Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 19
What Has Been Said About Exaggeration
in Raising up the Graves of the Righteous
and How They Tend to Become Idols Worshiped Besides Allah (swt )
Imam Malik has reported in his book, Al-Muwatta`, that the Messenger of Allah (saas ) said:
"Oh, Allah! Do not let my grave become an idol that is worshiped: Allah's Wrath is immense against those peoples who turned the graves of their Prophets into mosques."
The narrator informs us in this Hadith, that the Prophet (saas ) adjured his Rabb that He protect his grave from being taken as an object of worship besides Allah (swt ); then he made clear that Allah's Wrath is upon all of His slaves who take the graves of the Prophets as places of worship - then what may be said of those who take the graves' inhabitants as objects of worship?
Benefits Derived From This Hadith
1. Glorifying graves worship is an act of Shirk however close to Allah (swt ) was the grave's inhabitant.
2. Confirmation of Allah's Divine Attribute of Anger.
3. Prohibition of building places of worship over graves.
4. The forbiddance of praying near graves even if there is no building erected over the grave.
Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter
That the Hadith proves that the graves will be taken as idols by some of this Ummah; this is why the Prophet (saas ) asked Allah (swt ) to protect his grave from being taken as an object of worship.
Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed
That the Hadith proves that taking the graves as places of worship will lead to worship of their inhabitants, and this is an act of Shirk.
In addition, Ibn Jareer reports, on the authority of Sufyaan, from Mansoor, from Mujahid (that he said): "" Have you seen Al-Laat and Al-'uzzaa and another, Manaat, the third [deity]?" 1 - He (Al-Laat) used to prepare saweeq for the pilgrims, and when he died, the people began to sit at his grave."
Relevance of This Narration to the Subject of the Chapter and the Subject of Tawheed
That it shows that Al-Laat was originally the name of a righteous man who used to prepare saweeq for the pilgrims; then, after he died, the people began to exaggerate their praises of him, sitting at his grave and taking it as an object of worship besides Allah (swt ). For this reason, every grave whose inhabitant is praised in an exaggerated manner by the people is likely to become an object of worship, even though they may not refer to it as such.
It is reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (ra ) that he said: "Allah's Messenger (saas ) said:
"Cursed those women who visit the graves and those who take them as places of worship and hang lights around them." (Narrated by Abu Dawood, At-Tirmizi and Ibn Maajah)
The Prophet (saas ) cursed in this Hadith three groups: (i) Women who visit graves, because of the inherent weakness in them which may lead them to mourn excessively the departed; (ii) those who take the graves as places of worship, because this leads to the glorification of the graves' inhabitants and worship of them; (iii) those who adorn the graves with lights, because this is a waste of wealth without purpose and it leads to the glorification of the graves' inhabitants, very similar to the glorification of idols by those who make them. And the Hadith is a warning and an admonition to every person who would build places of worship over the graves of the righteous and the leaders and praise them excessively, and experience a state of humility which they do not feel when they go to the mosque - and this is among the greatest of sins; indeed it is one of the major sins, which should be eradicated, as the Prophet (saas ) has made clear in this Hadith, for he did not curse except those who committed major sins.
Benefits Derived From This Hadith
1. The general permissibilty of cursing the corrupt.
2. The prohibition of women visiting graves.
3. The forbiddance of taking graves as places of worship and adorning them with lights.
4. The wisdom of Islamic Law lies in its forbidding everything which may lead to Shirk.
5. The prohibition of using up wealth without purpose.
Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed
That the Hadith prohibits excessive praise and glorification of the graves and their inhabitants, by building mosques or other places of worship over them and decorating them with lights because this leads to them being taken as idols and worshiped.
(a) The purpose of prohibiting both the building of places of worship over graves and of adorning them with lights is in that these practices may lead to worship of the graves' inhabitants, not because graves are unclean.
(b) There is no conflict between this Hadith and the saying of the Prophet (saas ):
"I had forbidden you to visit the graves, but (now I say:) visit them."2
Because the former is an exception for women from the general license granted by the latter.