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CHECK: Why do we create shrines over people’s graves? Some people go there and commit shirk by doing sajdah. Please clarify.

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In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent and Merciful.

Creating shrines and domes above the grave of pious people is permissible so that Barakah can be recognised by people in later generations. There is definitely Barakah (Blessings) from the graves of those who are pious. There are even great blessings from the graves of parents as proven in the Hadith. In the Shariah the building of domes over graves is disliked except for the pious as this allows others to recognise and obtain blessings from them. In the long Hadith of Isra and Meraj the Prophet of Allah unsaddled his mount and prayed two Rakah prayers at the side of the grave of Hazrat Moosa Alaiis Salaam (Mishkat).

It has been reported by Imam Bukhari (vol 1. Baabul janaiz and Miskhkat) that “Darabat Imratuhul Qubbata Ala Qabrihi Sanatan” That after the passing away of Hasan ibn Hasan ibn Ali (Radi Allahu Anh) that `his wife created a dome over his grave for over a year`. Obviously these were people from the first generation who knew and understood the command of the Prophet more than people of today.

The Mufassireen scholars in their commentaries have stated the following:

For verse `Innama Ya`muru Masaajidallahi Man Aamana Billahi Imam Ismail Haqqi in his Tafseerul Roohul Bayan Vol 3 states

“It is permissible for domes to be constructed for the graves of `scholars, pious and saints` when the reason is to uphold their status in the eyes of the people so that people do not think of the person in the grave as an ordinary person`

It has been stated in Mirqat Sharah Mishkat Kitabul Janaiz baab Dafan Mayyit:

“Our pious predecessors and scholars have allowed the permissibility to construct domes over the graves of our pious predecessors and scholars so that people can visit them and sit and rest there.”

Allama Shami in his volume 1 of Raddul Muhtar states “If the deceased is a scholar, Shaykh or Ahl-e-Bait then it is not Makrooh to construct a dome over their graves”.

Allama Tahtawi in his Ala Mirqatul Falah (p334) and Imam Sh`irani in Meezan -e-Qubra also states something similar that it is permissible.

Now remains the issue of people performing acts which are either Haram or Shirk (e.g. prostrating before a grave). This is the stupidity of the individual and others abusing their position as the heirs of these shrines. I have personally seen acts which are Haram and hence stayed slightly away said my prayers and moved on. Yet I have also had the good fortune of going to the shrines of the great Companions like Hazrat Muadh Ibn Jabal, Bilal Habashi, Jafar ibn Abi Taalib, Zaid ibn Haarithah, Abdullah Ibn Rawaha, Abu Ubaid Ibn Jarrah etc and have found that all of these great personalities have had domes constructed over their graves but no Haram acts were being done.

A good analogy is that of Nikah which is Sunnah and a great act and yet there are many great Haram acts being done in the name of Nikah. This certainly does not mean that the Nikah itself is not permissible and no longer Sunnah, but that the Haram should be condemned.

As for asking through the Awliya, then this is permissible and called Itighatha and Wasila and as long as the belief is that the original source is from Allah it is permissable. In Surah Mariam Allah states the words of Sayyaduna Gibrail Alaihis Salam as follows `Li`ahaba Laki Gulaman Zakiyya` `I will give you a pure son`.(19:19) This does not mean that Hazrat Gibrail had the power (After all he is a non deity) but it was it was Allah who gave the Son.

May Allah protect us from Haram and understand what is Halal.

Of course Allah knows best