On visiting the Prophet (S) Grave

Traveling with the intention of visiting the grave of the Prophet is bid’ah and is haraam, because

of the hadeeth which forbids traveling to worship in any place except the three mosques. As for

visiting the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when one happens

to be in Madeenah, this is perfectly acceptable, as is traveling with the intention of praying

in the Prophet’s Mosque as an act of worship and seeking to draw close to Allah. Those that

are confused about this issue are those who do not understand the difference between what is

permitted and what is forbidden.

Al-Daaraqutni reported in his Sunan (2/278) with an isnaad from Haatib that the Messenger

of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits me after I die, it is

as if he visited me when I was still alive…” This is a hadeeth which many of the scholars of

hadeeth judged to be false and not to have been reported with a saheeh isnaad from the Prophet

(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Among the scholars who voiced this opinion was

al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi in Lisaan al-Meezaan (4/285), in his biography of one of the narrators,

Haaroon ibn Abi Qaz’ah. Al-Dhahabi said: “…Haaroon ibn Abi Qaz’ah al-Madani [reported]

from a man” – about visiting the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon

him). Al-Bukhaari said: “This is not to be accepted or followed.”

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said in Lisaan al-Meezaan (6/217): “Al-Azdi said: ‘Haaroon Abu Qaz’ah

reports mursal ahaadeeth from a man of Aal Haatib.’ I [Ibn Hajar] say: from this we understand

that what he is referring to is al-Azdi. Ya’qoob ibn Shaybah also classed him as da’eef (weak).”

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar also mentioned him in al-Talkhees al-Habeer, in his comment on the

ahaadeeth of al-Raafa’i al-Kabeer (2/266). He said, “In his isnaad is the unknown [majhool] man”

– meaning a man from Aal Haatib.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in al-Tawassul wa’l-Waseelah (p. 134) about this

hadeeth: “It is obviously a lie that goes against Islam. Anyone who visited him during his

lifetime and believed in him, was one of his Companions, especially if he was among those who

migrated to join him or fought alongside him. It is proven that he (peace and blessings of Allah

be upon him) said: ‘Do not slander my Companions, for by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if

any one of you were to spend gold equal to the size of Uhud, it would not equal the deeds of one

of them, not even half of it.’ (al-Bukhaari and Muslim). Anyone who comes after the Sahaabah

cannot be like the Sahaabah by doing obligatory duties such as Hajj, jihaad, the five daily prayers

and sending blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), so how can

he become equal to them by doing something that is not obligatory according to the consensus

of the Muslims? We are not even supposed to travel for this purpose, in fact it is forbidden to do

so. However, travelling to the [Prophet's] Mosque, and to al-Masjid al-Aqsaa [in Jerusalem], for

the purpose of praying there, is mustahabb (encouraged), and travelling to the Ka’bah for Hajj is

waajib (obligatory). If a person who undertakes a journey that is waajib or mustahabb still cannot

be like one of the Sahaabah who traveled to visit the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be

upon him) during his lifetime, how can they achieve this by undertaking a journey that is not

allowed?”

He also said (p. 133): “All of the ahaadeeth about visiting his grave are da’eef, and are not to be

relied upon in matters of religion. For this reason none of the authors of books of Saheeh and

Sunan reported them at all; they were only narrated by those who reported da’eef ahaadeeth, such

as al-Daaraqutni, al-Bazzaar and others.

Shaykh al-Albaani said in al-Da’eefah (no. 1021) about this hadeeth: it is baatil (false). He

mentioned what is wrong with the hadeeth, namely the man who is not named, and classed

Haaroon Abu Qaz’ah as da’eef. There is a third fault with the hadeeth, which is that it causes

confusion and contradiction. Then Shaykh al-Albaani said: “In general, the isnaad of this hadeeth

is weak.”

He also said in al-Da’eefah (no. 47): “many people think that Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah

and those who follow him among the Salafis forbid visiting the grave of the Prophet (peace and

blessings of Allah be upon him) altogether. This is a lie and a fabrication, and it is not the only

lie told about Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy on him, or about the Salafis. Everyone who

reads the books of Ibn Taymiyah will see that he says it is permissible to visit his grave (peace

and blessings of Allah be upon him), and that doing so is recommended (mustahabb), so long

as it is not associated with any objectionable practices or innovations (bid’ah), such as travelling

solely for that purpose, because of the hadeeth “No one should set out purposely except to visit

three mosques.” The hadeeth does not describe a ban only on travelling to visit other mosques, as

many people think; it also includes a ban on setting out to visit any place which people think will

bring them closer to Allah, whether it is a mosque, a grave or any other place. This is indicated

by the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah who said: ‘I met Basrah ibn Abi Basrah al-Ghifaari

and he asked me, ‘Where are you coming from?’ I said, ‘From al-Toor [Sinai].’ He said, ‘If I had

met you before you left, you would not have gone there! I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace

and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘Do not travel except to three mosques.’” (Ahmad and

others with a saheeh isnaad).

This clearly indicates that the Sahaabah understood the hadeeth to be general in application

[i.e., it did not apply only to mosques]. This is supported by the fact that it is not reported that

any of them ever set out with the intention of visiting a grave. They are the predecessors of Ibn

Taymiyah in this regard, so whoever condemns Ibn Taymiyah is in effect condemning the salaf

(the righteous predecessors), may Allah be pleased with them. May Allah have mercy on the one

who said:

“All goodness is in following those who went before (the salaf) and all evil is in following the

innovations of those who came later.”

In conclusion, travelling with the intention of visiting the grave of the Prophet (peace and

blessings of Allaah be upon him) is bid’ah and is haraam, because of the hadeeth which forbids

travelling to worship in any place except the three mosques. As for visiting the grave of the

Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when one happens to be in Madeenah, this

is perfectly acceptable, as is travelling with the intention of praying in the Prophet’s Mosque as

an act of worship and seeking to draw close to Allah. Those that are confused about this issue

are those who do not understand the difference between what is permitted and what is forbidden.

And Allah knows best.