Question: I was in Madeenah and went to visit Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madeenah). I stood before the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and greeted him. I, then, invoked peace upon him from the booklet of a person standing there. The book includes no statements entailing Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship), but Allaah knows best. We seek refuge in Allaah from this! It includes statements of praise of the Messenger (peace be upon him), his family and Sahaabah (Companions). It is the blue booklet currently circulating in the market. While reading in the book, I began to cry for I was sincerely praising the Prophet (peace be upon him) and invoking peace upon him. I once read in a book, whose name I do not recall, that when visiting the grave of the Messenger (peace be upon him), one should stand before the grave and greet the Messenger (peace be upon him) with reverence and sound faithas if they are standing before him while he was still alive. I also heard a Hadith which means that Allaah returns the soul of His Messenger (peace be upon him) to his body to return the greeting of whoever greets him. I felt nothing strange in what I did. However, a few days after this visit, I attended a religious lecture in Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee in which the lecturing shaykh warned against committing sinful deeds – as is stated in a Math-hab (school of jurisprudence) – when visiting Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee. The shaykh added that visitors have to turn their backs to the grave and direct their faces towards the Qiblah (Ka`bah-direction faced in Prayer).
The shaykh warned against raising the hands in Du`aa’ (supplication) while standing at the grave and asking for the intermediation of the Messenger (peace be upon him). He even warned against other deeds which entail Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or Al-Shirk Al-Asghar (major or minor form of associating others in worship with Allaah). At this point, I began to recall what I did on that day lest I might have committed something unlawful – may Allaah save us. Since then, Satan has been bewildering me regarding what I did. I only invoked peace upon the Messenger (peace be upon him) and praised him. I was even standing with my left side towards the grave, casting a look at it from time to time. After the invocation of peace, I surprisingly found myself crying. I do not know why, was it because of the Muslims’ status after the Prophet (peace be upon him) or because of my love for him? My mind was wavering with many thoughts and emotions while invoking peace upon him. May Your Eminence answer the following questions:
1- Did any of my actions entail Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or Al-Shirk Al-Asghar – may Allaah save us?
2- What are the deeds entailing Al-Shirk Al-Akbar and Al-Shirk Al-Asghar? May you illustrate with examples of each?
3- Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in the following Aayah (Qur’aanic verse): Bismillaah Al-Rahmaan, Al-Raheem (In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) Say: “O ‘Ibaadee (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah: verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Allaah is Most Truthful. Some Mufassiroon (exegesis of the Qur’aan) state that Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) forgives all sins, including Shirk. Does the intended Shirk refer to Al-Shirk Al-Asghar or Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or to both of them?
Answer: Firstly: It is permissible to invoke peace upon Allaah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) while facing his grave. It is a good sign to cry while doing this only if you were crying due to your love for the Messenger (peace be upon him) and your noble feelings towards him and the wavering thoughts that filled your heart and mind did not entail Shirk… read more here.