Fatwa of Forty-Five Scholars on Visiting the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Grave

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

A century ago, eleven major scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah in India issued a fatwa on the lawfulness of travelling with the explicit intention of visiting the Prophet (s.a.w.) in response to the following questions: What do you say concerning travelling to visit the Prophet (s.a.w.)?  Which do you prefer for the traveller at the time of undertaking travel: to intend to visit the Prophet (s.a.w.), or to intend also to visit the mosque?  For someone said, “One traveling to Madina must not intend other than the Mosque of the Prophet.”

The reply was reproduced in full in the book al-Mufannad al-Muhannad, and Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (q.s.) again reproduced it recently in his book, Shifa’ al-Fu’ad bi Ziyarat Khayr al-‘Ibad.  This fatwa was subsequently approved and co-signed by scholars of Makkah, Madina, Egypt, and Syria.

These are the scholars who signed the fatwa.  The scholars from India were Allama Muhaddits Rashid Ahmad al-Gangahi (r.a.); ‘Allama Muhaddits Khalil Ahmad as-Saharanfuri (r.a.); ‘Allama Muhaddits ash-Shaykh Mahmud al-Hasan ad-Diwbandi (r.a.); ‘Allama Shaykh Mir Ahmad Hasan al-Husayni (r.a.); ‘Allama Muhaddits ash-Shaykh ‘Aziz ar-Rahman ad-Diwbandi (r.a.); ‘Allama Murshid ash-Shaykh ‘Ali Ashraf at-Tahanawi (r.a.); ‘Allama Shaykh Shah ‘Abd ar-Rahim ar-Ranfuri (r.a.); Shaykh al-Hajj al-Hakim Muhammad Hasan ad-Diwbandi (r.a.); Mawlawi Qudratullah (r.a.); Mawlawi Mufti Kifayatullah (r.a.); and ‘Allama Shaykh Muhammad Yahya as-Saharanfuri (r.a.).

The scholars from Makkah were Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id ibn Muhammad ash-Shafi’i (r.a.), the Chief of the scholars of Makkah and the imam and khathib at the Masjid al-Haram; Shaykh Ahmad Rashid Khan Nawab (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abid ibn Husayn al-Maliki (r.a.) and Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Husayn al-Maliki (r.a.).

The scholars from Madina were Faqih as-Sayyid Ahmad ibn Isma’il al-Barzanji (r.a.); Shaykh Ahmad al-Jaza’iri al-Maliki (r.a.); Sayyid Muhammad Zaki al-Barzanji (r.a.); Muhaddits ash-Shaykh ‘Umar Hamdan al-Mahrisi (r.a.); Sharif Ahmad ibn al-Ma’mun al-Balghits (r.a.); Shaykh Musa Kazim (r.a.); Shaykh Mulla Muhammad Khan (r.a.); Shaykh Khalil ibn Ibrahim (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Aziz al-Wazir at-Tunisi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad as-Susi al-Khayari (r.a.); Hajj Ahmad ibn Muhammad Khayr ash-Shanqithi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al-Fulani (r.a.); Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ahmad Sa’d (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad Manswur ibn Nu’man (r.a.); Shaykh Ahmad Bisati (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Sindi (r.a.); and Shaykh Mahmud ‘Abd al-Jawad (r.a.).

The scholars from al-Azhar were Shaykh al-Azhar ash-Shaykh Salim al-Bashri (r.a.); and Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Qayati (r.a.).

The scholars from Syria were Faqih al-Muhaddits Muhammad Abu al-Khayr ibn ‘Abidin al-Husayni (r.a.); Shaykh Muswthafa ibn Ahmad ash-Shatti al-Hanbali (r.a.); Shaykh Mahmud Rashid al-‘Atstsar al-Dimashqi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad al-Bushi al-Hamawi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Hamawi (r.a.); Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Dallal al-Hamawi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad Adib al-Hurani (r.a.); Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Lababidi (r.a.); Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Luthfi al-Hanafi (r.a.); Shaykh Faris ibn Ahmad ash-Shaqfa (r.a.); and Shaykh Muswthafa al-Haddad al-Hamawi (r.a.)

And this is an excerpt of the text of the fatwa below.

First, let it be known, before we state our answer, that by Allah’s (s.w.t.) Grace, we, all our shuyukh and the totality of our assembly are, in the branches of the religion, strict imitators, muqallidun, of the guide of mankind and the apex of Muslim scholars, the greatest imam, Imam Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man (r.a.); and, in beliefs and principles of the faith, strict followers, muttabi’un, of the principal a’immah, Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (r.a.) and Imam Abu Manswur al-Maturidi (r.a.); and that we are strict adherents, muntaswibun, to the following Sufi ways: the most distinguished way of the Naqshbandi masters, the most pure way of the Jisti masters, and the most radiant way of the Suhrawardi masters.

Second, let it be known, that we do not here speak one word nor utter one syllable concerning the religion except that we stand upon authority for it with our proof from the Qur’an or sunnah, or the consensus of the ummah, or the sayings of one of the major scholars of the madzhab.  Nevertheless, we do not say that we are exempt from error and forgetfulness in writing and speaking, therefore, if it becomes apparent to us that we erred in something, whether in the principles or in the branches, then we are not ashamed to take it back and proclaim that we do so.  How could it not be so when our own a’immah took back many of their positions, such as the most honorable Imam of Allah’s Sanctuary, our Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) until there was little left except he had a new position concerning it?  The companions themselves took back some of their positions in the light of each other's opinions, as is known to those who pursue the sciences of ahadits.  Therefore, if one of our contemporary scholars asserts that we erred in some ruling, then if concerns the principles let him produce his evidence in the light of one of the a’immah of theology, kalam, and if it concerns the branches, then let him bring forth his evidence from the most conclusive position of one of the a’immah of the madzhab.  If he so does, then nothing more is left for us except rightful acceptance with the heart and the tongue, and added to that, sincere gratitude.

In reply to the question, according to our shuyukh and us, the visit to the grave of the Master of Messengers (s.a.w.) is among the greatest of the acts that draw near to Allah (s.w.t.) and those who earn the most reward and those most efficacious in obtaining a high rank.  In fact, it is close to being a required act.  This holds true even if its fulfillment comes by way of travelling and expenditure, and even if one forms the intention, at the time of departure, to visit the Prophet (s.a.w.) and along with that intention he intends to visit his masjid and other blessed spots and noble graves.

Moreover, the most appropriate for him is as the great savant, Shaykh ibn al-Huham (q.s.) said, “Let him devote his intention solely to the visit of his grave, then he will obtain the visit of his masjid at the time he arrives there, for in so doing he will show additional reverence and honor to him.  This is according to the narration, ‘Whoever comes to me as a visitor driven by no other need but my visit, it is incumbent upon me to be his intercessor on the Day of Resurrection.’”

Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) said in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, “ath-Thabarani narrated it in al-Kabir and al-Awsath from ibn ‘Umar with a chain containing Maslamah ibn Salim and he is weak.”

Imam al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) said in al-Mughni ‘an Haml al-Aswfar, “ibn as-Sakan declared the hadits swahih.”

Hence it is reported from the noble knower of Allah (s.w.t.), al-Mulla ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jami (r.a.) that he set apart the visit from the pilgrimage, and that is more in keeping with the madzhab of those who love the Prophet (s.a.w.).  As for what the objectors say whereby the traveller to Madina must not intend other than to visit the noble masjid, on the basis of the hadits, “Mounts are not to be saddled except to go to three masajid,” then this is rejected because the hadits does not indicate an absolute prohibition.  Rather, if one endowed with understanding and learning considers it carefully one sees a proof in the text for permissibility.  The factor by which the three mosques are excepted from the commonality of mosques or other places, is the special merit that is attached to them: and that special merit is present in the noble spot of the grave, for that noble spot and enlightened expanse of space which contains his limbs is absolutely more meritorious even than the Ka’bah, the Throne, and the Kursi, as explicitly declared by our fuqaha’.  And since the three mosques have been singled out for their special merit, then it is definitely the case that the blessed spot of his grave be singled out even more.

The sun of the pious scholars, our shaykh, Mawlana Rashid Ahmad al-Gangahi (r.a.) has expounded upon this matter in the same terms that we used, or even more explicitly, in his treatise Zubdat al-Manasik fi Fadhl Ziyarat al-Madina al-Munawwarah, which has been printed several times.  Also relevant to this noble issue is the treatise of the shaykh of our shuyukh, Mawlana Swadr ad-Din ad-Dihlawi (q.s.) in his treatise, Ahsan al-Maqal fi Hadits la Tushadd ar-Rihal, which came out in print and became well-known, and in which he unleashed disaster on the heads of those who call themselves “Salafiyyah.”  Let the reader consult these works.  And Allah Knows best.


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