Qur'an and Sunnah on Sajda Controversy
There has been a lot of controversy regarding visitation to the graves of Prophets and Saliheen (righteous) and some practices which take place there, there are 2 extremes in this regard
(1) Those who do blatant takfir without understanding the Shariah and rulings properly, but what they fail to realize is that their false takfir would actually bounce back (i.e. to the accuser). Both scholars of the extremist sect and Awaam are included in this
(2) Those who really do ignoramus acts on graves (such as clinging to it, throwing papers and it has been heard that some even prostrate towards the grave). Only some ignorant people are included in this but not the scholars.
To start with let us clear the basic point i.e Sajdah at-Tazeem (Prostration of Respect) to anyone other than Allah Ta’ala is totally Haraam. To make Sajdah al-Ibadah (Prostration of Worship) to anyone other than Allah Ta’ala is undoubtedly Shirk
The point is that false accusations are hurled towards Muslims generally that they are Mushrikeen/Kafirs (although in reality the Muslims are not rather the false takfir returns back to the accuser as Sahih ahadith proves it), some innocent people are even fooled by clever pictures/videos which some deceivers make in order to spread propaganda of comparing Muslims with hindus (Naudhobillah).
This was pioneered by the leader of an extremist sect called Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab al-Najdi al Khariji at-Tameemi who emerged exactly from the place where the Khawarji fitnah always emerged which was and is renowned for declaring other Muslims as kafirs by applying ayahs revealed for disbelievers upon Muslims. He falsely accused Muslims of being Mushrikeen/Kufaar and waged war on them even in Haramayn Sharefayn (where it is forbidden by Prophet to wage war rather there is Lanah on the people who frighten the two holy places) these view points still echo in this sect which gives verdicts like blessed dome of Prophet (Peace be upon him) should be destroyed/demolished (Naudhobillah) they had already used their evil minds upon blessed graves of many Sahaba Ikraam which they bulldozed due to their wrong concept of Tawhid and Shirk.
Angels prostrated to Adam (a.s) but Shaytan denied
Qur'an states about Adam (a.s): And when We said unto the angels: “PROSTRATE” yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever. (The Glorious Quran 2:34)
Now two very important points are derived from this verse:
(1). Had prostration to Pious people been shirk in Mutlaqqan (all) terms then Allah would have never ordered angels to prostrate to Adam (a.s) because Allah never orders Shirk and It is illogical to attribute to Allah that he can order something wrong (Naudhobillah)
(2). All Angels prostrated and earned a great reward whereas the Iblees (Shaytan) became proud and failed to understand the “VIRTUE/STATUS” of Adam (a.s) thus Iblees not only became cursed but rather a “DISBELIEVER” this also proves that people who persist too much upon declaring other Muslims as Mushrikeen by misusing the Islamic rulings are actually following the footsteps of Shaytan who got cursed by “degrading Anbiya”
Remember this is “Nass (explicit proof)” of Quran and Nass of Quran cannot ever be overruled. So from this the Usool of “Sajdah at-Tazeemi (Prostration of reverence) and Sajdah al Ibadah (Prostration of worship) are derived, The former could “NEVER BE SHIRK” whereas the latter is shirk, the Ummah is saved from Shirk in this regard and the people who put false takfir upon other Muslims have takfir returned back upon themselves (as sahih hadith in Bukhari, Muslim and other books of ahadith prove)
Qur'an on Family of Yusuf (A.S) Prostrating to him
Some people say in stubbornness that it was order of Allah to prostrate so it had to be followed, although this is a pseudo and batil Qiyaas (as Allah never orders shirk or wrong deeds) but still Let us move forward and prove their logic completely false.
Qur'an states at another place: Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!" [The Glorious Quran 12:4]
The Quran does not do Nafi of this therefore it means that it was not considered as Shirk.
Qur'an then states: And he raised his parents high on the throne (of dignity), ”AND THEY FELL DOWN IN PROSTRATION (ALL), BEFORE HIM”. He said: "O my father! this is the fulfilment of my vision of old! Allah hath made it come true! He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom. [The Glorious Quran 12:100]
Now this clearly proves that family of Yusuf (a.s) prostrated before him.From this it could be conclusively derived that Sajdah at-Tazeemi even if done to Ghayr Ullah cannot be shirk.
In Shariah of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) such Sajdah is declared Haram (not shirk). It will be shirk only if the intention was of worshiping the person. We need to be aware that only Allah knows the intentions therefore the Takfir which ignorant people blatantly make, it definitely returns back upon them thus they should stop creating this fitnah in the Ummah of Muhammad (Salallaho alaihi wasalam).
Animals and trees Prostrating to Prophet (Peace be upon him)
There are many ahadith which prove that Trees, animals and other objects used to prostrate in-front of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), this was miracle of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he never said that these acts were shirk, however he did forbid the Sahaba R.A from prostrating to him which proves prohibitiveness of it but “NOT SHIRK” and he has nowhere called this “Amr (matter)” as shirk in any hadith.
Hadith # 1
ثمَّ سِرْنا ورسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم بَيْنَنَا كأنما علينا الطيرُ تُظِلُّنا، فإذا جملٌ نادٌّ حتَّى إذا كانَ بينَ سماطينِ خرَّ ساجداً، فجلسَ رسولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلّم وَقَالَ: «عليَّ الناسُ مَنْ صاحبُ الجملِ»، فإذا فتيةٌ مِنَ الأنصارِ قالوا: هُوَ لَنَا يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قالَ: «فما شأنُهُ» قالوا استنَّيْنَا عليهِ منذُ عشرينَ سنةً وكانتْ بِهِ شُحَيْمَةٌ فأردنَا أَنْ ننحرَهُ فنقسِمَهُ بينَ غلمانِنَا فانفلتَ منَّا قالَ: «بيعونيه» قالوا لا بلْ هُوَ لَكَ يا رسولَ اللَّهِ قالَ: «أَمّا لي فَاحسِنوا إليهِ حتَّى يأتِيَهُ أجلُهُ» قالَ المسلمونَ عِنْدَ ذلكَ: يا رسولَ اللَّهِ نحنُ أَحقُّ بالسجودِ لَكَ من البهائِمِ قَالَ: «لاَ ينبغي لشيءٍ أَنْ يَسجدَ لشيءٍ ولو كانَ ذَلِكَ كانَ النساءُ لأزواجهنَّ».
Translation: We were travelling with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) when suddenly a camel came near “and prostrated to the Prophet (Peace be upon him)” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked: Who is the owner of this camel? At this some youngsters from Ansaar said that it belongs to them. The Prophet asked them: What have you done with it? They replied: We have been putting load (of water) on it since the past 20 years, now when he has become old and gathered excessive mass on itself so we made up our minds to slaughter him and distribute the meat amongst our friends. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked: Would you sell it to me? They replied: Ah! It is yours O dear Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam). The Prophet said, keep it but take good care of it until natural death reaches it. The Sahaba asked: O Prophet (Peace be upon him) we are more deserving of prostrating to you than the animals. The Prophet (Peace be upon you) replied: It is not allowed for anyone, “IF IT WAS ALLOWED TO PROSTRATE I WOULD HAVE ASKED WOMEN TO PROSTRATE TO THEIR HUSBANDS” [Sunnan Darimi, Volume No. 1, Page No. 10, Sahih Ibn Hibban (4/335), Imam al-Mundhri narrated another variant of camel prostrating to Prophet and he declared the chain as “Jayyid (strong) having famous thiqa narrators” (3/35)]
Again two points are to be noted from this hadith:
(1). The Animals prostrated to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he did not deem it wrong
(2). Sahaba asked to prostrate to Prophet(Peace be upon him) but the Prophet(Peace be upon him) did not say that It is shirk rather told not to do so. He said that If this was allowed then wives should have prostrated to husbands (i.e. the issue is not so severe provided it is done with intention of Ibadah)
Now Muslims and many blessed Awliya Ikraam do visit the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and this has been practice of eminent scholars, The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has explicitly told to visit the graves himself and Sahaba R.A took the grave of Prophet (Peace be upon him) as a blessed place not an idol as some people falsely assert.
عن داود بن أبي صالح ، قال: أقبل مروان يوماً فوجد رجلاً واضعاً وجهه على القبر فأخذ برقبته، وقال: أتدري ما تصنع؟ قال: نعم، فأقبل عليه فإذا هو أبو أيوب الأنصاري رضي الله عنه فقال: جئت رسول الله ولم آتِ الحجر، سمعت رسول الله يقول: «لا تَبْكوا علَى الدّينِ إِذا وَلِيَهُ أَهْلُهُ وَلكِنِ ابْكوا عَلَيْهِ إِذا وَلِيَهُ غَيْرُ أَهْلِهِ».
هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد
Translation: Dawud ibn Salih said: "[The governor of Madina] Marwan one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone." [Musnad Ahmed Bin Hanbal 5:466, Imam Hakim in his Al-Mustadrak 4:520, Hadith # 8571, Where he declared the chain as “SAHIH” and Imam Dahahbi also called the Hadith as Sahih]
Now this proves from the amal of Sahaba R.A that they did not considere the grave of Prophet (Peace be upon him) as a mere-stone as some people say that Prophet is dead and blessings cannot be taken from his Dhaat anymore (Naudhobillah). Some people dispute over this hadith due to their pseudo knowledge, please note that both Imam al-Hakim and Imam ad-Dhahabi (latter was very strict in authenticating ahadith) have agreed upon soundness of this report. Had there been a hint of Shirk in touching or putting the head on grave of Prophets/Saliheen then Imam al-Hakim or Imam adh-Dhahabi would have mentioned so, secondly there is a huge difference between sajda and kissing. On the contrary Imam adh-Dhahabi (rah) who was student of Ibn Taymiyyah al-Mujasmi has proudly proven the lovers of Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as right and those who accuse these things as Shirk to be “KHAWARJI'TES”
He states in his famous Siyar A'lam an Nubala:
قال عبدالله بن أحمد: رأيت أبي يأخذ شعرة من شعر النبي، صلى الله عليه وسلم، فيضعها على فيه يقبلها.
وأحسب أني رأيته يضعها على عينه، ويغمسها في الماء ويشربه يستشفي به.
ورأيته أخذ قصعة النبي، صلى الله عليه وسلم فغسلها في حب الماء، ثم شرب فيها ورأيته يشرب من ماء زمزم يستشفي به، ويمسح به يديه ووجهه.
قلت: أين المتنطع المنكر على أحمد، وقد ثبت أن عبدالله سأل أباه عمن يلمس رمانة منبر النبي، صلى الله عليه وسلم، ويمس الحجرة النبوية، فقال: لا أرى بذلك بأسا.
أعاذنا الله وإياكم من رأي الخوارج ومن البدع
Translation: Abdullah Ibn Ahmed (rah) narrates: "I saw my father (Imam Ahmed) take the hair of Prophet (Peace be upon him), put it on his mouth, and kiss it. I believe I saw him put it on his eyes. He also dipped it in water and drank the water to “OBTAIN SHAFA”. I saw him take the Prophet's bowl (qas'a), wash it in water, and drink from it. I saw him drink Zamzam water in order to seek cure with it, and he wiped his hands and face with it." I now ask: ”WHERE IS THE MUNKAR OF IMAM AHMED NOW? (i.e. Munkareen would be jeleous to know about such things which Imam Ahmed did) It is also authentically established that 'AbdUllah (rah) asked his father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet's pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet's room (in order to obtain barakah), and he said: "”I DO NOT SEE ANY HARM IN IT” May Allah protect us and you from the “OPINION OF THE KHAWARIJ” and from innovations! [Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam an-Nubala' (9:457)]
Subhan Allah look how boldly Imam al-Dhahabi (rah) asks: Where are the Munkareen of Imam Ahmed now!!! This proves that taking Tabbaruk from the graves of Prophets and righteous was practice of great scholars of Islam.
Things do not just stop here, Imam Dhahabi (rah) clarifies another important usool i.e. ruling regarding “PROSTRATION” to grave of Prophet (Peace be upon him)
لاَ سُجودَ عِبـادة كما قد سَجَد إخْوَة يوسف ـ علـيه السلام ـ لـيُوسف. وكذلك القول فـي سجود الـمسْلـم لِقَبْر النّبـيّ علـى سَبـيـل التَّعْظيـم والتَّبْجيـل لاَ يُكَفَّرُ به أَصْلاً بل يكون عاصياً فلْـيُعَرَّف أنّ هذا مَنْهِيّ عنه، وكذلك الصلاة إلـى القبر.
Translation: The prostration done to Yusuf (a.s) by his brothers (and family) was "NOT PROSTRATION OF WORSHIP" (Therefore) the prostration of a Muslim to the grave of the Prophet is for the intention of respect (Tazeem) and reverence. "One is “NOT” doing Kufr because of it whatsoever (la yukaffaru aslan)" but he is being disobedient [to the Prophet's injunction to the Companions]. Let him therefore be informed that this is forbidden. Similarly in the case of one who offers Salaat towards the grave." [Imam Dhahabi in Mu`jam al-Shuyukh, Volume No.1, Page No. 45]
This proves that to call Sajdah as Shirk straight away is ignorance and against the teachings of Qur'an and Sunnah. Accusation of Shirk and Bidah is a very serious matter, If the accusation is incorrect then the person making it will become more deserving of the Kufr!
Here let’s understand from this hadith
Narrated Usama bin Zaid:
Allah's Apostle sent us towards Al-Huruqa, and in the morning we attacked them and defeated them. I and an Ansari man followed a man from among them and when we took him over, he said, "La ilaha illal-Lah." On hearing that, the Ansari man stopped, but I killed him by stabbing him with my spear. When we returned, the Prophet came to know about that and he said, "O Usama! Did you kill him after he had said "La ilaha ilal-Lah?" I said, "But he said so only to save himself." The Prophet kept on repeating that so often that I wished I had not embraced Islam before that day. [Volume 5, Book 59, Number 568: (Sahih Bukhari)]
In another hadith it says: "Did you open his heart and look inside it?"
عن أنس بن مالك قال
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ثلاث من أصل الإيمان الكف عمن قال لا إله إلا الله ولا نكفره بذنب ولا نخرجه من الإسلام بعمل والجهاد ماض منذ بعثني الله إلى أن يقاتل آخر أمتي الدجال لا يبطله جور جائر ولا عدل عادل والإيمان بالأقدار
Translation: Anas bin Malik (ra) narrates from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who said: Three things are the roots of faith (1) To refrain from (killing) a person who says “La ILaha IL Allah” (2) Not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits (3) and also not to declare him out of Islam due to any of his deed...[Sunnan Abu Dawud, Volume No. 2, Hadith # 2170]
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) called the "accuser" wrong!
Let us see another explicit hadith which actually proves the accuser to be indulged in Kufr himself.
أن حذيفة يعني ابن اليمان رضي الله عنه حدثه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم «إن مما أتخوف عليكم رجل قرأ القرآن حتى إذا رؤيت بهجته عليه وكان رداؤه الإسلام اعتراه إلى ما شاء الله انسلخ منه ونبذه وراء ظهره وسعى على جاره بالسيف ورماه بالشرك» قال قلت يانبي الله أيهما أولى بالشرك المرمي أو الرامي ؟ قال «بل الرامي»
Translation: Hadrat Hudhaifa i.e. Ibn al Yaman (ra) said that the Prophet (saw) said: Verily, I fear about a man from you who will read the Qur'an so much that his face will become enlightened and he will come to personify Islam. This will continue until Allah desires. Then these things will be taken away from him when he will disregard them by putting them all behind his back and will attack his neighbor with the sword ”ACCUSING HIM OF SHIRK” The Prophet was asked - which of the two will be deserving of such an accusation? - The attacker or the attacked? The Prophet replied - the attacker (the one accusing the other of Shirk) [Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Volume No. 1, Page No. 282, Bukhari in his Tarikh ul Kabir, Volume No. 4, Page No. 301, Haythami in Majma Az Zawaid, where he declared its chain to be “Hassan (Fair)”, Imam Ibn Kathir declared the Chain as “Jayyid (strong)” in his Tafsir al Quran al Azim, Volume No. 2, Page No. 266]
Let us look at another hadith
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خرج يوما فصلى على أهل أحد صلاته على الميت ثم انصرف إلى المنبر فقال إني فرط لكم وأنا شهيد عليكم وإني والله لأنظر إلى حوضي الآن وإني أعطيت مفاتيح خزائن الأرض أو مفاتيح الأرض وإني والله ما أخاف عليكم أن تشركوا بعدي ولكن أخاف عليكم أن تنافسوا فيها
Narrated 'Uqba bin 'Amir: One day the Prophet went out and offered the funeral prayers of the martyrs of Uhud and then went up the pulpit and said, "I will pave the way for you as your predecessor and will be a witness on you. By Allah! I see my Fount (Kauthar) just now and I have been given the keys of all the treasures of the earth (or the keys of the earth) “BY ALLAH! I AM NOT AFRAID THAT YOU WILL WORSHIP OTHERS ALONG WITH ALLAH AFTER MY DEATH” but I am afraid that you will fight with one another for the worldly thing. [ Volume 2, Book 23, Number 428: (Sahih Bukhari) ]
Please note that Prophet (Peace be upon him) “TOOK AN OATH UPON ALLAH” and said that he is not afraid that Muslims will worship other than Allah after him but that they will fight with one another. This is a beautiful saying of Prophet(صلى الله عليه وسلم) and it has been totally fulfilled because when the misguided extremist sect accuses majority of Muslims being Mushrikeen then it creates fitnah in Ummah and intense in-fighting. Now from the hadith it is proven that we Muslims will not be in shirk but rather the accusers will cause fighting between us.
Let us look at another beautiful hadith from Prophet (Peace be upon him) which exposes the Batil viewpoint of these extremist Takfirists.
Jabir reported: I heard Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: Verily, the Satan has lost all hopes that the worshippers would ever worship (him) in the peninsula of Arabia, but he (is hopeful) that he would sow the seed of dissension amongst them [Book 039, Number 6752: (Sahih Muslim)]
That is exactly what Satan did through the hands of misguided sect which emerged about 2 centuries back. The Pioneer of it just like his former counterparts i.e. Khawarjis misapplied the ayahs revealed for Kufaar on Muslims and declared them Kafirs, he waged war upon the Arabian Peninsula and brutally martyred many Muslims (including scholars).
The Pre-requisites of Sajda - Conclusion
After seeing all these proofs it is important to embed in our minds that many scholars have clarified the clear difference between a Sajda and mere kissing. For sajda there needs to be 8 parts of body touching the ground i.e. both hands, both feet, both knees, nose and the forehead. Plus on top of that the Sajda could only be declared as Sajdah of Ibadah (worship) to ghayr Ullah if the person is doing it with intention of Ibadah (worship), If only these conditions are met and the person doing Sajdah is confirmed to be doing it for Ibdah “THEN AND ONLY THEN” could the person be declared as Mushrik otherwise not and the false takfir will for sure bounce back on the accuser.
May Allah save the Ummah from this Fitnah and save the innocent Muslims from getting misguided by their misinterpretation of Tawhid, Shirk and Bidah.