From the greatest calamities facing this ummah are the shrines or astaans of so called “holy-men” – structures built over the graves where people go to visit and “make duaa”
Building over the graves and raising them into structures is impermissible in Islam and Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was sent on a specific mission by the messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) to level and destroy any raised grave –
Abu’l-Hayaaj al-Asadi said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said to me: “Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) sent me? Do not leave any statue without erasing it, and do not leave any raised grave without leveling it.” (Muslim)
Likewise Jaabir said: The Messenger of Allaah (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) forbade plastering over graves, sitting on them and erecting structures over them. (Muslim)
Why this prohibition in Islam?
● It is a massive avenue to shirk – the one who built the shrine might say he is doing it to remember the pious man and honour his teachings BUT the ignorant masses will see veneration and begin to actually worship the grave. I have seen with my own eyes people prostrating to the grave, kissing the grave, making duaa to the grave; and when they leave they don’t turn their back on the grave – they walk out backwards! Shirk is the greatest sin and the person who dies committing it will never be forgiven – so in building these shrines the people are giving one another a direct ticket to the fire.
● People say we are going to the shrine to make duaa FOR the man and not TO him. If that is the case, why do you make a special journey to his shrine, why can’t you make duaa for him from the comfort of your own home? Would our attitude be the same if a person went to a church to make duaa? In reality the people go to these shrines and take the inhabitant of the grave as an intermediary between themselves and Allah – this is exactly what the pagan Quraysh did and it is major shirk.
● We see people trying to please the inhabitant of the grave because they think it will please Allah – so we see them slaughtering over the grave, making tawaf around the grave, prostrating to the grave, kissing it and crying whilst making duaa directly to the person – again this is major shirk.
● It is an impersonation of those who came before who are cursed by Allah – the messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said – “When a righteous man died among them, they would build a place of worship over his grave and put those images in it. They are the most evil of mankind before Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
● How do you know that this person was a holy-man? Only Allah knows what the hearts conceal. In fact many of these “holy men” call to shirk and innovation so they are under a serious threat of a mighty punishment from Allah – perhaps the people are making duaa to them yet they are screaming in their grave in pain. Perhaps the people ask them for benefit but they cannot even benefit themselves?
● They are one of the sources of magic – countless taweez and amulets originate from these places. I remember one shrine used to send taweez through the post!
● We find all sorts of other evils going on at these shrines. Drug abuse and prostitution are common and theft is rife. I have personally been to Data Darbar in Lahore in Pakistan and it is a thriving mini-city based around shirk and innovations.
There is much more that can be said on this topic but the bottom line is this:
Darbars/shrines/astaans have NO PLACE in Islam. They are avenues to shirk and many other sins. They are places that are beloved to shaytan and NOT to Allah. They cause misguidance and destruction.