The Symbols of Allah (SWT)

“That (is the command). Whoever respects the signs of Allah; that is from the Godwariness of the hearts”. (22:32)
in Arabic has its origin from Sha-‘eerah, which means direction that leads to and also gives understanding of something or someone. The interpretation of Sha-‘a-ir in English is: Symbols, Signs or Marks.

Every religion and every community has its own symbols through which its followers are recognized and the people accord highest degree of respect to their symbols. For example: Christians are recognized through the symbol of Cross. You ask any practicing Christian about the Cross and he/she will talk highly about it. The same goes for all the other denominations: Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs.


Islam too, has its own symbols. These symbols lead us and give us the understanding of Allah’s Tawheed (Monotheism) and His Ma’rifah (Cognizance) HENCE they are called Sha-‘a-irallah. Allah (SWT) has given examples of some of His symbols in the Holy Quran. For example: “Indeed al-Safaa and al-Marwaa are from among the signs of Allah”. (2:158)

Al-Safaa and Al-Marwaa are two clusters of rocks between which the pilgrims run back and forth during Hajj. They are the scene of Haajirah’s running to and fro in search of water for her son Ismail (as) in the blistering heat and wilderness of Makkah. Therefore they remind us of the sacrifice, which a woman gave for the sake of protecting the life of a prophet of Allah.

Another symbol, which Allah (SWT) has stated as an example in the Holy Quran is of the animal of sacrifice. It reminds us of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) at the command of Allah (SWT). “And the (sacrificial) camels! We have made for you among the signs of Allah”. (22:36)

Although Allah (SWT) has given us only few examples of His symbols, our ‘Ulama tell us that anything or anyone that leads us and gives us the true understanding of Allah (SWT) is included among the Sha-‘a-irallah. There are certain things and certain people included in the Sha-‘a-irallah. If they are mentioned, one knows that they are linked to Allah (SWT). For instance: Baytullah, which means ‘The House of Allah (SWT)’. This takes us to the Holy Ka’bah. Shahrullah, which means the ‘The month of Allah’. This takes us to the Holy month of Ramadhan. Nabiyullah, Which means ‘The Prophet of Allah’. This takes us to the Divine Guides – the prophets who were sent for our guidance. Waliyyullah, which means ‘The friend of Allah’. This takes us to the Godly people. And so on and so forth. All these are Sha-‘a-irallah. They lead us of Allah (SWT) and therefore, we have been commanded NOT to violate their sanctity in any way and to accord them with highest degree of respect. “O you who believe! Do not violate the sanctity of the symbols of Allah…” (5:2)


We are commemorating the 20th of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as) and the Shuhada of Karbala. Together, we are also remembering the destruction of Samarrah. Last week, the enemies of Allah (SWT) once again targeted the graves and Shrines of Imam al-Hadi (as) and Imam al-‘Askary (as). The shrine contained two other graves. One is of Bibi Narjis Khatoon (as) – the mother of our 12th Imam (AJ) and the other is of Bibi Hakimah Khatoon – the Sister of Imam al-Hadi (as) who has given the detailed account of the birth of our 12th Imam (AJ). In addition, the Shrine also contains the place from where our 12th Imam (AJ) had disappeared into occultation. This is NOT the first time the graves of the Ahlul-Bayt (as) and that of the other noble and pious people of Islam have been targeted. Jannatul-Baqee and Jannatul-Mu’alla in Makkah are the living testimonies of the atrocities, which the Wahhabis have committed. They claim that: Visiting a grave (or a shrine); or praying by any grave; or remembering the dead is Haram in Islam and whoever does so is a Mushrik and Kafir.


Islam does not disallow visitation of graves or praying for the dead. “And do not even pray for any one of them who dies, nor stand at his grave; (for) verily they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and they died in state of perverse wickedness”. (9:84) This Ayah itself proves that Islam has prohibited visiting the graves of Munafiqeen ‘the hypocrites’ BUT not of Mumineen.

It is reported that the Holy Prophet (saww) used to go to Jannatul-Baqee’ and greet those who were buried there saying: “Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O Allah! Forgive the fellows of al-Baqee”. He (saww) also used to go to Jannatul-Mu’alla – a graveyard in which his wife Sayyida Khadeeja (as) is burried and historians have recorded that he (saww) had said: “This is the most blessed graveyard”. It is also reported that he (saww) used to visit the grave of his beloved mother Bibi Aamina (as) between Makkah and Madina; and he (saww) used to cry there such that all those who had accompanied him also cried. In addition to this:

Al-Bayhaqi – a prominent Sunni Scholar has narrated that: “The Holy Prophet (saww) used to visit the graveyard of the martyrs of ‘Uhud annually”. (Shu’ab al-Imaan) So not only visiting the graves and praying for the dead is permitted, but visiting the graves of the pious people annually – who laid down their lives for the sake of Islam is also a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saww).


Secondly, there are certain graves, simply by visiting them and praying by their side to Allah (SWT) brings Godwariness and Godconsciousness and makes one worthy of Allah (SWT)’s forgiveness and blessings.

The Holy Prophet (saww) has said: “Whoever visits the graves of his parents or the grave of one of them on every Friday, he will be forgiven and his name will be written among the pious ones”.] (Shu’ab al-Imaan)

Sunni Scholars have written that:

[Imam al-Shafe-’ee used to live in Baghdad. Whenever he had a problem, he would visit the tomb of Imam Abu Haneefa, pray 2 Rak’ah of prayer there and ask Allah (SWT) through the Barakah of Imam Abu Haneefa and his problems would be immediately solved. He would also pray there in accordance with the Hanafee Madh-hab. When asked, “Why?” he replied, “In respect of the person in the tomb”.] (Rad al-Muhtar)

All these are mentioned in Sunni sources. Does this make the Holy Prophet (saww) OR Imam Al-Shafe-’ee a Mushrik or a Kafir?

The graves and Shrines of the Prophets (as), the Aimma (as), those who laid down their lives for Islam and that of the Godly people are also considered as Sha-‘a-irallah. They lead us and give us the true understanding of Allah (SWT). Respecting them and NOT violating their sanctity brings about TAQWA in our hearts. Whoever respects the signs of Allah; that is from the Godwariness of the hearts”. (22:32)


People who destroy the graves of great and honourable people in the name of Islam are infact the enemies of Islam who desire to destroy the symbols of Allah (SWT). They are jealous of the righteous people! This is not the first time the grave of any Imam (as) has been targeted and destroyed. History tells us that Mutawakkil; the Abbasid ruler had set this trend. Mutawakkil was the ruler in the days of our 10th Imam (as). It is said about him that:

Whenever he heard or saw crowds of people visiting the grave of Imam Abu Abdillahil-Husayn (as), he was enraged. The reason behind his rage was nothing but jealousy of Ahlul-Bayt (as). At one hand, he witnessed flock of people paying tributes to Imam Husayn (as) and on the other hand, he saw that the graves of his fathers and forefathers; and that of Umayyad cousins turned into dunghills in dark, dreary places, which were resorts for the beasts. He therefore eagerly waited for an opportunity to destroy the grave of Imam Husayn (as) once and for all. At last, an opportunity arose.

There was a woman who was a songstress and used to send her maids to Mutawakkil to sing for him. Once when he sent for her, he was informed she was not available, as she had gone to the tomb of Imam Husayn (as). She was informed that Mutawakkil was looking for her, so she hurried back to Baghdad from Karbala and sent one of her maids to him. Mutawakkil asked the maid where they were and she said, “My Lady went to perform the pilgrimage and took us with her”. Upon inquiring, Mutawakkil realized that the pilgrimage was to Karbala and it was the month of Sha’ban. He became so upset that: He arrested the woman; confiscated all her wealth and ordered his officials to destroy the tomb. The officials refused to carry out this gruesome act so he resorted to some Jews who accepted it and carried out the order in 237 AH.
Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff



  1. Assalamvalaikum Brother,

    While your article talks about proof that muslims can visit graves and about Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.) it uses the reference a sunni scholar and that does not validate the account completely. Visiting graves is not part of islam and if it were it would have been explicitly highlighted in quranic texts and hadeeth rather be subtely insinuated through passages that can be interpreted in different ways.

    While visiting someones grave would not qualify to be a sin performing rituals and acts that violate the sanctity and respect of the person or Islamic ways should be discouraged as they may lead to other more serious inclusions in religion. I hope that those of us who have conflicts on such matters will find a peaceful solution. Noone can judge best except allah.

    Peace be upon you


  2. Asalamu Walekum,

    Dear Brothers, visiting grave yards it is particularly not written in the Qur’an even how to perform namaaz is also not written in the Qur’an then how we are performing in a certain way?

    All these things given by huzur paak Sallallahualaihiwasalam, Sarkaare Madina!

    So, my friend doesn’t argue about things which you don’t understand? Theme is, to hold the rope of godly people so you can do better amaal in your life by learning from them try and read Qur’an with meaning so you can learn more don’t intercept on your own ask any aalim left right or wrong to Allah(SWT) he knows best!

    By the by, going to grave yard is a Sunnah! By visiting graveyard you will cry in front of Allah (SWT) and ask him to forgive your sins make taubaa not do bure aamal in your life! because when you go to graveyard you will remember the punishment which you will get after your death, so, try and visit graveyard regularly to improve your Eemaan try and follow sunnah whenever you go to graveyard read surah fatiha (understand the meaning) & duruude pak and ask Allah (SWT) to forgive you, fellow Muslims and person who is in the grave, if he is correct otherwise left that person’s fate in Allah (SWT)’s hands and surely he is Raheem!


  3. Aiyaz

    Why is visiting some graves okay while others not? You noted that doing so would lead to serious inclusions in religion. Since when have Muslims included anything other than showing respect to the dead person per the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet? It is sad to note how we ‘include’ our own ideas into religion in order to exclude ‘sunnah’ activities. The Holy Prophet (saw) was aware of this and would not have himself buried in the masjid if such restrictions were in Islam.


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