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Printing Person’s Names on Graves

Name
Title Printing Person’s Names on Graves
Question Dear scholar, Normally in our country to reclaim the space of a grave takes about 2 to 2 1/2 years but some people reserve their relatives or loved ones grave for more years or even generations by growing flower plants on them and maintaining it by cleaning the weeds grown ,placing two woods and printing the deceased persons name on it. And on certain days lighting incense sticks on the grave etc. What is the Islamic ruling regarding these practices ?
Date 5/4/2004
Mufti Group of Muftis

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah’s Sake, meet your expectations.

Responding to the question, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, the renowned Da`iyah, states the following:

“Indeed, there is nothing wrong in preparing graves before one dies as no one knows when one will die. Also, there is nothing also wrong in planting trees, flowers to decorate graves with the hope that Allah showers mercy on the dead as long as those flowers and trees are green. This is based on the following Hadith:

Al-Bukhari narrates on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once passed by two graves and said, “These two persons are being tortured not for a major sin (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other used to go about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends).” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then took a green leaf of a date-palm tree, split it into (pieces) and fixed one on each grave. They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why have you done so?” He replied, “I hope that their punishment might be lessened till these (the pieces of the leaf) become dry.”

As to the issue of lightening incense sticks, I say that there is no need to do that as it has no backing from the sources (i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah.)”

Speaking about placing green branches on graves, Sheikh `Atiyya Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following:

“Al-Bukhari narrates on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) once passed by two graves and said, “These two persons are being tortured not for a major sin (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other used to go about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends).” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then took a green leaf of a date-palm tree, split it into (pieces) and fixed one on each grave. They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why have you done so?” He replied, “I hope that their punishment might be lessened till these (the pieces of the leaf) become dry.”

In his book Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud (vol. 1, p. 42), Al-Khattabi maintains that no one, save the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is given the privilege to place a palm leaf on the grave as a means of intercession to lessen the torture inflicted on the deceased. At-Tartushi, a Shafi`i scholar, makes it clear that only the Prophet’s blessed hand could do such an act, and it is not for Muslims in general.

However, Al-Khattabi maintains that the lessening of the torture was due to the Prophet’s invocation on behalf of the deceased, and that it has nothing to do with dry or soft leaves.

Moreover, Al-Qadi `Iyad also supports the aforementioned view and states that putting those date-palm leaves on the grave is based on knowing the condition of the deceased buried therein, and this is part of the Unseen, not revealed to anyone. The Prophet’s remarks: “Now they are being tortured,” indicates that he knew their condition and this is unique to being a Prophet. Besides, such a matter was not a common practice among the Companions to indicate that they adopted it as a permissible action. In fact, none of them did so except Buraydah ibn al-Khasib al-Aslami.

On the other hand, some scholars maintain that such action is permissible for all. This is based on their assumption that there is no evidence indicating that this matter is part of the Prophet’s prerogatives. There is also no evidence showing that the Prophet’s Companions were against the action of Ibn al-Khasib al-Aslami, who ordered his family upon his death to put two date-palm leaves on his grave.

In short, this is a debatable issue. But, I think that it is permissible as long as one has a strong belief that only Almighty Allah has the power of benefiting or inflicting harm upon one, and as long as what we do is just a means of seeking Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for the deceased. There is no need to consider it unlawful.”

As to carving names and Qur’anic verses on tombs, we would like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by the Sheikh Jad Al-Haqq `Ali Jad Al-Haqq, the late Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, stated:

“It is permissible to mark graves with a stone or a stick; we learn this from the hadith narrated by Ibn Majah. In that hadith, Anas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “I could know the grave of Ibn Maz`un by a stone marking it.”

Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have prohibited covering graves with plaster, sitting on or building over them. In another version, he prohibited stepping on graves as well. In the version of An-Nasa’i, the Prophet prohibited building over graves, adding to them, covering them with plaster, or writing on them.

This shows that it is prohibited to carve anything whatsoever on graves. According to Imam Ahmad and Ash-Shaf`i, the command not to write is to be understood as making it makruh (disliked) whether what to be carved is the Qur’an or the name of buried person. Nevertheless, Shaf`i scholars added that it is commendable to write the name or mark the grave of a great scholar or righteous figure.

Imam Malik said that carving Qur’anic verses on graves is haram, whereas carving the name and the date of death is makruh.

Hanafi scholars said that carving on graves is prohibitively disliked unless it is done to mark the existence of the grave. Moreover, Ibn Hazm said that carving the name of the dead person on a rock is not makruh>.

According to the above mentioned hadiths, carving Qur’anic verses on graves is haram, particularly when these graves are leveled with the ground and people may step on them.

Therefore, people in charge of the graveyard should erase all carved Qur’anic verses that could be stepped on by visitors, as an act of honoring the holiness of the Qur’an.

It is clear from the question that there are graves of non-Muslims along with graves of Muslims. Therefore, there should not be any Qur’anic verses carved so that they are not stepped on by followers of other religions. Furthermore, Muslims should have their graves in an area separate from non-Muslims’ graves.

By way of analogy, it is allowed to mark graves by carving names or putting a tombstone. This is made permissible according to what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did when he marked the grave of Ibn Maz`un by a stone.”

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him, Amen.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Source:islamonline.net

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