Written on the graves in the graveyard of Al-Nasim in Riyadh are numbers that distinguish them from one another

Fatwa no. 16297 Praise be to Allah, Alone, and may Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad after whom there is no other prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has viewed the inquiry submitted to his Eminence, the Grand Mufty and which includes the following:Written on the graves in the graveyard of Al-Nasim in Riyadh are numbers that distinguish the graves from each other. Also, the walls have a list of these numbers. Is this permissible?Letter no. (1094/2) dated 29/4/1413 A.H. was directed to his Eminence the general chairman of the local office of the Call and Guidance to send two officials from the office to find out the facts and the answer was sent in letter no. (814/9 d) dated 8/6/1413 A.H. Attached was a report compiled by the two officials, respected Shaykh Muhammad ibn Nafjan Al-Tuwijry and respected Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hamad Al-Mashuh. It stated the following:Following the instructions of his Eminence, the general chairman, concerning what was mentioned to him about (Part No. 7; Page No. 361)  the graveyard of Al-Nasim and after inspecting the cemetery, we state the following:1- There are rags of various colors tied to the grave stones.2- Pipes, two panels, and steel bars are next to the grave stones.3- The grave stones are painted in various colors.4- The graves are painted in green stripes; the surface of some graves are painted with green paint.5- There graves are numbered such as no. (5), (15) and (55). We found only one name, Musaid ibn Dalim, written on a grave.A list with serial numbers was found on a plate nailed to the cemetery wall; between each two columns is a number written made by the municipality. Moreover, there is some graffiti of names and various numbers that seemed to have been made by youths.

After the committee has examined the marks on the graves which people had made and extensively added to them, it concluded that: First: It was reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave orders to mark the grave of `Uthman ibn Mazh`un with a stone. This was recorded by Abu Dawud in his Sunan in a Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration) from a narration by Al-Muttalib ibn `Abdullah, one of the Successors. The Hadith was also recorded by Al-Bayhaqy and narrated by Ibn Sa`d and Ibn Abu Shaybah and Al-Hakim. In its chain of narrators, is Al-Waqidy, who is Matruk (a narrator whose Hadith transmission was discarded due to unreliability). However, this Hadith was recorded by Ibn (Part No. 7; Page No. 362) Majah in his Sunan from a report by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) and was ranked as fair by the great scholar of Hadith, Ibn Hajar in (Al-Talkhees Al-Khabeer) and Al-Buseiry in (Al-Zawa'id). 2: It is impermissible to mark a grave by writing on it, whether a name, number, the name of a tribe and the like. This is because of the general implication of the report of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade plastering graves, sitting on them or building structures on them [recorded by Abu Dawud, Al-Nasa'y, Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim. It was first compiled in Sahih Muslim]. 3: It is impermissible to mark graves by drawing the picture of the deceased on them. The reason for prohibiting writing on graves is due to the reasons mentioned above while the reason for prohibiting drawings is due to the sound hadiths that strongly forbid drawing pictures of people. Rather, the prohibition of this matter is even greater in lieu of writings and drawings on graves, as this may lead to a direct path for Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and idol worship. 4: It is impermissible to mark graves with mortar, plaster, clay or the like because of the established prohibition of plastering graves in the Hadith mentioned above, on the authority of Jabir, since clay and other materials fall under the same ruling. 5: Marking the graves with paint, green or otherwise, is the same as plastering. Therefore, it is impermissible to use it. (Part No. 7; Page No. 363)  6: It is a form of extremism to mark graves with marble slabs, specifically made for this purpose. The Salaf (Righteous Predecessors) did not mark graves in this manner, therefore we should follow in their footsteps and abstain from doing so. 7: It is impermissible to mark graves with rags tied to the grave stones, a prevalent practice used for Tabarruk (seeking blessings).May Allah grant you success! May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions!