What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding making supplication at the grave of the pious? I have heard this is a means of our prayers being accepted.
The scholars have made it clear that the graves of pious individuals are places of great blessings where prayers are accepted. The graves of such men and women are gardens from the gardens of paradise. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned, “The grave is either a garden from the gardens of paradise or a pit from the pits of hell. Imam Tirmidhi narrates this in ‘Al-Sunan’ from Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Imam Tabrani in ‘Al-Mu’jim al-Awsat’ from Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra, Imam Ibn Abi Dunya in ‘Al-Qabr’, Imam Bayhaqi in ‘Ithbat ‘Athab al-Qabr’ from Sayyiduna Ibn Umar, Hafiz Abu Musa Al-Madani in ‘Al-Latif min al-‘Ulum al-Ma’arif’ from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal where he also states, “There are those from the Ahl al-Sunnah whose graves are gardens from the gardens of paradise.”
The mercy and blessings of Allah ﷻ continuously descend upon the graves of the pious. There are many reasons for this, such as there being no moment where people are not praying, visiting, and benefiting from the teachings of the pious. In our daily prayers we recite durud upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his family. In this way a continuous stream of blessings and rewards are reaching these graves.
The rank of the pious is such that those who go against them are in essence declaring war on Allah ﷻ. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah said: Whoever shows opposition to a friend of mine, I have declared war upon him.” (Bukhari)
Imam Shawkani mentions in ‘Tuhfat al-Dhakirin’: [The Chapter of places where supplications are accepted and there are blessed places] I say, “The reason these are blessed places because there is greater significance in them. Due to the nobility and blessings found in these places then the one supplicating at such places also benefits from this. Allah’s ﷻ generosity is vast and He ﷻ gives without measure. It has been mentioned in a hadith, “…these are a people that whoever sits with them will not be wronged.” The one who keeps their company will become like them, even though he is not from them. If blessings are attained by the one sits with them, then it is not a strange thing to assume that these places also have blessings. Remembering your Lord ﷻ in these sanctified places allows the blessings in these places to also enter those who are there. A person will no longer remain unfortunate due to his supplications not being answered.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar in ‘Tahdhib al-Tahdhib’ quotes Imam Hakim who has written in ‘Tarikh Nisapur’ that I have heard Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Mu’ammal say: “We accompanied the Imam of the Ahl al-Hadith, Abu Bakr bin Khuzayma and group of scholars to the grave of Musa al-Rida. I was amazed to see the respect, humility, and passion with which ibn Khuzayma approached the grave.
A similar incident has been mentioned in ‘Tarikh Baghdad’ by Imam Khatib Baghdadi. He says, “Ibrahim al-Harbi, an Imam of hadith, has stated that the grave of Ma’ruf Karkhi is a means of cure. It has also been mentioned by Al-Muhmali: I have known about the grave of Ma’ruf Karkhi for seventy years. Whenever a person in need goes there, Allah ﷻ frees him from that difficulty.” Imam Dhahabi in ‘Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’ has also recorded that statement of Ibrahim al-Harbi with the additional words, “The supplications of the distressed are accepted there as prayers are answered in blessed places.”
Imam Ibn Hibban mentions in his book ‘Al-Thiqat’ the biography of Ali ibn Musa al-Rida. “It is well known that their grave is located on the outskirts of Nuqan in an area called Sunabadh. This is near the Rashid cemetery, and I have visited it many times. Whilst residing in Tus, if I ever came across any difficulty, I would visit the grave of Ali ibn Musa al-Rida and pray to Allah ﷻ for the difficulty to be removed. My prayers would be accepted, and the difficulty would be removed. I did this many times and each time my prayers were answered.
Hafiz Zia al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali has a book called ‘Al-Hikayat al-Manthura’. There is a manuscript written by the author himself in the Al-Zahiriya Library preserved to this day. In this work he quotes an incident of Hafiz Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali who had an illness which was visible on his forearm. He tried every medicine and cure available with no success. Then one day he visited the grave of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and wiped his arm against the grave. He was granted cure and did not suffer from the same ailment again.
Nur al-Din Mulla Ali Qari in his work ‘Mirqat al-Mafatih’ quotes an incident of Shaykh al-Mashaikh Shams al-Din Ibn Jazari who writes it in his own introduction to the commentary of ‘Al-Misbah’: “I visited the grave of Imam Muslim ibn al-Hajjah Al-Qushayri in Nisapur. I recited some ahadith from Sahih Muslim whilst sitting beside the grave of the Imam to attain blessings. I also made dua there and was overcome with a sense of acceptance from the grave and even the soil beside it.
Based on all these account from various scholars it is permissible to visit the grave of the pious and make supplication there. The scholars have mentioned how this act further increases the acceptance and blessing in our prayers.
And Allah ﷻ knows the best
This fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari