Points of Benefit Regarding Visiting the Graves – Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
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All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the salaah and salaam be on Prophet Muhammad, his household, the noble companions, and those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection.
Ruling on Visiting Graves and Its Benefits
Visiting the graves is legalized for men, and the preponderating opinion is that it is forbidden for women. In visiting graves, there are two benefits.
1) A lesson for the visitor – It will help remind the believer of the Hereafter.
2) Seeking Allaah’s (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى: subhaanallaahu wa ta’aalaa) forgiveness for the deceased
Scenarios of Visiting Graves
Visiting graves falls into the following categories:
1) Visiting the graves in order to call upon their occupants – This is major shirk and takes the person out of Islam.
Example: The visitor says, “O so and so, I ask you to relieve me.”
2) Visiting the graves in order to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) by the gravesite – This is in principle an innovation; in addition, it can turn into a fitnah (affliction) for the visitor.
For instance, if Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) answers his request, he may think it was due to the blessing of the grave’s occupant; however, we know the occupant possesses nothing of this.
3) Visiting the grave to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) by the occupant – This involves putting the grave’s occupant as an intermediary between him and Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى); this is unlawful and could become major shirk.
Example: “O Allaah, I ask you by the right of this occupant and the right of Muhammad (: sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) upon you.”
4) Visiting the grave in order to agitate grief – Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said anything that agitates the affliction is from lamentation.
Example: Whenever a person remembers his beloved ones (e.g. father, mother, relatives, etc.) that have died, he visits their graves and this may fall under lamentation.
5) Visiting the graves to invoke Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for its inhabitants – This is permissible.
6) Visiting the graves for remembrance of the Hereafter and contemplation – This is permissible.
Therefore, only the last two scenarios fulfill the legal justifications for visiting the graves, and both are recommended.
Visiting the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلمصلى الله عليه وسلم) Grave
Establishing a journey specifically for visiting the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) grave is forbidden; however, establishing a journey to visit his masjid is permissible. If a person is visiting his masjid and passes by his grave at which point he makes salaam, there is no harm in that.
It is imperative to remember that there is a difference in legality between visiting the grave of the Prophet and the legal visits to the rest of the graves. Other graves are apparent while his grave is screened by three walls. It is because Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) answered the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) invocation when he said,
“O Allaah, do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped.” 
Allaah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) answered his call as it is being sealed and screened by these walls. The people of knowledge, including Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) noted, this barrier is the reason why it is permissible for women to “visit” the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), since it is shielded while others are apparent. Similarly, in normal visits to graves, the person stands by the head of the deceased; however, this is not the situation at the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gravesite.
Etiquettes at the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) Grave
When a person stands by the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), one may say :
“Salaam be upon you O Messenger of Allaah. I bear witness that you have delivered the message, fulfilled the trust, and advised the Ummah.”
It is not permissible for anyone to raise his hands by the grave, and worse than that is to do so with his face towards it.
When the person finishes his salaam to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), he should give salaam to the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) companions, Abu Bakr (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) and ‘Umar (radiyallaahu ‘anhu).
Women also may do the greeting since (i) this is a “following” of the preceding “visit” and not an “independent one,” and (ii) they would be like the situation of passing by a cemetery where, according, to some opinions, they are allowed to great the grave occupants. And Allaah Knows best.
All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the salaah and salaam be on Prophet Muhammad, his household, the noble companions and those who follow them until the Day of Resurrection.
Shaykh al-Albaani, rahimahullah, authenticated it in Tahdheer al-Saajid min Ittikhaadhil Quboor Masaajid (pg. 24-26).
The salve of Allaah, Saleh As-Saleh
Unayzah, 28th Dhul Qi’dah, 1427
Dec. 19th, 2006
Prepared by Saleh As-Saleh
Transcribed by Br. Abu Abdullaah al-Amreeki, Jazaahullaahu Khairan, from live duroos in Paltalk’s “Understanding Islam 1” room