Some great Hanafi scholars refuting grave worship
Here are some Hanafi Fatawa gathered from the book of Dawud Arshad in Urdu “Din al Haqq”, the book “Islam or Qabron ke Urs” of Shaykh Ataullah Haneef Bhujiyani and others.
The origin of Idol worship is to take graves of saints as places or worship
Ibn ‘Abidin said concerning the reason of forbidding the prayer in graveyards:
“There is difference on the reason (for this forbiddance), it has been said because the bones and rests of the dead are there and they are impure, and this contains objection (meaning this matter is not right). It has been said (that the reason is) because the origin of idol worship is to take the graves of saints as places of worship (Masajid) and it has been said because it resembles the Jews.” [“Rad Al-Muhtar” p 254 ]
So ibn ‘Abidin in quoting the sayings of Hanafi scholars quoted that the origin of idol worship is to take the graves of saints as places of worship. And he did not reject that this is the origin of idol worship showing his approval of this and this might be the reason of forbidding prayer in graveyards, while some others mention other reasons. Yet none denied that origin of idol worship
Vow to the creation is worship of the creation
In “Dur ul-Mukhtar”, it is written:
“It should be known that the vow (Nadhr) done by majority of people (Akthar nass) to the dead, putting sheets and oil on graves, the sacrifices done to get close to Saints, all of this is without any doubt Batil (falsehood) and Haram.”
Ibn ‘Abidin explained the reasons in “Rad ul Muhtar” vol 2 p 439:
“The reasons of it being Batil and Haram are many, one of them is that it is vow (Nadhr) to the creation, and vow to creation is Haram, because vow (Nadhr) is worship and worship is not for creation, and also the person from whom it is done is dead, and the dead doesn’t decide of anything (doesn’t possess anything), and the person who does that believes that the dead has a control in creation without Allah, and this belief is Kufr” 
Ibn Nujaym said the same, talking about the different forms of Nadhr and invocations. [“Bahr ur Raiq” v 2 p 298]
What is the Sunnah during visits of graves?
Ibn Humam said in “Fath Al-Qadir”, vol 2 p 102, Maktabah Rashidiyah, Kuwait:
“Sleeping close to grave and relieving his needs, and all that is not justified by Sunnah is Makruh (Haram), and what is justified by the Sunnah is only to visit graves, to read invocations while standing as would the Prophet (saw) do when he was going to Baqi’”
Zaynudin ibn Nujaym said: “It is forbidden (Makruh) to do on graves all things that are not justified by the Sunnah, and what is justified by the Sunnah is to stand to the grave and do Du’a as would the Prophet (saw) do during his visits to Baqi’” [“Bahr Raiq” vol 2 p 196]
Taking the graves of the Prophet (saw) and saints as places ‘Idd
Abu Hurayrah narrates from the Prophet (saw): “Do not take my grave as ‘Idd, and do not turn your houses in graves, and send salutations on me from where you are, because your salutations are send to me.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, declared Sahih by Albani in “Ahkam Jana’iz”]
Shah Waliyullah said in his “Hujjatullah Al-Balighah”, v 1 p 77:
“This is an indication to close the door of deviation, deviation similar to what the Jews and Christians did to the graves of their Prophets by turning them into places of ‘Idd and seasonal celebration to the level of Hajj.”
Shah Waliyullah said in his “Tafhimat Al-Ilahiyah” v 2 p 64:
“Among the greatest of innovations is what they invented concerning the graves and taking them as places of ‘Idd”
Shah Waliyullah said in his “Balagh ul Mubin” p 31:
“The custom of fire worshipers and idol worshipers of India is to appoint a day every year to do ‘Idd in which great crowds gather. The saint worshipers following their footsteps have invented many ‘Idds, and they appoint ‘Urs (celebration of birth) on the graves of saints, and they celebrate in the same way (as Hindus) with songs, music and games, by which they please the evils spirits and Shayatin and displease these saints”
Qadhi Thanaullah PaniPati said in his “Tafsir Mazhari” v 2 p 65:
“It is not permissible to do what ignorant people do at the graves of saints and martyrs like prostration towards them, Tawaf around them, putting lanterns over them, establishing mosques over them and gathering over them every year like the Idds they call ‘Urs”
Mirza Mazhar Jan Janan, Shaykh of Thanaullah Panipati said:
“One should not get involved in the popular ‘Urs and other customs (on graves)” (“Maqamat Mazhari” of Shah Ghulam Mujaddidi p 44)
Shah ‘Abdul Aziz wrote in his “Fatawa ‘Azizi” v 1 p 40 as summarized:
“Doing gatherings on graves with an appointed day in a year, in which they wear beautiful clothes like on ‘Idd, play musical instruments and dance on them, and do different innovations like they prostrate towards the graves, perform Tawaf around them are all forbidden actions, rather it is feared that it leads to Kufr, and there are two Ahadith related to this issue: “Do not take my grave as a place of ‘Idd” and “O my Lord, prevent my grave from being turned into a worshiped idol”
Shah Muhammad Ishaq said in his “Arba’een Masail” p 68:
“It is not permissible to do ‘Urs”
And Shah Ishaq has a detailed discussion about this in his “Miatu Masail” p 15-18.
Travelling for the purpose of visiting the graves of Prophets and saints
Abu Said Khudri narrates from the Prophet (saw) : “Do not set your Ride fro travel except for three Mosques : This Mosque (Madinah), Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Aqsa” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Bassrah Al-Ghifari said: “I met Abu Hurayrah who was coming back from a travel and I asked him : “Where do you come from ?” He said “From Mount Tur and I prayed there” He said “ Had I met you before, you wouldn’t have gone there, because I heard the Prophet saw saying “Do net set your ride (for travel) except for three Mosques : Masjif AL Haram, this Mosque and Majid AL-Aqsa” [“Musnad Ahmad”, declared Sahih by Shaykh Albani in “Ahkam Jana’iz”]
Shah Waliyullah said concerning this Hadith in his “Hujjatullah Al-Balighah”, v 1 p 192:
“The people of Jahiliyah used to seek the places that were noble according to their thoughts, and they would visit them and seek benediction (Tabarruk) from them, and this contains deviation and corruption (Fasad) to a level that cannot be hidden. So the Prophet (saw) closed the door of this corruption so that other than holy places (ghayr Sha’air) are not attached to the holy places (Sha’air), so it does not become a mean towards worship of other than Allah), and the truth for me is that the grave or the place of worship of a saint among saints of Allah have the same status as the mount Tur in the forbiddance (to travel for their purpose).”
Shah Waliyullah said in his “Tafhimat Al-Ilahiyah” v 2 p 45:
“Everyone who goes to the city of Ajmer or the grave of Salar Mas’ud or what is similar to them to seek a need from it, then he is a sinner committing a sin greater than killing and fornication. It has no similar except the case of the one who worships fabricated idols or similar to the one who invokes Al-Lat and ‘Uzza”
Qadhi Ibrahim and Shah Waliullah: grave worship is same as idol worship
Qadhi Ibrahim Al-Hanafi wrote in his book “Majalis al-Abrar”:
“Now we see misguided people and who misguide others starting to do Hajj on graves, they have codified the etiquettes and behaviour, to such a level that some extremists have wrote books on this topic “Manasik Hajj wa Mashahid” making a similitude between the grave and Bayt ul Haram. It is clear that these beliefs lead to the departure from the religion of Islam and to enter in the religion of Idol worshipers. Compare between what the Prophet (saw) has legislated as forbidden acts concerning graves in what has preceded, and between what people have legislated. Without any doubts, the drawbacks in this are too many that we will get tired in mentioning them all. On one side, showing so much respect leads to make people fall into temptation (Fitnah).
And it gives to graves more importance than Mosques, which are among most loved places by Allah, because these people by going to graves show such a respect, such importance, such humility and khushu’ that they don’t manifest in Mosques…
(Among Fasad), they take graves as places of worship, do spiritual retreat (I’tikaf) on graves, they put over them sheets, appoint a guardian for this grave, and they even think that the guardian of these graves are better than guardians of Masjid uL Haram. They consider that sitting on graves is better than keeping mosques.
Also , the fact of doing vows (Nadhr) to graves and their guardians, to go there for prayer, doing Tawaf of graves, kissing the grave, touching them, putting dust of graves on their faces, invocating graves, asking them for help, victory, sustenance, health, children, return of loan, removal of difficulties and others invocations that worshipers of idols present to their idols, all of this is not approved by any Imam of the religion, because all of this has not be done by the Prophet (saw) of the Lord of universe, neither by the Sahabah, Tabi’is and Imams of the religion.” End of Qadi Ibrahim’s words.
Shaykh Abdallah Ar-Ropuri quoted in his book “Sama’ Muta” the words of Shah Waliyullah:
“Shah Waliyullah said: “The worshipers of saints say that when a man through worship and mediation reaches the level in which his invocations are answered and his intercession accepted, when he leaves this world, his soul comes to a great strength and accessibility, every person who imagine his form (in his mind), prostrate towards the place where the saints used to sit or to his grave with humility, the soul of the saint comes to him with largess and greatness, he intercedes for him in this world and the hereafter, And a lot of verses and Ahadith oppose this group, among them we have Allah’s saying:
“Have they taken others as intercessors besides Allâh? Say: “Even if they have power over nothing whatever and have no intelligence?“” (Zumar 39: 43)
“And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?” And when mankind are gathered (on the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become enemies for them and will deny their worshipping.” [Ahqaf: 5-6]
We should remind that this verse is a clear prove that invisible souls and hidden bodies that are worshiped and asked demands, that are supplicated, these people are not aware of their worship, whether they are Prophets or saints, and on Judgment day when Allah will make aware these pious persons about the people that worshiped them, then these pious will reject this instead of thanking them for their worship and instead of interceding for them. These verses show that when the gathering will occur, these pious will be their enemies and will reject their worship, and the verse also shows that invoking them is worshiping them, because the first Ayat shows invocation and the second makes reference to worship.
Another verse is more explicit, where Allah says:
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Ghafir: 60]
And the Prophet (saw) said that invocation is worship, (Tirmidhi Sahih), it is the core of worship…
It is proven that directing demands to fulfill needs to the saints of Allah, invoking them for help by going to their graves means to worship them, even if the worshiper doesn’t consider his demand as worship, and affirms not worshiping graves, but rather he (claims he) performs a visit to the grave…
(After quoting ahadith about the different invocations done by the Prophet (saw) for the dead during his visits of graves, Shah Waliyullah said:) “These Ahadiths clearly show that during the visits of graves, beside remembrance of hereafter and death, the Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah did not have any other purpose but doing invocations of forgiveness and mercy for the people of graves, so that the dead profits from the invocations of living people, and the invocations for believers is an action that benefits living and dead in retribution.
And nowadays, the people visit graves in search of benefits from the dead, they consider their soul as aware of their actions and state, and they display a great humility and submission, and seek to get their needs and say: “Fulfill this and this demand” or “Ask Allah to fulfill my need and relive my difficulty”
And Muhammad (saw), the Sahabah and pious Ahle Bayt take refuge thousand times against this new religion. [“Balagh al-Mubin” p 18]
Al-Alusi family’s sayings against grave worshipers
And Shukri Al-Alusi, great son of Mahmud Al-Alusi said in “Ghayatul Amani” in refutation of An-Nabbahani about Tawassul with du’a: “And this is done with alive people, and not dead, and this is Tawassul with their du’a and their Shafa’ah (intercession), because the alive is sought for that, and as for the dead, nothing is sought from him, neither Du’a nor anything else.” (“Ghayatul Amani” v 2 p 335)
Imam Mahmud Al-Alusi said in his “Ruh ul-Ma’ani” in Tafsir of the verse “Seek Wasilah to Him” (Maidah: 35):
“And Tahqiq of Kalam (verified speech) in this place is that Istighathah with creation, and making it a Wasilah in the meaning of asking Du’a to them, there is no doubt in its permissibility if the sought person is alive, and we do not restrict this to the case of the one being asked is superior, rather one can ask the superior and the inferior, and it has been authenticated that he (saw) asked Umar (to make du’a for him) when he sought for permission for Umrah: “ Do not forget your brother in your du’a” and he ordered him as well to seek Uwais AL Qarni so he seeks forgiveness for him, and he (saw) ordered the community to ask Wasilah (place in paradise) for him as it has just been mentioned and by they sending Sala upon him.
As for when the sought person is dead or absent, it is not hidden for scholars that it is not permissible and it is from innovations that none of the Salaf did…
Second, that people have increased in du’a to other than Allah from loved Awliya among dead and others, as “Ya Sayidi So and So (Fulan) Aghithni (help me)” and this is not from the permitted form Tawassul in anyway…a great number of scholars have considered that as Shirk…and I do not see anybody who says this except that he believes that the invoked alive absent or dead hidden knows the invisible or hears his saying and is powerful with his essence or with other to bring good and remove problems, and if not he would not have called him nor opened his mouth, and in this there is a great test from Allah…
There is no doubt that Istighathah from people of graves… is a matter that is obligatory to be avoided, and it is not suitable for people of intelligence to do that, and you should not be deceived if the seeker of help can have his need fulfilled and his matter asked being granted, because this is a test and trial (Fitnah) from Him (Azza wa Jalla), and Shaytan can take appearance of the one whose help was sought, and people can think that it is a Karamat (miracle) from the invoked, far away far away, it is only Shaytan who misguides him and deceives him, and he makes beautiful his desire, this is like Shaytan speaking in idols to misguide their worshipers. And the misguided people think that it is from the emanation of the soul of the invoked for help, or an angel in the form of the invoked as a Karamat for him, and this is very bad how they judge, because Tatawur and Zuhur (apparition of miracles) although they are possible, but not in cases like this after doing these kinds of sins, and we ask Allah with His Names to protect us from that.”
Mahmud Al-Alusi said in Tafsir of Surah Nazi’at about “Mudabirah” after quoting many interpretations:
“And it is not hidden that a lot of these sayings, they do not deserve such plenty quotes, and they do not have strength appropriate for this place, and there is in that what old people of direction say from movements Iradiyah from stars (as being Mudabirat) and these are particulars movements from them and others among what is not present in words of Salaf and there is no proof for that, this is why the Muhadiths among philosophers said contrary to this, and interpreting Mudabirah as stars, there is mistake of authenticity of what people of rulings and ignorant among astrologers believe and this is Batil from reason and religious texts as we have detailed in what has preceded.
And the same for interpreting them (Mudabirat) as pious souls leaving (bodies) (meaning this is not justified by reason nor religious texts), this is mistake of authenticity of what a lot of people from low intelligence say, that Saints have control (Tasarruf) after their death as curing sick people, saving drowning man, helping against enemies and others from what happens in world of creation, and there is Fasad (falsehood) in meaning that Allah gave them these (powers), and from them some who make that particular to five saint, and all of that is ignorance and second is greater ignorance…”
Other Hanafi scholars
Shaykh Albani quotes in his book “Tawassul” the words of Shaykh ‘Athemabadee from his “Ta’liq ‘ala Mughni”:
“They (Ahnaf) also say in “Al-Bazzaziyah” and other books of religious verdict : “Whoever claims that the souls of Shaykhs are present, and they know what happens, he becomes Kafir” [“Al-Bahr” (5/134) ]
Also Shaykh Fakhruddin Abu Sa’d ‘Uthman Al-Jiyani Ibn Sulayman Al-Hanafi says in one of his risalah: “Whoever thinks that a dead person has any control on matters besides Allah, and he believes in it, then he is a Kafir” This is mentioned in “Al-Bahrur-Raiq”.
Al-Qadi Hamidudin An-Nakori Al-Hindi says in “At-Tawshih”: “Among them, there are those who invoke Prophets and saints when they are in need or have a difficulty, thinking that their souls are present and hear their calls and know their needs, This is horrible Shirk and clear ignorance”” End of Shaykh Albani’s quote.
May Allah send Salah and Salam on the Prophet (saw), his household, companions and those who follow them
Compiled by Ali Hassan Khan