Wednesday, April 16, 2008

True Sabr and Visiting Graves

And below, are the last hadeeth and notes from Lesson 170 of Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq's commentary of al Tajrid al Sarih (the Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari). Lesson 170 is from the Book of Zakah. I pray that Allah allows us all to act on any ilm we gain.

باب: زِيَارَةُ القُبُور

Chapter 15 - Chapter on visiting graves

651. عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ:

مَرّ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِامْرَأَةٍ تَبْكِي عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ, فَقَالَ: (اتّقِي اللهَ وَاصْبِرِي). قَالَتْ: إِلَيْكَ عَنّي, فَإِنّكَ لَمْ تُصَبْ بمُصِيبَتِي, وَلَمْ تَعْرِفْهُ, فَقِيلَ لَهَا: إِنّهُ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم, فَأَتَتْ بَابَ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم, فَلَمْ تَجِدْ عِنْدَهُ بَوّابِينَ, فَقَالَتْ: لَمْ أَعْرِفْكَ, فَقَالَ: (إِنّمَا الصّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصّدْمَةِ الأَوْلَى). رواه البخاري: 1283

651. Narrated Anas bin Mâlik رضى الله عنه : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم passed by a woman who was weeping beside a grave. He told her to fear Allâh and be patient. She said to him, Go away, for you have not been afflicted with a calamity like mine. And she did not recognize him. Then she was informed that he was the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم . So she went to the house of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and there she did not find any guard. Then she said to him, I did not recognize you. He said, Verily, the patience is at the first stroke of a calamity. (2:372O.B.)

The Shaykh has explained this hadeeth on numerous occasions before in previous daroos.

From all the narrations of this incident, we learn the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was walking and came across a woman who was over the grave of her son – she was weeping, and saying things and acting in a way in that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) disapproved of, so the Prophet ((صلى الله عليه وسلم told her to fear Allah and be patient i.e. don’t wail, don’t say such things. So the woman said ‘away with you, you don’t know my situation, you don’t know my pain, you have not been inflicted with the misfortune which has befallen me’. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) didn’t say anything. Others who were there told her that it was the Prophet ( (صلى الله عليه وسلم as she did not realise who she has said these words to. According to one narration it was as if death took hold of her when she realised she has spoken to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in this manner. She rushed to the house of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said to him that she didn’t realise it was him to apologise. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) didn’t say anything about the apology – it was irrelevant to him – the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was not offended and therefore he did not expect her to apologise, he was telling her to focus on herself i.e. all that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was trying to say to her was do not do anything wrong, fear Allah and be patient.

In one narration she said ‘I am patient, I am patient’ but the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘No, patience is at the first shock’. What does this mean? We all suffer in life; the Shaykh said life is not paradise on earth, it was never meant to be - life is a series of tragedies and full of tears, torment, turmoil, and turbulence. It is a constant struggle; we struggle to our Lord, eventually meeting him. The whole world is a place of test and our lives are a test. Allah wishes to see how we react and respond to tragedy. Therefore, one is not rewarded by being inflicted, one is observed by one’s reaction and response to calamity. So the response should be a desirable one not something which happens anyway i.e. eventually coming to terms with the calamity. Imagine if someone’s loved one dies - everyone eventually gets over it, everybody resumes normal life, everybody accepts as one does not have a choice otherwise. We have to accept and come to terms with it.

Sabr is not acceptance or coming to terms with it or being patient. Waiting, acceptance, submission, and resignation are not called sabr.

Sabr is when a person hears of bereavement one says ‘We belong to Allah and unto Allah we belong’. Everything belongs to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and when someone dies Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) has reclaimed them – thus, one should say I resign myself to the Qadr of Allah and I am content with the Qadr of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) .

Abdullah ibn Masood (رضى الله عنه) received news of his son’s death; he was riding and he dismounted, faced the qibla and prayed salah. Someone questioned him and he recited an ayat of the Qur’an‘Oh believers seek Allah’s assistance through patience and prayer, and know that Allah is with those who are patient and preserve’.

Sabr means patience and perseverance; it means remaining steadfast even in infliction, adversity, misery, hardship, unhappiness, and discomfort and that one remains perseverant, and observant and steadfast upon the Shari’ah. One does not utter, think or act in a wrong way. That is why the initial reaction is what matters so much.

Imam Bukhari (رحمة الله عليه) includes this hadeeth under the chapter on visiting graves because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) corrected the woman on weeping and wailing which was wrong but he did not prevent her from visiting the grave – had it been haram he would have told her.

In the early stages of Islam going to visit graves was actually haram. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said in another hadeeth: ‘I would prevent you from visiting graves but now go and visit them because it reminds you about the akhirah’.

Does this permissibility extend to men and women or is it just to men?

Men can visit graves and graveyards. According to the Maliki, Shafi and Hanafi schools of fiqh and one narration from the Hanbali school of fiqh, it is permissible for women to visit graves. There is one Hanbali narration that it is makrooh for women to visit graves – this is the more accepted and acted upon view of Hanbali.

However the condition is that there is no fear of fitna and no haram activity and nothing is done which is contrary to the Shari’ah.

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