FIQH | Lesson 46: Matters surrounding graves, The Life + trial of the grave and the issue of Wailing
Saturday 2 Dec 2017
Chapter of Prayer: Funeral Prayer
Note: the hadiths from this lesson were taken from the Book Bulūghul Marām
- Sa’d Ibn Abī Waqqās (may Allāh be pleased with him) said (during his death illness) “Make a lahd for me and cover it with un-burnt bricks, as you did with the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).” [Related by Muslim]
- Who was Sa’d Ibn Abii Waqqaas?
- What did this request mean? What is a Lahd?
- Al-Baihaqī translated on the authority of Jābir (may Allāh be pleased with him) a similar narration and added, “and his grave was raised one span from the ground.” [Ibn Hibbān graded it as Sahiih]
- NOTE: the surface of the grave is raised one span above the ground so that its location can be known.
- This hadith shows that the graves of the Muslims may be as the hadith mentions (i.e.one hand span). HOWEVER, going beyond this is not legislated nor permissible
- This (i.e. raising the grave by a hand span) marks it as a grave and prevents people from walking over it or digging into/around it by accident.
- Note: This is also how the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was made. Allah made the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) the best of creation and choose for him the best, then how about the one who says elevating graves beyond this is better?!
- Jābir (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) prohibited whitening a grave with plaster, to sit on it or to build over it (such as a dome). [Related by Muslim]
- Whitening a grave with plaster: i.e. beautifying it. Modern day examples include using marble material etc. Beatifying a grave can lead to exaggeration in the matter of the grave as it becomes closer to a shrine and attracts people.
- NOTE: Building upon a grave includes headstones (this is a very common modern day occurrence na’uudhubillaah).
- It is also impermissible to sit on top of the grave area as this is against the honour of the deceased.
- Islam allows us to bury the person, raise the grave by a hand span, and use some rocks or stone to identify where the head is. This is how the early Muslims including the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) were buried.
- ‘Âmir Ibn Rabī’ah (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) prayed over ‘Uthmān bin Madh’ūn, then went to the grave and sprinkled three handfuls of soil while he was standing. [Related by Ad-Dāraqutnī]
- Who was ‘Uthmān bin Madh’ūn?
- This hadith shows that this act is a sunnah act.
- The handfuls should be full handfuls
- ‘Uthmān Ibn ‘Affān (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated, “Whenever the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) finished the burial of the dead, he would stand by the grave and say, “Seek forgiveness for your brother and pray for him to be steadfast, because he is now being questioned.” [Related by Abū Dāwūd. Al-Haakim graded it as Sahīh]
- This hadith refers to the trial of the grave by the two Angles; Munkar and Nakīr
- The deceased (in the life of the grave) hears the footsteps of the people who buried him/her walking away, the two angels come and the trial starts.
- What is this trial?
- What other things happen during the life of the grave (both good and bad)?
- One should therefore not just walk off, but instead remain and make duā for the deceased.
- Question: what if the other people do innovated acts as part of a burial, what should one do?
- Issue: When making this duā at the grave should you raise your hands up? (=no specific hadith mentioning this)
- Damrah Ibn Habīb (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated “They (the Companions that he met) recommended that after the grave is levelled and the people leave, that one should stand by the grave and say three times to the deceased ‘O so-and-so, say: “There is no god but Allāh”, ‘O so-and-so, say: “Allāh is my Lord, Islām is my dīn (religion), and Muhammad is my prophet.” [Related by Sa’īd ibn Mansūr]
- Who was Damrah Ibn Habīb?
- Saying to the deceased the above is intended as a reminder since the deceased will be asked those questions. HOWEVER, this hadith is not authentic, and at very best it is weak and some scholars say it is fabricated.
- Buraidah Ibn Al-husaib Al-Aslamī (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “I had forbidden you to visit graves, but now you may visit them” [Related by Muslim. At-Tirmidhī added the following, “It will remind you of the Hereafter. Ibn Mājah added on the authority of Ibn Mas’ūd “And they make you renounce this worldly life”]
- Why was it prohibited to go to the graves early in Islam? = Prior to Islam one of the biggest issues of Shirk was grave worship and exaggeration of the deceased and so this avenue to shirk was completely blocked.
- NOTE: this is an indication of how severe this issue is, despite that you will find some (e.g. sufism) going to the grave and calling on the dead for assistance or to seek closeness to Allāh,
- Later, once the Aqeedah was established, this earlier ruling was abrogated and it was then allowed to go visit the graves as this has benefits in reminding one about the Hereafter
- Benefit 1: This hadith shows us the method of blocking the path to some wrong (preventing it happening). In this case we know that going to the grave itself is not shirk, yet the prophet prohibited this as it can lead to shirk.
- Abū Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) cursed the women who frequently visit the graves. [Related by At-Tirmidhī and Ibn Hibbān graded it as Sahīh]
- Curse/the curse of Allāh means such a person is distanced from the mercy of Allāh
- This indicates that this is a major sin
- There are various reasons behind this impermissibility. For example, the emotional toll visiting the graves, the issue of mixing between men and women at the graveyard etc
- However; there is a narration that ‘Aisha (may Allāh be pleased with her) used to visit the grave of her brother, and there is also the hadith of Umm ‘Atiyah (see Lesson 41). So what is the ruling? = There are two opinions. The first is that of those scholars who say women should not go at all to the graveyard, and their explanation is that the hadiths which prohibit this matter are absolute and clear, whereas the hadith of ‘Aisha and Umm ‘Atiyah may just be their ijtihad. Second opinion is that women visiting the graves was permissible initially but then this was abrogated, this would explain the occurrence of the hadiths also. There is also a third opinion which says the prohibition and the curse are only upon the women who regularly visit the graves, not those who go from time to time infrequently. The evidence for this is the wording in the hadith that indicates women who frequently attend the grave.
- Abū Sa’īd Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) cursed the wailing women and those who listen to them. [Related by by Abū Dāwūd]
- It is absolutely forbidden to behave in this way and this was the way of the pre-Islamic era
- g. hitting oneself when someone dies, screaming, yelling/shouting, saying ‘why him/her’
- Why is this harām?= it shows one has lost patience upon the decree which Allāh has decreed (that someone dies) and also lost hope and trust in Allāh
- Note: The curse also affects the one sitting with the wailing person and listening to them.
- Umm ‘Atiyah (may Allāh be pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) made us pledge that we will not wail. [Agreed upon]
- Ibn ‘Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “A dead person is tormented in his grave by the wailing for him.” [Agreed upon]
- The hadith indicates that the harm of this wailing also falls upon the person in the grave
- Issue: Why is the deceased person being punished for the sins of another person? The scholars gave some explanations regarding this. Some of the scholars say this hadith cannot be accepted as it conflicts with verses in the Qur’an that state a person will not be made to burden the sin of another. However, the hadith is established, it is authentic, and it is in Bukhari and Muslim and so the first opinion is difficult. Other scholars (second opinion) say that the deceased would be punished if he was content with the people wailing over him, e.g. some Sufis see this act as a good act. The third opinion is that the meaning of the word “punished/tormented” is not the proper torment of the grave, but rather great internal anguish of the deceased that he knows people are doing this sin upon his grave. Shaykh Al-Fawzān says that in these types of situations, the hadith presents a severe threat and the hadith is left open on purpose as a warning of the severity of this issue [this is explained in further detail in the lesson] and Allāh knows best what the meaning is. The main thing is that we completely avoid this behaviour.
Next week insha Allah: Final lesson on issue of the funeral