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Imam Abu Hanifah’s opinion on building mosques on graves

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Kitaab al-Aathar” of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), from the narration of Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Ash-Shaybani (RA), as translated by Abdassamad Clarke, and published by Turath Publishing (UK):

“Muhammad said, “Abu Hanifah informed us from Hammad that Ibrahim said, ‘It used to be said that one should raise the grave so that it will be recognized as a grave and not stepped on.’

Muhammad said, “We adhere to this, but we do not think that anything should be added to what comes out of it (the soil which comes out of the grave), and we dislike it being plastered with gypsum or with clay, or that a mosque or any marker should be build by it or that anything should be written on it. It is disliked that it should be built with baked bricks or that they should be put in the interior of the grave. We see no harm in sprinkling water on it. That is the verdict of Abu Hanifah, may Allah, exalted is He, have mercy on him.”

What Clarke translated as “We dislike” (Yukrahu) means Makruh Tahrimi for Abu Hanifah, meaning dislike of forbiddance. If you are a true hanafi, if you really love Imam Aboo Haneefa (RA), please obey his fatwa: Don’t build graves, don’t build masjids on graves. Please see Ornate tombs and decorated graves for a brief history and practices on tombs and graves.

For an explanation of Surah Kahf verse 18 (“…We verily, shall build a place of worship over them”), and hadeeths related to tombs, please click Ruling on building mosques over graves


Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Ash-Shaybani (RA) was a student of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA). Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was a Tabi’ i (Follower).

The Kitab al-Athar, according to its publishers, was the first book composed in Islam after the generation of the Companions. Al-Imam Abu Hanifa Numan ibn Thabit wrote it. It comprises Ahadith (hadeeths) that connect directly back to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam (marfu), those which stop short at a Companion or one of the Followers (mawquf) and those which are attributed to the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam directly by one of the Followers or Followers of the Followers without attribution to a Companion (mursal)

Clarification of Hanafi Scholars’ use of words:

Haram: This is something that is forbidden by Quran, or Hadith Mutawatir (narrated by such a large number of people that it is impossible that they have invented a lie) or Mashur (Mashhoor – narrated by three people or more at every level, but does not reach the condition of the mutawaatir).

Makruh Tahrimi: That is something that is like Haram in punishment. The only difference is that this forbiddance is established by Khabar Ahad (single narration). So for hanafis (Ahnaf), wearing gold and silk for men, doing Nikah of Tahlil (for the purpose of making woman legal to the first husband) are Makruh Tahrimi as they are forbidden by Khabar Ahad and not by Quran or Hadith Mutawatir.

Makruh Tanzihi: This is the forbiddance whose doer is not sinful, yet leaving this action will give reward, like eating and drinking standing or other actions.

Acknowledgment: The primary source for this post is “A gift for the Bralwiyah” by Ali Hassan Khan

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Written by S Ibrahim

Oct 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

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