Ziyara : the cult of the dead and grave visitation in Salafi Islam
Source document: Religio. 2010, vol. 18, iss. 2, pp. -235
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
In certain parts of the Islamic world today, there exists huge ambiguity with respect to graves and related customs. This ambiguity gives rise to the consequent uncertainty regarding proper conduct on the part of ordinary believers, and sometimes – under certain historical and social circumstances – leads to the destruction of graves. This case study shows how the influence of some clerics permeates the everyday life of Muslims, who feel compelled to ask for guidance in every sphere of daily life. The authors examine the evolution of ziyara, grave visitation, and the main themes related to it, and show how its opponents understood it differently at different times. To achieve this, the authors analyze the legal opinions of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Abdalwahhab, Muhammad al-Shawkani, Muqbil al-Wadi'i, and other key figures of Salafi thought. The authors also assess the issues that emerged soon after the rise of Islam, such as the legality of building domes over graves; the kinds of utterances, such as prayers and supplications, allowed in graveyards; the maximum height to which a grave can be erected without becoming an idol; and the propriety of seeking intercession on behalf of oneself, among others. Furthermore, the authors show how such questions were gradually simplified and finally turned from mere legal issues into key doctrinal ones.