I heard that al-Albânî permits women to visit the graveyard? Is this true? How does he explain the hadith that reads: “Allah’s Messenger cursed the women who visit graves?”
The Fatwa Department Research Committee – chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
Al-Albânî is of the opinion that women may visit the graves, and that is preferred for them to do so, but that they should not do so excessively.
“Evidence that women are encouraged to visit the graveyard”
He supported his opinion that women are encouraged – just like men – to visit the graves with the following evidence:
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them.” [Sahîh Muslim (977)]
In another narration it reads: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, because they are a reminder of the Hereafter.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3235) and Musnad Ahmad (23005)]
In Sunan al-Nasâ’î, it reads: “Indeed, I had prohibited you from three things: from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, and may your visiting them increase you in goodness…” [Sunan al-Nasâ’î (4429 and 5653)]
“This encouragement includes women, because when the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been prohibiting his followers from visiting the graves, the prohibition had been meant equally for men and for women. Therefore, when he lifted the prohibition, he did so for both men and women. “
- Women are equal with men with respect to the purpose for visiting the graves: which is to be reminded of the Hereafter and to soften the hearts.
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted women to visit the graves.
`Abd Allah b. Abî Mulaykah relates: `Aishah came one day from the graveyard, so I said: “O Mother of Believers, from where have you come?”
She said: “From the grave of `Abd al-Rahmân b. Abî Bakr.” I said: “Did not the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbid visiting the graves?” She said: “Yes, then he commanded us to visit them.” [Mustadrak al- Hâkim (1/376), Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4/78) and Tamhîd Ibn `Abd al-Barr (3/233)]
In another narration, it reads at the end: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) permitted visiting the graves.” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1570)]
Al-Albânî comments: “Al-Hâkim does not talk about it and Imam al-Dhahabî says: ‘It is an authentic hadith.’ Al-Busayrî says: ‘Its line of transmission is authentic and its men are trustworthy.’ The ruling on this hadith is as they have stated.”
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a woman crying at a grave so he told her: ‘Fear Allah and be patient.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1252)] He did not forbid her from staying at the grave.
“Evidence that women are not to make frequent visits to the graveyard”
The proof that they should not be frequent visitors comes in the following hadiths:
- Abû Hurayrah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the women who are frequent visitors of the graves.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1056) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1576)] This hadîth is at least good (hasan), and it is supported by other narrations to the level of being authentic (sahîh).
- Hassân b. Thâbit relates: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed the women who are frequent visitors of the graves. [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1574)] Al-Albânî declares this hadîth to be acceptable (maqbûl) and sufficient for strengthening the hadîth of Abû Hurayrah to the level where it is authentic (sahîh).
There is a hadith related by Ibn `Abbâs, which reads in certain narrations: “Allah’s Messenger cursed the women who visit graves.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (320), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3236), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (2034), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1575)]
“The word here is zâ’irât (women who visit) instead of zawwârât (women who are frequent visitors).”
However, this hadith is weak because one of its narrators, Abû Sâlih, is weak.
Also, even some narrations of this hadith mention “frequent visitors” instead of “women who visit”.
On this basis, al-Albânî concludes: “It therefore becomes clear regarding this hadith that the properly preserved wording is “frequent visitors”, since this is what is agreed upon in the hadith of Abû Hurayrah and the hadith of Hassân, as well as the narration of the majority of narrators of the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs.”
He then says: “The word zawwârât indicates that the curse is directed only at women who visit the graves excessively and no one else. Therfore, this hadith cannot be used to contradict the previously mentioned hadith that indicate it is encouraged for women to visit the graveyard, because this hadîth is specific and those hadith are general. Each hadith, therefore, must be applied to its own context.”
“He explains the reason why women should not visit the graves excessively: “This could lead them to fall into something that is contrary to Islamic teachings, like wailing, making a public display of themselves, taking the graves as places or relaxation and holiday, or wasting time in idle conversation. This is just like the situation that we see today in some Muslim countries. This is what is meant by the hadith.” [Refer to: al-Albânî, Ahkâm al-Janâ’iz wa Bada`uhâ (229-237)]