Did Imam Ahmad allow Tabarruk with the Prophetic grave (saw)? Dr Alawi Saqqaf.
What has been quoted from Imam Malik, Ash-Shafi’I, Ahmad and agreement of Salaf on this:
Shaykh Khalil Al-Maliki (776) wrote "At-Tawdih fi Sharh Mukhtasar ibn Al-Hajib" (2/101):
"Ibn Wahb narrates in Al-Mukhtasar: Malik was asked: Where should the one who intends sending Salam (at the grave) stand? and he replied: "From the corner close to the Qiblah and to the Minbar, and he faces the Qiblah, and I do not like that he touches the grave with his hand"
Imam Nawawi (676) said in "Al-Majmoo Sharh Muhazab" (8/275):
"They said: it is disliked to touch it (grave) with the hand and to kiss it, rather the etiquette is to remain far as one would remain far from him if he was visiting him in his life (saw), and this is what is correct, this has been said by THE SCHOLARS and they acted upon it…And one should not be misled by many of the laymen and their doing this, as Iqtida and action is upon the authentic Ahadith and statements of scholars, one should not pay attention to the innovations of laymen and others and their ignorance…and the one in whose mind the idea comes that touching with hands and others are more effective in Barakah, this is from his ignorance and heedlessness as Barakah is only in what agrees with the religious law"
Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyah (728) wrote (Majmoo Fatawa 27/79):
"And it is not Sunnah according to the agreement of Imams that one should kiss or do Istilam of the two corners of the House that are next to the Hijr, nor the walls of the house, nor Maqam Ibrahim, nor the rock at Bayt Al-Maqdis nor the grave of any Prophet or saint"
Shaykh Shareef As-Samhudi Ash-Shafi'i (911) said (Wafa Al-Wafa 4/215):
"Al-Aqshahri said: Az-Za'farani said in his book: putting the hand on the grave, touching it and kissing it is among the innovations that are blamed religiously…This has been condemned by Malik, Ash-Shafi’I and Ahmad with severe condemnation"
Shaykh Mar’i ibn Yusuf Al-Hanbali (1033) said (Shifa as-Sudoor fi Ziyaratil Mashahid wal Quboor” p 42):
“As for kissing graves and wiping oneself with them, this is an innovation by agreement of Salaf, so one should condemn sternly one who does this among those who wear the cloth of people of knowledge, by fear that people will be put in trial through him and follow him in this”
Shaykh Al-Mu’allimi Al-Yamani (1386) said (Athar Shaykh Mu’allimi 4/255):
“The scholars of the Ummah ancient and recent all agree that Tabarruk with graves by Istilam, wiping oneself with, kissing, putting eyes on it and similar, all of this is an opposition to Allah and His Messenger (saw), and exiting his correct way…And it is not correct to do analogy of the grave of the Prophet (saw) with his relics as the graves, especially the graves of prophets and saints, are most likely places of putting people to trials and misguiding them”
Statements of preeminent scholars of the 4 Mazahib:
Shaykh Abul Baqa Muhammad Dhiya Al-Makki Al-Hanafi (854) wrote in “Al-Bahr Al-‘Ameeq fi Manasik Al-Mutamar wal Haak ila Baytillah Al-Ateeq” 5/2900:
“It is not from the Sunnah to touch the walls or kiss them, rather standing from far is closer to respect. And among the etiquettes is that one should not raise his voice when sending Salam nor to touch the grave with his hand nor to stay at the grave for a long time”
Shaykh Qutbudin An-Naharwani Al-Hanafi (990) said in “Tarikh Al-Madeenah” p 192:
“It is not from the Sunnah to touch the wall or kiss it”
Shaykh Mulla Ali Al-Qari Al-Hanafi (1014) wrote in “Manasik Mulla Ali Al-Qari) p 276:
“His saying “One should not touch the wall during the Ziyarah (visit of the grave of the Prophet (saw))” meaning because it is contrary to the etiquettes in the state of reverence, and likewise one should not kiss it as Istilam and kissing are among particularities of some pillars of the Ka’bah”
Shaykh Abu Bakr At-Turtushi Al-Maliki (520) wrote in “Hawadith wal Bid’ p 156):
“One should not wipe himself with the grave of the Prophet (saw) and likewise one should not wipe oneself with the Minbar”
Shaykh ibn Al-Haaj Al-Maliki (737) wrote in “Al-Madkhal” 1/263:
“You will see those without knowledge doing Tawaf of the noble grave as they would do Tawaf around the Ka’bah in Al-Haram, and they would wipe themselves with it and kiss it, and they would rub their handkerchiefs and cloths with it intending Tabarruk with it, and all of this is an innovation, as Tabarruk is only by following him (saw), and the reason of the worship of idols in Al-Jahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) was not but from this door”
Shaykh Khaleel Al-Maliki (776) wrote in “Manasik Al-Hajj” p 164:
“Beware of what of some of them do from Tawaf of his grave (saw), and likewise their wiping with his construction, and they rub their handkerchiefs and cloths with it, and all of this is an innovation… and the worship of idols in Al-Jahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) was not but from this door”
Imam Al-Ghazali Ash-Shafi’i (505) wrote in “Ihya Uloom Ad-Deen” 1/259:
“It is not from the Sunnah to touch the wall nor to kiss it, rather standing far is closer to respect”
Shaykh Taqiyudin As-Subki Ash-Shafi’i (756) wrote in “Shifa As-Siqam fi Ziyarati Khayril Anam” p 312:
“And wiping oneself with the grave and kissing it, prostrating to it and others is only done by the ignorant people, and whoever does such should be condemned and taught the etiquettes of the visit”
Hafiz As-Suyuti Ash-Shafi’i (911) wrote in “Al-Amr bil Ittiba wa Nahi anil Ibtida’” p 185:
“And among the innovations as well: … their Tawaf of the noble grave, such is not permissible, and likewise their rubbing their chest and their backs of the walls of the grave, their kissing it (wall) at the box that is at level of the head of the Prophet (saw) or touching it with the hand, all of this is forbidden”
Al-Buhuti Al-Hanbali (1051) wrote in “Bughiyatun Nasik fi Ahkam Al-Manasik” p 127:
“One should not touch the grave of the Prophet (saw) nor its wall, one should not rub his chest on it nor kiss it”
Among scholars who declared it to be an habit of Jews and Christians:
Imam Al-Ghazali Ash-Shafi’i (505) wrote in “Ihya Uloom Ad-Deen” 1/271:
“As for touching and kissing Mashahid: this is the habit of Jews and Christians”
Shaykh AbdulQadir Al-Jilani Al-Hanbali (561) wrote in “Al-Ghuniyah” 1/91:
“When he visits the grave, he should not put his hand on it nor kiss it, as this is the habit of Jews”
Shaykh AbdurRahman Al-‘Imadi An-Naqshabandi (1051) wrote in “Al-Mustata’ min Zad Al-Afqar Al-Ibad” p 18:
“One should avoid from touching the window, touching it with the hand and then whipping the face for Tabarruk, as this is indeed from the habit of the people of the Book, and this has not been quoted from any of the Mujtahids Imams nor from any of the reliable scholars”
Shaykh Ahmad At-Tahtawi Al-Hanafi (1231) wrote in “Hashiyah At-Tahtawi ala Maraqi Al-Falah” p 620:
“One should not touch the grave nor kiss it, as it is indeed the habit of the people of the Book, and it is not legislated to do Istilam except of the black stone and the Yemeni corner particularly”
The Shuzuz of what is attributed to Imam Ahmad allowing touching the grave of the Prophet (saw):
It is narrated in the book “Al-‘Ilal wa Ma’rifah Ar-Rijal” (2/492) of Shaykh Abdullah ibn Al-Imam Ahmad that he asked his father: “A person who touches the Minbar of the Prophet (saw) and does Tabarruk through touching it and kisses it, and he does the same at the grave or similarly, desiring by it obtaining the closeness to Allah? He replied: “There is no problem in it”.
This narration exists in this book, but it is Shaaz (opposing what is stronger, narrated by more students) as students of Imam Ahmad other than his son Abdullah narrated contrary to him from Imam Ahmad.
Among these students is Abu Bakr Al-Athram who is among most preeminent students of Imam Ahmad. He said: “I asked Abu Abdillah: “The grave of the Prophet (saw) should it be touched and wiped with”, he replied: “I do not know this” I said to him: “What about the Minbar” He said: “As for the Minbar, yes, (narrations) came about it” (Al-Masail Al-Fiqhiyah min Kitab Ar-Riwaytayn wal Wajhain” 1/215 of Abu Ya’la Al-Fara (458), see “Al-Mughni” of ibn Qudamah (3/479)
Shaykh Allawi Saqqaf wrote that touching the Minbar was for before it was burnt, see “Khulasah Al-Wafa” of As-Samhudi 1/455.
Also Abul Fadl As-Salih, another son of Imam Ahmad narrated contrary to what is brother Abdullah narrated, he narrated about the one who enters Madeenah: “He should not touch the wall, and put his hand on the Rumanah and place upon which the Prophet (saw) sat and he should not kiss the wall” (Masail Al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal Riwayah ibnihi Abil Fadhl Salih 3/61)
Also Abdullah himself narrated from his father Imam Ahmad that he quoted from Sufyan ibn Uyaynah forbidding all of this, without objecting to it. He said: “My father narrated to me, I heard Abu Zayd Hammad ibn Daleel saying, he said to Sufyan ibn Uyaynah: Was anyone wiping himself with the grave? He said: No and he should not to Iltizam to the grave (stay there long)” (“Ar-Rad Alal Akhnai” of Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyah p 416)
The followers of the Mazhab of Imam Ahmad forbid touching the grave and kissing it, and they are most knowledgeable of his Mazhab, his narrations, and you cannot find the narration of him allowing touching grave in their books.
Imam ibn Qudamah said in “Al-Mughni” 5/468:
“And it is not Mustahhab to wipe oneself with the wall of the grave of the grave of the Prophet (saw) nor kiss it. Ahmad said: “I do not know this”. Al-Athram said: I saw the people of knowledge from Madeenah not touching the grave of the Prophet (saw)”
Al-Mardawi said in “Al-Insaf fi Marifah Ar-Rajih min Al-Khilaf” (4/53):
“It is not Mustahhab to wipe oneself with his grave, my best of Salah and Salam be upon him, upon the correct from the Mazhab. It is said in Al-Mustaw’ab: Rather it is Makrooh. Imam Ahmad said: The people of knowledge would not touch it”
Al-Hajawi said: “One should not wipe oneself with nor touch the grave of the Prophet (saw) nor its wall, nor one should rub his chest with it or kiss it”
See also “Al-Mubdi’ fi Sharh Al-Muqni’” of ibn Muflih (2/237), “Kashf Al-Qina” of Al-Buhuti (2/517) and other books from the Mazhab, and everyone knows these are the most famous Imams of the Mazhab, the most knowledgeable about the narrations of Imam Ahmad, the correct view, and these Imams not mentioning the narration allowing such show they consider it as Shaaz.
May Allah send Salah and Salam upon the Prophet (saw), his family and Companions!
Summarised and adapted from article of Shaykh Dr Alawi Saqqaf: