Q 1: What
is the ruling on visiting the graves for both men and women,
and women's weeping at the graves, slapping cheeks and tearing clothes out of grief?
It is an act of Sunnah (a commendable act) for men to visit the graves because the Prophet (peace be upon him), the rightly guided caliphs, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), and the Muslim Imams without exception used to do so. Hence, there is Ijma` (consensus of scholars) that it is a Sunnah. Besides, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
I forbade you to visit graves, but now you may visit them...
(Part No. 9; Page No. 104) As for women, it is not permissible for them to visit the graves according to the soundest of the scholars' two opinions in this regard.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the women who visit graves and those who build mosques and place lights upon them.
Narrated by Ashab-ul-Sunan (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes)
and it is supported by the Hadith narrated by
Abu Hurayrah and
Hassan ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with them). There is no contradiction between it and the first Hadith giving permission to visit the graves. It addresses women in particular while the Hadith giving permission is general and applies to both men and women. So, the Hadith cursing the women who visit the graves excludes them from the permission of visiting the graves.
Women crying loudly and wailing is one of the major sins whether at the graves or not. Likewise, slapping cheeks and tearing clothes out of grief is a major sin according to the Hadith which was authentically narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said:
If the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Resurrection wearing a garment of pitch and a chemise of mange.
It is also authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said:
He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes (Part No. 9; Page No. 105) and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us.