Question 68: What is the ruling of Sharee‘ah (Islaamic law) on visiting the graves of pious people. When a man travels to the grave of a pious person, accompanied by his family and relatives, among which are women, they take a ewe with them to slaughter near the grave, then they serve food, eat, drink, and stay by the graveside for a whole day or part of a day, and sometimes until early morning. The grave is 20 km, more or less, away from the house. They also give some of the meat to their friends and relatives who live in another area, as a gift or Sadaqah (voluntary charity). Although people know that the Name of Allaah was mentioned on slaughtering the animal, some of them say that this meat is as Haraam (prohibited) as eating pork. However, Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: So eat of that (meat) on which Allaah’s Name has been pronounced (while slaughtering the animal) The purpose of this journey, from its beginning to its end, is only to approach Allaah through visiting the grave of this pious man and supplicating there, seeking his blessings, and seeking to draw close to Allaah (Tawassul) through him. When a dispute arises between two people, they take oaths at the grave of this pious man. People also hold an annual commemoration of his birthday at his grave. It is also one of our customs that, when one of us becomes sick, we go to the graves of pious people, or if one of us becomes mentally ill or seriously ill, our relatives take us to the graves of pious people. Sometimes the people are cured of their physical or mental illness due to the visit they pay to the graves of the righteous. What is the Islaamic ruling on this? Please enlighten us, may Allaah be merciful to you!
Answer: Firstly, it is not permissible to undertake a journey to visit graves because the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed, saying: No journey should be made except to three Masjids (mosques): This Masjid of mine (Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee in Madeenah), Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah), and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem).
Secondly, visiting graves is only lawful for men, not women, if the grave is in the same area, i.e. Can be visited without having to travel. This applies as long as the purpose of the visit is to take admonition and supplicate to Allaah for those buried there, if they are Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in this regard… read more here.