Can Muslims Build Over Graves Because The Prophets Grave Has A Green Dome Built Over It?

Some Sufis think that because there is a green dome over the prophets grave in Madeenaah that it is halaal to build structures similar to these or slightly different over a person grave. However this green dome over the prophets grave was not built by the prophet Mohammed (or commanded to be built upon his death by him), or by his sahaba or by those who followed them (the taabieen), or by those who followed the taabieen, or by the scholars and imams of the ummah, then there is no prove for what some Sufis claim. If the prophet did not do it or command it this dome over his grave is a bidah innovation and he said: “Every innovation (bidah) is misguidance and going astray” Reported by Abu Daawood (no. 4607), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676) and it is saheeh, Ibn Hajr authenticated it Takhreej Ahaadeeth Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137) and the prophet said: “… and every innovation (bidah) is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224) from Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-Fataawaa (3/58).

Professor Ali Haafiz said:

“There was no dome over the sacred chamber. There was in the roof of the mosque above the chamber a waist-high enclosure of brick to distinguish the location of the chamber from the rest of the mosque’s roof.

Sultaan Qalawoon al-Saalihi was the first one to build a dome over the chamber. He did that in 678 AH. It was square at the bottom and octagonal at the top, made of wood, and built on top of the pillars that surrounded the chamber. Planks of wood were nailed to it, over which plates of lead were placed, and the brick enclosure was replaced with one made of wood.

The dome was refurbished at the time of al-Naasir Hasan ibn Muhammad Qalawoon, then the leaden plates slipped, but they were fixed and refurbished at the time of al-Ashraf Sha’baan ibn Husayn ibn Muhammad in 765 AH. It fell into disrepair and was renovated at the time of Sultaan Qayit Bey in 881 AH.

The chamber and dome were burned in the fire that swept through the Prophet’s mosque in 886 AH. During the reign of Sultaan Qayit Bey the dome was rebuilt, in 887 AH, and strong pillars to support it were built in the floor of the mosque, and they were built of bricks to the correct height. After the dome had been built in the manner described above, cracks appeared in its upper part.  When it proved impossible to refurbish it,  the Sultaan Qayit Bey ordered that the upper part be demolished and rebuilt strongly using white plaster. So it was built solidly in 892 AH.

In 1253 AH, an order was issued by the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hameed to paint the dome green. He was the first one to colour it green, and the colour has been renewed whenever necessary until the present.

It became known as the green dome after it was painted green. It was previously known as the white dome or the fragrant dome or the blue dome.”

Fusool min Tareekh al-Madeenah al-Munawwarah by ‘Ali Haafiz (p. 127, 128). 

Shaykh Shams al-Deen al-Afghaani said:

“He (al-Zaahir al-Mansoor Qalawoon al-Saalihi) did that (built the dome over the prophet grave) because he had seen in Egypt and Syria the adorned churches of the Christians, so he imitated them out of ignorance of the command and Sunnah of the Prophet, as al-Waleed imitated them by adorning the mosque, as was mentioned in Wafa’ al-Wafa’.

It should be noted that undoubtedly this action of Qalawoon was contrary to the saheeh ahaadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah, but ignorance is a great calamity and exaggeration in love and veneration is a real disaster, and imitation of foreigners is a fatal disease. We seek refuge with Allaah from ignorance and exaggeration and imitation of foreigners.” 

Juhood ‘Ulama’ al-Hanafiyyah fi Ibtaal ‘Aqaa’id al-Qubooriyyah (3/1660-1662).

al-Allaamah al-Khajandi (1379 AH) said, discussing the history of the green dome that was built over the grave of the Prophet, and explaining that it is an innovation that was done by some sultans and ignorant persons who erred and made a mistake, and that it is contrary to the clear saheeh ahaadeeth and reflects ignorance of the Sunnah, and that they went to extremes and imitated the Christians who are confused and misguided.

Juhood ‘Ulama’ al-Hanafiyyah fi Ibtaal ‘Aqaa’id al-Qubooriyyah (3/1660-1662).

al-San’aani said in Ta-theer al-I’tiqaad:

“…This dome was not built by him (the prophet Mohammed) or by his sahaba or by those who followed them, or by those who followed the Taabieen, or by the scholars and imams of the ummah. Rather this dome was built over his grave (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the orders of one of the later kings of Egypt, namely the Sultan Qalawoon al-Saalihi who is known as King Mansoor, in 678 AH, and was mentioned in Tahqeeq al-Nasrah bi Talkhees Ma’aalim Dar al-Hijrah. These are things that were done on the orders of the state and not on the basis of shariah evidence.”

Shaykh Saalih al-Usaymi said:

The fact that this dome has remained for eight centuries does not mean that it has become permissible, and being silent about it does not indicate approval of it or that it is permissible. Rather the Muslim authorities should remove it and put it back as it was at the time of the Prophet. They should remove the dome and the adornments and engravings that are found in the mosques, above all the Prophet’s Mosque, so long as that will not lead to an even greater fitnah. If it would lead to an even greater fitnah, then the ruler should postpone the matter until he finds an opportunity for that. 

Bida’ al-Quboor, Anwaa’uha wa ahkaamuha (p. 253).

Graves are supposed to be hand span high so the grave of the prophet is no exception. Imam al-Nawawee in his sharh Saheeh Muslim said: “The sunnah is that the grave not be raised up a lot above the earth[‘s surface].

Imam Shafi said in his book, al-Umm, “I have seen the scholars of Mecca command the demolition of [graves] that are built over. Such demolition is supported by the hadeeth, “… nor an elevated grave except that you level it … (the full wording of the hadeeth is Abul Hayaj Al-Asadi narrates that Ali Ibn Abu Taalib said to him, “Do you want me to give you the mission that the Messenger of Allah gave to me? Do not leave any picture without erasing it ,nor any elevated grave except that you level it” Muslim).””

Jabir said, “The Messenger of Allah (saw) has forbidden plastering the walls of graves, to make them a place to sit, or to build over them constructions Recorded by Muslim

Qadi Thanaullah Panipati Hanafi said “Whatever is happening on saints graves like building over them, putting candles, and others things like that, it is all Haraam” Ma la Buda minhu p 95

Ibn Abidin said, “It is reported from Abu Hanifah that he considers makrooh (normally means disliked but in the terminology of Abu Hanifah it means haraam) constructions over graves …because Jabir reported that the Prophet has forbidden to plaster graves, to write over them, and to build constructions over them, narrated by Muslim and others” Fataawa Shami vol. 2 page 237

So from the above it is clear this dome over the prophet’s grave is haraam and should be removed because it is an innovation in the religion (there is shariah proof for it). Therefore Sufis can not use this structure to justify their building domes or have such things over any grave.

Side Point

Many Muslims wonder why the prophet’s grave is inside the mosque in Madeenaah if we are not allowed to put graves in mosques or build mosques over graves. The original mosque was built by the prophet, was next to his house where he settled after Hijrah in 622 CE (Christian Era). It was an open-air building with a raised platform for the reading of the Quran. It was a rectangular enclosure of 30 m × 35 m (98 ft × 115 ft), built with palm trunks and mud walls, and accessed through three doors: Bab Rahmah to the south, Bab Jibril to the west and Bab al-Nisa to the east. Inside, he created a shaded area to the south called the suffah and aligned the prayer space facing north towards Jerusalem. When the qibla was changed to face the Kaaba in Mecca, the mosque was re-oriented to the south.

However in 707, Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik (705-715) replaced the old structure and built a larger one in its place, when he did this he incorporated the grave of the prophet Mohammed. Therefore today this is why it may seem as if the prophet’s grave is inside the mosque while the shariah commands us not too put graves inside any mosque or build mosques over any ones grave. Thus this act of incorporating the grave of the prophet Mohammed in the mosque is not in agreement with the sunnah so it is rejected and is a bidah, the prophet said, “Whoever does an act which is not in agreement with our matter, will have it rejected.” Recorded by Muslim

Also Some Muslims go to use Going to extremis in decorating mosque and use the mosque in Madeenah as aproof however this decoration of the mosque was done in 707, by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik (705-715), he decorated the mosque walls with mosaics by Coptic and Greek craftsmen. So the prophet did not do this or commanded it.

In fact the prophet’s mosque was very simple and nit never had Quran, hadeeth, duaas or any other type of decorations on the walls and entrances or in any other place in the mosque. So doing these things too any mosque is bidah and is rejected because the prophet said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it, will have it rejected.” Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim


About Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie

I am a revert trying to spread the sunnah inshallah.
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