Visiting graves and setting out on journeys for them

Q: I read in the book, Al-Fiqh `Ala Al-Madhahib Al-Arba`ah, by `Abdul-Rahman Al-Juzayry the following: Visiting the graves is a commendable act for a person to see an example and to be reminded of the Hereafter. It is highly stressed on Fridays, a day before or after Fridays according to Al-Hanafiyyah (the followers of Imam Abu Hanifah's School of Jurisprudence) and Al-Malikiyyah Madh-hab (School of Jurisprudence). However, Al-Hanabilah (the followers of Imam Ahmad's School of Jurisprudence) and Al-Shafi`iyyah had a different view saying: There is no difference if the grave is far or near. Al-Hanabilah also had another view saying: It is commendable to travel to visit graves especially those of the pious people. As for visiting the grave of the Messenger (peace be upon him), it is one of the greatest good deeds. This is mentioned in P. 540 Vol. 1. My questions now are:1-What is the legal evidence on specifying certain days for visiting the graves?2-What is the explanation of saying: It is commendable to travel to visit the graves especially those of the pious...? Some people may take this as evidence for invoking (Part No. 9; Page No. 115) the dead buried in the graves. Is there an origin for this in the Sunnah?3-What is the meaning of his saying: There is no difference between visiting the far graves and the near ones...? This saying seems to be an evidence for traveling to visit graves.

A: First: Visiting the graves is permissible to take heed, be reminded of the Hereafter, beseech Allah's Forgiveness and Mercy and ask Him for safety. However, this should not be done to invoke the dead and ask them to bring benefit or ward off harm as this is an act of Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). There is no difference between visiting the graves of pious people or any Muslims. Second: There is no difference between visiting the graves on Fridays or any other day of the week because it is not authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he specified a certain day for visiting the graves. Hence, specifying a day for visiting the graves is an act of Bid`ah (innovation in religion). It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected. Third: It is not permissible to travel to visit a grave, whether this grave is a prophet or a waliy (a pious person) or any other person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade this when he said: Do not undertake journey but to three Masjids (mosques): Al-Masjid Al-Haram this Masjid of mine, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. Narrated by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Al-Nasa'y, and Ibn Majah. Consequently, it is not permissible to set out on a journey to visit the grave of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). (Part No. 9; Page No. 116) But a person may travel to offer Prayer in the Masjid (mosque) of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, whoever visits the Prophet's Masjid should greet him and his two Companions (Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them)). In addition, he should visit the cemetery of Al-Baqi` and the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud and greet them and invoke Allah for them. The visitor should also visit the Masjid of Quba' and offer Salah (Prayer) there as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: He who purifies himself at his house then goes to the Masjid of Qiba' only to offer Salah in it will get a reward equal to that of performing `Umrah. Also because he (peace be upon him) used to visit the Masjid of Quba' on Saturdays and offer Salah there. Moreover, one should travel to offer Salah in Al-Masjid Al-Haram and to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage) and `Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) there. Likewise, traveling to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and offering Salah there is a Mandub (commendable) act.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.