Women Visiting the Graveyard

30th November 2018

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Question:  Are women allowed to visit the dead at the graveyard? If so then what are the limits? Please clarify this matter in light of the Shariah sources.


الجواب حامداً و مصلياً

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The issue of women visiting graveyards has been a matter of dispute amongst the scholars due to the variant interpretations of the Ahādeeth in this regard. According to the Hanafi School, it is permissible for women to visit the graveyards with the intention of reminding oneself of the Hereafter or visiting their deceased relative. The supporting Ahādeeth on the Hanafi position are as follows;

  1. It is reported from Sayyidah Ā’isha radhiyallahu anha in a lengthy Hadeeth where she enquired from the Messenger of Allāh sallallahu alayhi wasallam of what supplication should be recited when visiting graves? He taught her, “Peace be upon you O the abode of the believers and what you were promised tomorrow has come quickly and we will meet you if Allāh Wills”.[1]

The fact that the Noble Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam taught her the supplication when entering the graveyards and did not reprimand her suggests that they are permitted to visit it. In the next Hadeeth she visits her brother’s grave.

  1. When Sayyidah Ā’isha radhiyallahu anha heard of the death of her brother, Sayyidunā Abdur Rahmān Ibn Abi Bakr radhiyallahu anhu then upon arriving in Makkah she proceeded to visit his grave (where he was buried).[2]
  2. Sayyidunā Anas Ibn Mālik radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam one day passed by a woman crying at a grave. He said to her, “Fear Allāh and observe patience.” She remarked, “Move away from me as you have not experienced my calamity.” She did not recognise him and (later) it was said to her that it was the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. She came to the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam (to apologise) and he said to her, “Verily patience is at the first stroke.”[3]

Had it not been permissible for women to visit graveyards then the Messenger of Allāh sallallahu alayhi wasallam would surely prohibit her in clear terms, but instead advised her regarding patience.

  1. Sayyidunā Abdullāh Ibn Masood radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Messenger of Allāh sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “I used to prevent you from visiting graves so now visit them as it will instil austerity for the world and remind you of the Hereafter.”[4]

Hanafi scholars understood the above ahadeeth in permitting women to visit the graveyards. Allāmah Haskafi rahimahullah states;

“(And there is nothing wrong in) visiting the graves and even for women due to the Hadeeth “I used to prevent you from visiting the graves so now visit them.” Another report includes at the end that visiting the grave reminds you of the Hereafter.

Allāmah Shāmi rahimahullah (a renowned Hanafi Jurist) comments that visiting the grave is preferable and although some have argued of the prohibition, the correct view is that permissibility is established for them also.[5]

It is understood from this Hadeeth that the underlying objective of visiting the graves (be it one’s relatives or otherwise) was to remind oneself of the Hereafter and eliminate all worldly pleasures. This applies to both men and women.

Having discussed the legality of the issue there certain conditions that women must follow when entering the graveyards. She must avoid behaving in a manner contrary to the Islamic teachings such as reviving the old tradition of ignorance such as wailing, crying and besotting aloud.[6] What should also be considered is that the laws of Hijab must be maintained when entering the graveyards such as (preferably) they are accompanied with a mahram, not to freely mix with the non-mahram males and to be covered properly. Visiting the graves should not be so frequent that is beyond necessity, otherwise every so often is fine. Innovated customs such as prostrating before graves, invoking to the dead, Khatams etc are all strictly forbidden and a sin.

Once all of the above conditions are fulfilled then women are allowed to visit graveyards. Those scholars who do not permit women to visit graveyards base their argument on the following Hadeeth;

Sayyidunā Abū Hurairah radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Messenger of Allāh sallallahu alayhi wasallam cursed those women who visit graves (Tirmizi).

This apparently conflicts with the above Ahādeeth that give concession to women.

Imām Tirmizi rahimahullah comments on this Hadeeth;

“Some scholars view this (Hadeeth) to imply before the concession granted by the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam of visiting graves. When the concession was given then men and women were also included in this concession. Some have said that this prohibition is due to their lack of patience and excessive anxiety (when visiting the graves).”[7]

Imām Tirmizi rahimahullah indicates towards the different interpretation the scholars have given to this Hadeeth. Therefore, it will not be correct to ban women from visiting the graves with an unconditional application of the Hadeeth if the Hadeeth itself is open to different interpretations.

To conclude, it is equally important for women to draw themselves closer to Allāh Almighty by remembering death and Hereafter and eliminate worldly pleasures like in the case for men. If this objective can be achieved by visiting the graves then, in that case, there is no sin upon women visiting graveyards (and at times encouraged) provided that the above  Shar’ee conditions are met.

[Allãh Knows Best]

Written by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed

Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam

JKN Fatawa Department

[1] Saheeh Muslim, Book of Janaiz No:102

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ: كَانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – كُلَّمَا كَانَ لَيْلَتُهَا مِنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يَخْرُجُ مِنْ آخِرِ اللَّيْلِ إِلَى الْبَقِيعِ، فَيَقُولُ: «السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ دَارَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ، وَأَتَاكُمْ مَا تُوعَدُونَ غَدًا، مُؤَجَّلُونَ، وَإِنَّا، إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ، بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ، اللهُمَّ، اغْفِرْ لِأَهْلِ بَقِيعِ الْغَرْقَدِ»

[2] Tirmizi, Abwab Janaiz, No: 1055

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ، قَالَ: تُوُفِّيَ عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ أَبِي بَكْرٍ بِحُبْشِيٍّ قَالَ: فَحُمِلَ إِلَى مَكَّةَ، فَدُفِنَ فِيهَا، فَلَمَّا قَدِمَتْ عَائِشَةُ أَتَتْ قَبْرَ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ، فَقَالَتْ:

وَكُنَّا كَنَدْمَانَيْ جَذِيمَةَ حِقْبَةً … مِنَ الدَّهْرِ حَتَّى قِيلَ لَنْ يَتَصَدَّعَا،

فَلَمَّا تَفَرَّقْنَا كَأَنِّي وَمَالِكًا … لِطُولِ اجْتِمَاعٍ لَمْ نَبِتْ لَيْلَةً مَعَا،

ثُمَّ قَالَتْ: «وَاللَّهِ لَوْ حَضَرْتُكَ مَا دُفِنْتَ إِلَّا حَيْثُ مُتَّ، وَلَوْ شَهِدْتُكَ مَا زُرْتُكَ»

[3] Saheeh Bukhari, Book of Janaiz, No.1283

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: مَرَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِامْرَأَةٍ تَبْكِي عِنْدَ قَبْرٍ، فَقَالَ: «اتَّقِي اللَّهَ وَاصْبِرِي» قَالَتْ: إِلَيْكَ عَنِّي، فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ تُصَبْ بِمُصِيبَتِي، وَلَمْ تَعْرِفْهُ، فَقِيلَ لَهَا: إِنَّهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَتَتْ بَابَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَلَمْ تَجِدْ عِنْدَهُ بَوَّابِينَ، فَقَالَتْ: لَمْ أَعْرِفْكَ، فَقَالَ: «إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الأُولَى»

[4] Tirmizi, Abwab Janaiz, No: 1054

عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ بْنِ بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «قَدْ كُنْتُ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ زِيَارَةِ القُبُورِ، فَقَدْ أُذِنَ لِمُحَمَّدٍ فِي زِيَارَةِ قَبْرِ أُمِّهِ، فَزُورُوهَا فَإِنَّهَا تُذَكِّرُ الآخِرَةَ»

[5] Raddul Muhtār p. 150, vol 3

وَبِزِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ وَلَوْ لِلنِّسَاءِ لِحَدِيثِ «كُنْت نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ زِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ أَلَا فَزُورُوهَا» وَيَقُولُ: السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ دَارَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ، وَإِنَّا إنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ

(قَوْلُهُ وَبِزِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ) أَيْ لَا بَأْسَ بِهَا، بَلْ تُنْدَبُ كَمَا فِي الْبَحْرِ عَنْ الْمُجْتَبَى، فَكَانَ يَنْبَغِي التَّصْرِيحُ بِهِ لِلْأَمْرِ بِهَا فِي الْحَدِيثِ الْمَذْكُورِ كَمَا فِي الْإِمْدَادِ، وَتُزَارُ فِي كُلِّ أُسْبُوعٍ كَمَا فِي مُخْتَارَاتِ النَّوَازِلِ………. (قَوْلُهُ: وَلَوْ لِلنِّسَاءِ) وَقِيلَ: تَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِنَّ. وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنَّ الرُّخْصَةَ ثَابِتَةٌ لَهُنَّ بَحْرٌ، وَجَزَمَ فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ بِالْكَرَاهَةِ لِمَا مَرَّ فِي اتِّبَاعِهِنَّ الْجِنَازَةَ.

[6] Raddul Muhtār p. 150, vol 3

وَقَالَ الْخَيْرُ الرَّمْلِيُّ: إنْ كَانَ ذَلِكَ لِتَجْدِيدِ الْحُزْنِ وَالْبُكَاءِ وَالنَّدْبِ عَلَى مَا جَرَتْ بِهِ عَادَتُهُنَّ فَلَا تَجُوزُ، وَعَلَيْهِ حُمِلَ حَدِيثُ «لَعَنَ اللَّهُ زَائِرَاتِ الْقُبُورِ» وَإِنْ كَانَ لِلِاعْتِبَارِ وَالتَّرَحُّمِ مِنْ غَيْرِ بُكَاءٍ وَالتَّبَرُّكِ بِزِيَارَةِ قُبُورِ الصَّالِحِينَ فَلَا بَأْسَ إذَا كُنَّ عَجَائِزَ. وَيُكْرَهُ إذَا كُنَّ شَوَابَّ كَحُضُورِ الْجَمَاعَةِ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ اهـ وَهُوَ تَوْفِيقٌ حَسَنٌ

[7] Tirmizi, Abwab Janaiz, No: 1056

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، «أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَعَنَ زَوَّارَاتِ القُبُورِ وَفِي البَاب عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، وَحَسَّانَ بْنِ ثَابِتٍ.: «هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ» وَقَدْ رَأَى بَعْضُ أَهْلِ العِلْمِ أَنَّ هَذَا كَانَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُرَخِّصَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي زِيَارَةِ القُبُورِ، فَلَمَّا رَخَّصَ دَخَلَ فِي رُخْصَتِهِ الرِّجَالُ وَالنِّسَاءُ، وقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ: إِنَّمَا كُرِهَ زِيَارَةُ القُبُورِ لِلنِّسَاءِ لِقِلَّةِ صَبْرِهِنَّ وَكَثْرَةِ جَزَعِهِنَّ