It is most certainly not proven from Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam or the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) that the graves of the pious are covered in cloths or decorated with flowers. There were graves of the Auliyaa (in the former eras), there were cloths and flowers, there were people who could place these on the graves, there also existed greater love and affection for the pious then, and yet, no one ever placed cloths and flowers on the graves. This act has not only gained acceptance nowadays, it has become a “rewarding act!” It has also gained the rank of being a sign of the Ahle Sunnat and a sign of Islaam!
As for the proof of the Ahle Bid`ah/Ahle Shirk/ Qabr Pujaris which they take from the narration of Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) where Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was passing by two graves and he took a date-palm and broke it into two and placed on the graves, explaining that as long as the twigs remains green, the punishment in the grave will be eased for the inmates, who according to the narration were guilty of negligence at the time of urinating and carrying tales. [Mishkaat Shareef, vol. 1, page 42] This proof is totally incorrect and inapplicable.
Firstly, the ease in the punishment in the graves was owing to the intercession of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The twigs were mere symbols of this. In this regard, Hadhrat Jaabir (radhiyallahu amhu) reports from Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “Indeed I passed by two graves whose inmates were being punished. I wanted that this (punishment) be lifted from them owing to my intercession, as long as the twigs remained green.” [Muslim Shareef, vol. 2, page 418]
Even though the recitation of Qur`aan Majeed, Tasbeehaat and even greenery, are means of easing the difficulties in the grave, the lessening of punishment in the graves in this particular incident, was owing to the intercession of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and the twigs were mere symbols and indications of this.
The error of Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khaan is manifest when he states, “The lessening of the punishment in the graves was owing to the blessing of the Tasbeeh of the green twigs and not only the dua of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). If the easing of the punishment was due to the dua’ of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then why was the condition of it becoming dry stipulated? Hence, if we place flowers etc. by the grave, it will have some beneficial effects, Insha-Allaah.” [Jaa-al Haqq, page 284]
Mufti Saheb, if the punishment was lessened because of the twigs, then why was the condition of green stipulated?? The Qur`aan Majeed states that everything makes the Tasbeeh of Allaah Ta`ala, be it wet or dry. “And there is nothing, except that it hymns His praises, but you do not understand its Tasbeeh.”
Note: The incident reported in the narrations of both, Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas and Jaabir (radhiyallahu anhu) is the same. However there is a difference between the interpretations of two narrators. Such occurrences do occur in Ilm-e-Hadith. Imaam Nawawi (rahmatullah alayh) and Allamah Khattabi (rahmatullah alayh) agree that the incident in both narrations is the same. Even if the incidents are not the same, as reported by Haafidh Ibn Hajar (rahmatullah alayh) [Fat-hul Baari, vol. 1, page 276], then too there is no problem. That narration which has the commentary of the intercession of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is also applicable to the narration which does not have this commentary. Hence the actual and real reason and cause for the lessening of the punishment in the graves was the intercession of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. The Ahaadith—some explain others.
Secondly, these twigs, used by Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), were not from any normal or common tree. In fact, it is explicitly narrated in Muslim Shareef, vol. 2, page 418, that these twigs were from such a tree which miraculously presented itself before Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and thereafter returned to its place.
Thirdly, even if we accept this narration as proof, then too, it only proves the use of wet twigs, not flowers, cloths, etc.
Fourthly, if we finally concede that this narration proves that wet twigs ease the punishment in the graves, and also that this same cause exists in flowers, then too this will only apply to the graves of sinners and faasiqs. How can it ever be implemented on the graves of the Pious Auliya-e-Kiraam (Alayhim Ar-Rahmah)?? Because Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) placed these twigs on the graves of two sinners and not on that of a Wali (friend of Allah). [see Umdatul Qaari, vol.1, page 877]
Fifthly, it has never been proven from the lives of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) , Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) or anyone of the Khairul Quroon, where they placed green twigs or flowers on the graves of any deceased sahaabi.
There remains now the issue of Hadhrat Bareedah bin Khaseeb (radhiyallahu anhu) who made bequest to place a green twig on his grave. [Bukhaari Shareef, vol.1, page 181]
Some scholars mention that it is possible he made this bequest owing to his humility, considering himself to be a sinner.
The question is, has anyone of the Khairul Quroon ever placed green twigs on the graves of those whom they considered Walis? Is this also proof for placing a cloth on a grave??
Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khaan avers that Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) wrote in Islaahur Rusoom that flowers etc. be placed on the graves of sinners and faasiqs and not the pious. Their graves are free of any punishment which the flowers etc. would be a cause of reduction. It should however be considered those actions of the sinners for which it is a means of defence, it benefits the Saaliheen with higher stages. [Jaa-al Haqq, page 284]
Mufti Saheb gloats over this point, but he has not considered the general principle that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (alayhim ar ridhwan) were also aware of this, so, why did they not place flowers on the graves of the pious?? How come they deprived the Saaliheen from this rank-elevation??
Similarly, this Qiyaas (analogy) of Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khaan is also baatil and rejected that there is life in one fresh flower, therefore it hymns Tasbih and Tahleel, which either earns rewards for the deceased or reduces his punishment, and it also affords the visitors to the grave a sweet scent. Hence, it is permissible to place it on the grave of every Muslim. [Jaa-al Haqq, page 283]
It is an accepted fact known to all that everything hymns the praises of Allaah Ta’ala. The Qur’aan-e-Majeed bears testimony to this fact, so why differentiate between wet and dry?? Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) were well aware of this fact also, but they did not put it into practice. To top it all, what wetness, greenery or life is there in a cloth, which makes it permissible to place it on a grave?? The view of one who is not sinless neither a Mujtahid is not proof in the Shari’ah.
As for the statement of Imaam Shaami (rahmatullah alayh) and others that it is permissible to place a cover on the graves because it is a means of honouring the inmate of the grave, etc., etc. is not worthy of any consideration, because besides this being the view of a non-Mujtahid it is also without proof. Honouring graves is no new fad, that we need to rely on or accept the Qiyaas of the Muta-akhireen. During the era of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, the Sahaabah (ridhwanAllahu anhum), Tabieen and Tabe-Tabieen (rahmatullah alayhim), there were also graves, but this was never their custom. Therefore we are not in need of any imagined and pseudo honour or respect. As they had done, we will do.
As for the Qiyaas of Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khaan, that the origin of a chader lies in the fact that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not prevent from the Ghilaaf (Kaaba cover) being used. For centuries a valuable green silk cloth was placed on the blessed grave of Nabi ρ. Until this day no one had prohibited it. There is also a Ghilaaf on the Maqaam-e Ebrahim. [Jaa-al Haqq, page 285]
This is Qiyaas ma`al-Faariq (illogical and baseless reasoning). The Ghilaaf used to be placed on the Kaaba during the time of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and he did not change this tradition, therefore this is an actual Sunnat. [see Bukhaari Shareef, vol.2 page 613]
Similarly even if the use of a Ghilaaf on Maqaam-e Ebrahim is established, then it appears that it was only done during the Khairul Quroon and to equate this and make Qiyaas of it on placing a cloth on graves is illogical. All praise due to Allaah Ta`ala that this humble writer has performed Hajj twice, but never noticed a Ghilaaf being used on the Maqaam-e-Ebrahim.
As for the covering on the blessed grave of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) it should be remembered that his ghusl, burial and grave etc. is a unique thing, which cannot be applied as a general practice for the masses.
The ‘wonderful’ proof of the Mufti Saheb
Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khaan writes that the Auliya of Allaah Ta`ala and their graves are amongst the Shi`aar (signs) of Allaah Ta’ala, therefore respecting the Shi’aar of Allaah Ta`ala, i.e. the signs of Deen is a Qur’aanic injunction— ‘And he who honours the Signs of Allaah Ta`ala indeed that it is from the piety of hearts’. There are no conditions placed on the rendering of this honour. Whatever form of honour is customary and practiced amongst people is permissible. To place flowers on their graves, cloths, lanterns, etc. are all tokens of honour, hence permissible. [Jaa-al Haqq, page 283]
Mufti Saheb has, in his research also categorized the graves of the Auliya as being among the Signs of Allaah Ta`ala! Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Saheb (rahmatullah alayh) has enumerated the Shi`aar of Allaah Ta`ala as being four—Qur`aan Majeed, Kaabah, Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Salaat [Hujjatullah, vol. 1, page 70]—No mention is made of graves, however Mufti Saheb’s research has led him to include the graves as being amongst the Signs of Allaah Ta`ala. The Ulama of Aqaaid have expressly stated that besides those whom Allaah Ta`ala and Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) have singled out with a good ending (i.e. vouched for their salvation), we cannot say with certainty regarding anyone else. We only have a good opinion regarding them. How then can we claim the wilaayat of anyone with certainty?? And then, further, how can we ever make their graves the Shi`aar of Allaah Ta`ala?? Now according to the mufti Saheb, the honour can be endowed upon these ‘shi`aar’ by placing flowers, cloths and lanterns upon them! It has been mentioned before that neither did Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) nor the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) ever place twigs/flowers on the graves of any wali. The case of Hadhrat Bareeda (rashiyallahu anhu) was unique. In fact, greenery is only placed on the graves of sinners. This is a rather strange shi`aar of Allaah Ta’ala and wali, where we first envisage him to be sinner and then place flowers etc. on his grave. May Allaah Ta`ala save us!
How can honour and respect ever be shown to a shi`aar of Allaah Ta`ala via the means of something which Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has cursed (i.e. lanterns at the graves)? What strange reasoning spews forth from the likes of Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khaan! Or does he aver that all this is proven from the Qur`aanic Aayat?? May Allaah Ta`ala save us many times over!
This type of honour is never gleaned from the Qur`aanic Aayat nor from the practice of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu amhum). If it were the case, then Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would not have cursed this act, neither would Sahaabah like Hadhrat ‘Amr bin `Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) ever have made the bequest that they did. What strange beings these Ahle Bid`ah are—they regard impermissible and Haraam acts as being rewarding and beneficial. May Allah Ta’ala save the masses from their deceptions. Aameen!.
The placing of sheets on graves is also forbidden. None of the graves during the honourable period of Rasulullah salalahu alayhi wa salam, sahabah, Tab’ien had sheets placed on them.
Allamah ibn Aabideen Shaami (Rahmatullahi alayh) says:
It is mentioned in Ahkam on the authority of Hujjaj that the placing of Sheets on graves is Makrooh. (Durre Mukhtaar pg228 Vol2)
Note: The above statement from ibn Aabideen al-Shaami proves that the analogy of covering ghilaaf for the kaaba cannot be applied for covering the graves, both are separate issues with separate rules altogether.
The Burning of Lamps and Lights on Graves
Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) did not only prohibit us from burning lamps, lights, candles, etc. but also cursed those observing these customs. Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) says:
Rasulullah salalahu alayhi wa sallam has cursed those women who go to the graves and those people who make graves places of Sajdah (prostration) and those who burn lamps and lights at graves.
Allama Ali Qari Hanafi (rahimahullah) commentating on this hadith says
‘The prohibition of burning lights, lamps, candles etc. at graves is because it is unnecessary spending of wealth there exists no benefit in the burning of such lights and lamps consisting of fire and these are actually signs of Jahannam.
Hadhrat Qadi Thana ullah pani Pati Says: “The raising of the Auliya’s graves, erecting of walls and domes, making of urs, burning of lamps, are all innovations- among these, some are haraam while others are makrooh.
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) cursed those who burn lamps etc. and make sajdah at graves. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said: Do not make my grave a place of worship. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to flatten all raised graves and destroy all pictures of animate thing