Those who consider it haraam to construct Mausoleums over graves of prophets and consider them places of worship, support their stand by the following traditions.
Firstly: Ali (a.s) said to Abil Hayyaj al-Asadi, “I am sending you on an assignment on which the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w sent me. The Messenger of Allah (S) was present at a funeral when he said, ‘Which one of you will go to Madinah and not find an idol but break it, not a grave but that he levels it and not a picture but that he erase it.’ A person volunteered but when he went to Madinah he became fearful of the people and returned to the Prophet (s.a.). Later, Imam Ali (a.s) went on the same mission. He completed the job perfectly and returned successful.
I can’t understand for how long the Holy Prophet (S) was present at the funeral that he ordered the man to go to Madinah. The man went and returned unsuccessful. Then Ali (a.s) went and completed the job and returned. What type of Muslims were they, that they kept idols. If they were polytheists how they obeyed the order of Ali (a.s) without any opposition. The tradition of Abil Hayyaj makes evident that it is of the period of Ali’s Caliphate. Ali’s Caliphate came after the Caliphate of three Caliphs. So did the affair remain pending till that time? I do not think it is possible for the idols remain in the houses of people of Muslim till the time of Ali (a.s) when he would order Abil Hayyaj to break them!
Secondly: They also present the tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) that he said:
“Do not make my grave to be an idol like the Jews made the graves of their prophets as idols.” I don’t know when the Jews considered the graves of their prophets as idols? After their exodus from Egypt, there was a tent in Tee for their worship and in the time of Sulaiman (a.s), Haykal Sulaiman was constructed for them for the purpose of worship in the same way as the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (s.a.). So we can safely assume that the Jews never worshipped the graves of their prophets. As we have already mentioned, the graves of some of the prophets are not known at all while some of these graves are in the depths of the earth. They are unknown except to a few people.
As regards the hadith of the Holy Prophet (S) cursing the visitors of the grave we say that authentic traditions go against this prohibition and make it permissible to visit graves. The curse mentioned in the former traditions is thus abrogated.
Like he said: “I had prohibited you to visit the graves. Now visit them…”
These were the arguments of those words who consider it haraam to construct tombs and build mosques over the graves of the prophets.
Those who consider it permissible to construct tombs and mosques over graves, present the following supportive proofs:
Firstly: The Almighty Allah says:
(a)“Appoint yourselves a place of prayer on the standing place of Ibrahim.” (Surah Baqarah 2:125)
(b)“Those who prevailed in their affair said: We will certainly raise a masjid over them.” (Surah Kahf 18:21)
The Almighty Allah has ordered the believers to pray at the ground which was trampled upon by His Khalil, Ibrahim (a.s). He has also informed that the group which had the precedence of opinion was the one who had suggested the construction of mosque over the place of resting of the ‘people of the cave’.
Secondly: They also refer to the practice of the Holy Prophet (S) in connection with the graves of Prophet Ismail (a.s), his mother Hajra (s.a.) and his unmarried daughters; and also other prophets who are buried at ‘Hajr’ of Ismail and the House of Allah (Kaaba). All these were an accepted part of history, four years after passing away of the Holy Prophet (S); and the circumbulation around the ‘Hajar-e- Ismail’, the burial place of Ismail (a.s) was an established practice. The progeny of the Holy Prophet (S), his companions and all the righteous Muslims till the present age follow this practice.
Thirdly: They also quote the report wherein the Holy Prophet (S) had visited the grave of his mother, straightened it and wept; and the companions also wept with him.
Fourthly: A green dome has been constructed over the house where the Holy Prophet (S) expired, and where after him the two companions were also buried. The dome is still in existence.
Fifthly: The Holy Prophet (S) motivated the Muslims to visit his grave.
Sixthly: Visitation of his grave by his dearest daughter Fatima az-Zahra (s.a.) and the visit of his companion Abu Ayyub Ansari is well- documented.
Therefore, we can safely conclude that visiting of the graves of the Prophets, and to construct tombs over them; and to consider them places of worship are the divine practices and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) has also set many examples in this regard.
Most certainly the grave of the Holy Prophet (S) is most worthy to be visited and after that are the graves of his family members; and the righteous among us deserve visitations at our graves by other people. By following this tradition, we shall be able to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (S).
Also, if we are allowed to follow the practice of the Holy Prophet (S) with regard to the graves of the prophets (a.s) we would follow the righteous Companion Abu Ayyub Ansari (r.a) and keep our face on the grave and like Fatima (s.a.) the dearest daughter of the Prophet (S) we would smell at the dust of the grave and repeat the words:
“What will happen to the one who smells the dust of the tomb of Ahmad.
He will never ever smell a greater calamity…” But alas, we are compelled to say:
“There was pricking in the eyes and suffocation in the throats .....” [Imam Ali (a.s) in Nahjul Balagha]