Imam Nawawi’s Recommendations for Madina

In Imam Nawawi’s (Allah have mercy on him) al-Idah fi Manasik al-Hajj:

Chapter 6: On Visiting the Grave of our Master, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.

In this chapter are discussed the recommended and discouraged actions of those who perform Hajj.

The first of the issues concerns those who make Hajj and `Umra. When they leave Mecca, they should go towards the city of Allah’s Messenger to visit his turba or burial ground. It is one of the most important of those actions that bring one towards Allah, and a most important effort. Al-Bazzar and al-Daraqutni narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that Allah’s Messenger said “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession becomes guaranteed for him.”

The second point concerns preferred or recommended actions for the visitor to have intention to do when visiting Allah’s Messenger. His intention should be to draw closer to Allah by travelling to his mosque and praying in it.

Third, it is also recommended that when the visitor is in transit he should increase his recitation of greetings and blessings on the Prophet, and that when he sees the trees of Medina, its blessed sanctuary, or any landmark in Medina, he should increase his recitations of greetings and blessings; he should ask that Allah accept his visit and grant him benefit for visiting.

Fourth, it is recommended that the pilgrim perform the ghusl before entering Madina and put on his cleanest clothes. He should visualize in his heart the honor of Madina, the best place in the world after Mecca according to some scholars; others consider Madina to be the best place in the world without exception. What makes it so honorable is the presence of Allah’s Prophet, the best of all creation.

Fifth, the pilgrim should attune himself to the feeling of the greatness of Allah’s Messenger; his heart should be full of his presence, as if he is seeing him.

Sixth, when he arrives at the door of his mosque, let him say the things he says when entering Mecca; he should enter with his right foot and leave with his left, as he should when entering and leaving any Masjid. As he approaches the holy Rawda, which is the place between the Prophet’s grave and his pulpit, he prays tahiyyat al-Masjid (the prayer of greeting the Masjid) near the Minbar, in the standing place of Allah’s Messenger. In the book of Madina the distance between the Minbar and the Maqam or standing place, where he used to pray until his death, is fourteen arm-lengths and one hand span, and the distance between the Minbar and the grave is fifty-three arm lengths and a span, and Allah knows best.

Seventh, after he prays the Tahiyya in the Rawda (or anywhere else in the Masjid), in thankfulness to Allah for this bounty, and asking Him for the completion of his mission and for the acceptance of his visit, he should face the wall of the holy grave, with the Qibla behind him, looking to the lower part of the grave’s wall, lowering his gaze in a state of awe and reverence, emptying his heart of worldly concerns and focusing on the reverent nature of his situation and the status of the one in whose presence he is. Then he gives greetings in a voice neither too loud nor too soft, but with moderation; he says the following:

al-Salamu `alayka ya Rasul Allah Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah
al-Salamu `alayka ya Nabi Allah Peace be upon you O Prophet of Allah
al-Salamu `alayka ya Khiyarat Allah Peace be upon you O Elect of Allah
al-Salamu `alayka ya Khayr Allah Peace be upon you O Goodness of Allah
al-Salamu `alayka ya Habib Allah Peace be upon you O Beloved of Allah
al-Salamu `alayka ya Nadhir Peace be upon you O Warner
al-Salamu `alayka ya Bashir Peace be upon you O Bearer of Glad Tidings
al-Salamu `alayka ya Tuhr Peace be upon you O Purity
al-Salamu `alayka ya Tahir Peace be upon you O Pure One
al-Salamu `alayka ya Nabi al-Rahma Peace be upon you O Prophet of Mercy
al-Salamu `alayka ya Nabi al-Umma Peace be upon you O Prophet of the Community
al-Salamu `alayka ya Abu Qasim Peace be upon you O Father of Qasim
al-Salamu `alayka ya Rasul Rabb al-`Alamin Peace be upon you O Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds
al-Salamu `alayka ya sayyid al-mursalin wa ya khatam al- nabiyyin Peace be upon you O Master of Messengers and Seal of Prophets
al-Salamu `alayka ya Khayr al-Khala’iqi ajma`in Peace be upon you O Best of All Creatures
al-Salamu `alayka ya Qa’id al-Ghurri al-Muhajjalin Peace be upon you O Leader of the Bright-faced ones
al-Salamu `alayka wa `ala Alika wa Ahli baytika wa Azwajika wa Dhurriyyatika wa Ashabika ajma`in Peace be upon you and upon your Family, the People of your House, your Wives, your Children, and all your Companions
al-Salamu `alayka wa `ala Sa’ir al-Anbiya’i wa Jami`i `Ibad Allah al-Salihin Peace be upon you and upon all the Prophets and Allah’s righteous Servants
Jazak Allahu Ya Rasulallahi `anna Afdala jaza Nabiyyan wa Rasulan `an Ummatihi May Allah reward you, O Messenger of Allah, with the best reward a Prophet or a Messenger ever received on behalf of his Community
Wa Sallallahu `alayka wa Sallama kulla ma dhakaraka dhakirun wa ghafala `an dhikrika ghafilun Blessings and Peace of Allah upon you every time one remembers you and every time one fails to remember you
Afdala wa Akmala wa Atyaba ma Salla wa Sallama `ala Ahadin min al-Khalqi ajma`in With the best, most perfect, and choicest of blessings and peace ever bestowed upon anyone in creation
Ashhadu an La Ilaha Illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah alone, without partner
Wa ashhadu annaka `Abduhu wa Rasuluhu wa Khiyaratuhu min khalqihi And I bear witness that you are His servant, His Messenger, His Elect among all creatures
Wa ashhadu annaka qad ballaghta al-Risala wa addayta al-Amana wa nasahta al-Umma wa jahadta fillahi haqqa jihadih And I bear witness that you have conveyed the Message and fulfilled the trust and counseled the Community and striven for Allah with the most truthful striving
Allahumma atihi al-wasilata wa al-fadilata wa ib`athhu maqaman mahmudan al-ladhi wa`adtah O Allah! Grant him the Means and the Excellent Gift and Raise him to the Exalted Station You have promised him
Wa atihi nihayata ma yanbaghi an yas’aluhu al-sa’ilun And grant him the goal of what those who beseech You must beseech for him
Allahumma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammadin `abdika wa rasulika al-Nabiyyi al-Ummi wa `ala Ali Sayyidina Muhammadin wa Azwajihi wa dhurriyyatih O Allah! Send blessings on our Master Muhammad Your servant and Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, and upon the Family of our Master Muhammad, his Wives and his Children
Kama sallayta `ala Sayyidina Ibrahima wa `ala Ali Sayyidina Ibrahima As you have sent blessings on our Master Ibrahim and on the Family of our Master Ibrahim
Wa barik `ala Sayyidina Muhammadin al-nabiyyi al-ummi wa `ala Ali Sayyidina Muhammadin wa Azwajihi wa dhurriyyatih And send benedictions on our Master Muhammad Your servant and Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, and upon the Family of our Master Muhammad, his Wives and his Children
Kama barakta `ala Sayyidina Ibrahima wa `ala Ali Sayyidina Ibrahima fi al-`alamina innaka Hamidun MajidAs you have sent benedictions on our Master Ibrahim and on the Family of our Master Ibrahim in the worlds, for You are truly the most praiseworthy and noble.

As for him who cannot memorize all of this or who does not have the time to recite it, it is enough to recite a part of it, as a minimum the words al-Salamu `alayka ya Rasul Allah

Then, if someone has asked him to convey Salams to Allah’s Messenger, let him say al-Salamu `alayka ya Rasul Allah min Fulan ibn Fulan (Greetings to you, O Messenger of Allah, from So-and-so, the son of So-and-so), or some such greeting.

After which he steps an arm’s length to the right and sends Salams to Abu Bakr because he stands at the shoulder of Allah’s Messenger; then he says al-Salamu `alayka ya Aba Bakrin safiyya rasulillahi wa thaniyahu fi al-ghari, jazakallahu `an ummat al-nabiyyi khayran, (Greetings to you, O Abu Bakr, the Intimate Friend of Allah’s Messenger and his second in the Cave! May Allah grant you the best reward on behalf of the Prophet’s Community).

Then he steps an arm’s length to the left of his original position, to the space before Umar, saying: al-salamu `alayka ya `umara a`azz allahu bika al-islam, jazak allahu `an ummati muhammadin khayran (Greetings to you O `Umar, Allah has strengthened Islam through you, may Allah reward you well on behalf of the nation of Muhammad).

Then he returns to his original position, directly in front of Allah’s Messenger, and he uses the prophet as his means in his innermost (fa yatawassalu bihi fi haqqi nafsihi), and seeks his intercession before his exalted and mighty Lord (wa yatashaffa`u bihi ila rabbihi subhanahu wa ta`ala), and one of the best things that he can say is what has been narrated by our colleagues on al-`Utbi’s authority, and they admired what he said:

As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Beduin Arab came and said: “Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: “If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful” (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord.” Then he began to recite poetry:

O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth
and the height have become sweet,
May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!
Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet in my sleep. He said to me: “O `Utbi, run after the Beduin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.”

The pilgrim should next advance to the head of the grave and stand between the grave and the pillar that is there, facing the Qibla [without turning his back on the grave]. Let him praise and glorify Allah and supplicate for himself regarding what concerns him and what he loves, for his parents, and for whomever he likes among his relatives, revered teachers, brothers, and Muslims in general; then he comes to the Rawda and increases his supplication and prayer. It established in the two Sahihs in a narration from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said: “Between my grave and my Minbar lies one of the Gardens of Paradise, and my Minbar overlooks my Pool (hawd). Let him stand by the Minbar to make supplication.

Eighth: It is impermissible (la yajuz) to circumambulate the grave of the Prophet, and it is reprehensible (makruh) to stand so close to the grave that one’s entire front or back is in direct contact with it. This is according to the opinion of al-Halimi and others. Also reprehensible is rubbing the grave with one’s hand or kissing it. The good etiquette is to stay a distance from it, as one would from a living person. This is what the `ulama have said, and we should not be misled by such actions of common people that are in violation of these good manners; we should only follow the prescriptions of the scholars, without paying attention to the behavior of the common people. The respected master, Abu `Ali al-Fudayl ibn `Iyad spoke to the effect that one must follow the paths of guidance and not be distracted that so few travel them, and to beware the paths of misguidance that are well-travelled by those who will perish. Therefore, he who thinks that rubbing and such bring more baraka is misled by his ignorance and heedlessness, because baraka is in what is in accordance with the Shari`a and the sayings of the scholars; how then can benefit be obtained through opposition to what is right?

Ninth: Throughout his stay in Madina he must perform all of his prayers in the Prophet’s Masjid, and must form the intention of making i`tikaf (retreat) in it.

Tenth: It is desirable that he go daily to the cemetary of Baqi`, especially on Friday; he should first say Salams to the Prophet. When he arrives at Baqi`, he says: al-Salamu `alaykum Dara Qawmin mu’minina wa inna insha Allahu bikum lahiqun, Allahumma ighfir li ahli Baqi` al-gharqad, Allahumma ighfir lana wa lahum. Then he visits the visible graves there, such as that of Ibrahim, `Uthman, al-`Abbas, al-Hasan the son of `Ali, `Ali the son of Al-Hussein, Muhammad ibn `Ali, Ja`far ibn Muhammad, and others. The last stop would be the grave of Safiyya, the Aunt of Allah’s Messenger; it has been established in numerous sound hadiths that there is merit in the graves of the Baqi` and in visiting them.

Eleventh: It is recommended to visit the graves of the martyrs of Uhud, the best day being Thursday, and to begin with Hamza, starting early in the morning after the dawn prayer in the mosque of the Prophet, so as to allow time to return to the Masjid before the Noon prayer.

Twelfth: It is definitely recommended to come to the Masjid of Quba’, preferably on a Saturday, with the intention of drawing closer to Allah by visiting it and praying in it, due the authentic hadith in the book of Tirmidhi and others from Usayb ibn Hudhayr, that a prayer in the Masjid of Quba’ is like `umra, and in the two Sahihs from Ibn `Umar, he said that Allah’s Messenger used to come to Masjid Quba’ both riding and walking to pray in it two rak`a, and in an authentic narration he used to come to it every Saturday. It is recommended to visit the well of Aris, which is located by the mosque of Quba’, and drink from its water and perform ablution with it.

Thirteenth: It is desirable that one visit all the sites of significance in Islam. There are approximately thirty such places, and they are known to the inhabitants of Madina. The pilgrim should visit as many as he can. He should also come to and drink from the wells where Allah’s Messenger used to perform ablution and wash. There are seven such wells.

Fourteenth: The pilgrim must maintain reverence toward this city throughout his stay there, keeping in his heart that it is the place chosen as the place of Allah’s Messenger’s emigration and residence, and the place where he was buried; he must visualize the Prophet’s coning and going in the city and his walking in its streets.

Fifteenth: Taking up residence in Madina [especially for study] is desirable on the same condition that were previously mentioned with reference to Mecca. The desirability of this practice has been established in Sahih Muslim: Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayra related that the Prophet said: “He who perseveres through the difficulties and hardships of Madina, I will be a witness or an intercessor for him on the day of judgment.”

Sixteenth: It is recommended that he fast in Medina whenever it is possible and as much as possible, and to give Sadaqa as much as possible to the Prophet’s jiran (people performing Mujawara), because it is a way of being faithful to the Prophet.

Seventeenth: He is not to carry with him any of the pottery made from the soil and stones of the Haram of Medina, nor the pitchers nor others of the utensils made from it, as has been stated with regard to the Haram of Mecca.

Eighteenth: Hunting at the Haram of Medina is forbidden, and it is also forbidden to remove from the trees of the Haram; these rules have been discussed in reference to the Haram of Mecca. The boundary of the Haram of Medina is what has been narrated by Bukhari and Muslim in their two authentic books from `Ali ibn Abi Talib from the Prophet: “The Haram of Madina is between `Ayr and Thawr [a hill behind Uhud]”; and in the two authentic books from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah who said: “If I see the deer grazing or drinking in Madina I would never interfere with them.” The Prophet also said, “What is between her two tracts of black stones [i.e. city limits],” and so it has been narrated by a group of Companions in the Sahih.

Nineteenth: If he wants to travel from Madina and go back to his country or another country, it is desirable to say farewell to the Masjid by performing two rak`a and making supplication for any matter about which he is concerned; he has to come to the grave and say something similar to the supplications mentioned at the beginning and says, “Oh Allah, do not make this the last time that I come to the Haram of Your Messenger; make easy my return to the two Sacred Sanctuaries, and bestow upon me forgiveness and security in this life and in the hereafter, and grant us safe return with your bounty.” He leaves facing away from the tomb.

Twentieth: Important matters regarding the Prophet’s mosque: It has been narrated in Sahih Bukhari from Ibn `Umar that he said that in the time of Allah’s Messenger the masjid was built with sun-dried clay bricks; its roof was made of palm branches, the pillars were of palm wood. Abu Bakr did not add to it anything; `Umar added to it and built it the way that it used to be during the time of the Prophet with bricks and palm branches and palm-wood pillars. `Uthman, in turn, changed it, adding considerably to it, and he built up its walls with engraved stone and freestone, put up pillars of engraved stone, and a roof of teak [Indian oak]. It is incumbent to keep Salat in the Masjid that used to exist during the time of Allah’s Messenger. For the previously mentioned sound hadith: “A prayer in this, my Masjid, is better than a thousand prayers in any other Masjid” applies only to what was in place in his own time. If one prays in congregation, stepping forward to the first row, and those rows immediately behind it, is best. Let him pay attention to what I have warned about. In the two Sahih books on the authority of Abu Hurayra the Prophet said: “My Minbar overlooks my Pool.” Al-Khattabi said that the meaning of this hadith is that he who keeps the prayers at my Minbar shall be given water from the Prophet’s Pool on the Day of Judgment. The other hadith in the Sahih has already been mentioned: “Between my grave and the Minbar, lies one of the Gardens of Paradise.”

Twenty-first: Some of the common people claimed that Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever visits me and my father Ibrahim in the same year, I guarantee Paradise for him,” and this is false; it is not from Allah’s Messenger and it is not mentioned in any books of hadith. Rather, it is a fabrication of some corrupt individuals. The visit of the Friend of the Merciful is not disapproved. What is rejected is only what the common people have narrated and there is no relation between the visit of the Khalil and Hajj; the visit of the Khalil is a separate act of devotion. Likewise, the saying of some of the common people whereby if they perform the Hajj and complement it by visiting Jerusalem, they are thereby completing the Pilgrimage: this is false. While visiting Jerusalem is desirable, it is not related to Hajj. And Allah knows best.

Twenty-second: If one swears an oath to visit the Prophet’s Mosque or Jerusalem, there are two points of view for al-Shafi`i; the more correct one is that it is desirable that he go, but not obligatory.

And Allah knows best.

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