Q: I have a neighbor whose father died about ten years ago. At that time, he did not know that
building on the graves
is not permissible; therefore, he built a shrine for his father, and people began visiting this shrine and offering sacrifices at it. This evil custom that is based on a corrupt `Aqidah (creed) has been halted, and I advised him (the son) to destroy the shrine, but he refuses thinking this represents undutifulness to his father. What is your advice in this regard? It should be mentioned that people there have weak Iman (Faith) and are illiterate, so if this building remains, it will lead to further spread of corrupt beliefs. Please guide us to the ruling on this and how to destroy this building, and whether or not there are certain Adhkar (invocations) or Qur'an to be recited before demolishing the shrine to ward off any Satan in the grave. May Allah reward you.
The building constructed on the grave of your neighbor's father must be demolished, and this does not imply any undutifulness to him. Building over graves is prohibited as it is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed
`Aly (may Allah be pleased with him)
Do not leave a raised grave without leveling it.
Let your neighbor seek Allah's Support and demolish the building constructed over the grave. (Part No. 1; Page No. 138) And let him never fear Satan or any thing else, for these are illusions thrown by Iblis (Satan) in the heart to undermine one's determination to refute evil.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.