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  1. 1. Objective of visiting the graveyard. When one visits a graveyard, his intention should be to remind himself of death and life after death and to jolt oneself to prepare for that. Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) has said; كُنْتُ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْ زِيَارَةِ الْقُبُورِ، فَزُورُوهَا؛ فَإِنَّهَا تُزَهِّدُ فِي الدُّنْيَا، وَتُذَكِّرُ الْآخِرَةَ سنن ابن ماجه (1/ 501) “I had prohibited you from visiting the graveyard, now visit it because it (the visiting) withdraws one from the world and reminds of the hereafter”. (Sunan Ibne Majah). 2. When one enters the graveyard he should read; [1] السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الدِّيَارِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمِينَ، وَإِنَّا، إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ لَلَاحِقُونَ، أَسْأَلُ اللهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمُ الْعَافِيَةَ Transliteration: Assalamulaykum ahlad diyaar minal mu`mineen wal muslimeen. Wa inna in sha Allahu bikum lahikuun. As`alullaha lana walakumul aafiyah Translation: Peace be on you, O beleivering dwellers of this dwelling, soon when Allah wishes we shall meet together. I ask Allah A`fiyya for us and for you. 3. One should give due respect to the deceased as he would have given him when he was alive, Rasulullah(salallahu alayhi wa sallam) has mentioned; "كَسْرُ عَظْمِ الْمَيِّتِ كَكَسْرِهِ حَيًّا" سنن ابن ماجه ت الأرنؤوط (2/ 541) “Breaking the bone of a deceased is like breaking his bone whilst he was alive” (Sunan Ibne Majah) 4. One should abstain from trampling any grave as we have been warned against it in a Hadith; نَهَى النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ تُجَصَّصَ القُبُورُ، وَأَنْ يُكْتَبَ عَلَيْهَا، وَأَنْ يُبْنَى عَلَيْهَا، وَأَنْ تُوطَأَ. سنن الترمذي ت بشار (2/ 359) “Nabi (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) has prohibited that graves be solidified, something be written on them, something be built on it or it be trampled” (Sunan-at-Tirmidhi) 5. One should abstain from sitting on a grave as Nabi (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) has said; «لَأَنْ يَجْلِسَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى جَمْرَةٍ فَتُحْرِقَ ثِيَابَهُ، فَتَخْلُصَ إِلَى جِلْدِهِ، خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَجْلِسَ عَلَى قَبْرٍ» صحيح مسلم (2/ 667) (It is better that one of you sits on a burning amber and it burns his clothes and gets on his skin than sitting on a grave). (Saheeh Muslim) We can see the severity of sitting on graves from this hadith. 6. One should make as much dua, istigfaar and tilaawat as he wishes and make the intention that the reward of that reading be a gift for the deceased (this will not decrease the reward of the reader himself). N.B a person can make an intention that the reward be passed to all muslims who have passed away.[2] 7. It is preferable one reads Sura Yaseen, Sura Mulk, Sura Fatiha, Sura Zilzaal, Sura Takaathur, Sura Ikhlaas and Ayatul Kursi. 8. One should abstain from talking anything about worldly things, since the graveyard is a place to remind one of death and the hereafter. 9. One may raise his hands and make dua as long as raising the hands does not resemble those who worship graves. If making dua creates such an impression, face the qibla when making dua. 10. When visiting the graveyard, one should use the opportunity to make Tawba, Istigfaar and to reform oneself. Think of the day one will be placed in the Qabr (grave). As much as the deceased appreciate our visiting them and sending thawaab, a person should make his own preparation for death whilst he is alive. And Allah Ta`ala Knows Best. Hussein Muhammad. Student Darul Iftaa Arusha, Tanzania Checked and Approved by: Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
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