The Hadith: “Whoever Visits My Grave, My Intercession Is Guaranteed For Him”

[Excerpted from Appendix, Repudiation of the Innovators of Najd]

The hadith “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him” (Man zâra qabrî wajabat lahu shafâ`atî)[1] is a fair (hasan) narration as concluded by Imam Abu al-Hasanat al-Lacknawi[2] and his student `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda in the latter’s notes on Imam Malik’s Muwatta’ according to Muhammad ibn al-Hasan’s narration (chapter 49: On the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – grave) as well as Shaykh Mahmud Mamduh,[3] although some early scholars had declared it sound (sahîh) such as Ibn al-Sakan in al-Sunan al-Sihah and `Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili in al-Ahkam, followed by Shaykh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki in Shifa’ al-Siqam in view of the totality of the chains.[4] Other hadith scholars who considered it authentic are Ibn Hajar’s student the hadith master al-Sakhawi,[5] the hadith master of Madina al-Samhudi,[6] and Shaykh al-Islam al-Haytami in al-Jawhar al-Munazzam. Al-Ghassani (d. 682) did not include it in his compendium of al-Daraqutni’s weak narrations entitled Takhrij al-Ahadith al-Di`af min Sunan al-Daraqutni.[7] Some late scholars, beginning with Ibn Taymiyya, remained undecided whether to grade this hadith weak or forged.

Al-Lacknawi said about this hadith:

There are some who declared it weak [e.g. al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Khuzayma, and al-Suyuti], and others who asserted that all the hadiths on visitation of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – are forged, such as Ibn Taymiyya and his fol­lowers, but both positions are false for those who were given right understanding, for verification of the case dictates that the hadith is hasan, as Taqi al-Din al-Subki has expounded in his book Shifa’ al-Siqam fi Ziyara Khayr al-Anam.”[8]

Among those who fall into the category of “Ibn Taymiyya and his followers” on this issue:

  • Ibn `Abd al-Hadi who wrote al-Sarim al-Munki fi al-Radd `ala al-Subki in violent refutation of al-Subki’s book on visitation but contradicted his own position in another book of his.[9] Shaykh Mah­mud Mamduh refuted his weakening of this hadith in great detail[10] and stated that al-Sarim al-Munki is at the root of all subsequent generalizations in weakening the hadiths that concern the desirability of visitation.[11]
  • the late Wahhabi shaykh `Abd al-`Aziz Bin Baz who reiter­ated Ibn Taymiyya’s imprudent verdict: “The hadiths that concern the visita­tion of the grave of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – are all weak, indeed forged”;[12]
  • Nasir al-Albani,[13] who claimed that the visit to the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – ranks among the innovations;[14]
  • and Nasir al-Jadya`, who in 1993 obtained his Ph.D. with First Honors from the University of Muhammad ibn Sa`ud after writing a 600-page book entitled al-Tabarruk in which he perpetuates the same aberrant claim.[15]

Al-Sakhawi:

The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous hadiths, and it would suffice to show this if there was only the hadith whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes guaranteed for whoever visits him, and the Imams are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this [i.e. visiting him] is among the best acts of drawing near to Allah.[16]

There is no contest among the jurists of the Four Schools as to the probative force of the narration of Ibn `Umar, as it is adduced time and again by the jurists to support the strong desirability of visiting the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in Madina. See, for example, among Hanbali sources alone:

  • Ibn Qudama’s al-Mughni (3:297)
  • Ibn Muflih’s al-Mubdi` fi Sharh al-Muqni` (3:259)
  • Al-Buhuti’s Kashshaf al-Qanna` (2:515; 5:36)
  • Ibn Dawyan’s Manar al-Sabil (1:256).

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