The presence of dense trees in a cemetery

Fatwa no. 20424 Praise be to Allah, Alone, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad after whom there is no other prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read letter no. (1690/2/1) dated 15/5/1419 A.H. addressed to his Eminence, the Grand Mufty, and which sent from the governor of Al-Ta'if. It was referred to the Committee of the Council of Senior Scholars in letter no. (3133) on 18/5/1419 A.H. and includes a request to investigate the issue contained the letter submitted to him from the Director-General of Agriculture and Water Ministry at Al-Ta'if and which includes a request to investigate a claim submitted by the citizen whose initials are (H.A.A.T) about the presence of dense trees in a cemetery adjacent to his property at Al-Shifa (Al-Talhat). In his letter, he complains of damages to his agricultural property caused by rocks falling from this graveyard. He requests permission to (Part No. 7; Page No. 349) cut down these trees. However, he underlined that doing so may effect the stability of the ground of the cemetery and therefore the matter requires a legal Fatwa. Attached to his Eminence's letter is a report from the Inspection Committee concerning this cemetery. It includes the following:Based on the request no. (539) dated 26/2/1419 A.H. which was supplemented with documents concerning the request of the citizen whose initials are (H.A.A.T) including information on the cemetery which is densely lined with trees and containing dilapidated graves,a date was set for a committee to inspect the site accompanied by the claimant on 28/3/1419 A.H. and the following was determined:1- The presence of seven acacia trees.2- The remains of three dilapidated graves.Based on what the committee witnessed, a report was made by our delegate, an officer from al-Shifa police and the delegate of al-Shifa center.

And after careful examination, the Fatwa Committee determined that a fence be erected around the cemetery to protect it from debasement, prevent people from stepping over the graves and to prevent rocks from the cemetery to fall into the claimant's property and cause damage. (Part No. 7; Page No. 350) Moreover, the municipality must fence the cemetery and repair the dilapidated graves. There is no objection if the trees in the cemetery are cut down with manual tools, such as saws, and that the stems of the trees are to be cut down and leave the roots so as not to crack the graves. It is impermissible to dig out the trees or cut them down with heavy machinery since this will cause damage to the graves and desecrate the sanctity of the deceased. It must be noted that the sanctity of the dead is tantamount to the sanctity of the living.May Allah grant you success! May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions!