Q: In many socialist countries, they
put wreaths of flowers on the graves of martyrs
or on the Unknown Soldier Monument. Some Muslim countries behave in the same manner. What is the ruling on doing so? Is there any evidence that denotes the permissibility or impermissibility of this act?Many countries, though they are Muslim countries, follow certain habits in inaugurating or ending their national festivals as asking the attendees to stand silently for one minute seeking mercy for martyrs. What is the attitude of Islam towards these habits? Is there any text from the Qur'an or the Sunnah that denotes the permissibility or the impermissibility of these deeds? Does doing so contradict reciting Surah Al-Fatihah for a dead person? Is doing so considered to be an alternative to reciting Surah Al-Fatihah? Is reciting Surah Al-Fatihah a Bid`ah (innovation in religion)?
Putting flowers on the graves of martyrs or the graves of other persons or (Part No. 9; Page No. 90) celebrating what is called the Unknown Soldier is one of the Bid`ahs innovated by some Muslims in countries that have a firm relation with non-Muslim countries. They do so out of admiration of what is done by disbelievers with regard to their dead. This is legally prohibited because it likens Muslims to non-Muslims with regard to what they have innovated in venerating their dead. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us against this by his saying:
"I was asked to fight people with the sword closely before the Day of Judgment so that Allah alone is worshipped. My sustenance has been made under the shadow of my spear; and whoever disobeys me shall be humiliated. He who copies any people is one of them."
This was reported by
Abu Ya`la and
Al-Tabarany in his book called Al-Kabir.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:
“You will certainly follow the ways of those before you span by span and cubit by cubit, until even if one of them entered the hole of a lizard, you would enter it too, and even if one of them had conjugal intercourse with his wife on the road, you would do it too.”
This Hadith was reported by
Al-Hakim who said that this Hadith is authentic according to the conditions stipulated by
Al-Dhahaby confirmed the saying of Al-Hakim. This Hadith was also reported by
Al-Haythamy said that the chain of transmitters of this Hadith are Thiqahs (trustworthy). They were among the Companions, the second generation and the rest of the righteous predecessors (may Allah be pleased with them) high ranking and unknown martyrs. (Part No. 9; Page No. 91) It was not authentically reported that they put any flowers or the like upon their graves. Therefore, putting flowers on the graves is a Bid`ah. All goodness is inherent in following the example of the predecessors of this Ummah (nation) and all evils are in the Bid`ahs innovated by those who came later.
Holding celebrations for martyrs and standing silently for one minute out of seeking mercy to the souls of martyrs is a rejected Bid`ah. This was not done by the Prophet (peace be upon him), the rightly guided Caliphs, the rest of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) or the Imams of Muslims in the first generations whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) testified to be righteous. It was 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."
It was reported in another narration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected."
All goodness lies in following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his rightly guided Caliphs. One should not follow what is innovated by disbelievers in things that contradict the guidance of Islam. Thirdly: It was not authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) recited Surah Al-Fatihah or any other Surah over the souls of Martyrs or other dead people. He is kind and merciful to believers. It was not authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited any part of the Qur'an for the sake of the dead in the graveyard, though he used to visit graves a lot. Moreover, he used to ask Allah to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon the believers. (Part No. 9; Page No. 92) He used to supplicate to Allah to bestow His Mercy upon all believers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) sought admonition by visiting the graves.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.