Picture of the Rawdah

Q: Please, explain the legal opinion in respect of looking at and spreading this photo which I received by email and the translation of the caption below it which is as follows: This is the picture of the Prophet's Rawdah (the area between the Prophet's pulpit and grave). People are not allowed to see it, for it is not open for visitors. The number of Muslims who had the chance to see it is one out of 10%. Please, pass it to all you know for the sake of spiritual benefits. May Allah bless us all, amen. This is the translation of what has been written hereunder. Please, advise about the ruling on looking at (Part No. 1; Page No. 168) and spreading them.My second question is: How do we define Shirk to laypeople and how can we know and protect ourselves from it, because many people believe that such pictures may benefit or harm in someway or another, because it is the picture of the Prophet's grave (if it really is). Could you explain this important issue. May Allah reward you with the best.

A: It is not permissible to spread these pictures, for spreading them is a means to Shirk by seeking blessing from and being attached to them. They must be destroyed and people should be warned against them because the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against exaggeration at his grave or any other grave. He said, O Allah! Do not make my grave an idol that is worshipped. And he (peace be upon him) said, Do not make my grave a place that you frequent (to invoke Allah's blessings on me), but invoke blessings on me (without visiting my grave frequently) for your blessings reach me wherever you may be. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, You must not take graves as Masjids (mosques), I forbid you to do this. i.e. do not offer Salah (prayer) in their area, because this is a means leading to Shirk. (Part No. 1; Page No. 169) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.