Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
What is the proper way to visit graves (i.e. the best adab)? When I visit the graves, what am I supposed to be thinking? Am I supposed to believe that the soul I have come to visit hears me or is it that I am simply making supplication to Allah in a different location?
[As for your question about women visiting graves, see the recent related post on the Hanafi Fiqh list.]
One visits graves because:
1. It is a Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “I used to forbid you from visiting graves. Now, do visit them.”
2. It benefits the one visited, because the dead find solace in it.
3. It benefits the one visited, because of the reward of recital of Qur’an (and other matters) one makes.
4. It benefits the person visiting, because of the above.
5. It reminds the person visiting of death, which is a sunna in itself.
6. It reminds the person visiting of their purpose in life, and what remains of their worldly life: all worldly matters end, and only good works remain to benefit one in the grave and beyond.
7. One benefits from the baraka and nur of the person visited, if one goes with a good intention, whether one realizes it or not. Those with more spiritual clarity realize this more clearly.
[Based on what I can remember from the explanation of Sayyidi Shaykh Abd al-Wakil al-Durubi (Allah have mercy on him), as mentioned by his student, Sheikh Nuh Keller.]
And success is from Allah alone.