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The Permissibility of Erecting a Mausoleum (Mazaar)

Some people say that it is Haraam to build a Mazaar (Shrine, Tomb, Mausoleum) of a Saint. They have always labelled those who construct or visit the Mazaaars as Mushriks (Idol Worshippers) and non-believers. They label those who erect Mausoleums for the Saints as "Qabar Pujaris" or "Grave-worshippers" and call them misled.

It must first be understood that there are two types of Muslims:-
1. Ordinary Muslims (Muslims Layman): The erection of a Mausoleum for an ordinary Muslim is forbidden since it is of no benefit.
2. Special Muslims (Saint, Pious, Martyrs and Ulema): The erection of a Mausoleum for special individuals, i.e. pious men, Saints, Martyrs and the Ulema (learned Scholars of Islam) is permissible.

The reason for building a Mazaar is to make the status of the Saint apparent or distinct to mankind, for respect towards such great people is actually respect for Islam. It is built also for the convenience of the people and the followers of the Saint.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran: "Some said 'construct a building over them'. Their Lord knows best about them. Those who prevailed over their affairs said "Let us surely build a place of worship over them." (Surah Kahf: 18) In accordance with the commentators of this verse of the Quran, Imam Bayzawi (radi Allahu anhu) says: "From this it is understood that to erect a Mausoleum for the special people, i.e. Pious Saints and Ulema, is permissible".

Imam Fakhrud'deen Razi (alaihir rahmah) writes: "The leaders of the city said that we will build a Mosque over them so that we will worship Allah Ta'ala and by the means of this Mosque the monument of As'haab Khaaf will remain." (Tafseer Kabeer)

In "Tafseer Roohul Bayaan", Vol. 3, according to the verse: "To build over the graves of the Ulema, Awliya and the Saliheen is a permissible act with this condition that the motive is that the greatness of these pious people must be made apparent so that the people don't think that it is an ordinary grave."

Concerning the erection of a Mausoleum, it is also recorded in "Mirqaat Shara Mishqaat": "The previous scholars said that it is permissible to erect Mausoleums for the graves of the pious, Saints, Ulema, etc. so that people visit their Mausoleums and sit therein conveniently."

It is also written in "Fatawa Shaami", Vol. 1: "If the deceased is from amongst the Masha'aikh (Great Predecessors), Ulema (Learned Muslims Scholars) and Sayeds (descendants of the Holy Prophet) then to erect upon their graves is not undesirable."

Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dhelwi (alaihir rahmah) said that to build tombs is a praiseworthy act, hence in "Shara Safarus Sa'ada" he says: "In the previous generations, the ordinary people used to only pay attention on the apparent structure of the buildings (Tombs). To build over the graves of pious men and Saints, and in continuing it, it is known to be good. So according to this, few additions have been made so that the Muslims and the Saints status were made apparent especially in India (non-Muslim countries). This has been continually done because in India there are a lot of anti-Muslims. Because of the respected status of the pious and Saints, the Hindus and non-Muslims tend to follow them. The excess of these action and these paths (ways) which were undesirable in the previous generation are now declared praiseworthy." Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dhelwi (alaihir rahmah) is an accepted Scholar both by the Arabs and non-Arabs. He first brought and spread I'lme Hadith (the Knowledge of Ahadith Shareef) in the Indo-Pak sub-continent.

Those who object to the erecting of Mausoleums say that it is not permissible to build on the grave, thus to erect a Mazaar is not permissible. The correct meaning in this context is to build on TOP of the grave after it has been flattened. The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at believes that to build on top of a grave is not allowed, but to build around the grave is permissible. Therefore, we build Mazaars around the grave of the Awliya and not on top of grave.

Those objecting to the Mazaars say that Muslims visit these places in order to prostrate to graves. It is not a common practise for Muslims to prostrate or bow before graves. Neither do Muslims make Tawaaf (Circumbulate) of the graves. As a matter of fact, some Muslims even behave un-Islamically in the Mosques. Does this mean that Mosques should also not be built?

Numerous other countries throughout the world also have tombs of Saints, Martyrs, and Ulema with Mausoleums erected over them. These Mausoleums date back to the early days of Islam. Does it now mean that all these Mazaars will have to be razed to the ground? Were those who erected these Mausoleums not Muslims? It should be pointed out that the Muslims of that era were even more pious than the Muslims of today. Furthermore, and equally important is that they were also more well-versed in the laws of Islamic Jurisprudence.

It has been stated in the Ahadith: "Think good about Muslims." To those persons who directly or indirectly object to the building of Mausoleums realise that they are contradicting the above Ahadith by thinking ill of those learned Muslim scholars who were responsible for the erection of Mausoleums in every period of history! It is sad that the Najdi and Wahabi Ulema were responsible for bulldozing the tombs of numerous Sahaba, Ahle-Bait, Martyrs, Saints and religious scholars.The Righteous Ulema of India, Pakistan, Mauritius, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Hijaz Shareef, Iraq and many others have all unanimously said and proven from the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) that the erecting of Mausoleums of the Awliya-Allah and Ulema is absolutely permissible.