The Hajj is coming to an end. The last Hujjaj, who have stayed in Mina for three days and have stoned the Jamarat for the last time, are now preparing to pack their bags to go to Madinah al-Munawwarah in the next few days, the city of the Prophet, to visit the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him). Although this part of the journey, the visit to the tomb of the Messenger of Allah, is not, strictly speaking, one of the Hajj rites, it is nevertheless a part of the journey that no Muslim should miss and is considered by the Ijma’ [consensus] of the ‘Ulama as highly recommended.
Qadi ‘Iyad says in his book As-Shifa:
“To visit the tomb of the Prophet is a Sunna of the Muslims about which there is agreement between the ‘Ulama. It is a virtue (Birr) that is fostered (encouraged).
And Imam an-Nawawi said:
“Know that everyone who does the Hajj must go and visit the Messenger of Allah, regardless of whether he is on his way or not, because visiting him is one of the most important means of approaching Allah, one of the most profitable efforts that can be made and one of the best things that can be asked for.”
There are those who downplay the importance of this visit to the Messenger of Allah and only consider it permissible if your main intention is to pray in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah, not to visit his tomb. However, all sincere Muslims, since the time of the Companions, have gone to Madinah for no other reason than to visit their beloved Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him).
When the Prophet died, Bilal felt obliged to leave the city of the Prophet because everything there reminded him of the absence of his Beloved and so he lived for many years in Syria, participating in many battles and during that time he never returned to Madinah. Then, one night, he saw the Prophet in a dream and sallalahu alaihi wa salam said to him: “Why is this distance, Bilal? Hasn’t the time come for you to come and visit me?”. As soon as he awoke, Bilal gathered his things and set out for Madinah, going directly to the tomb of the Messenger of Allah.
And which sincere believer and lover could refuse to make such a visit when the Prophet said:
“If someone visits me after my death, it will be as if he had visited me during my lifetime.”
And he also said in a Hadith, narrated by Ibn Umar:
“If you do the Hajj and visit me after my death, it will be as if you had visited me in my lifetime and had been in my company.”
Therefore, any visit to the Prophet, especially those made during the course of the Hajj, is like visiting him during his lifetime and being in his presence, and which sincere Muslim would want to miss this opportunity? For many Muslims, such an opportunity only arises once or twice in their lifetime, so how can anyone say that it is not allowed to travel for the sole purpose of visiting the tomb of the Messenger of Allah?
There is no argument since we are even encouraged to visit the tombs of Muslims in general, because the Prophet said:
“He used to forbid you to visit the tombs, but now you must visit them because they remind you of the afterlife.”
And he himself (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) regularly visited the tombs of his Companions in the Baqi’ graveyard, so how could it not be the same with the tomb of the best of creation?
Among the benefits of visiting the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) is that when you greet him, he greets you back. The Prophet said:
“There is no one who salutes me by my tomb except that Allah returns my Ruh to me so that I may return his greeting.”
The reward for visiting the Prophet is equivalent to completing a second Hajj. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said:
“Whoever goes to the Hajj in Mecca and then comes to visit me in my Mosque, two accepted Hajj will be written for him.”
The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) has pledged to intercede and give testimony on behalf of all who visit him in his tomb. The Prophet said:
“My intercession is obligatory for all who visit my tomb.”
On the other hand, not visiting him amounts to an enormous lack of courtesy. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said:
“He who does the Hajj and does not visit me, has avoided me / moved away from me.”
We ask Allah to bless the Hujjaj and allow us to go to His House and give us the opportunity to visit the Prophet’s tomb.
Allah says in His Noble Book:
“You who believe! have Taqwa of Allah and seek the means of drawing near to Him”. [Qur’an 5:35]
Everyone who visits the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) should know that there are a number of Adabs to observe, as all the great men of Allah have transmitted to us.
First of all, you should start saying Salawat to the Prophet as soon as you start heading towards Madinah until you enter the city. Having reached the city you should greet the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) and do Du’a to get all the benefit of the visit. A particular Du’a recommended by Imam an-Nawawi i.e. is:
“O Allah, open to me the gates of Your mercy and give me for the visit to the tomb of Your Prophet what You gave to Your Awliya and to the people of obedience. Forgive me and have mercy on me, O You, who is the Best whom we may ask!”
Then you go immediately, or as soon as you can, to the Prophet’s Mosque because he is your host and the first thing a guest should do is greet his host.
Ibn Habib said, as Qadi ‘Iyad transmits:
“When you enter the Prophet’s Mosque, say:
‘In the name of Allah’ and ‘peace be with the Messenger of Allah. Peace be with us from our Lord. Allah and His angels bless Muhammad. O Allah, forgive us our wrong actions and open to us the gates of Your Mercy and Your Garden and save us from Shaytan, the cursed one!’
Then you must go to the Rawda, which is that part of the Mosque between the tomb and the Mimbar and pray two Rak’ats.
The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said:
‘The area between my tomb and the Mimbar is one of the meadows (Rawdas) of the Garden. My Mimbar is in one of the elevated gardens of paradise.’
Then you must stand in front of the tomb with humility and respect, give him Salam and ask for blessings upon him. Then greet Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and make Du’as for them. Many prayers should be done in the Prophet’s mosque, day and night.
Do not forget to go to the Quba’ Mosque and to the tombs of the Shuhadah.”
When you stand before the tomb of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him), do not raise your voice. In his ‘Shifa’, Qadi ‘Iyad narrates that Abu Ja’far, the Amir al-Muminin, was arguing with Imam Malik at the Prophet’s Mosque, until Malik said:
“Amir al-Mu’minin, do not raise your voice in this Mosque. Allah taught the people to behave by saying: ‘do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet’. [Qur’an 49:02] And he praised other people with the words: ‘Those who lower their voices when they are with the Messenger of Allah, are people whose hearts Allah has tested for Taqwa’. [Qur’an 49:03] And he censured other people by saying: ‘As for those who call out to you from outside your private quarters, most of them do not use their intellect’. [Qur’an 49:04] The respect owed to him when he is dead is the same as when he was alive.”
Faced with this Abu Ja’far remained silent and then asked Malik whether he should look at the Qibla when making Du’as or look at the Messenger of Allah. Malik replied:
“Why would you turn your face away from him when he is your Wasila (means of approaching Allah) and the Wasila of your ancestor Adam before Allah on the Day of the Resurrection? Look at him and ask for his intercession and Allah will grant him the intercession. Allah says:
‘If only when they wronged themselves they had come to you and asked Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them they would have found Allah Ever-Relenting, Most Merciful.’” [Qur’an 4:64]
We ask Allah to make our love for the Messenger of Allah grow!
We ask Allah to send our Salam to the Messenger of Allah and gather us with him in the Garden.
And we ask Him to grant us his Shafa’a on the Last Day!