Contents > Chapter 5: Visiting Graves > The Prohibition of Taking Graves as Places of Worship


 

The Prohibition of Taking Graves as Places of Worship

Apart from invoking Allah’s forgiveness for the engraved, all act of worship are prohibited at the graves like, formal prayers[1], reciting the Qur’aan[2], sacrifice[3], etc. because this would contribute to making the graves as places of worship. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) has warned his nation from taking graves as places of worship: “...Beware that those before you took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship, for verily I forbid you to do so.”[4] He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) also said: “The most evil of mankind are those who will be alive when the Last Day arrives and those who take graves as places of worship.”[5]

 

Du’aa too is a form of worship.[6] Therefore, to visit graves to make Du’aa for oneself believing that Du’aa is more acceptable at the graves of the righteous is also taking graves as places of worship.

 

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has explained the wisdom behind the prohibition of taking graves as places of worship. He said: “The Companions of the Holy Prophet knew that Allah had exterminated the very root of polytheism by forbidding the graves to be taken as places of worship. Similarly, Allah has forbidden prayer at the time of sunrise, even though the observer of the prayer might be praying with sincerity, lest they should resemble the worshipers of the sun. The Companions never indulged in this sinful act (of taking graves as places of worship)”[7]

 

As Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was about to breathe his last, he drew his sheet upon his face and when he felt uneasy, he uncovered his face and said in this very state: “May Allah’s curse be upon the Jews and Christians for taking the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” He in fact warned against what they (the Jews and Christians) did.”[8] Aa’ishah reported: “Had it not been so, his (i.e. the Prophet’s) grave would have been in an open place, but it could not be due to the fear that it could be taken as a mosque.”[9]


[1] The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “All the earth is a Masjid (place of worship) except graveyards and toilets.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.125, no.492. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh Sunan Abu Dawood vol.1, p.463] and: “Pray in your houses, and do not make them graveyards.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (Eng. trans.) vol.2, p.156, no.280, Saheeh Muslim (Eng. trans.) vol.1, p.376, no.1704]

[2] Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Do not make your houses graveyards, for verily Shaytaan flees from the house, in which Soorah al-Baqarah is read.” [Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.377, no.1707] Thus implying that the Qur’aan is to be recited in homes, for not doing so would make them like gravesyards (i.e. places where the Qur’aan is not recited).

[3] The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “There is no slaughtering (at the graves) in Islam” [Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) Hadeeth no.3216.]

[4] Saheeh Muslim (Eng. trans.) vol.1, p.269, no.1083

[5] Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hambal (al-Fitan wal-Ashrat as-Sa’aat – the trials and signs of the Hour). See Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.278.

[6] Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Du’aa (supplication) is worship.” Then he recited: ‘And your Rabb (Lord) says: ‘Call on Me, I will answer your prayer.’” [Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.387, no.1474., Imaam al-Bukhare in al-Adab al-Mufrad (714), at-Tirmidhi vol. 4, no.178 - 223), Ibn Majah vol. 2, no. 428-9), and Musnad Ahmad vol.4, no.267-271-276-277 and others. See Saheeh Sunan Abu Dawood vol. 1, no.1312.]

[7] Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taimeeyah in Kitaab al-Waseelah, p.239.

[8] Saheeh al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.255, no.427 Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.269, no.1082, Sunan Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.917, no.3221, Sunan an-Nass’ai vol.1, no.115 and others.

[9] Saheeh al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans.) vol.2, p.232, no.414, Saheeh Muslim (Eng. Trans.) vol.1, p.268, no.1076 and Musnad Ahmad vol.6, no.156-198, vol.8, no.114.