Tuesday, 18 May 2010

"The Grave Worshippers..." ?

Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Umar ibn al-Husayn al-Taymi al-Bakri al-Tabaristani
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
543 AH (1149/1150 CE) - 606 AH (1209/1210 CE)


The tomb of Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi



Wahabi say:
^Answer/Response:

The Wahabis have lately claimed that Ar-Raaziyy had their ideas about visiting graves and merely calling a dead person.

From the quotes found in this article, however, we can understand that Ar-Raaziyy meant nothing against benefitting from visiting graves of blessed muslims when he said in his tafsiir:

The fourth (kind of idolaters) put idols with the shape of their prophets and most important people, and claimed that when they worked on worshiping these images, then those great people (that the images represent) will be intercessors for them to Aļļaah. The equivalent to that in this day and age is the preoccupation of a lot of people with glorification of the graves of great people, with the belief that if they glorified their graves, then they will be intercessors for them to Aļļaah.[1]

What he is speaking of is glorifying graves, and glorifying graves is indeed equivalent to idolatry.
There is no disagreement between Ar-Raaziyy and today’s Sunnis on this matter.

There is a huge difference, however, between glorifying a grave and benefitting from the blessings of being physically near the pious person in the grave. As we shall see, Ar-Raaziyy affirms created perception and created causation (created acts to cause a created result based on how things normally correlate) to the souls of the dead.

In Al-Maţaalib Al-ˆAaliyah in the context of proving that the soul remains after the death of the body Al-Fakħr Al-Raaziyy said:

Verily the human being might see his father and mother in his dreams, and ask them about things, and they give correct answers, and might even guide him to something hidden in a place nobody knows. I say, when I was a child in the first stages of learning and I was reading about the idea of events without a beginning, I saw my father in a dream and he said to me, “The proof (against this notion of events having no beginning) is to say that motion is a transfer from one state to another, so it requires, according to its nature, something to precede it (i.e. a state to transfer from). Being without a beginning, however, contradicts with having something preceding it. Therefore, it is impossible to join between the two concepts.” I say, this is apparently the best angle on what can be presented regarding this issue.[2]

After stating a number of other proofs he stated:

Accordingly (because of such dreams), we must definitely conclude that after leaving the body, the soul perceives particulars of events, and this is a noble and beneficial principle with regards to the knowledge of resurrection. Moreover, it becomes apparent from this, the truthfulness of the Prophet’s saying [3] :
“If the dead body is placed (on the bench for carrying it), and then carried by the men on their necks, then if it was not (that of) a pious person, it will say to its family, ‘woe to it, where are you taking it?!’ (meaning him/herself) Its sound is heard by everything except humans, and if a human heard, he would faint (or die.)" [4]

In the hadiith above by Ar-Raaziyy it is clear that the perception of sight, as well as the ability to speak is still with the soul after death. Another ĥadiitħ tells us that the soul also has the perception of hearing. The Prophet told us that when the dead has been put in his grave, and his companions turn around and leave it:
"Verily he hears the flapping of their slippers" [5]

Later Al-Raaziyy explained the way a person benefits from visiting the dead and their graves. After affirming the life of the soul after the body’s death, he said that two premises are needed to understand this benefit [6]:

First, those souls that left their bodies are stronger in some ways than those that are still attached to bodies, and vice versa. As for the souls having left being stronger in some aspects; this is because when they left their bodies, the veil was removed. The world of the unseen and the dwelling places of the afterlife thus became apparent to them. The knowledge that had previously been based on proofs, became observable reality after leaving the body….Consequently they reached a certain kind of perfection.” He continued stating that the souls attached to their bodies are stronger in that they still have the tools for seeking and acquiring, and are gaining new knowledge every day.
Second, the souls that have left their bodies on the other hand miss their attachment to their bodies. This is is indicated by the fact that all of a person’s worldly activities were concerned with bringing comfort and good to it. This strong attachment, Al-Raaziy stated, does not go away with departure from the body, as the soul itself has perception and speech after death.
Based on these two premises, Al-Raaziy says:

“If a person went to the grave of someone with a strong soul, complete in essence, strong in influence, and stood there for a while, and was influenced by the soil there – the soil that the soul of the dead is attached to – then a mutual attachment occurs between these two souls due their gathering on that soil. They become like two polished mirrors reflecting each other’s rays; all that has been acquired in the visitor’s soul of proof-based knowledge, knowledge gained from effort, and high morals like submission to Aļļaah, and being content with what Aļļaah has predestined, reflects a light that travels to the soul of the dead host. Likewise, all the knowledge that has been acquired in the dead person’s soul of radiating and complete knowledge reflects light that goes to the soul of the living visitor. In this way this visit is a cause for the occurrence of great benefit and happiness for the soul of the visitor as well as that of the host. This is the basic reason for the religious prescription of visiting graves. It is also not unlikely that there are other secret events that are more subtle and deep than what has been mentioned here. Complete knowledge of the real nature of things is something Aļļaah only has.”

In his commentary on the Qur’aan, Al-Naaziˆaat 3,
"وَالسَّابِحَاتِ سَبْحًا
Literal interpretation: “By those that sail a sailing….”
he states [7]:

“The human souls that are free of any bodily connections that yearn to connect to the higher world, after their exit from the darkness of their bodies, go to the world of the Angels and the holy dwellings in the fastest of ways in a state of peaceful rest and surrounded by bountiful provision. This meaning of traveling is what the concept of sailing is referring to. Having said that, there is no doubt that the levels of the souls in terms of their aversion towards this world and yearning to connect with the higher world are many. Thus, the higher the level of aversion (to this world) and yearning (for the next), the faster will be the souls rising to the higher world. On the other hand, the lesser the aversion and yearning, the heavier will be its rise.
There is no question that the faster souls are more noble, so it is not strange that Aļļaah swore by them (in the Aayah above). In addition, these noble and high souls, are not unlikely to have in it what has an apparent effect on this world, due to its strength and nobility. Accordingly, they are:
"فَالْمُدَبِّرَاتِ أَمْرًا
Literal interpretation: “…and by the conductors (as created causes) of (worldly) matters.”
Isn’t it true that the human being might see his master teacher in his dreams, asks him about a problem, and then gets guidance from him to its solution? Isn’t it true that a son may see his father in a dream guiding him to a hidden treasure?
Isn’t it true that Galen [8] said, “I was sick and unable to treat myself. Then I saw in my dreams someone that gave me guidance towards the way of treatment.”
Isn’t it true that Al-Għazaaliyy [9] said, “Noble souls, when they leave their bodies, and happen to meet someone similar to them in body and soul, are not unlikely to become attached to this body. This to the extent that it becomes an aid to the soul of that person in doing good deeds, and then that aid is called “intuition”. Its equivalent for mean souls (i.e. Devil Jinn, not dead people, because they are tortured in their graves) is evil whispers in the mind.”
These meanings, even if not transmitted from the Quranic commentators, are very close to the words in meaning.”[10]

As support for what Ar-Raaziyy said, consider what the great Imaam of belief and fiqh, the encyclopedic authenticator and verifier, SaˆdudDiin Al-Taftaazaaniy [11] said regarding this same issue in his book Al-Maqaaşid [12]:

“What is apparent from the principles of Islaam, is that there are renewing perceptions of parts for the soul after leaving the body as well as looking at some parts of the lives of the living, especially of those that had a relationship with the dead person in this world. This is why there is benefit in visiting graves, and seeking support from the souls of the pious that have died in terms of seeking experiences and fending off weariness. This is because the soul after leaving the body is attached to the body and the soil it was buried in. So if the living visited this soil and faced the soul of the dead person, then there will be an attachment between them and streams .”

Moreover, the encyclopedic scholar Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniy [13] on his commentary on the book Al-Maţaaliˆ, discussed the benefit of Tawassul in terms of streams of light flowing to the visitor.
He said,
“Someone might say that this Tawassul is only conceivable if the dead were attached to their bodies, but not if they were detached from their bodies, since there is no aspect in this case that would lead to a connection [14]. The answer to this objection is that the fact that they were attached to them, heading for perfection of the flawed soul with great determination, is enough by itself. This is because the influence of that remains in them. For this reason, the visit of their resting places are prepared for much flow of light from them to the visitors[15]. This is observable for those with eyes that see.”[16]

Clearly then, the Wahabis have misrepresented Ar-Raaziyy’s viewpoint on visiting graves and merely calling a dead person. Let us take another look at what he said in his tafsiir:
The fourth (kind of idolaters) put idols with the shape of their prophets and most important people, and claimed that when they worked on worshiping these images, then those great people (that the images represent) will be intercessors for them to Aļļaah. The equivalent to that in this day and age is the preoccupation of a lot of people with glorification of the graves of great people, with the belief that if they glorified their graves, then they will be intercessors for them to Aļļaah. [17]

There are a few points to note here. First, he is not speaking of people who claim to be Muslims, but about the human race in general, and the kinds of idolaters there are out there. Second, he is speaking of glorifying the graves themselves, not about getting blessings or help from great Muslims in their graves.
This has been mentioned before, but is worth mentioning again in context of the above:

Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (b.691-d.751AH/ 1292-1350 AD), the second in command after the Grand Sħaykħ of Anthropomorphism [18], Aĥmad Ibn Taymiyyah (661-728 AH/ 1263-1328 AD), makes an strong defense for someone that calls a dead person, in his book:

Ar-Ruuĥ (The Soul)



This is astonishing, because it is him and his sħaykh that invented the saying that calling a person is shirk (worship of other than Aļļaah) unless he is alive and present.

In what follows below you will find some quotes from this book. For example, after mentioning that one should fee shy from the dead when visiting the graveyard, because the dead perceive their visitor, he says:
“Even further than that; the dead knows about the works of the living among his relatives and brothers." [19]

Then he states:

“On this issue there are many narrations from the companions, and some of the relatives of ˆAbduļļaah ibn Rawaaĥah used to say, ‘O Aļļaah, verily I seek your protection from doing anything that I will be brought in shame for in the eyes of ˆAbduļļaah ibn Rawaaĥah.’ He (they) used to say this after the martyrdom of ˆAbduļļaah.
It is enough evidence regarding all this that the Muslim that visits the dead is called ‘visitor’, for if they did not perceive him, then if would be invalid to call him ‘visitor’. This is because the visited, if they do not know of the visit of the person visiting, then you cannot say, ‘he visited him.’ This is what is understood from ‘visiting’ by all nations. The same is the case for ‘greeting’, for greeting a person that has no perception, and does not know the greeter is impossible, and the Prophet taught his nation that if they visit graves, they should say ‘salaam ˆalaykum (Aļļaah’s peace be upon you) O People of the abodes that are Muslims, and verily we are by the will of Aļļaah catching up with you. May Aļļaah give mercy to those among us and you who go in advance and those that go later. We ask Aļļaah for safety for you and us.‘ In this there is greeting, addressing and calling of something existing that hears, addresses and understands and responds, even if the Muslim does not hear the response. Moreover, if the person prays nearby, then they witness this, know about his prayer, and wish they could do the same….”[20] (Because the life of accountability has ended for them.)

Another place in the book, after mentioning a ĥadiitħ he states:

This ĥadiitħ expresses the speed of the dead’s soul’s movement from the Throne to the Earth, and then from the Earth (back) to its place, and for this Maalik and other imams said ‘the soul is set free, and goes wherever it wishes.‘ Furthermore, what people see of dead peoples’ souls and their coming to them from far away places is something known by people in general, and they do not doubt it…. and Aļļaah knows best.
As for the salam greeting to the people in their graves, and speaking to them; this does not mean that the souls are not in Paradise, and that they are in the graves (only), for the master of Humankind, whose soul is in the highest of places, in the care of Aļļaah; He is (also) in his grave and answers the salam greeting of a muslim. Moreover, Umar (the second kħaliifah, or ruler of all muslims), may Aļļaah give him mercy, agreed that the souls of the martyrs are in Paradise, and yet they are greeted at their graves, just like other people who have passed away. Similarly, the Prophet taught us to greet them, and the companions used to greet the martyrs of the battle of Uĥud. Moreover, it has been firmly established that their souls are in Paradise, going wherever they please, as mentioned earlier.
Your mind should not be so narrow as to not accept that the soul is in Paradise going wherever it pleases, and yet hears the greeting of a Muslim to him at his grave, and then goes down to answer it. The soul is another matter than the body.” [21]

Then he says:

“Among the things that one should know is that what we have mentioned regarding the soul is relative to the individual souls’ power, weakness, bigness, and smallness. So the great and large soul has among what we have mentioned what the lesser soul does not have, and you can see how the rules of the souls differ greatly in this world according to the souls’ differences in modality, power, slowness, speed and getting help…….. This is how it was while captivated in its body, so how would it be if it became independent and departed from the body, and its powers were gathered, and it was at the outset a lofty, pure and big soul with high sense of purpose??? This soul has after the departure a whole other importance and other actions. In this regard dreams have been collaboratively mass narrated among human kind about the actions of souls after their death, actions they were not able to do while in their bodies, such as one, two or a few souls defeating entire armies and the like. Very many people have seen the Prophet with Abu Bakr and ˆUmar in their sleep having defeated the armies of kufr and injustice, and then their armies are overwhelmed and crushed despite large numbers, and the weakness and small numbers of the Muslims (Ar-Ruuĥ, P. 102-103).” [22]

So if this is what Ibn Al-Qayyim believes, then where is the shirk in calling a dead person for help?

After all, as the author states, the great soul is even more able to help after death, than before death, and has perception of hearing all the way from Paradise to his grave.

Even more so, who in his right mind will claim, after believing all this, that traveling to visit the Prophet’s grave is forbidden?



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al-Wafa bi Ahwal al-Mustafa
Authored By: Imam, al-Hafidh Abi Faraj 'Abdul Rahman Ibn al-Jawzi





Hafidh Ibn Jawzi(rah)  in his al-Wafa bi Ahwal lil Mustafa made a chapter before this hadith which will destroy whole Wahabism. الباب التاسع والثلاثون في الاستسقاء بقبره صلى الله عليه وسلّم Translation:
 Chapter #39 in regards to "Seeking rain through the grave of Prophet (Peace be upon him)" And then he brought the Hadith of Sayyidah Aisha (ra) under it.
[Al Wafa bi Ahwal lil Mustafa, Page #817-818]


'Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali (b.509/510AH-d.597AH) was the Imam of Hanbalis and foremost orator of kings and commoners in his time, whose gatherings reportedly reached one hundred thousand. A hadith master, philologist, commentator of Qur'an, expert jurist, physician, and historian of superb character and exquisite manners. Ibn al-Jawzi was a prolific author of over seven hundred books. He was the author of a vast number of works of which several have been printed in recent times. He was famous as a preacher and the traveller Ibn Jubair gives an enthusiastic account of two of his sermons heard in Baghdad.

He was, with Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani (RA)