الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي قبل حج من زار النبي، ووجب لهم الشفاعة في يوم يفصل فيه بين السعيد والشقي، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.      أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.

 

The time of the Hajj is complete, but that does not mean that the journey is yet at an end for the Hujjaj, for the visit to the House of Allah is only stage one. It is the primary purpose of the journey but there is a secondary one, a stage two. And that is the visit to the Messenger of Allah in al-Madinat al-Munawarra. Allah says,

 

يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱبْتَغُوۤاْ إِلَيهِ ٱلْوَسِيلَةَ

 

the translation of which is, “You who believe, have taqwa of Allah and seek out the wasila/ the means of drawing near to Him.” The wasila is the Messenger of Allah, and we are commanded to seek him out and honour him. Yes, all guidance comes from Allah and yes it is to Him that we must be thankful for being among its people, but He has designed this existence in such a way that there is but one means of access to His pleasure and acceptance, one wasila, and that is our beloved Prophet, just as there is one mode of entry into this existence and that is through our parents. And if it is true that we have not thanked Allah until we have thanked our parents – and it is true – then it is equally true that we have not thanked Allah until we have thanked His Messenger, we have not shown our appreciation to our Lord until we have shown our appreciation to His Messenger, we have not honoured our Lord until we have honoured His Messenger. The Prophet said,

لا يشكُرُ اللهَ مَن لا يشكُرُ الناسَ

 

“The one who has not thanked people has not thanked Allah.” So then the pertinent question becomes, how do we show our gratitude to the Messenger of Allah? The primary ways are through constant praise, frequent salawat and the implementation of his sunna, but for those with the means and the opportunity, few things match up to making a journey specifically to visit him. Allah says,

 

ومن يخرج من بيته مهاجرا إلى الله ورسوله ثم يدركه الموت فقد وقع أجره على الله

 

the translation of which is, “If anyone leaves his home, making hijra to Allah and to His Messenger, and death catches up with him, it is Allah who will reward him.” The reason for the journey is twofold, firstly to Allah and secondly to the Messenger of Allah. And although this ayat relates to the hijra, the same applies with the Hajj. The visit to the Messenger of Allah is the seal of the journey and its completion. While not obligatory, it is considered by all of the ulama of all of the madhhabs to be a highly emphasised unmissable part of the Hajj journey. Look in any of the books of fiqh in the chapter dealing with Hajj and you will find a section relating to the visit of the Prophet. Qadi Iyad of the Malikis said,

 

وزيارة قبره ﷺ سنة من سنن المسلمين مجمع عليها، وفضيلة مرغب فيها

 

“Visiting the tomb of the Prophet is a sunna among the Muslims on which there is agreement. It is a virtue which is encouraged.” And Imam al-Mawardi of the Shafi‘is said,

 

فإذا عاد ولي الحاج، سار به على طريق المدينة لزيارة قبر رسول الله ليجمع لهم بين حج بيت الله وزيارة قبر رسول الله رعاية لحرمته وقياماً بحقوق طاعته وذلك وإن لم يكن من فروض الحج، فهو من مندوبات الشرع المستحبة وعبادات الحجيج المستحبة

 

“When the head of the Hajj expedition returns, he should go back via al-Madina so that he can visit the grave of the Messenger of Allah, thereby combining the visit to the House of Allah with the visit to the grave of the Messenger of Allah,. In this way, he shows him the requisite respect and fulfils his duties of obedience to him. Even if this is not one of the obligations of Hajj, it is one of the recommended acts of the deen, an act of ibada that is encouraged of every Hajji.” And Imam ‘Alaa’u-d-deen al-Haskafi of the Hanafis said,

 

وزيارة قبره مندوبة بل قيل واجبة لمن له سعة

 

“Visiting his grave is recommended – indeed, some say it is obligatory – for those who have the means and opportunity.” They say it is obligatory because of the words of the Messenger of Allah,

من وجد سعة ولم يفد إلي فقد جفاني

 

“He who does not come to see me despite having the means to do so, has shunned me.” And there are few actions worse than shunning the Messenger of Allah, especially given that he is our ONLY means of success.

While this visit to the Prophet can be undertaken before the visit the House of Allah, it is far better that it be done afterwards for a number of reasons. Firstly, the obligatory should take precedence over the sunna or the recommended, and it is clear that the obligatory part of the journey is the hajj itself in Makka. Secondly, whenever the Prophet talked about the visit in conjunction with the hajj, he always mentioned it as being done afterwards. For example, he said,

من حجّ إلى مكة ثم قصدني في مسجدي كتبت له حجّتان مبرورتان

 

“Whoever goes on Hajj to Makka and then comes to visit me in my mosque will have two accepted Hajjs written for him.” And Imam an-Nawawi said,

 

فإذا انصرف الحجاج والمعتمرون من مكة استحب لهم استحبابا متأكدا أن يتوجهوا إلى المدينة لزيارتة صلى الله عليه وسلم

 

“When those who are on hajj or umra have left Makka, it is strongly recommended that they make their way to Madina to visit him, peace and blessings be upon him.” And thirdly, Makka is a zone of intensity, majesty and awe. It is a crucible whereby the hajji is purged and purified. It can be a terrifying place, one that makes you forget yourself and forget the world. While Madina is the polar opposite. It is a zone of tranquility, beauty and calm. The moment you step through its gates, it is as if all your troubles are lifted from your shoulders and you feel refreshed and revitalised. It reconstructs you after you have been deconstructed. It is the calm after the storm, the peace after the battle. And its benefits are best realised afterwards, not before. So I would encourage anyone who is going and has the option, to structure their hajj package so that the visit to the Prophet and his city follows the hajj and does not precede it.

There have been those, in recent years, who have sought to change the emphasis of this visit and make it about a place or a mosque rather than about the Messenger himself. You will hear them quote the hadith,

لا تشد الرحال إلا إلى ثلاثة مساجد

 

“You should not make a journey except to three mosques,” and say this means that it is forbidden to make the journey with the express purpose of visiting the Prophet in his grave, the only acceptable intention is to visit his mosque. Their interpretation of the hadith in that way is absurd, for that would imply that all journeys are forbidden except for those to the three mosques and nobody has ever claimed that. No, it is simply an attempt to diminish and lower the station of the Messenger of Allah. But they cannot and will not every succeed in such an endeavour, for it is Allah who has raised up his renown. He says, wa rafa‘naa laka dhikraka.

Their claim that they seek merely to protect the Muslims from shirk holds no water,  for never has a visit to a grave posed such a risk, for the grave by its very nature is the proof of impermanence while one of our Lord’s essential qualities is that of permanence. Indeed the Messenger of Allah himself visited the grave of his mother and said,

 

استأذنت ربي أن أزور قبرها فأذن لي فزوروا القبور فإنها تذكّركم الموت

 

“I asked permission of my Lord to visit her grave and He granted me His permission. Visit graves for they will remind you of death.” Graves remind us of the fragility of the existence of all that is created and the immutability of the Creator. Such visits are, in fact, a protection against shirk.

Their claim that the recommended visit to the Messenger of Allah only applied when he was alive is also baseless.

Firstly, the Messenger of Allah is alive in his grave, just like the rest of the Prophets, martyrs and awliya. Did not the Prophet pray with them the other prophets in al-Quds on his night journey. And does not Allah say,

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُم رَسُولَ اللهِ

 

the translation of which is, “Know that the Messenger of Allah IS among you.” These are the eternal Words of Allah, and there are as valid today as they were when they were revealed, and they do not say WAS, but IS.

Secondly, the Prophet explicitly instructed his umma to visit him after his death. He said,

من حج فزار قبري بعد موتي كان كمن زارني في حياتي وصحبني

 

“If you do Hajj and visit my grave after my death, it will be like you visited me and accompanied me in my lifetime.” When we go to his grave, we spend time in his company  and feel the sweetness of his presence more than any other place. He is there and hears those who greet him and replies to their greeting.

Thirdly, it was the practice of the Companions, those who knew his Sunna best, to journey to Madina for the express purpose of visiting him. I will give you two examples of this. Firstly, Umar ibn al-Khattab. When he went to Jerusalem to accept its surrender, and Ka‘b al-Ahbar came before him and became Muslim, what was one of the first things Umar said to him?

هل لك أن تسير معي إلى المدينة وتزور قبره

 

“Would you like to come with me to Madina and visit his grave.” Ka‘b, of course, was overjoyed to accept. Secondly, Bilal, the muadhdhin of the Messenger of Allah. His intense grief at the death of the Messenger forced him to leave Madina and move to Syria. But then one day, he had a dream in which the Prophet came to him and said,

 

ما هذه الجفوة يا بلال؟ أما آن لك أن تزورني؟

 

“What is this estrangement, Bilal? Has the time not come for you to come and visit me.” So he leapt to his feet, packed his things and set off for Madina. And the moment he arrived, he headed straight for the grave, not letting anything distract him or delay him from his purpose. His journey, a journey of more than a thousand miles, was made with but one purpose, to visit the Prophet in his qabr. For he longed for him and knew that that place was where he could once again be in his company.

These two accounts teach us all we need to know about the visit, and the intention behind it. We do not go to visit Madina, we do not go even to visit the Mosque of Madina, even though there is tremendous reason to do so, given that every prayer there is worth 10,000 times the prayer elsewhere. We make the journey to visit the Messenger of Allah, that is our sole reason. The Prophet said,

 

من جاءني زائراً لا يهمه إلا زيارتي كان حقاً على الله سبحانه أن أكون له شفيعاً

 

“If  someone comes to visit me, having no intention other than to visit me, then Allah will make it that I am his intercessor.”

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه الكريم: ولو أنهم إذ ظلموا أنفسهم جآءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدوا الله توابا رحيما

 

Allah say in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “If only when they wronged themselves they had come to you and asked Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them they would have found Allah Ever-Returning, Most Merciful.” The human being wrongs himself, it is part of his nature. But the best human beings are the ones who when they do, they make tawba. The best human beings are the ones who when they do, make their way to the Messenger of Allah and ask him to ask forgiveness on their behalf. This ayat is basically a statement that every human being should strive to come before the Messenger of Allah. Not everyone can make the journey to his qabr, but everyone can make the journey to one of his representatives, one of those who have inherited a portion of his knowledge and his light, one of those who live his sunna to the best of their abilities, moulding their words, actions and character to his own. Loving the Messenger means loving his people, visiting the Messenger means visiting his people, and respecting the Messenger means respecting his people.

In order to demonstrate this respect, we must maintain the correct adab and have the right intention. We purify ourselves and don our best clothes and apply our best perfume. We approach with gravity and serenity, making frequent mention of our beloved, and arrive at or before the appointed time. Then, when we come into his presence, we remain humble and respectful at all times. Our station in life does not matter, it is all about him. Imam Malik reprimanded the Amir al-Mu’minin for raising his voice in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, and he was chastened, humble and respectful thereafter. And another Khalifa used to come and sit at the feet of one of the men of Allah who had formerly been a slave. The only status that truly matters with Allah is that person’s station with Him, not with creation.

We ask Allah to give us the opportunity to visit the Messenger of Allah in his grave,  and sit in his presence. We ask that He increase us and all those who visit the Messenger of Allah in love of him, and we ask that He rid this umma of all those who treat him with disrespect and seek to bar lovers from visiting their beloved. We ask Allah to convey our salaams to the Messenger of Allah and unite us with him in this world and the Next. And we ask that he grant us his shafa’a on that day when no shafa’a is accepted except his. And we ask that He keep us always in the company of the inheritors of his light, and enable us to visit them often. And we ask to that He bring the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah to life in us and by us and preserve it by our efforts and our actions. And make us people whose connection to the Messenger of Allah remains strong and unbroken throughout every moment of our lives, in this world and the Next.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.