An English translation of the treatise, "Izaanul Khabar fi Izaanul Qabar" by Alahazrat Shah Imam Ahmed Raza Qadiri
What do the learned Scholars of Islam say about the following question: Is it permissible to recite the Azaan at the graveside of any individual? If it is, please supply ample proof from authentic sources so that the doubt the Muslims face at this moment could be eradicated. May Allah reward you for your effort? Aameen.
The legal opinion:
All Praise is due to Allah, Peace and Salutations upon His beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), upon his blessed family and beloved Companions, upon the great Scholars and Saints, till the Day of Judgement. Aameen.
Some Scholars have stated that the recitation of the Azaan at the graveside is an act of Sunnat. Scholars who have done so include ibn Hajar Makki, the teacher of the author of "Durre Muhtaar", etc. We should clearly bear in mind that in the great volumes of Islamic Jurisprudence, the prohibition of this action is definitely not stated, which in itself is a clear indication of it's permissibility. However, this servant of Islam (Imam Ahmed Raza) has been called upon to state proofs certifying its permission, and through the Grace of the Great Creator, I will proceed to do so. There in fact numerous authentic materials that can be put forward by this servant of Islam proving the benefits and advantages of this blessed act. Let us, therefore, proceed by the Grace of Almighty Allah.
Proof No. 01
Proof No. 02
Proof No. 03
Proof No. 04
Proof No. 05
Proof No. 06
Proof No. 07
Proof No. 08
Proof No. 09
Proof No. 10
Proof No. 1
It is reported that when a person is placed in the grave and about to face the two Angels, Munkar and Nakeer, at that crucial moment Shaitaan also appears with the intention of misleading and robbing that person of great spiritual bliss. The great Scholar, Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih), in his famous book, "Nawaa dirul Usool", reports the words of Hazrat Sufyaan Sourie (rahmatullahi alaih), who states:
"When the person is being questioned, the first question being, 'who is your Lord?' At this specific moment, the Shaitaan appears and indicating to himself, he says to the person, 'I am your Lord!'"
It is due solely to this state of affairs that it has been recommended that one should make Du'a for the deceased so that he may, through the Grace of Allah, remain steadfast when answering these crucial questions.
After reporting these words of the great Scholar, Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih) further narrates a Prophetic statement to substantiate his argument. It is reported in the Ahadith of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) that at the time of burial, the great Prophet prayed for the deceased in the following manner:
"O Allah, protect him from the Satan."
We can clearly see that the dreaded Shaitaan does appear at this crucial moment, for it is for this reason that the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has pleaded for the protection of the deceased from Shaitaan. If, as some misled individualís say, the Shaitaan does not appear, then it would have been against the Prophetic logic to pray for the person's protection.
The only logical conclusion, dear Brethren, we arrive at is that we know that the Shaitaan appears so we should adopt ways and means of eradicating his presence and also ways and means of protecting ourselves against him!
Let us, therefore, see what are some of the means of eradicating the very presence of the dreaded Shaitaan.
In the authentic books of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the words of Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) are quite clear. Let us see what the great Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) states:
"When the Mu'ezzin recites the Azaan, the Shaitaan turns his back and departs as quick as he can."
In the Sahih Muslim, the words of Hazrat Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) are reported. It is stated, "When the Azaan is recited, the Shaitaan runs away as far as thirty miles."
In some narrations it is reported that if one hears the "whispers of the Shaitaan", then he should recite the Azaan, for by doing so, he will eradicate the very presence of the Rejected One.
After we have seen that the recitation of the Azaan is a powerful deterrent to the very presence of Shaitaan, and after also realising that he appears to the deceased in the grave, we ask you in all fairness - What is better remedy for spiritual and eternal hardship that the very recital of the Azaan through whose recital we are saved from the Shaitaan and his deceit.
Proof No. 2
Let us narrate another Prophetic action. The following narration of Hazrat Abdullah bin Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) is found in the great books of Ahmed, Tabraani and Baihaqi. He says:
"When Saad bin Ma'az (radi Allahu anhu) was buried and the grave was made presentable, the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) repeated at his grave the 'Subhan-Allah' after which the Companions did the same. The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) then repeated the 'Allahu Akbar' after which the Companions did the same. The Companions then asked, 'O Prophet of Allah, why did you first recite the Tasbih and then the Takbeer?' The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) replied, 'The earth was beginning to constrain this pious person. Almighty Allah (with the Barakah of these recitals) eradicated this pain and made his grave spacious'."
The great Scholar, Allama Tabibi (rahmatullahi alaih), in his commentary of the Mishkaat, states:
"The meaning of this Prophetic action is that by the continuous recital of the Takbeer and Tasbih, Almighty Allah freed a person of the pain experienced within the grave."
We see from this action of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) that he recited the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) at the grave of his beloved Companion so that he could be spared from the dangers of the grave.
When we inspect the Azaan, we also find these very words in it. If we, therefore, repeat it at the graveside, we are doing nothing but following the Prophetic action. It should also be remembered that although there are a few words added in the Azaan, yet it does not alter the intention that one has, which is the pleading for Allah's mercy. It is, in fact, this very intention that the great Companions like Hazrat Umar, Hazrat ibn Umar, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Imam Hassan (radi Allahu anhum) always bore in mind.
In the great book of Jurisprudence, "Hidaya", it is stated:
"One should not lessen any words, for they are certainly the words narrated by the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). If, on the other hand, words are added, then it is permissible, for the intention that one possesses is but to praise Almighty Allah and to make one's servitude apparent. It is, therefore, not forbidden to add any words to it."
Proof No. 3
In numerous books of Jurisprudence, it is clearly stated that when a person is about to leave this world, those around him should recite the Kalima. The simple reason being that the person will automatically realise the religion he belongs to and have no difficulty in repeating it thereby achieving eternal bliss. There is, in fact, a Prophetic statement commanding us to perform this deed. The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated,
"Teach those of your people about to leave this world the Kalima, i.e. La ilaha illal laahu." (Ahmed, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisaai, Ibn Majah)
We know that a person who is about to die is, metaphorically speaking, speaking to a dead person. Nevertheless, we are commanded to recite the Kalima in front of him so that he may save himself from the clutches of Shaitaan. The person who has just entered the grave is also in need of this help. Therefore, if we recite the Azaan at his graveside, he will not only be able to save himself from the clutches of Shaitaan, but he will also be able to answer the questions put to him by the Munkar and Nakeer.
Let us see how he can be assisted by the mere recitation of the Azaan. We know that the three questions to be asked of him will be:
"Who is your Lord?"
"What is your Religion?"
"What do you have to say about this man?"
How will the recitation of the Azaan help him? When he hears the words of the Azaan,
"I bear witness that there is no deity, but Allah",
he will immediately realize who his Lord is!
When he hears the words of the Azaan,
"Come to Salaah. Come to Salaah",
he will immediately realise that his religion was that religion in which Salaah was prescribed five times a day, which can only be Islam. He will thereafter gain the answer to the second question.
When he hears the words of the Azaan
"I bear witness that indeed Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the Messenger of Allah",
he will gain the answer to the third question!
Inspect for yourself, O you who believe, how advantages certainly is the recitation of the Azaan at the graveside, but there are still those who wish to rob the poor Muslims of this great benefit.
Proof No. 4
We know that without doubt circumstances within the grave are absolutely and extremely trying. It would, in fact, be likened with the hardship experienced when there is a fire. Let us, therefore, inspect the words of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and see for us what could be a possible remedy for extinguishing this fire.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu), narrates that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated,
"Extinguish the fire with the Takbeer."
Let us now quote another Prophetic statement, the great Companion, Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated,
"When you see a fire, then indeed recite the Takbeer for it will extinguish the fire."
We see that by the recitation of the Takbeer, the fires of both the worlds are lessened. It is also this same Takbeer that is found in the Azaan. We leave it to you to imagine the benefits achieved when this very Takbeer is recited at the graveside.
Proof No. 5
The two great Scholars, ibn Majah and Baihaqi, narrate the words of Saeed ibn Musayib (radi Allahu anhum) in which the manner of burial is very clearly explained. This great personality said, "I was indeed once present with the great Companion, Abdullah ibn Omar (radi Allahu anhuma), when he placed the person inside the grave and he said, 'In the Name of Allah, in the Path of Allah.' When the people began to fill the grave with sand, he pleaded, 'O Allah! Protect the person from the Shaitaan and torment of the grave.' After doing so he clarified that this was the manner which he heard from the great Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself."
The great Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih) in his masterpiece narrates the words of Hazrat Omara bin Marra (radi Allahu anhu), who describing the manner of the illustrious Companions stated:
"It was certainly considered Mustahab (desirable) by the great Companions and those who came after them that at the time of placing the person in the grave, they used to supplicate as follows: 'O Allah! Protect him from Shaitaan, the Rejected'."
Hazrat ibn Abi Shayba (radi Allahu anhu), the illustrious teacher of the two most famous Scholars of Prophetic Tradition, namely, Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, states:
"It is considered Mustahab (desirable) that when the person is being buried, one should recite, 'In the Name of Allah, in the Path of Allah, in the religion of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), O Allah! Save him from the torment of the grave, from the punishment of the Fire and from the mischief of the Shaitaan, the Rejected'."
Let us now for a moment recount what we have read. We will see that it is an act of Sunnat to adopt means of eradicating the presence of the dreaded Shaitaan. We have seen in previous passages that the Takbeer, the Tasbih and supplications have all to be utilised to achieve this result. Certainly, we come to realise that all means that are instrumental in achieving this result are permissable. If this be the case, and without doubt it is, then how can we say that it is not permissable to recite the Azaan at one's graveside when we have explained the great effect it has in eradicating the very presence of Shaitaan. We can clearly state that not only will it destroy his presence, but it will also assist the person in answering the three crucial questions.
Proof No. 6
In the great books of Abu Dawud, Baihaqi and Haakim are narrated the words of the third Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (radi Allahu anhu). He narrates:
"When the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) (and those around him) had completed the burial of the deceased, he would stay a while at the grave side (and addressing us) he would say, 'Seek forgiveness for your brother and plead for him so that he may remain firm when questioned, and indeed he will be questioned'."
Let us now inspect another Prophetic action to see whether the concept of pleading for the forgiveness of the deceased holds any basis or not.
Saeed ibn Mansoor (rahmatullahi alaih) in his Sunan narrates the words of the great Companion, Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (radi Allahu anhu), who states,
"When the person was buried, and the grave made presentable, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) used to stand for a while at the graveside and supplicate in the following manner, 'O Allah! Our friend in certainly Your guest. He has turned his back to the world. O Allah! Let his tongue be true at the time of questioning and let him not be faced with those difficulties within the grave which he has no power to defend against'."
We have already, through this proof and the one preceding it, clearly proven that it is certainly an act of Sunnat to stand at the graveside of a Muslim and plead for his forgiveness. Let us nevertheless continue with our argument.
It has been stated on the legal authority of the great books of Jurisprudence like "Fathul Qadeer", "Bahrur Raa'iq", "Fatawa Alamgiri", etc. that the act of standing while at the graveside and supplicating for the deceased is an act of Sunnat. In other words, the act of Du'a has been classified, as Sunnat and we know that the Azaan is also a Du'a.
The great Scholar of Jurisprudence, Mulla Ali Qari (rahmatullahi alaih), in his commentary of Mishkaat says:
"Every Du'a is the Zikr (of the Almighty Allah) and every Zikr is a Du'a."
To substantiate this, let us quote a Hadith of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). It is stated that once the beloved Companions where reciting the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) extremely aloud. (Fearing for their external health), the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) advised them,
"Have mercy upon yourselves, indeed you are not making Du'a in front of One Who is deaf and blind, rather you are making Du'a in front of One Who is All-Hearing and All-Knowing."
We see from this Hadith that the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has clearly termed the recitation of the Allahu Akbar as a Du'a, and it is this very word, which is found in the Azaan. The Azaan, therefore, now becomes a Du'a, and when it is, as it definitely is, then how can any person say that it is not permissable to recite the Azaan at a person's graveside when we have already proven to you through authentic sources that to recite the Du'a at a Muslims grave is an act of Sunnat!
Proof No. 7
Now that we have clarified that it is absolutely an act of Sunnat to make a Du'a for the deceased, let us inspect what the great Scholars have to say. The great Scholars of Islam have stated that among the ethics of the Du'a is that before each Du'a is performed, one should perform some good deed. The great Imam Shamsudeen al-Jazari (rahmatullahi alaih) said,
"Among the ethics of the Du'a is that before it is performed, one should perform some good deed."
This very tradition is also reported in the books of Abu Dawud, Nisaai, ibn Majah and ibn Habban. Do we have to remind the Muslims how great and good in fact is the very recital of the Azaan? When each and every Muslim is totally aware of it's excellence, benefit and the reward achieved by reciting it, why should it not be recited at the graveside, after which the Muslims may proceed with the Du'a for the deceased!
Proof No. 8
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), explaining the times when the Du'a of a person is mostly accepted, said:
"There are two Du'as which are not refused. One is at the moment of Azaan and the other is at the beginning of Jihad." This tradition is reported in the book of Abu Dawud.
In another Prophetic statement, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated:
"When the reciter recites the Azaan, (at the moment) the Doors of Jannah are opened and the Du'a is accepted."
Need there be any more to explain this? We clearly see that at the moment of Azaan, not only is the reciter rewarded, but the Du'a after this is also accepted. Imagine the status of the Du'a made after the recital of the Azaan at the graveside! But, as we have stated earlier, there are some misled individuals whose sole aim is nothing but to rob the Muslims of this great blessing. May Allah guide them to the right path!
Proof No. 9
Let us now inspect the words of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to see another aspect of the benefit that can be achieved by the recitation of the Azaan. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated:
"As far as the sound of the Azaan reaches, the reciter of the Azaan is forgiven to that proportion. Upon every dry and wet object that the sound reaches, they ask for the forgiveness of the reciter of the Azaan." (Abu Dawud; Ahmed; ibn Majah; Nisaai)
We see that by this very statement of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), the person reciting the Azaan is one who when he has finished the Azaan is like one who is pure of all sin. Do we have to remind the Muslim how beloved in fact is the Du'a of such an individual? When we are aware of it, why should we not ask this very person to recite the Azaan at the graveside, thereafter requesting him to perform the Du'a.
In fact, this policy of calling Azaan by a person is assured of forgiveness to recite a Du'a is nothing else but following the Prophetic command. Let us see what the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has said:
"When you meet a returning Haaji, you should greet and meet him before he enters his house. You should request him to perform a Du'a for you, for he is indeed one who has been forgiven."
We now ask you, O Muslims, if at the graveside of any Muslim we request that a Muslim should recite the Azaan knowing fully well that he will be forgiven as the indication has been given to us from the very Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself, thereafter we ask him to supplicate and make Du'a for the deceased Muslim, how, we ask you, can this act be non-permissible? May Allah guide those to the straight path whose sole object it is to mislead the Muslims and to rob them of great spiritual blessings?
Proof No. 10
Indeed we have already proved to you that Azaan is among the remembrance (Zikrullah) of the Almighty Allah. We shall now state the Prophetic statement clearly describing how immensely beneficial is the Zikr of Allah. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated:
"Nothing is more supreme than saving one from the Wrath of Almighty Allah than His Zikr (remembrance)." (Ahmed)
It has already been stated that wherever the Azaan is recited, that place is safe from the Punishment of Allah for the duration of the entire day. From this injunction, we clearly see that if we recite the Azaan at a Muslim's grave we are doing nothing but ensuring that the place is free from the Wrath of Allah for the entire day. We will also be instrumental in assisting a fellow Muslim. Need we say the great benefit to be achieved by doing so?
The great Jurist, Mulla Ali Qaari (rahmatullahi alaih), in his commentary of Sahih Bukhari, after comprehensively describing the many benefits and advantages to be achieved by reciting the Quran and other Zikrs of Allah at the grave of a Muslim, clarifies further by saying,
"All types of Zikrullah certainly assist the deceased Muslim within the grave."
Imam Badrudeen Ani (rahmatullahi alaih) in his commentary of Sahih Bukhari further clarifies this point. He states:
"Among the considerations for the deceased person are (among others) that the Muslims should gather at his graveside, they should recite the Holy Quran and also busy themselves in the Zikr (remembrance) of the Almighty Allah. These actions are in fact a great gain to the deceased Muslim."
After stating these excerpts and clearly proving that the Azaan is also among the Zikrs of Almighty Allah, what is there, we ask you, restricting us from reciting the Azaan at a Muslim's graveside?