There is a group of people who dance at the graveyards with musical instruments tied around their wrist and ankles. Their videos are being uploaded onto YouTube where they are being addressed as ‘Barelwis’.

My questions are as follows:

1) Did Imam Ahmed Rida Khan or any other Barelwi Ulema condone such acts?

2) What is the Islamic view on dancing at graveyards with musical instruments and dancing and the ruling upon the one who engages in such acts?


وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ ۖ أَفَإِن مِّتَّ فَهُمُ الْخَالِدُونَ
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً ۖ وَإِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ

“And We did not grant to any man before you eternity [on earth]; so if you die – would they be eternal? Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.”

[Surah Anbiya 21:34-35]

Abu Hurairah رضي اللہ عنہ narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) said: “Remember, as much as you can, the one thing (fact or reality) which (always) brings an end to all worldly joys and pleasures, (meaning death)”

[Related by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban]

From the Qur’ān ul Kareem and evidence seen in the world, time and time again, we are fully aware that death is a reality that is to affect every creature existing and to exist. The Prophet of Allāh صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم expressed that a believer should often remember the destroyer of pleasures; death.

Graves serve to act as reminders of death, as the Prophet of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) has said:-

“I forbade you to visit graves, but you may now visit them, for in visiting them there is a reminder (of death).

[Sunan ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 6, Hadith 1570]

It is permitted for Muslims to visit the graveyards but it is necessary to respect the graves therein. To sit, sleep or lean against the grave is unethical. It is not allowed for one to jump over graves. To place your feet on a grave is totally wrong. It is also forbidden to perform Salaah in the direction of a grave and to make Sajdah on a grave is Haraam. To make Sajdah to a grave (with intention of worship) is Kufr (disbelief).

It is stated in the Hadith that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) said,

“If I were to walk on a live coal or a sword, or if I were to sew shoes to my feet, that would be better for me than walking on the grave of a Muslim.”

[Ibn Majah  Vol. 1, Book 6, Hadith 1567]

This is a statement made by that person, whom by Allāh, if he صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم set his blessed feet on the chest or eyes of any Muslim, they would gain the peace and pleasure of both the worlds.

It is stated in Fathul Kadeer, Tahtawi and Raddul Muhtaar that, if a new path is created in a Muslim graveyard by any person then it is Haraam to walk on it because it must have been made over graves. On the contrary, old pathways were made avoiding graves. Therefore, to walk on them is quite in order.

We further see once, in the presence of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم), a person was walking out of a graveyard with his shoes on, our Master (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم)  said:-

“The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) suddenly saw a man walking in shoes between the graves. He said: O man, wearing the shoes! Woe to thee! Take off thy shoes. So the man looked (round), When he recognized the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم), he took them off and threw them away.”

[Sunan Abi Dawud 3230]

All the aforementioned is evidence enough to conclude there are substantial etiquette’s rooted in the teachings of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) as a guide how to act at the graveyards. People who engage in innovative practises such as dancing at graves are devoid of the authentic teachings of Ahle Sunnah wa-l Jama’at and nowhere will one find evidence of such practices being condoned by the Ulama, rather you will find only condemnation.

The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said, “When a human being is laid in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their footsteps.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1338]

Thus the inhabitant of the grave is able to hear the very footsteps of his companions, how will the sound of jumping, dancing, singing people fair?

The fact that dancing is forbidden is itself a view held by the vast majority of scholars and Ala Hazrat Shah Ahmad Rida Khan (رحمة الله عليه) has emphatically stated in the al Malfoozat:- “If he has wajd and dances with a certain style [imitating dancing] then it is haram. If he goes into wajd and dances to show others then he is destined for the hell fire”. If this is his view on dancing in normal circumstances then how about those who dance besides graves; this is even more so heinous.

The views of Imam Ahmed Rida Khan (رحمة الله عليه) on the etiquettes of attending graves can be seen in his works, whilst such practices are counter to all teachings of the blessed Imam.

Unfortunately these ignorant people who are making these graves a place of pilgrimage and entertainment are devoid of the understanding of the Qur’ān and Hadith. These practices are often in practice amongst individuals who claim to adhere towards branches of Sufism in harmony to the maslak of Ala Hazrat Imam Ahmad Rida Barelwi but in reality they are devoid of authentic beliefs and are counter to his teachings. Every teaching of the blessed Imam was rooted in the Qur’ān and Hadith thus he is absolved from any allegations being attributed to him on account of these misguided people.

Imam Ahmad Zarruq (رحمة الله عليه), the fifteenth century Maliki scholar and hadith specialist, states:

“So there is no sufism except through comprehension of Sacred Law or Shariah, for the outward rules of Allāh Most High are not known save through it, and there is no comprehension of Sacred Law or Shariah without sufism, for works are nothing without the sincerity of approach, as expressed by the words of Imam Malik (رحمة الله عليه):

‘He who practices sufism without learning Sacred Law or Shariah corrupts his faith, while he who learns Sacred Law or Shariah without practicing sufism corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.'”

[Iqaz al-himam fi sharh al-Hikam, Ibn Ajiba, Ahmad ibn Muhammad, and Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Ata Illah, Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi wa Awladuhu, Cairo, 1972, pp. 5-6].

These people have unfortunately corrupted their faith with such practices.

Allāh knows best.

Answered by Ustadh Asid Shafait

Checked by Shaykh Naveed Jameel ash-Shaami

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