Question: What is the ruling of the Ulama-e-Deen regarding whether it is permissible or not to light lanterns and lights etc by the Mazaars of the Awliyah?
Is it permissible to put chaadars on the Mazaars of the Buzoorgs whilst playing musical instruments, as it is the manner today, where people light candles (lanterns) every Thursdays and carry colorful green and red chaadars (cloths) whilst playing musical instruments and go to the Mazaars. They also bring sweetmeats and rice etc. with them and keep it on the graves and make Faateha. Are these actions permissible in the light of Quran and Hadith?
The Answer: اقول و بالله التوفیق In reality the basis of ones action is ones intention. The Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “The reward of ones actions is based on the intention” that which is without benefit in Deen and worldly benefit is useless and that which is useless is Makrooh. To spend money in that which is abas is wastage of money and wastage is haraam. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, “And do not be wasteful, for verily, Allah loves not those who are wasteful”
To give benefit to Muslims is definitely an action in accordance with Shariat.
Rasoolullah (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “If any one of you is able to benefit your Muslim brother, he should do so.” (Ref: Muslim from Jaabir radi Allahu anhu).
To respect those things attributed to religion is also acceptable. Almighty Allah says, “For those who respect the signs of Allah, then this is from the piety of the hearts.” (Surah Al Haj, verse 32)
Almighty Allah says, “Those who respect the esteem signs of Allah, then this is best for them by their Creator.” (Surah Al Haj, verse 30)
The graves of the Awliyah-e-Kiraam and the graves of the ordinary Muslims are worthy of being respected. It is disallowed to walk, sit or just keep the foot on the graves and even to lean against it is not allowed. Imam Ahmed, Haakim, etc. narrate from Amaara bin Khurm (radi Allahu anhu) with the merit of a Hassan narration as follows: “The Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) saw me sitting on a grave. He said, ‘O you on the grave! Get off the grave. If you do not cause him discomfort, he will not cause you any discomfort.”
It is in the narration of Imam Ahmed as follows: “The Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) saw me leaning against a grave. Either he said, ‘Do not harm the one in the grave’ or he said, ‘Do not cause discomfort to the person in the grave’”
The Prophet (Sall Allaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “I prefer this, that I should walk on fire or sew my shoes to my feet, rather than walking on the grave of a Muslim.” (Ibn Majah from Uqba bin Aamir radi Allahu anhu)
These are the five principles of the sharia. By asking whether one can light a lantern or candle etc. on the grave of a person, it actually means on the grave, then this is totally no allowed and it is even more so disallowed on the Mazaars of the Awliyah Allah as this is disrespect and it is to infringe on the rights of the deceased as it has been mentioned in Qunia etc. on the authority of Imam Tarjmaani,
ياثم بوطا القبور لان سقف القبر حق المية- حديث والتخذين عليها المسجد والسرح
Where, it has been mentioned about making a Musjid on a grave (and the reality of the top of the grave being the property of the deceased)
Thus, if a Musjid is built beside the Mazaar, then there is no objection to this and if the intention is to attain blessings from the pious person then this is praiseworthy. It is in Majma Al Bihaar Al Anwaar as follows: “If anyone builds a Musjid near the Mazaar of a pious servant of Allah or he reads Namaaz in the Mazaar with this intention that he will attain assistance and blessings from the pious servant, or if one wishes to send the blessings of ones Ibaadaat to the soul of the personality and it is not done by facing the grave or in Namaaz to make intention for his respect, then there is nothing wrong with doing so. Did you not see that the Mazaar of Sayyidina Ismaeel (alaihis salaam) is in Musjidul Haraam Shareef in the blessed Hateem and Namaaz there is greater than all the other Musjids of the world?”
This is on this basis, that the authenticity of the said narration is accepted
والا ففیه باذام ضعیف ان حسنه الترمذی فقد عرف رحمه الله تعالٰی بالتساھل فیه
کما بیناه فی مدارج طبقات الحدیث
If one lights the lamp or lantern etc. away from the Mazaar and there is no Musjid near it or no one is reciting Quran there or no one is sitting their for recitation etc. or that the grave is not in the middle of a road or it is not the Mazaar of any wali Allah or Aalim-e-Deen, in other words there is no real reason and benefit in doing so, then this wastage and as per the law stated, it is not allowed. (Note: It means if it is the Mazaar of a Wali or Aalim etc. then to do so is permissible). This will actually be regarded as impermissible even more if one has this ignorant theory that if one does not light any lantern there then there will be darkness in the grave of the deceased, since now with wastage; this is also having incorrect beliefs. Allah Forbid.
Now, if there is a Musjid there or there is recitation taking place or Zikrullah is taking place or if the grave is on a road and one wishes to let people notice the grave so that they may make dua and send esaale sawaab for that deceased, then it is permissible to place lanterns etc. there.
Also, if it is the Mazaar of a Wali Allah or Aalim-e-Deen, and one wishes to put lanterns etc. around it to show the excellence of the personality and so that those coming there may show respect, then this is definitely not objectionable and is totally allowed. Actually according to the other four principles it is Mustahab (desirable) and Mandoob (recommendable). It has been stated in Majma Al Bihaar as follows: “If there is a Musjid etc. there and the intention is to make the area bright for the purpose of recitation etc. then there is no objection to placing lights etc. there.”
Imam Allama Arif Billah Sayyidi Abdul Ghani Nablisi (Qadasas Sirahul Qudsi) states as follows in Hadiqa Nadiyah: “The only time one is not allowed to place lights near graves, is when it is totally without benefit. However, if there is a Musjid near the grave or the grave is in the middle of a road or if someone is seated there or if it is the Mazaar of any Wali, Aalim or Muhaqqiq, whose soul is in his body like the way the sun is over the earth, then for his respect, to place lights near his grave and so that people are aware that this is the grave of a Wali Allah and so that they may attain blessings from him and so that they may ask dua to Allah via him, so that there dua may be accepted, then all this is permissible which has not been objected to at all. These actions are based on intention.”
This Faqeer (Aala Hazrat) has written a clear and detailed answer through the grace of Allah in the book طوالع النور فی حکم السرج علٰی القبور - Based on the very same principles; it is also permissible to put chaadars on the Mazaars of the Awliyah-e-Kiraam. The public does not even have much respect left for the graves of the general Muslims. I have seen this with my one eyes people running with their napaak shoes on the graves of Muslims, without conscious or feeling, without thinking that that is the blessed sand of the graves of their elders. They don’t even realize that one day we too will rest in the same earth. I have seen on numerous occasions, people sitting on graves, gambling, talking vulgar words and laughing aloud. Some have even gone to such extremes that they have no fear, and even urinate on the graves of Muslims. فانا لله و انا الیه راجعون
Thus, those who truly love the pious have used methods of giving respect to the graves of the Awliyah and to protect the sanctity of the Mazaars from the jaahils (ignorant) people who show disrespect. This is done so that the general public may recognize the Mazaars of the pious and understand that they are different from the graves of ordinary people and so that they may not show disrespect and cause their own destruction. It is close to the basis of this, that the Ulama have said that the Published copies of the Quran should be lined with gold trimmings so that people may differentiate it (from any other book) and the Ulama have said this to be good. It is also one of the reasons why the Kaaba Shareef is adorned so much. Now here, (at the Mazaars), there is always been the fear of people showing disrespect (like they show at other graves) and it is for this, that the chaadars and lights etc. are put, so that it may be recognized as the graves of the pious and they may have respect in their hearts. Now, those who object to all these things are either total jaahils (ignorant people) that they are unaware of the state of the things in this era, or they are those same disrespectful, deprived individuals whose hearts are empty from the love of the Awliyah Allah. والعیاذ بالله رب العالمین
This Faqeer has discussed the laws in the above mentioned book from the verse “This is more suitable, that they should be recognised, so that they are not made uneasy.” لله الحمد و
Sayyidi Allama Muhammad ibn Aabideen Shaami states in Tanqeehul Fatawa Al Haamidia from Kashfun Noor An Ashaabil Quboor by Imam Allama Sayyid Naablisi as follows: “But in time, we say that if the aim of doing this (placing lights etc) is to show the excellence of the Mazaars of the Awliyah in the eyes of the people, so that they may not show disrespect to those graves where they see cloths placed on it and Turbans kept on it, as this shows them it is the Mazaar of a Wali, and so that those ghaafil (careless) people who come there for Ziyaarat, attain sincerity and respect in their hearts which usually, are not soft hearts, then it must be noted that I have already stated that the souls present themselves at the Mazaars of the Awliyah-e-Kiraam, then to place chaadars on the Mazaars with this intention, is totally allowed and none should stop this, as the actions are based on intention. Every person will attain that, which he has intended.”
There is also no objection to the chaadars being green or red and silk is also allowed, as this is only not allowed to be worn (by men). However, the musical instruments are not allowed and if there is already a chaadar there and there is no real need to put a new chaadar as the one there has not become old or torn etc. then to put a new one without any reason is not necessary. Instead of putting another one, one should take that money give it to some poor person and send the sawaab to the rooh of that Wali Allah, but if one puts the chaadar also with intention that the khudaam etc, who are there may use it for themselves as they are needy etc. then too, it is allowed. It is not allowed at all, to keep the food of Fateha on graves, just as it is not allowed to keep lights on the actual grave. If it is kept away (near) the Qabr, then it is fine.
والله تعالٰی اعلم
كتبه عبده المذنب احمد رضا عفى عنه