Praying in Mosques with Graves

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I pray in a mosque that has someone buried in it. like Amr ibn al Aas mosque? or someone that isn’t necessarily a sahabi? I was told there were hadiths that said one can’t pray in such places. and that Muslims shouldn’t do like the Christians.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

Hundreds of mosques around the Muslim world have awliya buried in them.

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (in his Zawajir) quotes the hadith from Ahmad, Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians; they have taken the tombs of their prophets as places of worship.”

He said, “The reason for considering it an enormity… is obvious….

He explains, however, that, “Taking a grave as a place of worship means to pray on the grave or towards it. The prohibition, moreover, applies exclusively to the grave of someone venerated… under the two conditions:

a) that the grave is of someone who is honored and venerated;

b) and that the prayer is performed towards or on the grave with the intention of gaining the blessing of it, or out of reverence for it.” (from: al-Zawajir, Reliance w21)

And this is only if one prays so close to it that if praying the prayer of those attentive (looking down), the grave would be within one’s sight.

This is the position of the Hanafi and Shafi`i schools, and the abovementioned is the extent of the prohibition indicated by the hadiths.

Walaikum assalam,

Faraz Rabbani.

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