The Prophet’s Keenness To Prevent His Ummah From Falling Into Shirk
The ahaadeeth mentioned in the previous post show the Prophet’s keenness to protect his Ummah from all forms of shirk, especially those related to the dead, to the extent that even visiting graves was absolutely forbidden in the early years of Islaam in order to prevent the graves from becoming mediums of shirk.
Visiting graves was only made permissible after tawheed (monotheism) was firmly established in the hearts of the Sahaabah. The Prophet (saw) said:
“I used to prohibit you from visiting graves. But now visit them, for surely they are reminders for the next life.” [Saheeh Muslim]
Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“Allaah’s Messenger (saw) had prohibited the men from visiting the graves so as to prevent it (the graves) from becoming a medium (of shirk). So when the tawheed (worship for Allah alone) was established in their hearts, he (saw) permitted them to visit the graves in the manner he prescribed – and he forbade them from saying hujr (obscenity/falsehood) at the graves.” [Igaathat Al-Afhaan, 1/218]
The Purpose Of Visiting Graves:
So visiting graves is done for two purposes (1) to remember death, and (2) to send salutations of peace to the dwellers of the graves as occurs in Saheeh Muslim.
As for the innovated form of visiting graves then it includes (1) visiting graves to seek help from its inhabitants, and (2) visiting the graves with the intention of worshipping Allaah at the graves, like doing du’aa, salaah, charity, reciting the Quraan, sacrifice etc., as these are all acts of worship, and the Prophet (saw) forbade taking graves as places of worship (Bukhaaree, Muslim, Ahmad and others).