Pursuing the Monuments of Prophets : People try to get closer to Allah through means that drive them further from Allah – Ibn Baaz Fatwas

It was authentically reported from Amir Al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Believers) `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that he condemned pursuing the monuments of prophets and ordered that the tree under which the Bay`ah of Al-Hudaybiyah took place be cut, when he learned that some people began going there. This was meant to protect Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah) and eliminate the means leading to Shirk, Bid`ah and superstitions related to Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance).

Below is some of what was mentioned by some scholars in this regard, so that you will be well informed about this matter. 

Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Al-Walid Al-Tartushy said in his book ‘Al-Hawadith wal-Bida`’, a chapter entitled ‘A Chapter on Forms of Bid`ah’, p. 135, “Al-Ma`rur ibn Suwayd said, ‘When we went to perform Hajj with `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), we saw a Masjid (mosque) on the way, so people began offering Salah (Prayer) in it.’ `Umar said, “O, people! Those who were before you perished because of honoring such sites, until they took them as places of worship. If one arrives there at the time of Salah, one should offer Salah there; otherwise they should leave.'”

On p. 141, he said on the authority of Muhammad ibn Waddah that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab ordered that the tree under which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the Bay`ah be cut, because people began to visit it and `Umar feared that they might be misled. 

Ibn Waddahsaid: “Malik and other scholars of Al-Madinah hated going to the Masjids and Islamic monuments in Al-Madinah except Quba’ and Uhud. Sufyan entered Al-Aqsa Mosque and offered Salah there, but he did not inquire about those monuments or offer Salah there; and others who imitated him did the same.” 

Ibn Waddah then said: “How many matters are now considered acceptable by many people that were once considered Munkar. People try to get closer to Allah through means that drive them further from Allah.”

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him) said in his book ‘Majmu` Al-Fatawa‘, Vol. 26, P. 133:

“As for climbing Mount Al-Rahmah (at `Arafah) it is neither an act of Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) nor Mustahab (desirable).

Nor is it Mustahab to enter the dome above it, called the Dome of Adam, to offer Salah there, or circumambulate it, as this is one of the major sins.

It is neither Mustahab to enter the Masjids at the place of Jamarat (stone pillars at which pebbles are thrown during Hajj) or offer Salah there. Circumambulation around them, the Stone, the room of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or anything other than the Ka`bah is a grave Bid`ah.”

He also said on p. 144 of the same section,

“As for visiting the Masjids that were built in Makkah other than Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah), such as the one by the foot of Al-Safa, the one by the foot of Abu Qubays,and such Masjids that were built at the sites of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah, such as Masjid Al-Mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday) and others, it is neither a Sunnah to visit these places, nor was it preferable by any of the Imams.

It is only permissible to visit Al-Masjid Al-Haram in particular, and the sacred ritual places, such as `Arafah, Muzdalifah, Mina, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. However, visiting the mountains and areas around Makkah other than `Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina, such as Hira’ Mountain, the mountain at Mina where it is claimed that there was the sacrifice dome and such places. It is not a Sunnah related to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), but rather a Bid`ah.

The same applies to the Masjids built at the sites said to be monuments. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not permit visiting any of these.”

In vol. 27, p. 134, of the same book, he also said:

“Some people might ask whether it is permissible to glorify a place where there is worn-out things and saffron as the Prophet (peace be upon him) was seen there. Glorification of such places and turning them into Masjids is an imitation of the People of the Book whom we are prohibited to imitate.

It was authentically reported that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was traveling when he saw a group of people hurrying to a place. He asked, ‘What is this?’ People replied, ‘It is a place where the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered Salah.’ He said, ‘Do you want to turn the sites of your prophet into Masjids? If the time of Salah comes while a person is there, they can offer Salah there; otherwise they should leave.’ `Umar said this in the presence of a number of Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). It is known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to offer Salah in many places while traveling, and the people would see him in their sleep in different places. However, the Salaf did not turn any of these into Masjids or tourist sites. If this door is opened, many of the Muslim lands will be turned into Masjids and tourist sites, as people still dream that the Prophet (peace be upon him) visits them at home. Establishing such tourist sites is a loathed Bid`ah. Allah has not ordered that the places of prophets be turned into a Musalla (a place for Prayer) except Maqam Ibrahim (the Station of Ibrahim) in His statement: And take you (people) the Maqâm (place) of Ibrâhîm (Abraham) [or the stone on which Ibrâhîm (Abraham) عليه السلام stood while he was building the Ka‘bah] as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers, e.g. Two Rak‘at after the Tawâf of the Ka‘bahat Makkah) 

He has neither ordered that a stone be touched and kissed except Al-Hajar Al-Aswad (the Black Stone in a corner of the Ka`bah), or Salah be directed to a building other than Al-Bayt-ul-Haram (the Sacred House, another name for the Ka`bah). According to the Ijma` (consensus) of the Muslims, it is impermissible to make analogies in this matter. It is tantamount to asking the people to perform Hajj to a place other than Al-Bayt-ul-`Atiq or observe Sawm (fasting) in a month other than Ramadan, and so on.”

He then said:

“The rest of the issues have been definitely answered. If a person offers Salah or recites Du`a’ (supplication) intentionally at the place of a prophet’s footprints or site; the grave of a Sahaby (Companion of the Prophet), a sheikh, or one of Ahl-ul-Bayt (members of the Prophet’s extended Muslim family), a tower or a cave, this is a rejected Bid`ah in Islam, as neither the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) nor the early generation of Muslims or those who followed them in righteousness did so. Not one of the Muslim Imams preferred it; rather, it is a means leading to Shirk.” There is elaboration on this elsewhere.

He then said on p. 500 in the same section,

“After Islam, none of the Sahabah used to go to Hira’ Cave on purpose. It is impermissible for us to seek the caves of mountains or sit in seclusion there…As for sitting in seclusion in caves and traveling for a mountain to seek blessings, such as Al-Tur Mountain, Mount Hira’, Mount Thawr and others, it is impermissible for us. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Do not set out on a journey except to three Masjids: Al-Masjid Al-Haram, this mosque of mine (the Prophet’s Mosque), and Al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem). 

End of quote.

Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful to him) wrote on p. 204 of his book Ighathat Al-Lahfan min Masa’id Al-Shaytan, after warning against visiting graves to seek blessings in them and recite Du`a’ there:

“The Sahabah disapproved of things much more trivial than this. Many people narrated from Al-Ma’rur ibn Suwayd that he offered Fajr (Dawn) Prayer with `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) on the way to Makkah, and then people began spreading everywhere. He asked, ‘Where are these people going?’ It was said, ‘O Amir Al-Mu’minin, they go to offer Salah in a Masjid where the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered Salah.’ He said, ‘Those who were before you perished because of this; they used to follow the traces of their prophets and turn them into places of `Ibadah. If the time of Salah comes while you are in such places, offer Salah there; otherwise you should leave, and do not go there intentionally.’ `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) also uprooted the tree under which the Sahabah made the Bay`ah to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).”

End of quote.

Scholars stated much about this issue. We hope that what we have already mentioned is enough and convincing for those who seek the truth. Having known the previously mentioned pieces of evidence from Shari`ah and the opinions of scholars on this issue, you would know that the call of the writer for glorifying Islamic monuments, such as Thawr Cave, the place where Al-Rudwan Bay`ah took place and others; reconstructing what was demolished of them; paving roads leading to them; making elevators or cable cars for high places such as the two mentioned caves; turning them into tourist sites; erecting signs to them; and appointing tourist guides for the visitors is all contrary to Islamic Shari`ah, which provides for achieving and boosting interests, and preventing and curbing evil, as well as blocking the means leading to Shirk and Bid`ah. You would also know that we should prevent Bid`ah and the means leading to Shirk, even if those who call for them have good intentions, as they lead to great evil, change the rites of Islam, and create new places and forms of `Ibadah that were not prescribed by Allah or His Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) states: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion.

Anything that was not prescribed in the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) cannot be made permissible later. If this door is opened, Islam will be misrepresented and innovated ideas will enter it. Muslims will thus become like the Jews and the Christians in their manipulating their faiths and changing them according to their whims and desires. That is why Imam Malik ibn Anas, the Imam of Madinah (may Allah be merciful to him), made a great statement that all the scholars agreed upon, saying: “The last generations of this Ummah (nation) will not succeeded except when they resort to what made the former followers succeed.” He meant that what brought success to the first generation was adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), following their rules and avoiding what contradicts them. The last generations of this Ummah will not succeed unless they resort to what made the former generations succeed. He (may Allah be merciful to him) has spoken the truth. When people corrupted their faith, created Bid`ah and founded new ways, they divided into different sects, became confused with every sect rejoicing in what they had. Their enemies attacked them, taking advantage of discrepancy among them, weakness of faith, difference in intentions, and fanaticism of every sect to their misleading ways and Bid`ah, until the conditions of the Muslims have reached the current weakness and many nations have attacked them. All Muslims should return to their correct faith adhering to its just rules, learning from the original sources of the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah, and advising each other accordingly. We must cooperate to achieve this in all fields, whether legislative, economic, political, social or others; and avoid anything that contradicts it or leads to ambiguity. In this manner Muslims will restore their lost dignity and their previous glory, and Allah will make them triumph over their enemies and rule the world

Read the Full Fatwa of Shaykh Ibn Baaz : http://alifta.com/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?languagename=en&View=Page&PageID=72&PageNo=1&BookID=14

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