Compiled, Translated & Annotated
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
Many Sufi writers, whether they belong to the Ashari and maturidi theological rhetoric school of thought or whether they belong to the two sub continent sects of Deoband or Barelwi, all utilise and use the incident and the story of the people of the cave to either justify their impermissible tawassul and wasilah or they incorrectly deduce from the ayah in Surah Kahf the permissibility of buildings structures over graves and in turn this leading to shirk and grave worship and also relic worship. They further interpret this ayah and use it is a their most convincing argument to establish the permissibility of building domes over graves, relics and religious holy sites and thus arguing existence of the Green dome as well other mausoleums and shrines. These such shrines and tombs are widespread in the muslims lands and are commonly known as darbars or dargahs in the sub continent.
These Sufi’s argue based on ayah 21 from Surah al-Kahf (18)
“And thus We made their case known (to the people), that they might know that the Promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour. (Remember) when they (the people of the city) disputed among themselves about their case, they said: “Construct a building over them; their Lord knows best about them;” (then) those who won their point said (most probably the disbelievers): “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” Surah al-Kahf (18):21
The Sufi Barelwi churchfather and the student of the students of Ahmad Raza Khan, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi (d.1391H) said in his acclaimed book amongst his sufi followers says
“Construction of some buildings near or in the vicinity of the grave of the common muslims is no doubt forbidden, but it is allowed (jaiz) in the case of islamic scholars and expert theologians….”
he goes onto say
“It is Jaiz (permissible) to construct a building near or around the shrines of illustrious ‘Mashaikh,’ Aulia and Islamic scholars. Its justification is found in the ayah of the Holy Quran, the deeds of the Sahabah and the common Muslims and the sayings of the scholars. The holy Quran, while describing the event of Ashab-e-Kahaf (and then mentions the ayah above)…”
He then goes onto bring the explanation of Ismail Haqqi (1127H) a Sufi of the Naqshabandi order from his Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan, the avid reader can refer to it or from the works of Naeemi. Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi goes onto say,
“The Holy Quran has mentioned two things of these people: (1) to hold mutual consultation about building a shrine and making a dome around the As-hab-e-Kahaf. (2) constructing a masjid near them, denying nothing which shows that these two actions were lawful in the past and are also lawful even today as is proved by the book of principles.” (Ja’a al-Haq (p.328-329 Eng Tran. p.279-280 Urdu)
As we can see the Sufi Barelwis and their compatriots have misconstrued this ayah to establish the permissibility of making structures, shrines, tombs and even mosques/masjids over graves when the reality is far from this.
The first thing to understand in this regard is, and numerous Imams of the Salaf have mentioned this, the people of the time denied the hereafter and that they would be raised again. Ikrimah mentions some people from amongst them claimed only the souls will be raised again without the bodies. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:747, Tafsir al-Tabari 15:270-271, Tarikh Tabari 2:46)
Imam Qurtubi mentions something similar, that there was a righteous ruler at the time and some people differed concerning the raising of the soul and body. Some people became doubtful and denied the raising of the body and claimed only the souls will be raised while the earth will consume the bodies. Others argued and said both the body and soul will be raised. This became a difficult matter for the King to answer, who later spent time pondering the answer until the incident of the people of the cave. (Tafsir Qurtubi 10:380, see also Mukhtasar Tafsir al-Qurtubi 2:313)
The Meaning of Masjid in the Ayah
Hafiz Ibn Hajr clarifies the meaning of masjid in the ayah and brings the statement of the illustrious companion and explainer of the Quran, Abdullah ibn Abbas (RadhiAllahu Anhuma) who said,
“The people said honour your brothers, so the people after thinking and pondering said we will make a masjid over them. Then they began praying over them, seeking forgiveness for them and supplicating for them.” (Tagliq al-ta’liq 4:264)
So here, praying over them refers to praying their funeral prayer which is further evidenced by the fact that they supplicated for them and asked Allah for forgive them. There is no mention of erecting ornate structures, shrines, tombs, mausoleums, darbars etc and certainly making a masjid over their grave so that people continue to pray over them.
All of the explanations of this ayah by the various explainers of the Quran who use the word masjid in this context is solely and mainly praying the funeral prayer of the people of the cave, seeking forgiveness and supplicating for them. The Sufis cite the words of Fakhar al-Din al-Razi who said,
“Some people said that the door of the cave should be closed so that nobody can enter it and the affair of the People of the cave are hidden. Some said that It is better to build a masjid at the door, this saying proves that these people were righteous people of Allah who wanted to worship him and offer their prayers.” (Tafsir al-Kabir 5:75)
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi also said
“And when Allah said “Those who prevailed over their affair“ this refers to the leader of the Muslims or the friends of Ashab al-Kahf or the leaders of town. “We will surely build a masjid over them“ so that we can worship Allah in it and preserve the affairs or affect of the people of the cave with the masjid.” (Tafsir al-Kabir 5:475]
Again this refers to the funeral prayer and also to make a masjid to preserve their ‘Athar’ which can be understood as their affair or their affect meaning their worship of Allah and singling him out as one and his Tawhid. This is the message of the people of the cave, the Tawhid of Allah The Mighty and Majestic. This is what the leaders and the people wanted to preserve and even if this is understood as a masjid, they wanted to preserve their effect i.e. the worship of Allah. It is not how the sufi barelwis project in the building of structures riddled with shirk and bidah.
Hafiz Suyuti and al-Mahalli said
“They were disputing“ That is, the believers and the disbelievers, “among themselves their affair“ i.e. the affair of the youths, with regard to building something around them; “so they“, the disbelievers, said, “Build over them“ that is, around them, “a building” to cover them up; “their Lord knows them best.’ Those who prevailed regarding their affair” i.e. the affair of the youths, “i.e. the believers ” “We will verily set up over them) around them “a Masjid” for prayers to be performed therein. And this indeed took place at the entrance of the cave.” (Tafsir al Jalalyn 2:4)
Hafiz Suyuti further said,
“Imam Ibn Abi Hatim narrates from Suddi, the kind go the country called the religious leaders of his nation and consulted them concerning the affair of the people of the cave. The King was known as Decius and the youth of the cave had gone missing during his era and he had written their names on a tablet on the city gates. (When the youth returned to buy something) they read the names and it was the same people. The king was happy as these people who he though had died were in actual fact alive and then it became well known among the people that Allah had raised the dead from the living. The King said he would make a place of worship near their graves and I will continue worshipping Allah in it until I die. Abdur Razzaq and Ibn Abi Hatim transmit that Qatdaah said, “those who won their point said..” this refers to their rulers and leaders. Ibn Abi Hatim transmits from Sa’id ibn Jubayr who said the King made a church over the graves and wrote Ibna al-Arakanah, Ibna al-Dahqin.” (Tafsir Dar al-Manthur 4:569-570)
This shows they never built anything on the cave or over the graves but rather a masjid at the entrance, therefore, using this as an evidence to make mosques over graves is incorrect and a wrong understanding.
Imam Tabari said,
“The Mushrikeen said: We will build a building over it and worship Allah in it but the Muslims said: We have more right over them and we will surely build a mosque so that we can pray there and worship Allah.” (Tafsir at-Tabari 15:149)
Imam Qurtubi said,
“The view of the majority is the height from which a grave it is to be lowered which is higher than a handspan. The height to keep is for it to be recognised and for it to be respected (as in not walked over as flat earth). This is the situation with the grave of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) and both of his companions.” (Tafsir Qurtubi 10:380)
He also says something very similar and along the same lines in his book al-Tazkirrah (p.86)
Imam Qurtubi further explains it was the reign of Decius in which the youth went missing, he had the names written down and in the later generations when they returned to buy something from the city, the ruler at the time was righteous and pious etc. Imam Qurtubi further mentions the ruler said we will build a structure to remember them by. The people on the religion of the youth said make a masjid and the unbelievers said we will makee our place of worship or a resting place over them. The Muslims objected and said we will make a masjid. When some of the people went to the cave they noticed the cave had closed and the people had vanished. According to a report of Abdullah ibn Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhuma) Allah concealed their affair from the people, hence the ruler suggested making a a structure to remember them by. (Tafsir Qurtubi 10:380, al-Maharrar al-wajiz 3:507)
Then Imam Qurtubi goes on to cite many narrations in the prohibition of making masjids and places of worship over graves.
Imam Ibn Kathir and Imam Tabari mentions when one of them returned to the city to buy some food, things had change and so had his money. Once they find out things were not adding up they presented him to the ruler, the roman ruler, Decius. Then Decius and the people followed the person to the cave and he entered the cave himself first. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:747, Tafsir al-Tabari 15:271).
Ibn Kathir goes on to say it is not know how he entered the cave or what happened thereafter. Another view was, the ruler was Theodosius, who was a believer, who also entered the cave and embraced the people. They later left and the people of the cave went back to sleep and eventually died. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:747-748, Tafsir al-Tabari 15:277 and Tarikh Tabari 2:46)
Ibn Kathir further mentions the people were leaders and people of influence or suggested the idea of building a structure over or near their graves however the questions is, were they such and worthy to be followed. Therefore it is very questionable for them to be followed in this because the Messenger of Allah ﷺ cursed the jews and christians for making places of worship on the graves of their prophets. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:747-748)
There are other similar sayings the other explainers of the Quran have mentioned, Nasafi in Tartib al-Madarik (3:18), Abu Hayyan in Bahr al-Muhit (7:158), Imam Ibn al-Jawzi cites the view Imam Ibn Qutaybah Za’d ul-Masir (5:124) as well his own view as Shaykh al-Albani brings (5:123) as we proceed.
The Clarification of Shaykh Muhammad Shinqiti
He refutes those who use this ayah as evidence for making places of worship on graves and those who do not have knowledge say this is something encouraged from the Quran and Sunnah, whoever holds this view is from the most ignorant of creation. So are we to follow this group who say lets make a masjid over them? or were they disbelievers, who it is impermissible to follow? There is a difference if they were people of Fatrah or a group of disbelievers. If it is said they were disbelievers, then there is no problem because this is not evidence for us (Tafsir Qurtubi 10:379), He says
“If they claim they were Muslims, then we answer and say it is not hidden from the most deficient in intelligence that they were Muslims from a previous nation and that it this does not oppose the authentic clear text transmitted from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ except those whose intelligence is confused. This is because the Messenger of Allah ﷺ before he passed away cursed those who build places of worship over the graves. Therefore, it is clear whoever follows the ways of those who advocate building places of worship over graves have been cursed from the tongue of the most trustworthy and honest, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.” (Adwa al-Bayan 3:159)
The Statement of Imam Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz
Shaykh Ibn Baz said
“The answer to that is: that Allah has told us about the leaders and powerful people of that time, and that they said these words. That does not imply that He liked that or approved of them, rather He said that by way of blaming them and condemning their action. This is indicated by the fact that the Messenger sallalahu alayhi wasallam to whom this verse was revealed and who was the most knowledgeable of people as to how it should be interpreted, forbade his ummah to build mosques over graves, warned them against doing so, and cursed and condemned those who did that.
If that had been permissible, then the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alayhi wasallam would not have discouraged it in such emphatic terms, and gone to the extent of cursing those who did it, and said that they are the most evil of mankind before Allah. This is sufficient to convince the seeker of truth. Even if we were to assume that building places of worship over graves was permitted to those who came before us, it is not permissible for us to follow their example in that, because our sharee’ah abrogates the laws that came before it, and our Messenger sallalahu alayhi wasallam is the Final Messenger whose Shari’ah is complete and universal. He has forbidden us to build mosques over graves, so it is not permissible for us to go against him. We must follow him, adhering to that which he brought and abstaining from anything from the ancient laws that goes against that or any custom that appeals to the one who does it but goes against that. For there is nothing more perfect than the laws of Allah and there is no guidance better than the guidance of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alayhi wasallam
Allah is the One Whom we ask to help us and all the Muslims to adhere firmly to His religion and to follow the shari’ah of His Messenger Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wasallam in all that we say and do, both outwardly and inwardly, in all our affairs, until we meet Allah, for He is the All-Hearing, Ever-Near. May Allah send blessings and peace upon His slave and Messenger Muhammad and his family and companions, and those who follow his guidance, until the Day of Resurrection.” (Majmu Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawi’ah li Samahat al-Shaykh Ibn Baz 1:434)
Shaykh al-Albani’s Answer
Shaykh al-Albani cites the doubt of the Sufi’s who say in regard to this ayah,
“This ayah evidences the permissibility of making masajid over graves and the point of deduction is that the people who said this were the followers of Isa Alayhis Salam i.e. christians as it has been mentioned in the books of Tafasir. Therefore, we find it was permissible to make a mosque over graves in their shari’ah as Allah mentions this without reprimanding it. Thus the principle is, if Allah mention a ruling of the previous nations without rejecting it then it is also shariah for us which means that it is permissible for us to do the same as mentioned in this ayah.” (Tahzir al-Sajid p.48)
Shaykh al-Albani answers this and says there are three answers to this.
It is established in the knowledge regarding the principles i.e. Ilm al-Usul that previous shariahs i.e. legislation before the advent of Islam is not shariah for us, there are numerous evidences for this which. As an example Imam Ibn Hazm brings approximately 50 or so evidences to prove the previous shariahs were not incumbent upon us. (al-Ihkam Fi Usul al-Ahkam 5:16)
Shaikh al-Albani adds a note and says these can referred to in larger volumes on Ilm al-Usul and specifically al-Ihkam Fi Usul al-Ahkam of Ibn Hazm and others.
Shaikh al-Albani continues and says one such evidence for this is the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) that he said,
“I have been given five things that no Prophet before was given, a Prophet was sent to his respective nation whereas i have been sent to the whole of mankind.” (Bukhari Muslim and I have referenced it in al-Irwa ul-Ghalil no.285)
Even if the aforementioned ayah alludes to making masjid over graves, it was in the previous shariahs which have been since abrogated and neither does it command us to act on this ayah and therefore it is not permissible for us to make mosques over graves.
Even if we were to accept their statement that the previous shariahs were incumbent upon us, then this still has another binding condition intertwined with it which is that there can be nothing that contradicts or opposes it from our shariah. This however this is not the case because this condition is missing because mutawatir (overwhelming number of) ahadith prohibit making masjids over graves. This is a clear evidence to indicate the previous shariah is not incumbent or binding upon us.
We do not hold the aforementioned ayah alludes to the permissibility of making mosques over graves in the previous shariahs i.e. in the legislation of Isa Alayhis Salam because it only shows some people expressed an idea or thought to build a masjid on the people of the cave – Ashab al-Kahf. There is no clarification whether they were believers. Even if we accept they were believers there is no clarification if they were righteous and obedient to the shariah of Isa Alayhis Salam but rather some evidences show they were not following the shariah (of Isa Alayis Sallam).
The View of Hafiz Ibn Rajab (795H)
Hence Hafiz Ibn Rajab (795H) wrote in the explanation of the hadith, “May the curse of Allah be upon the jews and christians who built places of worship over the graves of their Prophet.”
“This hadith which prohibits making places of worship over the graves of Prophets is also evidenced in the Quran where Allah says about the people of the Cave – Ashab al-Kahf, “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” This ayah shows making places of worship on graves were the actions of the people of power and leadership which shows this had no basis or ruling in their shariah but rather they just wanted to do this based on their wishes as being the leaders and people of power. This was not the action of the people of knowledge and virtue who were obedient and following the guidance revealed to their Prophets who were also the companions and helpers.” (Fath al-Bari 65:280 from al-Kawakib al-Darari – manuscript from in Maktabah al-Zahiriyyah. TN. See also Fath al-Bari 2:397 of Ibn Rajab)
The View of Shaykh Ali bin Urwah and Hafiz Ibn Kathir
Shaikh Ali bin Urwah concurs and supports Hafiz Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir, he says,
“Ibn Jarir has cited two statements on explanation of this ayah, the first being that, we will build a place of worship, they were believers and the second statement was that they were polytheists – mushriks, Allahs knows best. What is apparent is that they were people of power and influence but what they said was not the truth because the statement of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) is that he cursed the jews and christians for making places of worship on the graves of their Prophets. His intent was to warn his Ummah from this evil action. There is also a report Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) during his reign they found the grave of Prophet Danyal in Iraq with his scrolls. He quickly buried him with his book, concealing it from the people.” (Mukhtasar al-Kawakib 10:208:2, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 3:78)
Shaykh al-Albani adds a notes to the statement of Imam Ibn Jarir that Imam Ibn al-Jawzi mentioned exactly the same in his Za’d al-Masir 5:123, Maktab al-Islami)
Shaykh al-Albani continues and said, we find from these details, using this ayah to make places of worship over graves is totally incorrect.
The View of Allamah al-Muhaqqiq Alusi (1270H)
“This ayah has been used to prove the permissibility of building shrines over the graves of the pious people. From the people who have put forward this deduction are Shihab Khafaji which he mentions in his notes to al-Baydawi, However this deduction is totally and absolutely incorrect, false and corrupt.” (Ruh al-Ma’ani 5:31)
Shaykh al-Albnai says, then Allamah Alusi cites some ahadith in prohibition of this issue and supports it by citing a statement of Hafiz Ibn Hajr al-Haithami, which I have presented on (p.22 -Tahzir al-Sajid)
The Statement Shaykh al-Albani is referring to on (p.22) is where Hafiz al-Haithami said,
“Building places of worship/masjids over graves means to pray next or on top of them.” (al-Zawajir 1:121)
Shaykh al-Albani continues and says, “then, Allamah Alusi in his book, ‘Sharh al-Minhaj’ also cites another statement of Hafiz Ibn Hajr Haithami, where he said,
“A group of scholars have issued an edict to demolish all the structures built over graves in Qarafah in Egypt, even the mausoleum of Imam Shafi’i which was build by a revering ruler. Every Muslim should, if no problems arise, demolish and ground every structure (built over graves) and if troubles and problems are likely to arise it becomes the responsibility of the leader and ruler. These points have been taken from Ibn al-Raf”ih’s book ‘Kitab al-Sulah'”
Shaykh al-Albani says,
“then Allamah Alas goes onto say it can be argued (i.e. they argue) making places of worship over graves was permissible in the previous shariahs based on the ayah of Surah al-Kahf and presenting evidences from previous shariahs is something the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) would do. For example he said whoever sleeps or forgets to pray he should pray immediately when he remembers or wakes up (This hadith is authentic and referenced in the Sahihayn and it is not correct to say it has been narrated as it indicates weakness in the terminology of the scholars as i have clarified in Salah al-Tarawih (p.63-64), also i have referenced this hadith in Sahih Abi Dawud no.461, al-Irwa no.263), and he presented the ayah, “and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) for My Remembrance.” (Surah Taha 20:14). whereas this command was given to Musa Alayhis Salam which was mentioned in the Quran as an incident. Likewise and similarly Imam Abu Yusuf when there is a need for Qisas between husband and wife, Imam Karkhi when there needs to be Qisas between a servant and master, Dhimmi and Muslim have used as evidence the ayah, “And We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation…” (Surah al-Ma’idah5:45) therefore we can also use the ayah from Surah al-Kahf as evidence.
The answer to this doubt is that the previous shariahs have some bearing on us but this now absolute, complete and with restriction but rather it is restricted with conditions that Allah mentions a ruling or command without rejecting and remember rejecting what the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) says is also rejecting Allah. We have already read Allahs Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) has cursed those who make places of worship on graves. It must also be succinctly noted, if making places of worship over graves was something permissible and acceptable in the Shariahs before the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not have cursed them for doing this. furthermore, this ayah (18:21) is not like the other ayahs which have been mentioned from which the Imams made deductions or used as evidence compared to the other ayahs. This ayah merely mentions the idea of a group of them wanting to build a place of worship over their graves and it just shows their honour not that they should be followed. Therefore until it is not established that anyone from amongst them was infallible nothing can be considered to be part of our shariah. Another reason that this is overlooked is that they were leaders and people of power who were less obedient to their religion and more fervent in their leadership.
We find that the first group were believers who were aware of the prohibition of making places of worship over graves and hence decided to make a closed entrance to the grave without any connection tot he people of the cave. The other group who were leaders, people of power and influence did not accept their view and decided to build a place of worship of their graves.
If if someone wants to hold this later and second view of “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” it did not mean the prohibited type of place of worship on their graves which is cursed but rather wanted to make a place of worship ear or next to the graves. Hence according to the narrations of Suddi and Wahb, they clearly state this type of building a place of worship which is not prohibited. At the very most it can be understood as Masjid al-Kahf just as Masjid al-Nabawi. (TN. This is incorrect as Masjid al-Nabwi is titled that because the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) built it not because it was next to the grave.)
It can also be argued and presented the people wanted to make a place of worship on the mount where the cave was situated. There is a report in this regard from Mujahid, the ruler at the time left the people of the cave in there places and wanted to build a place of worship on the mountain in remembrance of them. This is what seems the closest to the apparent meaning of the ayah.
Furthermore, this is only applicable if the assumption is made that the people of the cave woke up and died later and if they went to sleep again after waking up, i.e. they were still alive (as the ayat indicate) and did not die, then this whole discussion and using this ayah for this interpretation is null, void and has no bearing whatsoever.
Shaikh al-Albani adds a note and says that Allamah Alusi further cited the statement of Hasan al-Basri who said a place of worship was built on the cave, ready for them when they would wake up. Alusi then said the basis of this statement, the people of the cave did not die when they returned to the cave but rather slept like they had done before. Some said they would remain asleep until the Mahdi comes, when they will wake up and help him. However all of these statements are without authenticity and are somewhat spurious. (Ruh al-Ma’ani 5:31)
Allamah Alusi contines and says whoever has any guidance and truth will not have the audacity to hold onto the generality of this ayah and a view opposing and contradicting the clear authentic ahadith and reports. Whoever uses this ayah to prove building places of worship over graves is extreme ignorance and misguidance and yet despite this scholars for names sake render the actions of these ignorant people to be permissible, from what they do to the graves of the pious people. This includes raising the heights of graves, making them rectangular and solid, hanging ornaments from them, praying towards the graves, kissing them, having festivals there etc and they all of this under this ayah of Surah al-Kahf and the incident of the people of the cave as well as other narrations. One such report being the ruler persevered the people of the cave with specific woodland would organise annuals birthday celebrations, however all of these issues are innovations and new things and have not an iota of importance in the opposition to what Allah and his Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) are as such in formulating a new religion which Allah gave them no permission.
In order to know and to seek the truth look at the actions and dealings of the companions with the best grave on the planet, the grave of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam)? What was their practise in visiting his grave and offering salutations? Then compare their actions and practises with these grave worshippers and how much of a stark and dire difference there really is? What did the comparisons do and what are these grave worshippers doing.” (Ruh al-Ma’ani 15:31-32) End of the words of Allamah Alusi
Answering and Refuting the Reckless Speech of a Contemporary – ‘Abu Faiz Ahmad al-Siddiq al-Ghumari’
I say: A contemporary whilst discussing this ayah of Surah al-Kahf instead of debating permissibility has gone to the extreme extent and claimed it is recommended. The points of deduction are somewhat new and different to those previously mentioned and details answers to them have preceded. This individual says,
“This ayah proves the permissibility of making masjid over graves because Allah mentioned their statement, “We verily shall build a place of worship over them” without shunning, correcting or refuting it…” (TN –Ihya al-maqbur min adillati jawaz bina al-masajid ala qubur p.21+, I’lam al-rak’e al-Sajid Bi-Ittihazu al-Qubur Masajid p,70)
All three Ghumaris, Ahmad, Abdullah and Abdul Aziz have authored books against Shaykh al-Albani but two of them in particular on this issue, the first by Ahmad Ghumar, ‘Ihya al-Maqbur Min Adillati Jawaz Bina al-Masajid Ala Qubur’ and Abdullah Ghumari, ‘I’lam al-rak’e al-sajid bi-ittihazu al-qubur masajid.’ The arguments in both books are similar without anything new and anything that was new Shaykh al-Albnai answered.
Shaikh Mu’allami mentions something similar in his book that they claim it is recommended, whereas others believe it is in fact obligatory to makes places of worship over graves. He calls them ignorant extremists. (al-Bana’u alal qubur p.55+)
Shaykh al-Albani goes onto say, this analysis has two answers
The First Answer
If the refuting, correction or shunning is not mentioned, and holding this to be the correct view is within of itself incorrect except if it is proven the people who said “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” are muslims and people who were also obedient and followed the respective shariah of their Prophet. However there is no such indication int he ayah and what seems closer to the truth and reality is they may not have even been Muslims or at the very least were not practising or righteous muslims but rather were evil disbelievers, this has preceded from the statements of Ibn Rajab Hanbali and Ibn Kathir. In such circumstances mentioning their statements without refuting or shunning it is actual essence reprimanding it and this is because attributing a statement or action of the disbelievers of evil sinners and then mentioning it is sufficient as a censure and refutation of it by in of itself. Therefore, using the silence or the lack of reprimand as evidence from the aforementioned ayah under discussion is incorrect and this is further supported by the second answer
The Second Answer
This deduction and the extraction of this point can be considered to be correct by the people before and the current day people by those who follow their whims and desires based on their ways and principles, who only consider the Quran to be the Din without have any respect, reverence and giving any importance whatsoever to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam). However the belief and principles of Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama’ah are that both the Quran and Sunnah is to have Iman and conviction in both of them. They believe in the following authentic well known hadith where the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) said,
“Be attentive that I have been given the Quran and something similar to it. in another report it mentions he (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Whatever Allah’s Messenger (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) makes unlawful then it just like Allah made it haram or unlawful.” (Mishkat, Kitab al-Iman, Bab al-Ei’tisam no.163)
How can the contemporary say Allah never reprimanded or refuted the statement of these people when they said, “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” whereas it has been refuted and rejected in mutawatir hadith. Allah cursed these people via the speech of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) and therefore what can more clear and manifest in terms of a refutation than this?
Using the ayah of Surah al-Kahf to establish the permissibility to build places of worship over graves of the Prophets in opposition and in contradiction to the mutawatir hadith is just like proving the permissibility of taking pictures and idol worship from the following statement of Allah with regard to the Jinns obeying the commands of Suleiman Alayhis Salam,
“They worked for him as he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places). “Work you, O family of Dawud (David), with thanks!” But few of My slaves are grateful.” (Surah al-Saba 34:13)
This is done by overlooking all of the ahadith which prohibit making pictures and the prohibition of idol worship, however any muslim who have Iman in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) will not have the audacity to do this. This concludes the answer to the deduction these people use from the ayah of “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.” End of the words of Shaykh al-Albani from Tahzir al-Sajid Min Ittihazu al-Qubur Masajid p.48-58)
The Former Mufti of Egypt
The former mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa/Jumua also used this ayah to prove the permissibility of building places of worship over graves, he generally uses the same arguments when it comes to this ayah and its incorrect interpretation. He has been answered in a book over 300 pages titled, ‘Isti’dhah bi al-Ghafur min bid’ah bina al-masajid wa-qibab ala al-qubur, wa-ma‘ahu ta‘aqqubat ala mughalatat fatwa al-duktur AlI Jum‘ah fī bina al-masajid ala al-qubur.’ by Abu Anas ibn Abdul Maqsud.
Shaykh Abdur Rahman Mu’allami al-Yamani (1386H) has given a very detailed answer to the deductions and points drawn by these people from this ayah, He discusses it great length and in intricate detail which will be too lengthy to reproduce here, so let the avid reader refer to it. (Al-Bana’u al-alal qubur p.7+)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said,
“Making masjids over graves is not from the Din of the Muslims, rather it is prohibited it from established texts from the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) and according to the agreement of the Imams of the Din. In fact it is impermissible to make masjid over graves, whatever is practised in those masjids even with the intent of praying near them, and all of the Imams of the Din are unanimous in prohibiting this.” (Majmu’a al-Fatawa 27:477)
He also said,
“The Imams are agreed in not building masjid on graves.” (Majmu’a Fatawa 22:145)
He said another time,
“Our Scholars have said it is impermissible to build masjid/places of worship over graves.” (Majmu’a Fatawa 27:77)
As for the Sufi Barelwi’s Ahmad Yar Khans points and deductions then they are irrelevant and poor without any substance to the because we have shown the meaning he extracts from the ayah are a dire exaggeration of his imagination because none of the points mention the making of shrines or tombs on graves and doing and saying it is permissible or recommended by the likes of Ahmad Yar Khan and Ahmad Siddiq Ghumari is a clear distortion of the ayat of the Quran.
The point of Ahmad Siddiq Ghumari and Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi are further refuted by the authentic hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) which Ai’shah (RadhiAllahu Anha) narrates,
“Um Salama told Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about a church which she had seen in Ethiopia and which was called Mariya. She told him about the pictures which she had seen in it. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If any righteous pious man dies amongst them, they would build a place of worship at his grave and make these pictures in it; they are the worst creatures in the sight of Allah.” (Bukhari no.434, Muslim no.528)
See also Bukhari no.1330, Muslim 529 for a hadith with a very similar meaning
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said,
“These Masajid which have been built on the graves of the Prophets, the righteous, rulers and others, then it is a must to demolish them or by any other means, this is such an affair that I do not know of any difference of opinion between the well known scholars.” (Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim 1:330)
To emphasise on the point of Shaykh al-Albani and his answer to Ahmad Siddiq Ghumari that whatever Allahs Messenger ﷺ declared to be unlawful is divine legislation i.e. shariah and thus we have a very explicit hadith from Jundub (RadhiAllahu Anhu), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said 5 days before his death,
“Beware, the people before you would places of worship on the graves of their Prophets and righteous people, beware attentively DO NOT make graves as places of worship for verily I forbid you from that.” (Muslim no.532)
This hadith is as explicit as it will get and if this does not suffice the individual of sound intellection and mindset, then we do not know what will. The readers can also refer to short but succinct treatise of Imam Shawkani, Sharh al-sudur fi thrill rafa al-qubur, where he discusses the issues in generally and brings numerous hadith to show the unlawfulness of building masjid or places of worship over graves. The later is also referenced and checked by Shaikh abdul Muhsin al-Abbad, wherein he also brings some points of benefit.
So we find from the statements of the scholars, making graves as places or worship or masjid over graves is impermissible in our shariah due to the clear authentic texts. Furthermore, that we cannot use the ayah from Surah Kahf to justify its permissibility due to the answers which have preceded. In this article we have not cited the overwhelming number of hadith which clearly mention this prohibition because inshAllah they will be perhaps presented at a different time
by the two weak slaves of Allah
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
8th of Sha’ban /5th May 2017
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