, they combine two evils: (i) The evil of the graves and (ii) the evil of images." 1

`Aa`ishah tells us that Um Salamah informed her that she had told the Prophet (saas ) about a church in Abyssinia which she saw when she migrated there with her husband in which there were images. The Prophet (saas ) then explained to her the significance of what she had seen: That the Christians, when a pious man from among them died, would build an edifice over his grave and place his image in it in order to remember him and be inspired by his piety; and he added that these people were the worst of people in the sight of Allah (swt ) because they had combined two sins: (i) The sin of building over graves which may lead eventually to the worship of their occupants; and (ii) the sin of making images of living creatures which may also lead to worship of those images when the original purpose of their making has been forgotten.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The acceptability of the evidence of a truthful woman.

2. That placing images in places of worship is among the deeds of the Christians.

3. The forbiddance of building mosques over graves.

4. The prohibition of placing images over graves.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves that building a place of worship over the grave of a righteous man is strongly condemned - and therefore what may be said of one who actually worships its occupant?

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves the forbiddance of building mosques over graves because it entails glorification of their inhabitants and glorification is a form of worship, and dedicating worship to other than Allah (swt ) is an act of Shirk.

..ooOOoo..

Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that `Aa`ishah said: "When the Messenger of Allah (saas ) was close to death, he covered his face with a cloth, and then when it became difficult for him to breathe, he uncovered his face and said:

"May Allah (swt ) curse the Jews and Christians who took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship - do not imitate them."

And, (added `Aa`ishah,) "if it had not been for this, his grave might have been raised above ground, but it was feared that it would be taken as a place of worship."

`Aa`ishah informs us in this narration that when the Prophet (saas ) was near to death and in a state of delirium, he invoked Allah's curse on the Jews and Christians because they built places of worship over the graves of their Prophets. Then `Aa`ishah explains that the Prophet (saas ) intended by this to warn his Ummah against doing what the Jews and Christians had done; and she made clear that the reason for his forbidding the Companions from burying him outside his house was to prevent them from taking his grave as a place of worship.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. Evidence that the Prophet (saas ) was afflicted by the agonies of death.

2. That the Prophet (saas ) cared deeply for his Ummah.

3. The general permissibility of invoking Allah's curse on the disbelievers.

4. The general prohibition of building over graves.

5. That the Hadith is a reply to those who claim that building over graves - in particular those of Muslim scholars - is permissible.

6. That building over graves is a custom of the Jews and Christians.

7. Evidence of `Aa`ishah's knowledge and understanding in matters of fiqh.

8. Evidence of the reason for burying the Prophet (saas ) in his house.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That it proves that it is prohibited to build places of worship over graves or to worship Allah (swt ) beside them. Therefore, what may be said of one who worships the occupant of the grave?

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves that it is forbidden to build places of worship over graves because this entails glorification of their inhabitants and glorification is an act of worship and directing such an act to other than Allah (swt ) is Shirk.

..ooOOoo..

Muslim narrates on the authority of Jundub Ibn `Abdillah (ra ) that he said: "I heard the Prophet (saas ) say five days before his death:

"Verily, I bear witness before Allah (swt ) that I have taken none of you as my Khaleel,2 for truly, Allah (swt ) has taken me as His Khaleel, just as He took Ibraheem (as ) as a Khaleel. If I were to take any man from my Ummah as a khaleel, it would be Abu Bakr. Your predecessors used to take their Prophets' graves as places of worship, so do not make graves into places of worship for I have forbidden you to do this."

Jundub Ibn `Abdillaah (ra ) informs us that the Prophet (saas ), shortly before his death, rejected that he had taken any man as his Khaleel, and this was because his heart was completely filled with love for Allah (swt ) as was the heart of his ancestor, Ibraheem (as ). Then he said that were he to take any man as his Khaleel, the one with most right to be considered would be Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra ) because of his many virtues, his unceasing efforts in the cause of Islam and his help and support of the Prophet (saas ); and when he knew that the Companions loved him and were influenced by him in everything they did, he began to fear that they might build an edifice over his grave for the purpose of worship as the Jews and Christians had done with their Prophets, and so he expressly forbade the building of places of worship over graves especially his own.

Benefits Derived From This Verse

1. Confirmation that the Prophet is Allah's Khaleel.

2. Affirmation of Allah's Divine Attribute of Love.

3. Confirmation that Ibraheem is Allah's Khaleel.

4. Evidence of the virtue of Abu Bakr and therefore of his right to be the first Khaleefah (Caliph) of Islam, because the most loved of mankind in the eyes of the Prophet naturally has more right than any other to be his successor.

5. That building places of worship over graves was the practice of the former nations.

6. The prohibition of taking graves as places of worship.

7. The obligation to take precautions against that which is undesirable.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves the forbiddance of building places of worship over graves, and so what may be said of those who worship their inhabitants?

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith clearly prohibits the building of places of worship over graves because this entails glorification of their inhabitants, and glorification is a kind of worship, and directing acts of worship to other than Allah (swt ) is Shirk.

..ooOOoo..

It is narrated by Ahmad, with a good sanad,3 on the authority of Ibn Mas'ood (ra ), in a narration traced back to the Prophet (saas ) himself, the following:

"Verily, the most wicked of people are those who, when the Hour overtakes them, are still alive, and those who take graves as places of worship." (Also Narrated by Abu Hatim in his Saheeh)

The Messenger of Allah (saas ) informs us in this Hadith about the two categories of people upon whom the Hour (i.e. the Day of Judgement) will fall: (i) Those who build places of worship over graves and (ii) those who pray at those places of worship, since this is implicit in the phrase: "taking the graves as places of worship," for they glorify the occupants of the graves and deify them and seek blessings from their graves, which actions are totally unacceptable to the person who has an uncorrupted soul and is still upon the fitrah, and which no person with an ounce of faith in his heart can accept it because conflicts with all authentic sources, whether in the Qur'an or the Sunnah.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The miracle of the Messenger's prophecy being fulfilled as he had predicted that some members of his Ummah would build places of worship over graves.

2. That the Hour will not fall upon the Believers.

3. Confirmation that the Hour will come.

4. Prohibition of building places of worship over graves and praying close to them, even without building anything over them because a place of worship does not have to be a building but may be any place used for worship, even if it is outdoors.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That it proves that building places of worship over graves is prohibited, and therefore, what may be said of those who actually worship their inhabitants?

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith describes those who build places of worship over graves as the wickedest of people because that entails glorification of their inhabitants, and glorification is a form of worship, and dedicating acts of worship to other than Allah (swt ) is Shirk.

Important Note

The rules of the grave are four:

1. For men to visit them without undertaking a journey to do so, is a favourable act because it reminds them of the Hereafter.

2. Building over graves and burning lights over them is totally forbidden because it leads inevitably to Shirk.

3. Taking the occupants of graves as intercessors, or supplicating them directly is an act of major Shirk because supplication is a form of worship and directing it to other than Allah (swt ) is an act of Shirk.

4. For women to visit graves is prohibited as the Prophet (saas ) said: "Allah (swt ) has cursed those women who visit the graves."4

What Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah Said Concerning This Matter

He (saas ) forbade it (building over graves) towards the end of his life and cursed whoever did so, likewise praying near them, even if no building is erected over them, and this is the intended meaning here, since none of the Companions would have built a mosque over the grave of the Messenger of Allah (saas ), for every place where the intention for prayer is made is a place of worship; indeed, every place which is used as a place of prayer may be classified as a mosque, as He (saas ) said: "The whole earth has been made for me a pure and clean mosque." 5

Footnotes

1. Narrated by Bukhari.
2. Khaleel: A special, most beloved friend.
3. Sanad: Chain of narrators.
4. Narrated by Abu Dawood.
5. Narrated by Abu Dawood.

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