What do the learned scholars of religion state with regards the following: Zaid constructed the grave of his spiritual mentor and made it concrete. Every year on the date of his passing, he recites the Holy Qur’an and salawat upon the Noble Messenger ﷺ and then sends the reward to the Shaykh. Furthermore, he sits at the side of the grave of the Shaykh to seek his blessings and for the removal of distress and calamities. He also seeks the Shaykh’s intermediary in the court of Allah ﷻ to ask for help and assistance. So, is this action of Isal al-Thawab (sending the reward to the deceased) and Istimdad (seeking help from the pious) permissible or not?
It is permissible to send the reward to the deceased Muslims regardless of whether it is done on any day or specified to the day of their passing, to remember the deceased and other permissible intentions. Not specifying the date with the ignorant thought that it is necessary to specify one day of Isal al- Thawab, or that Isal al-Thawab will only occur and happen on that specific day and never else is wrong. Likewise, to commemorate the ‘Urs ceremony of any pious individual is also permissible so long as there are no prohibited acts within it such as music, dancing and so on.
It is also permitted is making the Awliya intermediaries in the court of Allah ﷻ and seeking help from them – who may apparently appear ‘dead’ but in actual fact are alive – with the intention of Tawassul and regarding them as a means and intercession, not – Allah ﷻ forbid! – to believe them to have personal power independent of Allah ﷻ, something which no one can even think that a Muslim believes, nor can anyone have doubt over. For a Muslim, all these things are lawful and permissible; there is no evidence in the Sacred Law to define otherwise [that it is impermissible]. All these issues have been dealt with much research and at great length in this faqir’s monograph ‘al-Bariqatus Shariqah ‘Ala Mariqatil Mushariqah. There is a specific monograph of this faqir which covers the topic of Istimdad [seeking assistance] entitled Barakat al-Imdad li Ahl al-Istimdad. Hence, there is no need to repeat whatever has been mentioned in those two epistles.
As for the issue of renovating a grave and constructing it, the scholars have regarded it as permissible, so as long as the internal part of the grave [where the deceased is buried] it remains as it is [no construction inside the grave], one can still construct the external part of the grave and use baked bricks and cement. However, if there is a necessity such as wetness of the soil inside the grave or the soil/earth became quite soft, then there is no harm in using baked bricks or processed wood [e.g. a coffin itself]. Those who deny this themselves are going against the Sunnah as wood and baked brick has the same ruling and such people use planks of wood in their graves and none of those people object to this action of theirs!
And Allah ﷻ knows the best
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رحمة الله تعالى عليه
Translation by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari Translator of Majestic Quran, www.majesticquran.co.uk