Touching the Maqam of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is written in Imam adz-Dzahabi’s (r.a.) Mu'jam ash-Shuyukh that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) was asked about touching the Prophet's (s.a.w.) grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it.  His son, 'Abdullah (r.a.) related this from him.  He said. if it is asked, ‘Why did the companions not do this?’ we reply, ‘Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face.  Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it.  Do you not see what Tsabit al-Bunani (r.a.) did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) and placed it on his face saying, ‘This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)"?  Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet (s.a.w.), as they are ordered to love Allah (s.w.t.) and the Prophet (s.a.w.) more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens.  There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr (r.a.) and 'Umar (r.a.) more than themselves.”

In this, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.)  was referring to the account of ‘Urwah ibn Mas'ud (r.a.‎).  He was a chieftain of Banu Thaqif of Ta’if who became a companion of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) later.  He was one of the first people from his tribe to accept Islam, and he was killed by his fellow chieftains while preaching Islam in his home city.

He was one of the notables of Arabia who entered the negotiations regarding the peace of Hudaybiyyah on behalf of the Quraysh.  ‘Urwah ibn Mas'ud (r.a.‎) returned to his people and said, "By Allah, whenever Allah's Apostle spat, the spittle would fall in the hand of one of them who would rub it on his face and skin; if he ordered them they would carry his orders immediately; if he performed ablution, they would struggle to take the remaining water; and when they spoke to him, they would lower their voices and would not look at his face constantly out of respect.”

In a hadits reported in Swahih Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) mentioned that ‘Urwah ibn Mas'ud (r.a.‎) resembled Jesus (a.s.) closest in appearance.  He was very white with reddish cheeks, tall with dark black hair and eyes.


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