Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad
Planting green stalks on top of graves
It is established in the Sahihayn and others that the Prophet (SallAllahu `alayhi wasallam) planted 2 date-pal m s talks on top of two graves and said that as long as these branches are green, the punishment of these people in their graves will be lightened.
Someone said: “This was the Barkaat of the hands of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his specialty. If this action was general for all people, then the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) would have definitely done the same… Sahaaba-e-Kiraam never did this. Also, nowadays so much of emphasis has been placed on this action and is regarded as a necessary which result in there being no doubt about it being a Bid’at (innovation). Also, people become brave to do sins by such actions and is therefore impermissible. The custom of placing flowers is a Bid’at (innovation) and is not established from the Shari’ah.”
1. Al-Bukhari narrates in his Sahih that the Sahabi Burayda al-Aslami requested that two green stalks be planted on his grave precisely because of this hadith.
2. Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir ( Surat al-Isra’ v. 44) said the hadith shows it is generally desirable to plant vegetation on top of Muslim graves. Al-Tahtawi in Sharh Maraqi al-Falah (p. 415) mentions that some of the Fuqaha’ said it is a Sunna. The Shafi`i al-Malibari in Fath al-Mu`in (p. 119) states it is a Sunna.
3. Al-Turtushi the Maliki did count the planting among the Prophet’s (saws) khasa’is (specialties) but this was not retained by his School as shown by al-Qurtubi’s words. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari said it is not even sure the Prophet (saws) did the planting with his own blessed hand: he may have ordered someone else to do it.
4. Yes, the hadith itself is mentioned in al-Suyuti’s al-Khasa’is al-Kubra but as an example of the Prophet’s (saws) `ILM AL-GHAYB.
5. As for the misbehavior of some people sometimes taking place in so doing, such as the fact that, in Syria, uneducated people undertake expenses and do this mostly the morning of `Eid before Salat al-`Eid, then we say to those people: Your good deed is diminished and suspended until you quit excess and do what is required first, i.e. go to Salat al-`Eid. We do not declare the basis of the act an innovation, since it is related from the Prophet (saws) and the Sahaba. And Allah knows best.