We have been encouraged in the Hadith to visit the graveyard, make dua for the inmates and take lesson of our own death and of the deception of this world and the eternal life of the hereafter.
Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (R) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has mentioned, ‘…Visit the graves, for surely visiting the graves decreases the love of this world and reminds you of the hereafter.’ (Ibn Majah)
Days and times of visiting
The graveyard may be visited on any day of the week at any time. The Jurists have mentioned that the preferred day in the week is the day of Jumuah and the preferred time is after the Jumuah Salah though any time on a Friday is good.
It is mentioned in the Hadith that whosoever visits his parents grave every Friday will be granted Maghfirah (forgiveness) and he will be recorded as an obedient child. (Al Mu’jamul Awsat)
Other preferred days and times of the week are on a Monday, Saturday morning after Fajr till sunrise and on a Thursday morning or on a Thursday late afternoon after Asr before sunset.
Method of visiting the grave
It is important to uphold the Sunnah and preferred etiquette when visiting the graveyard. Not all the general etiquette will be applicable when following a Janazah and at the time of burial.
1. It is recommended to perform 2 Rakats Nafl Salah before visiting the graveyard. Convey the reward of this Salah to the deceased.
2. En-route do not engage in talking excessively or in frivolity.
3. Removing the shoes before entering the graveyard is preferred provided this is conducive. However, it is not a requirement and shoes may be worn in the graveyard.
4. Enter with the right foot and make Salaam to the inmates of the graveyard as follows:
اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الدِّيَارِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمِينَ إِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ،نَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمُ الْعَافِيَةَ
Transliteration: Assalamu Alaykum Ahlad Diyari minal Mu’mineen wal Muslimeen. Wa Inna Insha Allahu bikum Lahiqoon. Nasalullaha Lana Wa Lakumul Afiyah
Translation: Peace be upon you inhabitants of the grave from among the believers and Muslims! Verily we will be joining you, if Allah wills. We ask Allah to grant you and us ease.
اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَا أَهْلَ الْقُبُوْرِ يَغْفِرُ اللهُ لَنَا وَ لَكُمْ أَنْتُمْ لَنَا سَلَفٌ وَ نَحْنُ بِالْأَثَرِ
Translation: Peace be upon you inhabitants of the grave! May Allah forgive us and you. You have preceded us and we are to follow you.
Transliteration: Assalamu Alaykum Ya Ahlal Quboor. Yaghfirullahu Lana Wa Lakum Antum Salafuna Wa Nahnu bil Asar.
Where graveyards are not demarcated and there are graves of both Muslims and non-Muslims that reside in the same area, then one may greet in the following manner;
اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى
Transliteration: Assalamu Ala Manit Taba’al Huda
Translation: Peace be upon those who follow the guidance!
General etiquette of the graveyard
5. Be cautious of walking over or stepping on any grave as some Jurists consider this to be undesired and sinful. If there is a genuine need to do step over a grave to bury another deceased and this cannot be avoided, then there is no harm.
7. When visiting a specific grave, one should stand at head side and face the grave with one’s back towards the Qiblah. Take a few moments to greet the inmate of the grave as the deceased are able to hear the greeting and respond.
8. After greeting, recite some portion of the Qur’an Shareef in a soft tone. Some of the recommended Surahs are: Surah Yaseen, Surah Mulk, Surah Zil Zaal, Surah Takaathur, Surah Ikhlas, Ayatul Kursi, Surah Fatihah and the opening 5 verses and the last 3 verses of Surah Baqarah. Recite Surah Ikhlas 3, 7, 10 or 11 times.
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whoever enters the graveyard and reads Surah Yaseen, Allah will lighten the punishment at that time, and the reciter is rewarded according to the amount of people there.” (Sharhus Sudur fi Ahwalil Mawta wal Qubur lis Suyuti)
Other parts of the Qur’an and Zikr like Kalimah Tayyibah, Durood Shareef, Third Kalimah, Istighfaar, etc. may also be recited at the grave.
10. Thereafter, turn towards the Qiblah and make Dua for acceptance of these good acts, the conveying of the reward thereof to the deceased, make Dua of forgiveness of the deceased, elevation of their status, asking Allah Ta’ala to reward them from His mercy and grant them the best of rewards, make Dua for death on Iman, steadfastness on Deen and being blessed with a good death, etc.
12. It is not advisable to especially purchase scented flowers to on the grave. Such money will be better spent if it is given in Sadaqah on behalf of the deceased. Erecting a tomb stone and other structures around the grave is deemed unnecessary and not advisable.
13. The placing of a few green twigs on the grave is permitted.
14. Do not engage in worldly talk or business in the graveyard. Use the opportunity to reflect over one’s own life and death. Make dua for steadfastness on Imaan and a good death.
15. Leave the graveyard exiting with the left foot.
Dua for the deceased
This dua was made frequently by Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لَهُ وَارْحَمْهُ وَعَافِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنْهُ وَأَكْرِمْ نُزُلَهُ وَوَسِّعْ مُدْخَلَهُ وَاغْسِلْهُ بِالْمَاءِ وَالثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ وَنَقِّهِ مِنَ الْخَطَايَا كَمَا يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ
O Allah! Forgive him and have mercy on him, grant him wellbeing and pardon him. Be generous to him and cause his entrance to be wide and wash him with water and snow and hail. Cleanse him of his transgressions as white cloth is cleansed of stains. Nasai and Baihaqi