Praise be to Allaah.
One of the rulings of sharia which is aimed at cutting off
all possible fitnah, blocking all means that may lead to shirk and closing
the door to exaggeration is the prohibition on taking graves as places of
worship, or praying facing towards them, or taking graveyards as a place of
There is no differentiation in that between graves of Muslims
or graves of mushrikeen; in fact with regard to the graves of Muslims and
righteous people, it is more important to keep away from them, because shirk
and fitnah are more likely concerning them.
Al-Bukhaari (436) and Muslim (531) narrated that 'Aa'ishah
and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was dying,
he drew the blanket over his face, then when the pains of death grew too
intense, he uncovered his face and said: “May Allaah curse the Jews and the
Christians; they took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship,”
warning against doing what they had done.
And it was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be
pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of
Allaah be upon him) said: “All the Earth is a mosque except graveyards and
Narrated by Imam Ahmad (11379), Abu Dawood (492) and
al-Tirmidhi (317). Classed as saheeh by al-Haakim, and al-Dhahabi agreed
with him. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah classed its isnaad as jayyid, but
al-Daraqutni and al-Tirmidhi thought it most likely to be mursal.
And there are many well-known hadeeths about this matter.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said concerning
the lessons learned from the battle of Tabook and what is mentioned in it of
Masjid al-Diraar, which Allaah forbade His Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allaah be upon him) from praying in:
[One of the lessons we learn]: is that a waqf is not valid if
it involves something other than an act of righteousness or of worship, just
as the waqf for this mosque [meaning Masjid al-Diraar] was not valid. Based
on this, a mosque is to be demolished if it is built over a grave, and the
deceased is to be exhumed if he is buried inside a mosque. This was stated
by Imam Ahmad and others.
A mosque and a grave cannot be combined in the religion of
Islam, rather whichever one of them comes after the other should be
prevented; the ruling favours the one that was there first. If they are
built at the same time, that is not permissible, and this waqf is not valid
and is not permissible, and it is not valid to pray in this mosque, because
the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forbade
that, and cursed those who take graves as mosques or who set up lamps over
This is the religion of Islam with which Allaah sent His
Messenger and Prophet, but it has become as a stranger among the people, as
you see! End quote.
Zaad al-Ma’aad fi Huda Khayr il-‘Abaad
But if the graves or graveyard are close to the place where
it is intended to build a mosque, there is nothing wrong with building a
mosque, subject to 3 conditions:
That the mosque should not be
built with the aim of venerating those graves or seeking blessing from them.
That the graves should not be
in the direction of the qiblah of the mosque, because of the hadeeth of Abu
Marthad al-Ghanawi (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the
Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do
not sit on graves and do not pray towards them.” narrated by Muslim, number
The mosque should be separated
from them in a clear manner, so that these graves will not form any part of
the halls or courtyard of the mosque, and so that it will clearly appear to
the onlooker that the mosque is completely separate from the graves, such as
a path, a road, a large open space or the like.
Abu Bakr al-Athram said: I heard Abu ‘Abd-Allaah – meaning
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him) – when he was asked about
praying in graveyards. He disapproved of prayer in graveyards. It was said
to him: The mosque is among the graves, can I pray in it? And he disapproved
of that. It was said to him: It is a mosque and between it and the graves
there is a barrier. He disapproved of offering obligatory prayers therein,
but he granted a concession with regard to offering funeral prayers there,
and he mentioned the hadeeth of Abu Marthad al-Ghanawi (may Allaah be
pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not pray towards graves.” He said: Its isnaad
is jayyid. End quote. Fath al-Baari by Ibn Rajab, 2/398.
See also the answers to question number
There is no reason why a mosque cannot be built in an area
close to the graveyards of mushrikeen -- or of Muslims -- on condition that
the mosque is not within the boundary of the graveyard, rather it should be
clearly separated from it by a path or the like.
But if it is possible for you to find another place, far away
from the graveyard, that is better and is more on the safe side lest any
expansion of the graveyard, with the passage of time, reach the boundaries
of the mosque.
And Allaah knows best.