In the Light of Qur’an & Hadith

Building of tombs


Sayed Murtaza Askari

Title                : Building of Tombs

 Author            : Sayed Murtaza Askari

 Translation    : Al-Qalam Translators & Writers Bureau

  Publisher      : World Islamic Network (WIN)

Those who prevailed in their affairs said: We will certainly raise a masjid over them.”

(Sura Kahf : 21)

…and appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Ibrahim.

(Sura Baqarah : 125)

 1st Edition 1998

 Distributed free of charge seeking Allah’s pleasure

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In the Name of Allah The Compassionate, the Merciful.

May Allah shower His blessings upon Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)and his Purified Progeny (a.s.)

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

‘Write (down the traditions) and propagate the knowledge among your brothers. When you die, bequeath these books as your legacy to your sons. Verily, there will come on the people a time of disturbance, when nothing will give them any satisfaction and to nothing will they pay any heed except to their books.’ (Al-Kafi)

In the light of the above tradition, World Islamic Network (WIN) has taken up the task of diffusing Islamic teachings according to the School of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). This booklet is the fourth of the series titled : IN THE LIGHT OF QURAN AND HADITH.

Compiled by the great scholar Allama Sayyid Murtaza Askari these booklets deal with some of the important issues of faith. We pray that Allah give us the tawfeeq to continue this noble endeavour.



In The Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds. Benedictions be upon Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and his Purified Progeny (a.s.).

Peace be upon the righteous companions.

Some of the controversial issues have divided the Muslims. These issues have been misused by the enemies of Islam to divide the Muslims and to weaken them. Therefore in order to unite the Muslims and to defend the boundaries of Islam it is necessary to clear the misunderstandings regarding these differences. In sorting out these issues we have been ordered to confine ourselves within some limits. As the Almighty Allah says: ‘And obey Allah and His Apostle and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart…’ (Sura Anfal 8 : 46)

It is a must for us today, and for all times to refer to Quran and Hadith in case of any difference of opinion. As the Almighty Allah says: ‘…then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle…’ (Sura Nisa 4 : 59).

In these series we shall refer to the Quran and Hadith to guide us on the correct path in various controversial topics. We seek the help of the Almighty in this.

Al Askari


Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) wept on various occasions

An outline of the discussion………………………….. 11

Arguments of those who consider it haraam to build tombs. 13

Purpose of the first tradition………………………….. 15

Purpose of the second tradition…………………….. 18

Firstly – The graves of the Prophets of Bani Israel 18

Secondly – Places of worship of the Jews…….. 23

Arguments of those who consider it permissible to construct tombs.            27

Firstly – The Book of Allah (Quran)……………….. 27

Secondly – Referring to the Sunnat of the Prophet (s.a.)      31

The grave of the mother of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at Abwaa and the visitation of the Prophet (s.a.) to her grave…………………………………………………………. 40

The grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at Madinah.           43

The merits of visiting the grave of the Prophet (s.a.) 45

Members of the Prophet’s Household (Ahlul Bayt) and his Companions visited his grave.  47

The conclusion of the discussion………………….. 48


1. Arguments of those who consider it haraam to construct a building over graves and that it is necessary to raze them to the ground.

2. Arguments of those who consider the tombs of Prophets (a.s.) as places of worship.

(a) The Holy verse of Quran: “Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing place of Ibrahim.” (Surah Baqarah 2:125)


“Those who prevailed in their affair said: We will certainly raise a masjid over them.” (Surah Kahf 18:21)

(b) The graves of Prophet Ismail (a.s.) and his mother Hajra (s.a.) and the construction of ‘Hajre Ismail’ and circumbulation around it.

(c) Graves of Prophets (a.s.) in the vicinity of Kaaba.

(d) The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) visited the grave of his mother.

(e) The Prophet’s (s.a.) grave in Madinah and the Divine rewards for those who visit it.

(f) Fatima (s.a.) the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.) visited his grave and the Prophet’s companion Abu Ayyub Ansari (r.a.) also visited it.

(g) Discussion of the arguments and conclusions.

Arguments of those who consider it haraam to build tombs

There is  disagreement among Muslims as regards the construction of buildings over the graves of prophets and saints; and circumbulating them and considering them as places of worship.

Those who consider this haraam, present the following traditions in order to support their arguments:

(a) Ali (a.s.) said that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was present at a funeral when he asked:

“Which one of you would go towards Madinah and not find a single idol but break it, not a single grave but  level it, and not a single picture but  erase it.

A man asked, “I will, O! Messenger of Allah”. So he departed for Madinah; but he became fearful of the people, there, and retraced his steps.

Ali (a.s.) said: “O Messenger of Allah, I will go.”

The Holy Prophet said, “Go ahead.”

So he went; then returned (after some time) and said, “O Messenger of Allah. I have not found a single idol but I broke it, not a grave but I levelled it and not a picture but I erased it.”

This tradition has been quoted many a times in the books of traditions and we have presented the complete text of the same.1

(b) It has been narrated from the Prophet (s.a.) that he said: O Allah, do not make my grave an idol, curse of Allah be upon those who consider the graves of their prophets as places of worship.2

And in another tradition the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had remarked about those who consider the graves of their prophets as places of worship, saying, “May Allah kill the Jews, they have taken the graves of their prophets as places of worship.3

(c) Conclusion derived from the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.) that prohibit women from the Ziarat of graves.

It is mentioned in Sunan Abi Dawood, Tirmizi and Ibne Majah from Abu Huraira, Hassan and Ibne Abbas that they reported the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) as saying: “Curse be upon the women who visit the graves.”1

Purpose of the first Tradition.

Firstly: When the people of Madinah accepted Islam, the Prophet (s.a.) sent Musab bin Umayr as his emissary teach them the tenets of religion. This was due to the fact that though some of the people of Madinah had been present for Hajj and had taken the oath of fealty at the hands of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), they were quite ignorant of the Islamic teachings. Hence it was necessary to teach them the rules of religion that had been promulgated till then.

The people had come for Hajj and some of them who were Muslims, reached Uqbah and took the oath of fealty at the hands of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). It was at a time when Islam had not spread to other areas. Subsequently, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) migrated to Madinah and Imam Ali (a.s.) followed him after three or more days. The circumstances of their arrival at Madinah are well documented.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gradually initiated the steps for the governance of Madinah after signing the treaties with Jews of Qurayza, Bani Nadir and Bani Qainqa.

Gradually, the people of Madinah entered the fold of Islam. So when did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sent Imam Ali (a.s.) to attend a funeral in Madinah, and to break the idols, level the graves and erase the pictures like a ruler whom no one can disobey. Moreover, the first person who had gone, returned without achieving anything. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sent Ali (a.s.) and he (Ali) was present at the funeral most of the time so how could he have carried out the commands of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?

Secondly: In another tradition Imam Ali (a.s.) told Abil Hayyaj Al Asadi: “I assign you a task which the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) assigned me: Level every grave and obliterate every idol.”1

Imam Ali (a.s.) could not have sent Abil Hayyaj Al Asadi except during the tenure of his Caliphate.

Now, this raises many questions.

When did he order it ? Was it during his Caliphate when Islam had triumphed and the three Caliphs had passed away ? And towards which city did he send Abil Hayyaj to carry out the above instructions ?

And lastly, even if we consider the traditions to be correct, they must be with regard to the graves of the polytheists. How can we apply them to the graves of Muslims ?

Purpose of the second tradition

Firstly: Graves of the Prophets of Bani Israel.

It is mentioned in the Old Testament in the Book of Genesis 25 that:

Abraham breathed his last … Issac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Mach-pelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre … There Abraham was buried with Sarah his wife.

And in Genesis 35:

And Jacob came to his father Issac at Mamre … And Issac breathed his last; and he died and … his sons Esan and Jacob buried him. And in Genesis 50, we come across the circumstances of the death of Yaqoob (a.s.) when he died in Egypt. His son Yusuf (a.s.) carried him to Mach-pelah and buried him near his grandfather and father. (Ibrahim and Ishaq).

The Old Testament, Book of Numbers : 20, mentions that Haroon (a.s.) died at Mount Hor and was buried there by his brother Musa (a.s.).

According to the Old Testament, Book of Deutronomy : 34

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor: but no man knows the place of his burial to this day.

Old Testament, Joshua : 24

Joshua, the son of Nun .., died,.. they buried him in his own inheritance … in the hill country of Ephraim ….


The bones of Joseph … were buried at Shechem”

However, the Old Testament does not mention the places of burial of Dawood (a.s.) and Sulayman (a.s.). The author of Al-Qamus also admits: “We do not know the place of burial of Dawood (a.s.) and Sulayman (a.s.).

In Mojamul Buldan, under the word ‘Khalil’ is mentioned:

Al Khalil is the name of a place. It is a city which has buildings, forts and markets near Baitul Muqaddas. Between them is a distance of a day’s travel. At that place is the tomb of Khalil, Ibrahim (a.s.) in the depth of the earth. It is place of visitation for the people. Caretakers are appointed for the place and there is arrangement for visitors. This place is known as Khalil but it’s real name is Hebron or Hebri. It is mentioned in Taurat (Old Testament) that Khalil purchased a piece of land from Aafroon bin Sauhar Al Hassi for 400 dirhams of silver, and buried Sarah there. Some of the hadith scholars have been associated with this place, (i.e.they are referred to as Khalili). It is a lovely place which freshens and purifies the soul due to its blessings. It has a fort which was built by Sulaiman bin Dawood (a.s.). Al Harwi says, “I entered Baitul Muqaddas in 567 A.H. and in the city of al-Khalil gathered the scholars and elders, and held discussions with them. They told me that in the year 513 in the reign of Bardoel, this place had sunk in the valley of Khalil and a group of French people entered it.

They saw the tombs of Ibrahim, Ishaq and Yaqoob (a.s.). Their shrouds were decaying and they were sitting, reclining their backs to the wall. Above their heads, chandeliers (lantern) hung from the ceiling. Their heads were open. The King gave them new shrouds and again covered the place of their repose. Al Harwi continues: A man known as Armani decided to visit Khalil. He brought expensive gifts for the curator and requested him to allow him to see the last remains of Ibrahim (a.s.). The caretaker told him that it was impossible at that time. But it may be possible if he waited till the crowds depart. So when the crowds dispersed, the caretaker led him to a trap door and lifted it. Taking a lantern, both of them descended the steps (about 70 steps). It was a deep and vast cellar and a soft breeze blew in it. It had a platform where Ibrahim (a.s.) was lying. There was a green cloth over him. The gentle breeze moved the white beard of Ibrahim (a.s.). Besides him were Ishaq  and Yaqoob (a.s.). After this, the caretaker brought Armani to the wall of the cave and said, “Sarah (a.s.) is behind this wall.” The Armani expressed his desire to see behind the wall but a voice told him “Stop! Do not trespass into the prohibited place.” So they turned back and came up outside.

The following incident is mentioned in the first part of Tarikh Ibne Asakir.

In 86 A.H., when Damascus was being excavated by the order of Walid Ibne Abdul Malik (died 96 A.H.), they found the head of Yahya ibne Zakaria in a basket in a casket below one of the pillars supporting the dome. It was beneath the greater dome.

There is no mention of all the graves of the Prophets of Bani Israel in Taurat and other books. The burial places of Lut (a.s.), Yusha, Yasa, Ayyub, Uzair and Zakaria (a.s.) are not known. As far as Isa Ibne Maryam is concerned, he was raised up by the Almighty Allah.

*     *     *

These are the details regarding the tombs of the Prophets of Bani Israel – the Jews. Yet we have never heard of the Jews ever considering the graves of their prophets as idols. Paying respect to a grave does not tantamount to worshipping it. They were facing the graves during prayers like we face the Kaaba during our prayers. So how can it be equated with  idol-worship?

Secondly – Place of worship of the Jews.

Ark of the covenant

Tent of Worship

The place of worship of the Bani Israel was also known as the Tent of worship. It housed the Ark of Covenant of Musa (a.s.). It is mentioned in Exodus 25-27 that the Almighty ordered Musa (a.s.) to construct the Ark. It has also come in the Old Testament (Exodus 29-30) that the Almighty ordered Musa (a.s.) to worship near Mount Sinai. The diagram of the ark has been taken from the ancient book, Qamus.

The Bani Israel used to carry the ark with them wherever they migrated. This continued till they reached the land of Palestine. Dawood (a.s.) initiated the construction of a permanent place of worship based on the model of the worship tent. After him, Sulaiman (a.s.) completed it and

transferred the tent and the Ark into it.1

*     *     *

Thus we conclude that the Jews were having a tent of worship since the time they were in the deserts of Sina, and when they reached Palestine, Sulaiman (a.s.) constructed a place of worship for them. It was called Haikal of Sulaiman. The tent of worship and the ark of covenant was transferred into it.

Whatever we have mentioned so far and whatever we will mention in future is authentic. There is no doubt in the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.) but as far as the reporters of traditions are concerned they are prone to mistakes and forgetfulness. Hence, we will investigate the matter in a critical way. Let us first examine the traditions mentioned by us in connection with the prohibition of the construction over the graves and then we can evaluate them.

After this, we shall present the traditions that support the construction of buildings over graves.

Arguments of those who consider it permissible to construct tombs over the graves of Prophets

We have already explained in the previous chapter how a particular place becomes blessed or evil without any limitation of time. In this chapter, we shall refer again to the same proofs.

Firstly: From the Book of Allah

Those who consider it permissible to construct tombs over the graves of Prophet and  consider them as mosques and places of worship, support their stand with the help of the following ayat:

(1) “Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing place of Ibrahim.” (Surah Baqarah 2:125)

(2) They also refer to the incident of the ‘People of the cave’ as mentioned in the Holy Quran:

“Those who prevailed in their affair said: we will certainly raise a masjid over them.” (Sura Kahf 18:21)


The first quotation has already been mentioned by us in our discussion. Bukhari has recorded in his Sahih:

Ismail and Ibrahim (a.s.) were building the Kaaba. Ismail (a.s.) used to bring the stones and Ibrahim (a.s.) set them up. This continued till the structure reached a certain height. In the due course, Ismail (a.s.) brought this stone and Ibrahim (a.s.) stood on it. Ismail continued to pass him the bricks. This place is called as Maqaam-e-Ibrahim. This same place has been sanctified and we have been ordered to make it a place of worship.

Another hadith which has come in the Commentaries of the Holy Quran is as follows:-

The People of the Cave were certain subjects of King Daqiyanoos. Daqiyanoos had claimed Godhood. These young men believed in Allah and fled the country of Dagiyanoos and took refuge in a cave.

The Almighty sealed their ears and made them fall asleep for hundreds of years. Then He woke them up. One of them was sent to the city to purchase some victuals. The people of the city became astonished at the coin which he offered because it belonged to an ancient age. The people of the town were believers1 and when they learnt of the youths who had fled their country for the sake of religion and learnt of the place of their hiding, they rushed towards the cave. But when they reached the cave, the youths refused to return to the city (or meet the people); and prayed to Allah to return them to their previous state and Allah put them back to sleep as if they were again dead. The people of the city had a difference of opinion as to what should be done with them. Those who had the decisive word said that they would build a mosque over the resting place of the people of the cave.


In the first Ayat, the Almighty Allah has ordered us to consider the place where Ibrahim (a.s.) stood as a place of prostration. Therefore, it is not polytheism, rather it is Tawheed and the obedience of Allah. In the second ayat, the Almighty Allah informed us about those believers who had decided to build a mosque over the sleeping place of the believing youths. It would be a place of prostrating before Allah the glorified, and a place of worshipping Him as these people were believers and not polytheists. The Almighty Allah has not denounced their decision.

*     *     *

Both the above ayats have been mentioned in the book of Allah and explained by the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

Secondly: Referring to the Sunnat of the Prophet (s.a.)

(a) The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) ordered the visitation of graves after prohibiting it. As it has been recorded in Sahih of Muslim, Nasai, Ibn Majah and Tirmizi and also Muwatta from Buraida, from his father who says,

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said, “I had prohibited you to visit the graves (before). Now you visit them.”1

In another hadith of Sunan Abi Dawood is the addition, “Because there is a lesson in visiting the graves”. Also, in Sunan Ibne Majah there is a report from Ibne Masud (that Holy Prophet said):

“I had prohibited you to visit the graves. Now you visit them because you achieve piety in this world and it reminds you of the Hereafter.”2

(b) Now we shall mention whatever has happened in connection with the graves of the Prophets and Messenger.

Those who circumambulated around the Kaaba used to circumambulate the Hajar (stone of) Ismail and they also used to touch it. It contains the graves of Ismail (a.s.) and Hajra (s.a.), his mother, and all the Islamic scholars agree upon it. It is mentioned in the Sirat of Ibne Hisham (died 218 A.H.), Tarikh of Ibne Athir (died 630 A.H.), Tarikh of Tabari (died 310 A.H.), and Tarikh of Ibne Kathir (died 774 A.H.) that:

“Ismail (a.s.) is buried in Hajr with his mother Hajra.”

Ibne Athir says,

“Ismail (a.s.) made a will that he should be buried near the grave of his mother Hajra (s.a.).1

Ibne Saad in Tabaqaat remarks,

“When Ismail (a.s.) was 20 years of age, his mother Hajra (s.a.) died. She was ninety years of age. Ismail (a.s.) died after the death of his father. He was buried in Hajr near his mother Hajra (s.a.). Beyond this is the Holy Kaaba. After this, the report says,

The grave of Ismail (a.s.) is below the ‘Mizaab’ between ‘Rukn’ and ‘Bayt’.1

In Kalais’ ‘Iktifa’ it is mentioned that Hajra (s.a.), Ismail (a.s.) and Nabit the son of Ismail (a.s.) are buried in Hajr.2 In the picture below we can see Hajar-e-Ismail surrounded by the pilgrims and the worshippers.

Ibne Jubair has also mentioned about the graves of Ismail (a.s.) and his mother Hajra (s.a.). He says:

Below the ‘Mizaab’, in the courtyard of Hajr near the wall of the House of Kaaba is the grave of Ismail (a.s.). It is marked by a long green marble, shaped like an arch. A round shaped marble is also fixed and both of them are absolutely marvelous. These stones are dotted and a part of them has yellowed. It resembles a chess pawn inlaid with gold.

Towards it is the ‘Rukn’ of Iraq and there is the grave of Hajra (s.a.), the mother of Ismail (a.s.). It is marked with a green marble. It is 1½  hands in length. The people consider it a blessing to pray at both these places of Hajr. It has been proved to them that these two places are associated with the

Hajr-e-Ismail faced by worshippers
People circumambulating Hajr-e-Ismail

Hajr-e-Ismail faced by worshippers

Holy House. These two places are built on two holy and purified dead bodies. May Allah illuminate their graves, and those who send salawat upon them may derive blessings. Between these two graves is a distance of 7 hand spans.[1]

Abdur Rehman Ibn Jauzi (died 597 A.H.) has mentioned in his book in the chapter ‘Ayan al Madfoonin bil Haram’ from Safwan bin Abdulla Al Jamhi that he said:

“Ibn Zubair dug a pit and found in it a basket of green stones. He asked the Quraishi people about it. None of them had any knowledge of it. So he sent for my father and told him, ‘This is the grave of Ismail (a.s.). Do not move it from here.’ So it was left untouched.”

Ibne Zubair said: The rugged area towards the ‘Rukn’ of Syria contains the graves of the unmarried daughters of Ismail (a.s.).

He says that it is between ‘Meezaab’ and ‘Babal Hajr al Gharbi’ (west).

In the chapter of “The graves of the unmarried daughters of Ismail (a.s.) near Masjidul Haram’ he has quoted from ‘The ancient and recent reports about Makkah’. The author of this book is Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishaq Al Fakihi (died 272 A.H.). It is printed at Beirut in 1414 A.H. He says, “Ibne Zubair said, ‘In this area after which is Rukn of Syria are the graves of the unmarried daughters of Ismail (a.s.).’”

Ibne Abi Umar says that when Sufyan was asked where that place is, he indicated towards the Hajr opposite the Rukn of West. Beyond it is ‘Darul Azla’ and ‘Rukn Yamani’.

It is mentioned by Abdul Razzaq in 5/120 of his book and Arzaqi in the ‘Reports of Makkah’ (Akhbare Makka):

When the people of a prophet used to be destroyed (by Divine Chastisement) he used to come to Makkah and reside there and pray with his companions till the end of their lives. Some of such prophets are Hud, Saleh and Shuyabh (a.s.).

And between ‘Rukn’ and ‘Maqaam’, and towards Zamzam and Hajr are graves of some 99 prophets.

Abu Bakr Al Faqih has related from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said: “There was no prophet who escaped from his people that he did not come to Makkah and worshipped Allah till he died. And there are the graves of Hud, Shuyab and Saleh and between Zamzam and Maqam and in the Kaaba there are the graves of 300 prophets. Between ‘Rukn Yamani’ and ‘Rukn Aswad’ are the graves of 70 prophets.[2]

*     *     *

All these above details have been mentioned in the books of Ahle Sunnat. The following statements are found in the books of hadith of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.):

Kulaini (died 329 A.H.) in his book al-Kafi, Sadooq (died 381 A.H.) in Man la Yahzarul Faqih and Ilalush Sharaae of Sadooq, Fayd (died 1089 A.H.) in al-Wafi and Majlisi (died 1111 A.H.) in Beharul Anwaar  mention that: In Hajr … is the grave of Hajra (s.a.) and grave of Ismail (a.s.)[3]

It is also mentioned in these books: “The graves of the Prophets are at Hajr.”[4]

Moreover it is recorded in Al-Kafi, Al-Wafi and Behaar that: The unmarried daughters of Ismail (a.s.) are buried at Hajr.[5]

*     *     *

This was an account of the graves of Prophets in Makkah. Now, we will mention about the graves at places other than Makkah.

The Grave of the Mother of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at Abwaa and the visitation of the Prophet (s.a.) to her grave

We find the account of Abwaa in Mojamul Buldan: Al Abwaa is a village between Madinah and Juhfa. It is about 23 miles from Madinah.

The grave of Amina binte Wahab, the mother of the Prophet (s.a.) is at Abwaa. She happened to be buried here because Abdullah the father of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had come to Madinah and passed away there.

His wife Amina binte Wahab used to visit his grave every year. When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was six years old, she had come to visit the grave accompanied with Abdul Muttalib and Umme Aiman, the wet nurse of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). When they reached Abwaa on way to Makkah Amina (s.a.) passed away.[6]

In Tarikh of Ibne Asakir, it is recorded:

Amina binte Wahab was the mother of our Master the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). She brought the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to her brothers who were of Banu Najjar. Then she started towards her journey to Makkah. She died at Abwaa between Makkah and Madinah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was 6 years old at that time.[7]

A detailed report has come in Tabaqat Ibne Saad, and a part of it is as follows:

When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was passing Abwaa on way to Hudaibiya, he stopped at the grave of his mother. He arranged it and then he wept. Seeing him weep, the other Muslims also wept. This incident of the weeping of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on the grave of his mother, and the weeping of his companions is mentioned in all books of hadith.[8]

The Grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at Madinah

It is mentioned in Tabaqat of Ibne Saad and Sirah Ibne Hisham:

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) is buried in the room of his own house where he expired in Madinah. After this, Abu Bakr and Umar were also buried beside him.

Afterwards, a green dome was built over his grave1 as can be seen in the picture opposite.

Dome upon the grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.

Dome upon the mosque of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)

The Merits of visiting the grave of the Prophet (s.a.)

Darqutni in his Sunan, Tibrani in Mojam, Fakihi in ‘Akhbare Makkah’ through their chain of narrators from Ibne Umar mention:

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: “One who performs the Hajj and then visits my grave after I have passed away is like the one who has visited me in my life time.”1

Taylasi has narrated from Umar that he said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) saying: ‘I will be a witness and an intercessor for the one who visits my grave, or visits me.’”[9]

Members of the Prophet’s Household (Ahlul Bayt) and his Companions visited his Grave.

(a) The first to visit his grave was his daughter Fatima (s.a.). Ibne Jawzi through his chain of narrators has related from Ali (a.s.) that he said: “When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was buried, Fatima (s.a.) came and stood near his grave. She picked up a handful of dust and put it to her eyes. She wailed and recited the following lines:

‘What will happen to the one who smells the dust of the tomb of Ahmad.

He will never, ever, smell a greater calamity. Such calamities have befallen me that if they had fallen on days, they would have turned into night’.”[10]

Another tradition with a slight variation has also been mentioned.

(b) When Abu Ayyub Ansari, the Companion of Prophet (s.a.) visited his grave, he rested his face on the grave, as will be mentioned in the following tradition:

In Majmauz Zawaaed from Abi Dawood bin abi Saleh: he said, “One day Marwan came and saw that a man had kept his face on the grave. He said, ‘Do you know what he is doing ?’ When the man raised his head, he saw that it was Abu Ayyub Ansari. He said, ‘Yes I have come to the Messenger of Allah and not to a stone.’1

The conclusion of the discussion.

Those who consider it haraam to construct Mausoleums over graves of prophets and consider them places of worship, support their stand by the following traditions.

Firstly: Ali (a.s.) said to Abil Hayyaj al-Asadi, “I am sending you on an assignment on which the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) sent me. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was present at a funeral when he said, ‘Which one of you will go to Madinah and not find an idol but break it, not a grave but that he levels it and not a picture but that he erase it.’ A person volunteered but when he went to Madinah he became fearful of the people and returned to the Prophet (s.a.). Later, Imam Ali (a.s.) went on the same mission. He completed the job perfectly and returned successful.

I can’t understand for how long the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was present at the funeral that he ordered the man to go to Madinah. The man went and returned unsuccessful. Then Ali (a.s.) went and completed the job and returned. What type of Muslims were they, that they kept idols. If they were polytheists how they obeyed the order of Ali (a.s.) without any opposition. The tradition of Abil Hayyaj makes evident that it is of the period of Ali’s Caliphate. Ali’s Caliphate came after the Caliphate of three Caliphs. So did the affair remain pending till that time? I do not think it is possible for the idols remain in the houses of people of Muslim till the time of Ali (a.s.) when he would order Abil Hayyaj to break them!

Secondly: They also present the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said:

“Do not make my grave to be an idol like the Jews made the graves of their prophets as idols.” I don’t know when the Jews considered the graves of their prophets as idols? After their exodus from Egypt, there was a tent in Tee for their worship and in the time of Sulaiman (a.s.), Haykal Sulaiman was constructed for them for the purpose of worship in the same way as the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (s.a.). So we can safely assume that the Jews never worshipped the graves of their prophets. As we have already mentioned, the graves of some of the prophets are not known at all while some of these graves are in the depths of the earth. They are unknown except to a few people.

As regards the hadith of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) cursing the visitors of the grave we say that authentic traditions go against this prohibition and make it permissible to visit graves. The curse mentioned in the former traditions is thus abrogated.

Like he said: “I had prohibited you to visit the graves. Now visit them…”

*     *     *

These were the arguments of those words who consider it haraam to construct tombs and build mosques over the graves of the prophets.

Those who consider it permissible to construct tombs and mosques over graves, present the following supportive proofs:

Firstly: The Almighty Allah says:

(a) “Appoint yourselves a place of prayer on the standing place of Ibrahim.” (Surah Baqarah 2:125)


(b) “Those who prevailed in their affair said: We will certainly raise a masjid over them.” (Surah Kahf 18:21)

The Almighty Allah has ordered the believers to pray at the ground which was trampled upon by His Khalil, Ibrahim (a.s.). He has also informed that the group which had the precedence of opinion was the one who had suggested the construction of mosque over the place of resting of the ‘people of the cave’.

Secondly: They also refer to the practice of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in connection with the graves of Prophet Ismail (a.s.), his mother Hajra (s.a.) and his unmarried daughters; and also other prophets who are buried at ‘Hajr’ of Ismail and the House of Allah (Kaaba). All these were an accepted part of history, four years after passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.); and the circumbulation around the ‘Hajar-e-Ismail’, the burial place of Ismail (a.s.) was an established practice. The progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), his companions and all the righteous Muslims till the present age follow this practice.

Thirdly: They also quote the report wherein the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had visited the grave of his mother, straightened it and wept; and the companions also wept with him.

Fourthly: A green dome has been constructed over the house where the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) expired, and where after him the two companions were also buried. The dome is still in existence.

Fifthly: The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) motivated the Muslims to visit his grave.

Sixthly: Visitation of his grave by his dearest daughter Fatima az-Zahra (s.a.) and the visit of his companion Abu Ayyub Ansari is well-documented.

Therefore, we can safely conclude that visiting of the graves of the Prophets, and to construct tombs over them; and to consider them places of worship are the divine practices and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) has also set many examples in this regard.

Most certainly the grave of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is most worthy to be visited and after that are the graves of his family members; and the righteous among us deserve visitations at our graves by other people. By following this tradition, we shall be able to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

Also, if we are allowed to follow the practice of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) with regard to the graves of  the prophets (a.s.) we would follow the righteous Companion Abu Ayyub Ansari (r.a.) and keep our face on the grave and like Fatima (s.a.) the dearest daughter of the Prophet (s.a.) we would smell at the dust of the grave and repeat the words:

“What will happen to the one who smells the dust of the tomb of Ahmad.

He will never ever smell a greater calamity…” But alas, we are compelled to say:

“There was pricking in the eyes and suffocation in the throats …..” [Imam Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul Balagha]

1 Musnad Ahmed Vol.1, Pgs. 87, 89, 96, 110, 111, 127, 137, 139, 145, 150.

Musnad Taylasi, tradition no.96,155

2 Musnad Ahmed 2:246
3 Musnad Ahmed 2:285
1 Sunan Ibne Majah, Kitabul Janiaz, Chapter of Prohibition of women from visting graves.

Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitabul Janaiz.

Musnad Ahmed, Chapter 3, 2 : 336, 337.

Sunan Tirmizi, Bab al Janaiz 2:276.

1 Musnad Ahmed 1:89 and 96.
1 The Book of Exodus, 40:35-38.

The Book of Numbers 35-38.

1 Refer to the tafsir of this ayat in books of exegesis.
1 Sunan Ibne Majah, Kitabul Janaiz 1:501.s
2 Sunan Ibne Majah, Kitabul Janaiz.
1 Sirat Ibne Hisham 1:6.

Tarikh Tabari 1:352.

Tarikh Ibne Athir 1:89.

Tarikh Ibne Katheer 1:193.

1 Tabaqaat Ibne Saad 1:25.
2 Al Maghazi Pg.119.
[1] Ibne Jubayr was Muhammad the son of Ahmed the son of Jubayr Al-Kanaani Al Andalusi.
[2] Kitabul Buldan of Abu Bakr Ahmed bin al-Faqih Al-Hamdani (died 340 A.H.)
[3] Furu al-Kafi, Kitabul Hajj, tradition no.14.

Printed at Tehran 1390 A.H., Vol.4 Pg.210.

Man La Yahzarul Faqih, Kitabul Hajj, Vol.3.

[4] Furu al-Kafi, Kitabul Hajj, Chapter of Hajj of Ibrahim (a.s.) tradition no.15.
[5] Furu al-Kafi, Kitabul Hajj, Chapter of Hajj of Ibrahim (a.s.) tradition no.16.
[6] Mojamul Buldan of Al-Hamuyi 1:100.
[7] Tarikh Damishq of Ibne Asakir 2:100.
[8] Tabaqaat Ibne Saad 1:116.

Sunan Nasai, Kitabul Janaiz.

Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitabul Janaiz.

1 Tabaqaat Ibne Saad, 2: 292-294.

Sirat Ibne Hisham; 4:343.

1 Sunan e Kabeer of Baihaqi, 5:246.

Sunan Darqutni 2:278.

Al Ittihaafus Sadaatul Muttaqeen of Al Zubaidi 4:416.

Kanzul Ummal 5:70.

Majmauz Zawaed 4:2.

Durre Manthur of Suyuti 1:237.

Al Mojamul Kabeer 12:407.

[9] Musnad of Tayalasi (died 204 A.H.)

Kanzul Ummal 20:161.

Kanzul Ummal 20:161.

Mukhtasar Tarikhe Damishq 2:406.

Al Mataalibul Aahya of Ibne Hajr Pg.1254.

Durre Manthur 1:237.

Al Mojamul Kabeer of Tibrani 12:417.

[10] Mathirul Gharamul Saakin Pg.300.
1 Majmauz Zawaaed, Kitabul Khilafa 5:245.

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