15 - On page 259, the Wahhabi writes:
"It is forbidden for the one who enters Masjid an-Nabawi with a view to performing salat to go to the grave to greet Rasulullah. Imam Malik said that it was makruh to go to Qabr an-Nabi every time one enters the Masjid. The Sahabis and the Tabiin used to go to the Masjid, perform salat and go out. They would not go to the grave to greet, because, no such action was ordered in Islam. It is a lie that the souls of the dead could be seen in their living appearance. Such a vision happened only on the Miraj Night. Muslims who came later committed what as-Sahaba did not do. A few Sahabis would go to the grave solely to say salam only when they came back from far countries. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar would go to the grave and greet whenever he came back from a journey. No one else did so. It is a lie that Ahmad ar-Rifai kissed Rasulullah's hand. It has been unanimously approved that one should turn towards the Kaba and not the grave when praying in front of the Hujrat as-Saada. It is prohibited by hadiths to come from distant countries for visiting the Hujrat as-Saada."
The following writing is translated from the book Mirat al-Madina:
"It has become wajib upon me to intercede for those who visit my shrine," is said in a hadith ash-Sharif conveyed by Ibn Huzaima, al-Bazzar, ad-Daraqutni and at-Tabarani (rahimahum-Allah). In another one reported by al-Bazzar, "It became halal for me to intercede for those who visit my shrine," is declared. The hadith ash-Sharif in the Sahih of Muslim and also quoted in Abu Bakr ibn al-Makkaree's (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) book Mu'jama says, "If someone visits me solely for visiting me and without any other intentions, he deserves my intercession for him on the Last Judgement." This hadith ash-Sharif foretold that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) would intercede for those who go to al-Madinat al-Munawwara to visit him.
A hadith ash-Sharif reported by al-Imam at-Tabarani and ad-Daraqutni and other imams of hadith (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) says, "He who visits my grave after carrying out the hajj will be considered to have visited me during my lifetime." Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), too, reported this hadith ash-Sharif. Another one reported by ad-Daraqutni is: "The one who does not visit me after carrying out the hajj will hurt me." Imam Malik (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), too, reported this hadith ash-Sharif. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) requested that Muslims should visit him because he wanted his umma to gain thawab by this way, too. A hadith ash-Sharif reported by al-Imam al-Baihaki, says, "When a person greets me, Allahu ta'ala gives my soul back to my body. I reply to his greeting." Based on this hadith ash-Sharif, al-Imam al-Baihaki said, "Prophets are alive in their graves." The Prophet's blessed soul being given back means that from his high position he answers the one who greets him.
There are so many hadiths stating that the prophets ('alaihimu's-salawatu wa 't-taslimat) are alive in their graves that they affirm one another. One of them is the hadith ash-Sharif, "I will hear the salawat recited at my shrine. I will be informed about the salawat recited at a distance," which was reported by Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaiba and quoted in the books of the six well-known great imams of hadith.
In the hadith ash-Sharif reported by Ibn Abi 'd-dunya on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma), it is said, "If anyone visits the grave of an acquaintance of his and greets him, the dead one recognizes him and replies. If he greets a dead Muslim whom he did not know, the dead will become happy and answer him."
As to how Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) can separately reply to everyone who sends salam to him at the same moment, it is like the sun illuminating thousands of cities simultaneously.
As it is understood that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) knows and answers when one greets him, could there be another honor and bliss greater than this for a Muslim?
Hadrat Ibrahim ibn Bishar said, "I went to Medina to visit the Qabr as-Saada after a pilgrimage. I greeted in front of the Hujrat as-Saada and heard the reply 'Wa 'alaika 's-salam.' "
The poet Nabi said:
Beware of immodesty! Here where Allah's Beloved is!
To where the Divine look is directed; Maqam al-Mustafa this is!
Only if you resolve to act modestly, Nabi, go in this shrine,
There where angels go round, and whereat prophets always kiss!
A hadith ash-Sharif says, "After my death, I will hear as I do when I am alive." Another hadith ash-Sharif says, "Prophets are alive in their graves. They perform salat." These hadiths show that our Prophet (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) is alive in his shrine with a life we do not know. It is written in very reliable books that Sayyid Ahmad ar-Rifai, [He passed away in Basra in 578 A.H. (1183 A.D.). His shrine and mosque were repaired and ornamented by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid Khan II.] one of the prominent awliya', and many other awliya' (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) heard the reply when they greeted Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) and that Ahmad ar-Rifai attained the honor of kissing Rasulullah's blessed hand. Saying that these are lies is like throwing mud at the sun. The great Islamic scholar Jalal ad-din 'Abd ar-Rahman as-Suyuti (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who passed away in Egypt in 911/1595, refuted them in his well-documented book Sharaf al-Muhkam and proved that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) was alive in his grave and heard those who greeted him. One of the hadiths he quoted in his book is: "I saw the Prophet Musa (Moses) performing salat in his grave on the Miraj Night." Abu Nuaym (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), the author of Hilya, too, quoted this hadith ash-Sharif.
A hadith ash-Sharif, quoted in Abu Yala's (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) Musnad, says, "Prophets live and pray in their graves."
Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), during his last illness, said, "I have always felt the bitter taste of the food I ate at Khaibar. The poison I ate that day tears my aorta now." This hadith ash-Sharif indicates that Rasulullah died as a martyr. Allahu ta'ala declared in the 169th ayat karima of Surat al 'Imran, "Never regard those who have been martyred on the way of Allah as dead! They are alive!" So, it is obvious that our master Rasulullah is alive in his grave like all martyrs.
Al-Imam as-Suyuti wrote: "Awliya' (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) of high status can see the prophets ('alaihumu 's-salawatu wa 't-taslimat) as if they had not died. Our Master's seeing Musa ('alaihi 's-salam) alive in his grave was a mujiza, and a wali's seeing in the same way is a karama. Disbelief in karama arises from ignorance."
A hadith ash-Sharif reported by Ibn Habban, Ibn Maja and Abu Dawud (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) says, "On Fridays recite the salawat for me repeatedly! The salawat will be conveyed to me." When it was asked whether it would be conveyed to him after his death, too, the Prophet (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) answered, "Soil does not rot prophets' bodies. Whenever a Muslim says the salawat for me, an angel informs me of it and says, 'So-and-so's son, so-and-so of your umma sent his salam and prayed for you.' " This hadith ash-Sharif shows that our Prophet is alive in his shrine in a life which a man of this world cannot understand. Hadrat Zaid ibn Sahl (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) said, "One day, I was enjoying Rasulullah's company. His blessed face was cheerful. I asked why he smiled. 'Why should I not be happy? Jabrail gave me good news just a moment ago: Allahu ta'ala has declared that whenever my umma recite a salawat for me once, Allahu ta'ala will send a salawat ten times in reply to them,' he answered."
Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) is a great favor for the whole Umma after his death, as he was Allahu ta'ala's compassion for his companions in his life. He is the cause of goodness.
Mahal ibn 'Amr said, "One day, I sat with Said ibn Musayyab (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) by our mother Umm Salama's (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) room. Many people came to visit the Hujrat as-Saada. Said, being astonished at the people, said, 'How stupid they are! They think Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) is in the grave. Do prophets ever stay in their graves longer than forty days?' " Nevertheless, Said [Said ibn Musayyab was one of the seven famous 'ulama' in Medina. He passed away in Medina in 91 A.H. (710 A.D.).] himself had said he had heard the adhan called in Rasulullah's grave on the day the disaster called Harra happened. Hadrat 'Uthman (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), when his house was blockaded, said, "I will not go anywhere! I cannot leave Medina and Rasulullah." If the words which Mahal ibn 'Amr reported from Said were true, Rasulullah would not have called Muslims to visit his grave. As a matter of fact, Bilal al-Habashi (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) went to Medina and visited Rasulullah's shrine on the order he received from Rasulullah in his dream after the conquest of Jerusalem. Hadrat 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), Khalifa of the Muslims, used to send salat and salam from Damascus to Medina with special officials. Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), when he returned to al-Madinat al-Munawwara after conquering Jerusalem, first went to the Hujrat as-Saada, visited Rasulullah and conveyed salat and salam onto him.
Yazid ibn al-Mahree said, "I visited 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), the Governor of Egypt, on my way from Damascus to Medina. He said to me, 'Oh Yazid! Please convey my salat and salam to Rasulullah when you have the bliss of visiting him!' "
Imam Nafi' (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) [Nafi was one of the prominent among the Tabi'un and formerly a slave freed by Abdullah ibn Umar. He passed away in Medina in 120 A.H. (737 A.D.).] reported that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma), whenever he came back from an expedition or war, would visit the Hujrat as-Saada, first Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), then Hadrat Abu Bakr and then his father Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma), greeting each of them. Though the Wahhabite book Fat'h al-majid confirms this, too, it writes that visiting the Prophet's grave was not allowed in Islam and that no one but 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar visited him. However, it is written in valuable books that most of the Sahabis (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) did visit him. It is a filthy slander that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar committed an act not permitted by Islam. The Wahhabi author praises the as-Sahabat al-kiram highly when it suits his interests, but he shamelessly commits such filthy slanders when it does not suit him. If it had not been permitted to visit the Prophet's shrine and to say salat and salam, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar would not have done so, or the Sahabis who saw him would have told him that it was prohibited. His behavior and the silence of those who saw him show that it is permitted and meritorious. Imam Nafi' said, "I have seen more than a hundred times 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar say, 'As-salama 'alaika ya Rasul-Allah!' 'As-salamu 'alaika ya Aba Bakr!' and 'As-salamu 'alaika ya Abi (father)!' during his visits to Rasulullah's shrine."
One day, Hadrat 'Ali (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) entered Masjid ash-Sharif and wept long in front of Fatima's (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) room. Then he entered the Hujrat as-Saada and said, "As-salamu 'alaika ya Rasul-Allah." And he wept again. Then, saying, " 'Alaikuma 's-salam ya akhawayya wa rahmat-Allah," he greeted Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar and went out.
It was for this reason that our scholars of fiqh (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) came to Medina and performed salat in Masjid ash-Sharif after pilgrimage. Then they visited and received blessings by seeing the Rawdat al-Mutahhara, the Minbar al-Munir and the Qabr ash-Sharif, which is superior to the 'Arsh al-ala; the places where the Prophet sat, walked and leaned; the pole he leaned against when the wahi came and the places where as-Sahabat al-kiram and the Tabiin (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain), who worked when the Masjid was being built and repaired or who had the honor of giving financial help, walked. Those scholars and sulaha' who came later would come to Medina after hajj and do as our 'ulama' of fiqh did. It is for this reason that pilgrims have been visiting al-Madinat al-Munawwara.
The 'ulama' have given different answers to the question whether one [a pilgrim] should first go to Medina or visit the Prophet's shrine after hajj. 'Alqama, Aswad and 'Amr ibn Maimun, three superiors among the Tabiin (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) said that one should first go to Medina. Al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), the sun of Islamic scholars, said that it would be better to perform hajj and then leave Mecca for Medina. So it was written in the fatwa of Abu 'l-Laith Nasr as-Samarqandee (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who passed away in 373/985.
During the sultanate of 'AbdulHamid Khan II, it became a custom among [the Ottoman] pilgrims to stay in Medina between the two 'Iyds and to leave Medina for Mecca when the time for hajj came. Some pilgrims would go direct to Mecca and, after 'Arafat, come to Medina to perform the visitation. Then they would go to Yanbu, the port of Madina, where they would take a steam-ship on the way back to their countries passing through the Suez Canal.
Qadi 'Iyad, author of Shifa' ash-Sharif who passed away in Marrakush in 544/1150 and Shafi'i scholar Imam Yahya an-Nawawi, who passed away in Damascus in 676/1277, and Hanafi scholar Ibn Hammam (Humam) Muhammad al-Siwasi, who passed away in 861/1456, (rahimahum Allahu ta'ala) said that there had been ijma' al-umma on the fact that visiting Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) blessed shrine was very meritorious. Some scholars said that it was wajib. It is a sunnat to visit graves. Visiting the most valuable grave, the Hujrat as-Saada, is the most valuable sunnat.
Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) used to visit the Baqi' cemetery and the martyrs in Uhud. 'Abd al-Haqq ad-Dahlawi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), who was one of the great 'ulama' in India that passed away in 1052 A.H. (1642), while narrating the Battle of Uhud in his Persian book Madarij an-Nubuwwa, quotes Abu Farda (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) as saying, "One day Rasulullah visited the martyrs in Uhud. After saying, 'Oh my Rabb who is worth being worshiped! I, Thy servant and Messenger, testify that these got martyred to gain Thy Consent,' he turned to us and said, 'If someone visits and greets these martyrs, they will answer him. They will answer the same way till the Last Day.' " Again, while visiting the martyrs Rasulullah said, "You were patient. Salam be on you!" Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma), when they were Khalifas, used to visit the martyrs in Uhud and addressed them similarly. Fatimat al-Huzaziyya (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) said, "I was passing by the Uhud field. I said, 'Oh Hamza (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), Rasulullah's uncle, salam be on you!' Then I heard the answer, 'May Allah's salam, mercy and blessings be upon you!' " Utaf ibn Khalid al-Mahzuni said that his aunt greeted the martyrs in Uhud and that they replied to her, "We know you!"
The sixty-third ayat karima of Surat an-Nisa', "If they, after tyrannizing over their nafses, come to you and beg Allahu ta'ala's pardon, and if My Messenger prays for their forgiveness, they will certainly find Allahu ta'ala as the acceptor of tawba and merciful," is a command for both men and women to visit the shrine of the Prophet. It was said that it was mustahab to read this ayat while visiting the shrine.
Imam 'Ali (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) quoted Muhammad ibn Harb al-Hilali (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) as saying, "I visited the Hujrat as-Saada three days after Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) burial. After the visit I sat in a corner. A villager came and threw himself on the Prophet's grave. He took soil from the grave and sprinkled it on his face. He said, 'Ya Rasul-Allah! Allahu ta'ala declared about you in the ayat [above, which he recited]. I have oppressed my nafs. I seek absolute forgiveness through your intercession.' I heard a voice from the grave: 'good news to you! Your sins are forgiven'."
Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) came to Uhud from Medina to visit the martyrs in Uhud. Therefore, it is an 'ibada to go to al-Madinat al-Munawwara to visit the Prophet's shrine. The 'ulama' of Islam (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) have unanimously stated that it is a very meritorious deed.
The hadith ash-Sharif, "Only three masjids [The masjid al-Haram in Mecca, the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina and the Masjid al-Aqsa in Quds (Jerusalem).] are to be gone to for visiting," shows that it is very meritorious to go to al-Madinat al-Munawwara with a view to visiting the Qabr as-Saada. Those who do not do so will remain deprived of its great thawab, and perhaps they will have neglected a wajib. Going on long journeys to visit masjids other than these three is permitted if it is for Allah's sake. But it is haram in case of other intentions.
Question: "Imam Hasan ibn 'Ali (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) did not permit visitors to approach the Qabr as-Saada. And Imam Zain al-'Abidin (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), saying that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, 'Do not make a [place of] festival of my shrine! Do not make cemeteries of your houses! Recite salawat on me wherever you are; your salam will be conveyed to me,' did not permit approaching the Qabr as-Saada. What would you say about that?"
Answer: These statements are not congruous with the hadith ash-Sharif, "Only three masjids are to be gone to for visiting." Further, the two imams probably wanted to prevent only those who would behave disrespectfully. [Therefore,] Imam Malik (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) did not even permit staying a long time near the Qabr as-Saada. Imam Zain al-'Abidin (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), in his visitations to the Hujrat as-Saada, would stand by the pillar in the direction of the Rawdat al-Mutahhara and greet. So, it was understood that Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) blessed head was on that side of the Hujra. That was the place to stand by during visits before the rooms of Rasulullah's blessed wives (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhunna) were annexed into the Masjid as-Saada. The visitors stand in front of the door of the Hujrat as-Saada and greet.
Harun ibn Musa al-Hirawi asked his grandfather 'Alqama: "On which side of the Qabr as-Saada had the visitors stood before the rooms of our Prophet's wives (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhunna) were annexed into Masjid as-Saada?" His grandfather said, "Because the door of the Hujrat as-Saada had not been walled up before Hadrat 'Aisha died, they used to stand in front of the door."
Hafiz 'Abd al-'Azim al-Munziri (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), a scholar of hadith who passed away in Egypt in 656 A.H. (1257), said, "The hadith ash-Sharif, 'Do not make my shrine a [a place of] festival,' means 'Do visit me as frequently as you can,' that is, 'Do not restrict your visiting my grave to one or two times a year! Do visit me at every occasion!' And the hadith ash-Sharif, 'Do not turn your houses into cemeteries!' means 'Do not make your houses look like cemeteries by not performing salat in them.' " Since it is not permitted to perform salat in a cemetery, 'Abd al-'Azim al-Munziri's words are right. Most of the 'ulama' explained the former hadith as: "For visiting the Qabr as-Saada, do not fix a certain day like a feast." Jews and Christians used to assemble together, play instruments and dance when they visited the graves of their prophets.
Therefore, visitors to the Qabr as-Saada should not stay long but leave soon after greeting and praying. Muslims should deem visiting the Qabr as-Saada a very meritorious 'ibada. They should go to al-Madinat al-Munawwara however far they may be and try to visit frequently. That is, one should not restrict it to once a year, but, whenever one can afford, one should go and visit without staying long in front of the Hujrat as-Saada.
Abu Hanifa (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), the sun of the 'ulama' of Islam, said that visiting the Qabr as-Saada, one of the most valuable of mustahabs, was an 'ibada of a degree nearly equal to wajib.
In the Shafi'i madhhab, one who vows to visit the Qabr as-Saada has to fulfill his vow. As for the one who vows to visit another grave, there is no unanimity that he should fulfilled his vow, but he had better fulfill it.
It is necessary for the one who vows to visit the Masjid al-Haram on foot to fulfill his vow, because the Farida (obligatory acts) of hajj are performed in Masjid al-Haram. And since Masjid as-Saada contains the Qabr as-Saada which is more estimable than both the Kabat al-Muazzama [in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca] and Masjid al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem], a vow to go to that blessed masjid on foot, because it will include the intention to visit the Qabr as-Saada, should certainly be fulfilled.
A vow to visit the Kabat al-Muazzama should be fulfilled according to all the four madhhabs. There is no unanimity as to whether a vow to visit Masjid as-Saada or Masjid al-Aqsa should be fulfilled. However, the disagreement is about visiting the masjid itself; the one who vows to visit the Qabr as-Saada has to fulfill his vow.
'Abdullah Abu Muhammad ibn Abu Zaid (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) was asked: "If someone, who is sent as a deputy to carry out the hajj and ordered to visit the Qabr as-Saada, only carries out the hajj and returns without visiting, is it necessary for him to return the money given to him to spend during the visit to the Qabr as-Saada?" Hadrat Ibn Zaid, one of the prominent among the Maliki scholars who passed away in 389 A.H. (999), said, "He has to give it back."
Imam Malik (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) said concerning visiting the Qabr as-Saada, "In Masjid ash-Sharif, one should turn his back towards the qibla [Kaba] and face the Hujrat as-Saada, greet modestly and respectfully and recite the salawat. Two rak'as of salat [tahiyyat al-masjid] should be performed in the Rawdat al-Mutahhara after entering the masjid. Then, standing in front of the Muwajahat as-Saada, first Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam), then Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma) should be greeted, and then some certain prayers should be said, because Rasulullah, or any believer, hears his visitors, their salams and prayers. Though it is permitted to pray as one wishes and to say whatever prayers one remembers, it is better to say the certain prayers recommended by the 'ulama.' "
Al-Imam al-azam Abu Hanifa (rahmat-Alahi ta'ala 'alaih) said that, when he was in Medina, he saw that Ayyub as-Sahtiyani (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), one among the sulaha' who passed away in Basra in 131 A.H. (748), came and entered the masjid, stood facing the Qabr as-Saada, and, the qibla behind him, wept.
Abu 'l-Laith as-Samarqandee (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), giving reference to al-Imam al-Azam Abu Hanifa, said, "Visitors should face the qibla, leaving the Hujrat as-Saada behind." However, Shaikh Kamal ad-din ibn Hammam (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) wrote, "Al-Imam al- Azam Abu Hanifa described the ritual of the visit in his Musnad, so, what Abu 'l-Laith and his followers reported was based on a former ijtihad of al-Imam al-Azam, who later declared that one should face the Hujrat as-Saada. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala anhuma), too, said that one should pay salam by facing the Hujrat as-Saada with the qibla being behind." Muhammad Ibn Jamaat (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), a Shafi'i scholar who passed away in Damascus in 733 A.H. (1333), wrote in his book Manasik, "While visiting the Prophet's shrine, one should stand about two meters from the corner corresponding to Rasulullah's blessed head, this corner being on one's left and the qibla on one's right-hand side, and then turn slowly around until one faces the window of the Muwajahat as-Saada, leaving the qibla wall behind. Just when one faces the Qabr as-Saada one should say the salam.
Hence, the visitor should stand between the Rawdat al-Mutahhara corner of the Hujrat as-Saada and the qibla wall, Rasulullah's blessed head being on his left two meters from him, then slowly turn to face the Hujrat as-Saada, leaving the qibla behind. Then he should say salat and salam and pray. And so were al-Imam ash-Shafi'is and other imams' ijtihads, and today the visit is carried out in this manner.
On the qibla side of the Hujrat as-Saada, there was not much empty space before the rooms of Rasulullah's blessed wives (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhunna) were annexed to the Masjid as-Saada; so it was very difficult to stand facing the Muwajahat as-Saada. Visitors would stand facing the qibla and greet in front of the door in the Rawdat al-Mutahhara wall of the Hujrat as-Saada. Later, Imam Zain al-'Abidin would greet, with the Rawdat al-Mutahhara being behind. After the annexation of the rooms of the blessed wives to the masjid, the Hujrat as-Saada was visited standing in front of the window of the Muwajahat ash-Sharifa.
The imams of Islam collected the many rules of observances and conditions for those who live in Medina and for visitors. These conditions and rules were codified in fiqh and manasik books. All were compiled clearly and in detail in Takmilat al-manasik by Ayyub Sabri Pasha (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), the author of Mirat al-Haramain.
The first tomb built in the history of Islam was the Hujrat al-Mu'attara, where Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) was buried. Our master Rasulullah passed away in the room belonging to his beloved wife, our mother 'Aisha (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha), before noon on Monday, the twelfth of Rabi' al-awwal 11 A.H. On Wednesday night he was buried in that room.
Hadrat 'Aisha's (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) room was three meters high and was built with adobes and date-palm branches. It had two doors, one on the west, which faced the Rawdat al-Mutahhara, and the other on the north. Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), while he extended Masjid as-Saada in 17 A.H. during his caliphate, surrounded the Hujrat as-Saada with a low stone wall.' Abdullah ibn Zubair (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), when he became the Caliph, rebuilt this wall with black stones. He was martyred in 73 A.H. (692). This wall was not roofed and there was a door on the northern side. When Hadrat Hasan (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) passed away in 49 A.H., his brother Hadrat Husain (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) took his corpse to the door of the Hujrat as-Saada as requested in his brother's will and wanted to take the corpse into the shrine to pray and ask for intercession. Some people opposed it, thinking that the corpse would be buried in the shrine. To prevent the clamor, the corpse was not taken into the shrine and was buried at the Baqi' cemetery. Lest such events might happen again later, the doors of the room and the one outside were walled up.
The sixth Umayyad Caliph Walid (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), when he was the governor of Medina, raised the wall around the room and had a small dome built over it. The three graves became invisible from the outside, and the room was secured from being entered. After he became the Caliph, he ordered 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), his successor as the governor of Medina and later the eighth Caliph, to build a second wall around it when the rooms of the Pure Wives (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhunna) were removed and Masjid as-Saada was enlarged in 88 A.H. (707). This wall was pentagonal and roofed and had no doors.
Jamal ad-din al-Isfahani (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), vizier of the Atabeg State governed by Zengees in Iraq and the first cousin of Salah ad-din al-Ayyubi, constructed a grating made of sandal-and-ebony wood around the outer wall of the Hujrat as-Saada in 584 A.H. (1189). The grating was as high as the ceiling of the masjid. It burned away in the first fire. Iron grating was constructed and painted green in 688. This grating was called the Shabakat as-Saada (Blessed Lattice). The qibla, east, west and north sides of the Shabakat as-Saada are called the Muwajahat as-Saada, Qadam as-Saada, Rawdat al-Mutahhara and Hujrat al-Fatima, respectively. As al-Makkat al-Mukarrama is to the south of al-Madinat al-Munawwara, one who stands facing the qibla in the middle of Masjid an-Nabi, that is, at the Rawdat al-Mutahhara, has the Hujrat as-Saada on his left and the Minbar ash-Sharif on his right.
Marble flooring was laid on the ground between the Shabakat as-Saada and the outer walls and on the outer area in 232 A.H. (847), and it has been renewed many times. The last restoration of the floor was done on the order of the Ottoman Sultan 'Abd al-Majid Khan.
The small dome, which was constructed with the pentagonal wall, is called the Qubbat an-Nur. The Kiswat ash-Sharifa sent by the Ottoman Sultans (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) was laid on that dome as a cover. The big, green dome which is over the Qubbat an-Nur and which is called the Qubbat al-Khadra is the dome of Masjid as-Saada. The kiswa on the outer side of the grating, the shabaka, used to be hung to the arches supporting the Qubbat al-Khadra. These internal and external curtains were called the Sattara. The Shabakat as-Saada has three doors, one in each of the east, west and north sides. Nobody except the directors of the Haram ash-Sharif may enter the Shabakat as-Saada, and no one can enter inside the walls since there is neither a door nor a window. There is only a small hole covered with wire gauze on top of the dome. Just above this hole is the hole in the Qubbat al-Khadra. The dome of Masjid ash-Sharif was gray until 1253 A.H. (1837), when it was painted green by order of Sultan Mahmud 'Adli Khan. It was painted again by order of Sultan 'Abd al-Aziz Zhan in 1289 A.H. (1872).
No one has spent as much money and effort as Sultan 'Abd al-Majid Khan (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) did to repair and embellish Masjid as-Saada. He spent seven hundred thousand gold coins to restore the Haramain. The restoration was completed in 1277 A.H. (1861). Everyday he did a service for Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) and in this connection his kashfs and karamas were witnessed. Sultan 'Abd al-Majid Khan ordered that a model of the early form of Masjid an-Nabawi be made and put in the Khirka-i Sharif Mosque, in Istanbul, so Major Haji 'Izzet Effendi (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), a professor at the Engineering school and a designer, was sent to Medina in 1267. 'Izzet Effendi measured every dimension and constructed a 1/53 model and sent it to Istanbul. The model was placed in the Khirka-i Sharif Mosque, which was built by 'Abd al-Majid Khan.
After 'Abd al-Majid Khan's repair works, the distance between the qibla wall and the Shabakat as-Saada became seven and a half meters; from the eastern wall to the grating of the Qadam as-Saada became six meters; the width of the Shabakat ash-Shami became eleven meters; the Muwajahat ash-Sharifa grating became thirteen meters long, and the distance between the Muwajahat ash-Sharifa and the Shabakat ash-Shami became nineteen meters. The width of Masjid an-Nabawi on the qibla side is seventy-seven meters and its length from the qibla wall to the Damascene wall is 117 meters. The Rawdat al-Mutahhara, which lies between the Hujrat as-Saada and the Minbar ash-Sharif, is nineteen meters wide. These lengths are calculated on the basis that one dhra' of Medina is fourty-two centimeters. The dhra' shar'i mentioned in fiqh books is forty-eight centimeters.
To conceal the great services done to the Haramain ash-Sharifain and to destroy the magnificently ornamented, invaluable works by the Ottomans, a new work of repair and extention of Masjid an-Nabawi was ordered by 'Abd al-'Aziz of the Sa'udi lineage in 1368 A.H. (1949), which was started in 1370 and finished in 1375. The total area increased from 9000 to 11648 square meters. The length of each of the eastern and western walls became 128 meters while that of the northern wall became 91 meters. There are 232 columns under the vaults. The height of the two new minarets is 70 meters each. Masjid al-Haram in Mecca was enlarged in 1375 (1955) from 29177 to 160168 square meters. It has 7 minarets each 90 meters high. The hills as-Safa and al-Marwa were covered with roofs and joined to Masjid al-Haram. The names of many places were changed to new ones.
'Uthman ibn Maz'un (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) was the first who was buried in the Baqi' cemetery, the only cemetery in Medina. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) erected a big gravestone with his blessed hands at the grave of this foster brother of his. Hence, it became a sunnat to erect grave-stones.
The la-madhhabi destroyed the tombs in Medina. Sultan Mahmud Khan (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) restored them all. After the First World War, the British took Medina from the Ottomans and gave the city to 'Abd al-'Aziz, who ruined all the tombs. They destroyed the sacred buildings, even the artistically magnificent building built over the Well of Zemzem by 'Abd al-Hamid Khan I (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala). They destroyed even the blessed house where Rasulullah honored this world with his birth. They built shops on its ground.
The first domed tomb after the Hujrat as-Saada was the dome built over the graves of Rasulullah's blessed wives in the Baqi' cemetery. On the day our mother Zainab bint Jahsh (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) died, the weather was so hot that Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) set up a tent to shelter the people from the hot sun while the grave was being dug. The tent was left over the grave for a longtime. Thenceforth tents or huts were set up, and later domes were built over graves. The first coffin was made again for our mother Zainab; when Hadrat 'Umar did not permit the Sahabis except her mahram relatives [whom she could not have married by law] to attend the funeral, the Sahabis felt sorry at the prospect of not being able to attend the funeral, and Asma' bint 'Umais said, "I saw a coffin in Ethiopia. It prevents the corpse from being seen." Then a coffin was made as described by Asma' bint 'Umais, and all the Sahabis attended the burial.
Our master Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) used to visit the martyrs (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) in Uhud every year. He would greet the martyrs standing at a place called Hurrat al-Waqum. He greeted each one separately when he visited them in the eighth year of the Hegira. "They are martyrs. They know who visits them. They hear when they are greeted and they reply," he said. Hadrat Fatima az-Zahra' (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anha) used to visit Hadrat Hamza's (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) grave every two days and would put a mark so that the grave should not be forgotten. She would go there every night before Fridays to perform salat of many rak'as and would weep much.
Al-Imam al-Baihaki (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) quoted 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhuma) as having said, "My father Hadrat 'Umar and I visited the martyrs on a Friday before sunrise. My father greeted all of them. We heard their reply. My father asked me, 'Did you answer me?' 'No, the martyrs did,' I said. He took me on his right and said salam to each of them separately. We heard each of them reply three times. Father immediately prostrated and thanked Allahu ta'ala." Hadrat Hamza, his nephew 'Abdullah ibn Jahsh and Mus'ab ibn 'Umair (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) were buried in the same grave. The remaining seventy martyrs were buried together by twos or threes in one grave, and a few are in the Baqi' cemetery. [The names of all these martyrs are written in Mir'at al-Madina, from which the foregoing long passage is translated.]
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