For Sufis death is not a transition; it is stepping across a threshold and being given another chance to reawaken. Life, as well, offers a spectrum of opportunities that, if taken, allow one to recover awareness of one’s full identity. For a lover of Allah (SWT) death is nothing but a bridge that connects the abode of the lover with his beloved. The reality of death, is “return to Allah”. However, the Islamic philosophers, regarding the manner of the creation of the entities (and amongst them, man) by Allah and after then, their return towards Allah, have subtle, profound and interesting theories. The Holy Qur’an says:
“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” (Sura Baqarah Verse: 156)
The greatest sufi master of Chishti order of Tariqat Hazrat Khawaja e Khawajegan Garib Nawaz Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeeri (Ra:) says:
“The death is like a bridge that connects a lover with his Beloved.”
There are two kinds of “Death” one is the Ordinary Death (Maut e Adi) and the other one is Real Death (Maut e Haqiqi) which is applicable for the Prophets, Martyrs and Awliya-Allah or Friends of Allah. Real Death (Maut e Haqiqi) is not actually death that we know but a stage that offers uninterrupted union (Wisal e Haqiqi) with Beloved Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) forbids us to call them “Dead” those who have reached the stage of Maut e Haqiqi. As Allah (SWT) states in The Holy Quran:
“And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah , “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.” (Sura Al-Baqarah Verse 154)
Allah (SWT) also states:
“And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.” (Sura Al-Imran Verse 169)
Meaning of the word “URS” from Sahih hadith :
The literal meaning of Urs is wedding, and it is for this reason that the bride and bridegroom are called ‘Uroos’.
Word Urs in Sahih Hadith
The date of demise of the Friends of Allahعزوجل and Buzurgs is called Urs because, whih the angels who question in the grave (Nakeerain) test the deceased and find him to be successful, they say:
“Sleep like a bride who will not be awakened by anyone except for the person who is most beloved to her.”
Reference: [Mishkaat, Baabu Ithbaatil-Qabr, Bukhari, Babe Zeyaratul Qubur]
So from the above hadith we can understand that through the angles Allah (SWT) is delivering the most desired news of an uninterrupted union “Wisal e Huq” between Him and His lovers and because these angels have called them ‘Uroos’ on that date, it therefore becomes “Yaum-ul-Arusa” or the day of ‘Urs’of the Awliya-Allah.
Another reason is because, on this day, the angels will reveal the beauty and splendor of Rasoolullahصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and ask him, “What did you say about this man?” He will reply, “He is the Uroos (adorned personality) of all creation. The entire creation has attained splendor through him.” Meeting the beloved is the day of ‘Urs’, and it is for this reason that the day is called Urs.
Celebration of Urs proven from Sahih hadith and Sunnah of Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
It is mentioned in Tafseer ibn e Khateer:
The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to go to the graves of the martyrs of Uhd once a year and also recite the verse of the Holy Qur’an on excellence of patience. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to pray for them. When the beloved Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) passed away himself, the Khalifs, Abu-Bakr (رضي الله عنه), Umar (رضي الله عنه), Usman (رضي الله عنه) used to do the same thing.
Translation : It is narrated by Ibne Abi Shaiba (Ra) that The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to go to the graves of the martyrs of Uhd once a year.
It is also narrated in Tafsir e Kabir and Tafsir e Durre Mansoor:
Translation: It is established from The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that He used to visit the graves of the martyrs of Uhad every year and used to offer salam or blessings to them. The four Khulafa e Rashidin (Ra) used to do the same.
►Tafsir Ibn-Kathir for Quran 13:20
►and Tafsir Qurtabi by Imam Tabari, Imam Qurtabi commentary of Surah Ra’d Verse 20.]
► Shaami states and quotes same hadith in Vol. 1, Baabu Ziyaaratil-Quboor
So from the above Sahih hadith we conclude that:
1) On the day of the passing away of a Saint or on a specific date, his admirers, disciples, followers and relatives can travel towards and assemble together at the grave of the Saint to obtain spiritual benefit and celebrate the anniversary with rejoice.
2) It is also very worthy to recite the Quran Shareef and pass on the Sawaab (reward) to their soul and to recite Fateha and distribute sweetmeat among those present. To Recite Naats or do other forms of Zikr of Allah is also done on such a blessed day.
3) Or to give lectures and remember the work done by Awliyas [rahimullah] and how they acted on Quran and sunnah and spread Islam around the world.
View point of Classical scholars of Islam:
Shah Abdul-Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ:
writes, “Secondly, many people gather and, after completing the Quran and Fatiha on the Sheerini, distribute it amongst those present. This part was not practiced in the Holy Prophet’sصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم time or during the era of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen, but there is nothing wrong in someone doing so. Rather, the deceased attain benefit from the actions of the living.”[Fataawa Azeezia, Pg. 45]
Shah Abdul-Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ
Answering Maulwi Abdul-Hakeem Siyaalkoti, Shah Abdul-Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes:
“This taunt is because people are unaware of conditions.
No one accepts anything else to be Fardh except for what the Shariah has classified as so, Yes, attaining barkat from the graves of the pious, reciting the Holy Quraa and Isaal-e-Thawaab and distributing sweetmeats and food to assist them (thawaab) is good according to the Consensus of the Ulama. The day of Urs appointed to remind people of his demise. Otherwise, on whatever day these acts are done is good,” –
[Zubdatun-Nasaaih fi Masaailiz-Zabaaih]
Hadrat Shaikh Abdul Qudoos Gangoohi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ
writes to Maulana Jalaaluddin:
“The Urs of Peers, according to their method with Samaa and cleanliness, should be practiced,”[ Maktoob. Letter no. 182]
Haaji Imdaadulilb Muhaajir Makkir رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ
the Peer of Maulwi Rashid Ahmed and Ashraf Ali Thanwi [deoband founders ], notably stresses the permissibility of Urs and, while explaining his practices, رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes:
“The practice of this Fakir (i.e. myself) in this matter is that I make Isaal-e- Thawaab to the soul of my Peer every year. Firstly, Quran is recited, and if there is enough time, Moulood Sharif is read. Thereafter the reward of this is conveyed.” (Faysala e Haft e Masayal)
Deobandi scholar Rashid Ahmeed Gangohi
also accepts Urs to originally be permissible. He writes, “It is known from Arabs that they used to commemorate the Urs of Hadrat Sayed Ahmed Badawi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ on a large scale with much pomp, The Ulama of Medina used to especially observe the Urs of Sayyiduna Ameer Hamza رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ whose grave (Mazaar) was at the mountain of Uhud. In short, Muslims throughout the globe, including the Ulama, pious and especially the people of Madina, used to strictly observe Urs, and that which is good according to Muslims is good in the sight of A1lah عزوجل “[Fataawa Rashidia, Vol.1, Pg. 92]
The word mehfil derives from the Arabic word mehfil (Arabic: محفل), which means a (festive) “gathering to entertain (or praise someone).”
Mehfil-e-Naat is an Islamic mehfil (forum) in which people sit and recite poetry in the praise of The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
Mehfil-e-Sama is a gathering held for Sufi devotional music such as Qawwali or prayer and chanting, Hadhra, part of sDhikr (remembrance of God).
HADITH AND TRADITION OF THE HOLY PROPHET USED TO PROVE THE LEGALITY OF SAMA:
It has been narrated by Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa (radi Allahu anha) that once the Holy Prophet undertook a journey.A Quraish girl vowed to Allah (SWT) that when the Prophet would return safely she would play the Duff.When the Holy Prophet returned Hazrat Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) explained to Rasullallah about the girl’s vow.Rasullallah said “Tell her to play the Duff”.
Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa (radi Allahu anha) reported: “Abu Bakr came to see me, and I had two girls with me from among the girls of the Ansaar.They were singing what the Ansaar recited to one another at the Battle of Buath. Upon this, Abu Bakr said: ‘What! The instrument of shaitaan in the house of the Messenger of Allah Upon this, the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Abu Bakr! Every nation has a festival, and today is our festival, so let them play on.'”
Hazrat Aisha Siddiqa (Radi Allahu anha) reported: “Some Abysinnians came and danced with their spears on Eid day in the Mosque. The Apostle of Allah invited me to see the dancing. I placed my head on his shoulders and began to see their playing till it was I who turned away from watching them.”
Hazrat Abu Huraira reported:”While the Abysinnians were playing with their arms in the presence of the Messenger of Allah , Umar bin Khattab came there. He bent down to take up pebbles to throw at them. The Messenger of Allah said to him: ‘Umar! Leave them alone!'”
When Rasullah migrated from Makkah to Madina he was welcomed by the Bani Najar family who sang the famous “Ta La Al Badru Alayna” accompanied by the tapping of the Duff.
It has been reported from the Prophet and many of his companions (sahaba), their successors (tabiun), the great leaders of the schools of law and jurisprudence that they used to listen to and attend musical events which were not accompanied by vices or prohibited acts. This is the view held by many of the scholars of Islamic jurisprudence (fuqaha). Their fatwa concluded that listening to musical instruments cannot be considered haram simply because they have a melody and sound. However, it only becomes haram for a person to listen to them when they become a tool to incite people towards immoral and prohibited behaviour or when they prevent a person from fulfilling his obligatory religious duties.
In Ihya ulum al-din (p.1150, vol.6, published by the Organisation for the Propagation of Islamic Culture 1356AH) al-Ghazzali included the 8th book dealing with listening, particularly musical instruments. He writes: If the instruments are devices used by people to incite others to drink and engage in vice such as wind instruments (mazamir) stringed instruments (awtar) and drums (tabl al-kuba) then they will not be allowed. Apart from that, all other instruments such as the tambourine (duff) even if it has jingles or bells (jalajil), drums (tabl), and others, are permitted.
Al-Qurtubi has mentioned in his al-Jami li ahkam al-Quran (vol.14, p.54) a statement from al-Qushayri: Musical instruments were played in front of the Prophet (to welcome him) during his first arrival in Madina and Abu Bakr wanted to scold and reprimand those who were playing the instruments but the Prophet stopped him saying: leave them alone O Abu Bakr so that the Jews (of Madina) will also learn and know that our religion is relaxed and accommodating! Thus, the women of Madina continued to play the instruments singing we are the daughters of Najaar! How excellent and wonderful it will be to have Muhammad as a Jaar (neighbour)! Al-Qurtubi goes on to say: It has been said that the ruling regarding the use of drums (tabl) in wedding celebrations is the same as the use of tambourine (duff). The same applies to all other forms of instruments used in wedding celebrations. It is permissible (yajuz) to use them as long as the lyrics or verses of the song are not offensive or profane (rafath) (see Ahkam al-quran of Ibn Arabi vol.3, p.1494).
Kisising Mazar and placing face and forehead:
Narrated by al-Haakim that Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) placed his forehead on the grave of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). Marwan Ibn al-Hakam (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) saw him and held his neck. Abu Ayyub (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said I did not come to the Stone. I came to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) say : Do not weep for Islam if the qualified people were in-charge, but weep for it, if it was under the charge of unqualified. (Al-Hakim related this Hadith in Mustadrak and said it is Sahih. ad-Dhahabi (who is held in great respect by Salafis) agreed to his authentication.
It is in Hadith – Dawud ibn Salih (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said: “(The governor of Madina) Marwan ibn al-Hakam (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). He said: “Do you know what you are doing?” When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ). The latter ( Abu Ayyub al-Ansari – رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said: “Yes; I came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), not to a stone.”
The above Hadith is mentioned in (i) Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, (ii) Ahmad (5:422), (iii) Al-Tabarani in his Mu’jam al-Kabir (4:189) and his Awsat (iv) According to Haythami in al-Zawa’id (5:245 and 5:441 #5845 Book of Hajj, “Section on the honoring of the dwellers of Madina, chapter on placing one’s face against the grave of our Master the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)” and #9252 Book of Khilafa, “Chapter on the leadership of those unworthy of it”), (v) al-Haakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); (vi) ad-Dhahabi said it was Sahih, (vii) as-Subki in Shifa’ al-Siqam (p. 126) and (viii) Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261 f.).
It is important to note that ad-Dahabi and Ibn Taymiyya have quoted this Hadith in their books which confirms that one can kiss the Grave and place his head on the Grave of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and Awliya Allah and request their mediation (Waseelah) after the death.
It is in Hadith – Narrated by Ibn Majah, Ahmad, at-Tabarani, as-Subki and Ibn Asakir that : Mu`adh Ibn Jabal (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and Bilal (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) came to the Grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and sat weeping and Bilal (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) rubbed his face against the Grave of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). (Ibn Majah 2:1320, Ahmad, al-Tabarani, al-Subki, and Ibn Asakir).
The above Hadith confirms the fact that kissing of Graves and placing your head on the Graves is the tradition of Sahabah (رضئ اللھ تعالی عنہم اجمعین ).
It is in Hadith – Yahya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) related from Imam Maalik (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) that he heard that AIi Ibn Abi Talib (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) used to rest his head on Graves and lie on them [meaning holding the grave with his stretched hands while his head, entire face and chest is rested on the Grave]. Maalik (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said, “As far as we can see, it is only forbidden to sit on the Graves to relieve oneself.” (Muatta’ Imâm Malik)
In the book “Su’alat (Questions of) Abdullah, son of Ahmad bin Hanbal to Ahmad” He said: “I asked my father (Ahmad bin Hanbal) about the person that touches the “Rummanah” Podium Knob (Where the Prophet – صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم – used to put his hand) with the intention of seeking blessings, and about touching the Grave of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) for blessings, he (Ahmad) said: “Nothing wrong with that”.
Also in the book “Al-ilal wa Marifatir-Rijal” he said: “I asked him (Ahmad bin Hanbal) about the person that touches the podium of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), seeking blessings by touching it and kissing it, and does the same to the grave, or as such, seeking the blessings from Allah the almighty, he (Ahmad) said: “Nothing wrong with that”.
Ad-Dhahabi (who is held in great honor by Salafis and their like minded groups) wrote the following in his book Mu’jam al-Shuyukh (1:73 #58).
“Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son ‘Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: “Why did the Companions not do this?” We (Imam Ahmad) reply: “Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone’s hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and placed it on his face saying: “This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)”? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), as they are ordered to love Allah (سبحانہ و تعا لی) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and ‘Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) more than themselves. (Ad-Dhahabi, Mu’jam al-Shuyukh – 1:73 #58).
PLACING GILAF AND FLOWER ON MAZAR:
Placing Chadar or Gilaf on Mazar:
Chaadars are placed on the grave of the Aulia Allah. This is an act of Sunnah. It is narrated in Sittan e Abu Dawood Sharif that after the demise of the Prophet ( sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) Hazrat Qasim Bin Muhammad Bin Abi Bakar (Ra) came to Sayyida Ayesha Siddiqah (Radiallahu Anha) and requested her to show the grave of the Prophet ( sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) in the following manner :
“O mother! Please remove for me the cover of the graves of Rasulullah (sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) and the companions (Ra) . Sayyidah Ayesha Siddiqah (Rahmatullahi Allaih) then raised the Gilaf (sheet of fabric) from the graves.” (Sittan e Abu Dawood Shareef).
The literal meaning of the Arabic word “Kashf” is to remove cover from something and the word used in the above hadith “Akshafli” means, “remove cover for me.” So it is clearly understood from the above mentioned hadith that the holy grave of Hazrat Muhammad (SM) was cover with Gilaf just immediately after His demise. Fatawa Shami, Volume 5. The Chapter on Libaas also states that it is good to place Chaadar on graves of Aulia Allah.
The graves of the Awliyas are covered with a Ghilaaf just as we cover the Quran and Kaabah with Ghilaaf. The heart of a believer is the throne of Allah (Hadith). Even up to this day the walls housing the grave the Prophet ( sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) is laden with Ghilaaf bearing Kalima Sharief and other Quranic verses which can be seen clearly from the outside also. This Sunnah is in practice from the days of the sahaaba and maintained even by the present Wahaabi regime. Ghilaf or Chadar (cloth) is placed on the grave of a Wali or pious Muslim for the benefit of the visitors so that they may understand and realise the status of the deceased Muslim. It is allowed to put on a Ghilaf on the graves of Awliya and Ulema when it is recognised that the majority respect the person in the grave. People are also aware of the holy person’s status and gain auspiciousness from the holy person who is resting in the grave. In the famous book, “Raddul Mukhtaar”, it is stated: “It is permissible to place a cloth on the Qabar of a Wali or pious Muslim so that visitors be more respectful when visiting the grave. We should also realise that the basis of action is upon the intention”.
The Burning of Incense, Sticks, Lobaan, etc.
To light incense sticks (agarbatti) and lobaan in the Mazaar of the Awliya (or the gatherings of Khatams) and for the benefit of the visitors is permissible. One should bear this in mind that it is done not for the deceased but rather for the comfort of the visitors, as they will feel better in a sweet-scented environment. The action of doing good deeds for others is also a means of Sadaqa and the deceased also receive the Sawaab of this Sadaqa performed by those who are living.
Placing of Flowers on the Mazar:
The placing of flowers on the grave of an ordinary or a pious Muslim is permissible. The flowers or plants are a creation of Allah Ta’ala and as long as they remain fresh they continuously recite the Tasbih of Allah Ta’ala, praising and glorifying Him. The heart of the deceased is satisfied. Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
“There is not a thing but celebrates His praise”. (Bani Israeel: 44)
It is recorded in Sahih Bukhari Shareef that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) once broke a green branch in two pieces and placed each of them on separate graves. Sayyiduna Sheikh Muhaddith Dehlvi (alaihir rahmah) states with regard to this: “This very Hadith has been accepted by the Ulama as proof in placing flowers on the graves”. (Ashatul Lam’aat). Allama Tahtawi (alaihir rahmah) states: “Some among our preceding Ulama have given a legal verdict that the action of placing flowers or fresh branches is Sunnah and is proven from Hadith”. Wet grass should not be removed from the grave because the wet grass prays the Tasbih of Allah Ta’ala and gives solace to the buried. If it is removed then you have committed an unjust deed for the deceased.
Lightinng Candles or Chiragh:
Ummnul-Mu’mineen. Sayyidah Maimunah radi allahu anha. asked the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam , “Give us an instruction regarding the Musjid at Baitul-Muqaddas” He said, “Go to it and read namaaz there.” During those times, there was a war taking place in that area. For this reason, Rasoolullah Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said, “If you cannot reach the Musjid and perform Salaah in it, send oil there so that it can be used to light the Musjid’s lamps.( Abu Dawood Sharif)
“Likewise, lighting lamps and candles near the graves of the Saints and pious in demonstration of their glory is permissible because there is a valid intention here. To make a vow of lighting candles and lamps near their graves to demonstrate their greatness is also permissible. Doing so should not be prohibited.” (Tafsir e Ruhul Bayan)
Imam Sayyid Nooruddin Samhoodi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and Imam Suyuti رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ passed away in 911 A.H. The former wrote the book KhulaasatulWaf aa in the year 893 A.H. Speaking about the lighting of Madina Sharif, he رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes in it, “I do not know from when the old and silver lamps, hung around the Rauza of Rasooullahصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, were introduced.”He also رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “Imam Subuki has written a book named Tanzilus-Sakeenah alaa Qanaadeelil-Madina. In it, he states that the lamps of the Rauza Sharif are allowed. Making them waqf is permissible and nothing from them can be spent for the Musjid.”