Q: Kissing graves of the Auliyaa. I was presented with the following argument from a family member and need to give some clarification.
Argument: Kissing Mazaars
[A Summary of the teachings of Saudi Arabian Sunni Islamic Scholar Shaykh As-Sayyid Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki of Makkah al-Mukarramah]
The issue of kissing is often (deliberately) misunderstood. Kissing is a natural human behaviour. One could kiss someone out of love, respect, honour, desire, or maybe even worship. It depends on your intention – the reason why you do it. However, some individuals insist on interpreting all types of kissing as worship. There is no real basis for this view, as it is not found anywhere in the Quran or the Sunnah. Our Nabiﷺ, kissed the black stone, and thus, by the Prophet’s ﷺ action one can clearly see that there is a distinction between merely kissing and worshipping. And even as this stone is the stone from Heaven (as in Nasai, Tirmidhi and Hakim), so are the Prophets, and the saints the People of Heaven.
These individuals then proceed to label Muslims who may kiss them out of veneration or love as Mushriks or Kafir. This labeling is the real act of Kufr.
There is an interesting story about a man who condemned the kissing of the Awliya and the descendants of Nabi ﷺ as Shirk and Worship of other Humans. When he was seen kissing his own son, he was asked why he was now worshipping his son. He said that he kissed his son out of love. The people responded by saying that they, too, kissed the family of Nabi ﷺ, out of love. The man then kept quiet. It is for this reason, the reason of love and respect, that visitors to the Qubur of the Ahlul Bayt, Sahabah, and Awliya kiss their respective Qubur.
If individuals insist on holding the view that kissing a Qabr is an act of worship, let them prove it from Qur’an and Sunnah, and not merely give an opinion based on their HAWA or base desire.
There are many Hadith which show that the Sahabah used to kiss the grave of Nabi ﷺ: Ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, al-Samhudi in Wafa al-Wafa and al-Imam al-Mujtahid al- Subki in Shifa as-Siqam bi-ziyarat Khayr al-Anaam, narrate that when Sayyidina Bilal,radi Allahu `anh, came back to Madinah after many years, he went straight to the Honourable Qabr of Nabi ﷺand fell down and put his forehead on the Qabr, and kissed it, saying, “Oh my beloved, Rasulullah, ﷺ” This was an expression of his love for Nabi ﷺ. No doubt, some of todays “shaykhs” would label Sayyidina Bilal a “Mushrik”, claiming that he was worshipping the Prophet,ﷺ ! Astaghfirullah.
Tabarani narrates that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, ra, the Great Sahabi, once put his head on the honourable Qabr of Nabiﷺ and kissed it. The Umayyad ruler, Marwan bin al-Hakam, a notorious man, asked Abu Ayyub why he was worshipping the stone. Abu Ayyub replied that he was visiting Nabi ﷺ and not a stone. Someone then intervened and warned Marwan not to interfere with Abu Ayyub, ra, as he was one of the Companions of Nabi ﷺ and Marwan let him be. Thus, when we visit the tombs of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Awliya, we are expressing our love for them, as Sayyidina Bilal and Sayyidina Abu Ayyub, not worshipping them.
Imam al-Qastalani narrates in his Mawahib Ladunniyyah that when Nabi ﷺ, passed on, his daughter, Sayyidah Fatimah, ra, took sand from His ﷺ Qabr and put it over her face and wept, saying: “Maza ala man shamma Turbata Ahmadin an laa yashumma madaz Zamaani Ghawaliya (The person who has smelt the dust of the Grave of Nabi ﷺ, does not need to smell any perfume ever again)
In other words, the Dust on the Qabr of Nabi ﷺ, has a better fragrance than any perfume in the world. This is what Imam al-Busiri said in his world famous Qasidat al-Burdah and some ignorant ‘shaykhs’ called him a Kafir too. Would some of todays “shaykhs” also condemn Sayyidah Fatimah’s act of Love, ra! Astaghfirullah!!
Ibn Hisham narrates that when Nabi ﷺ ad passed away, Sayyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, ra, went to kiss his forehead and said, “How blessed and perfumed are you when you are alive, and how blessed and perfumed are you when you have passed away.” Was he making Shirk?
These are evidences from the Sahabah. And the same Nabiﷺ, who instructed us to destroy all the idols also instructed us to kiss the black stone – not for worship – but because of the stones closeness to Allah, subhana Hu wa Ta`ala. We draw an analogy between this stone and the tombs of the Awliya. The Ka’bah is also a stone building. We pray towards it and tawaf around it. Does imply worship? No! The Ka’bah represents the presence Allah, just as the shrines of the Awliya are places where Allah’s, Rahmah descends. We also pray at the Maqam Ibrahim, as we are clearly instructed to in the Holy Qur’an (1:125): “And take Maqam Ibrahim as a place of Prayer” (wat takhizu min Maqam Ibrahima Musalla ) . Maqam Ibrahim is merely a large slab of stone containing the footprints of Nabi Ibrahim, `alayhi-s-salam. It is thousands of years old, and is not even a grave, nor the physical feet of Nabi Ibrahim, `alayhi-s-salam. Is praying there Shirk or Kufr? If not, then why condemn praying at the tomb of Nabi ﷺand the Awliya of his Ummah?! Imaam Al-Dhahabi narrates in Majmu’ Shuyukh al-Dhahabi (vol.1 p.72-74) that the son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said to his father that people touch and kiss the Qabr of Nabi ﷺ, to get the Barakah. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal replied that there was no problem with that (la ba’sa bihi).
Imam al-Dhahabi went on to explain that: “Only some of the Sahabah did this, as the Sahabah had (obviously) seen Nabi ﷺ when he was alive, had close interaction with him, kissed his hand, fought over his Wudu water, distributed his Hair for Barakah, and even took his spit and rubbing it over their faces (Bukhari). But those who had not met Nabi ﷺ, express their love by going to his Qabr, and kissing and touching it”. Imaam Al-Ghazali says in his famous work Minhaj al-‘Abideen (p.347) that the Wali of Allah reaches such a state that: “Allah gives Barakah in his Breath, Speech, Clothes, Company, places where he sat and even the Sand he walked on”. If the Barakah IS THERE, what is wrong if we try to get it???
End of argument.
Can Hazrath please assist in clarifying our stance on kissing the qabr of a Wali.
A: Our ulama have discouraged this practice since this was not the general practice of the sahaabah nor did Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) on any occasion ask us to kiss any grave. The hajre aswad is not a grave, rather it is a stone from Jannat. Hence the reasoning is not right.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)