Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Is it permissible for a woman to visit the grave of her father or a pious person if she observes proper Islamic decorum?
There are three opinions regarding women visiting graves in our school: that it is forbidden; that it is disliked; and that is it permissible. The relied upon position, as in Imam Nawawi’s Minhaj, is that it is disliked — because of the fear of temptation and because [m: of the fear that] they might raise their voices when weeping — but it is not forbidden.
The Tuhfa mentions that it is recommended for them to visit [m: the Prophet] (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The recommended nature of visiting his honorable grave (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is established through the consensus of Muslims.
The Tuhfa also mentions that it is recommended for them to visit the graves of other prophets, as well as the [m: graves of] scholars and saints. Ibn Hajar says, “more than one [m: scholar] approved of this; rather, they firmly upheld it.” The difference between scholars and other people, as stated in the Tuhfa, is that the intent of visiting [m: the graves of] the likes of scholars is to display the act of magnifying them through enlivening their shrines. Furthermore, there emanates from them, as opposed to others, a next-worldly assistance to their visitors that no one denies except for the bereft. The foregoing is paraphrased from the Tuhfa.
[m: Ibn Hajar’s] intent when he mentions, “magnifying them”, is legal, praiseworthy magnification of scholars whose station was raised above others by Allah and who were made into heirs of the prophets. This is achieved by believing in their superiority over others through the auspiciousness of knowledge and also through showing them increased respect and honor. What’s not meant by magnifying scholars is what some people might think in terms of raising them above the status of prophets or mortals, for no Muslim says this. Some of the ignoramuses from among the people of innovation try to attack the imams of religion by taking such phrases and applying them to invalid meanings, and Allah will hold them accountable.
However, when a woman goes to a graveyard, she must avoid adornment, perfume, and jewelry, just as she [m: avoids these actions] when going to the masjid. She should beautify herself through exhibiting patience: she must not become angry, slap her cheeks, or rip her garments, for all of this is forbidden.
It is permissible for the questioner and others to follow the opinion that permits [m: visiting graves] and thereby visit the graves of non-scholars and the like, such as her family members, but only if she doesn’t fear prohibited acts like those mentioned or temptation through her visit.
And Allah knows best.
– Amjad Rasheed
(Translated by Sidi Moustafa Elqabbany)