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Assalamualaikum Sahib al-Samahah Dr. Zulkifli. Recently, there is a hot issue regarding the discussion of a hadith in which states that reciting Surah al-Qadr seven times on the grave will protect the deceased from the punishment and torture of the grave. Some claimed that the hadith is fabricated for it is not recorded by the major books of hadith. Thus, this practice is invalid. Meanwhile, there are people who opposed this claim stating that it is written in the books of al-Imam al-Syafie. So, we have to be more accepting in this issue. What is the solution on harmonising this issue? Thank you.


Waalaikumussalam. Thank you for the question asked. We will try our best in answering this question while giving suggestions on how to harmonise the issue.


In the last few days, we at the Office of Mufti of Federal Territories have received questions pertaining the issue of taking some of the dirt from the graveyard and then recite Surah al-Qadr upon it seven times. By doing this, it is claimed that the dead will be protected from the torture of the grave. The following are our answer through the perspective of both ‘ilm al-hadith and fiqh.

Evidences of Reciting Surah al-Qadr Seven Times at the Graveyard

Hereby we bring along the evidences on this issue:

First: Syeikh Taqiyuddin al-Alawi found a writing of his dad in which al-Faqih Muhammad Abu Abdillah al-Hafiz narrated that Rasulullah PBUH said:

مَنْ أَخَذَ مِنْ تُرَابِ الْقَبْرِ حَالَ الدَّفْنِ بِيَدِهِ أَيْ حَالَ إرَادَتِهِ وَقَرَأَ {إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ} [القدر: 1] سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ وَجَعَلَهُ مَعَ الْمَيِّتِ فِي كَفَنِهِ أَوْ قَبْرِهِ لَمْ يُعَذَّبْ ذَلِكَ الْمَيِّتُ فِي الْقَبْرِ

“ Whoever take the dirt from the graveyard with his own hands during the burial which is during the time to bury the corpse. Then, he recites it with surah al-Qadr seven times and put the dirt in its kafan or in his lahd. By doing this, the deceased will not be tortured in his or her grave.”

The text of this hadith (matan) is recorded in these books:

  • Hasyiah al-Imam Abdul Hamid al-Syarwani in interpreting the book of Tuhfatul Muhtaj (3/172).
  • Hasyiah Abu al-Dhiya’ Nuruddin bin Ali al-Syabramalisi in interpreting the book of Nihayah al-Muhtaj (3/8).
  • Futuhaat al-Wahhab Bi Taudhih Syarh Manhaj al-Thullab (2/203) by Syeikhul Islam Zakariya al-Ansari.
  • I’anah al-Thalibin by Syeikh Abu Bakar Uthman al-Bakri al-Dimyati (2/135).
  • Bughyah al-Mustarsyidin, Syeikh Abdul Rahman al-Ba’lawi (1/198).

Second: Syeikh al-Bujairami recorded that al-Nasyiri claimed on this with a connected chain of narrators on his saying:

أَنَّ مَنْ أَخَذَ مِنْ تُرَابِ الْقَبْرِ حَالَ الدَّفْنِ فِي كَفِّهِ شَيْئًا مِنْهُ وَقَرَأَ: {إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ} [القدر: 1] سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ ثُمَّ وَضَعَهُ فِي كَفَنِهِ لَمْ يُعَذَّبْ ذَلِكَ الْمَيِّتُ وَهِيَ فَائِدَةٌ جَلِيلَةٌ

“Whoever takes the dirt of the graveyard with his hand during the funeral when he was about to bury the dead. Then, he read al-qadr seven times and put it together with the corpse in his grave or at his lahd, the deceased would not be punished. And it is a great benefit.”

Refer Hasyiah al-Bujairami ke atas Al-Iqna’ (2/310).

Third: Syeikh Ahmad bin Ismail al-Tahtawi al-Hanafi said:

وَفِي كِتَابِ النُّورَينِ مَن أخَذَ مِن تُرَابِ القَبْرِ بِيَدِهِ وَقَرَأ عَلَيهِ سُورَةَ القَدْرِ سَبْعًا وَتَرَكهُ فِي القَبْرِ لَمْ يُعَذَّبْ صَاحِب القَبْر

In the book entitled al-Nurain: “Whoever take the dirt from the graveyard with his own hands. Then, he read sural al-Qadr seven times and leave the dirt at the graveyard. The deceased would not be punished”

Refer Hasyiah al-Tahthawi ‘ala Maraqi al-Falah (1/611).


After reviewing those texts mentioned before, we think that this issue should be best discussed upon two perspectives which are; ‘ilm hadith and fiqh.

First: The perspective of the study of hadith (‘ilm al-hadith)

  1. Based on our findings, this hadith cannot be found in kutub al-sittah[1] or any other books of hadith such as Musnad, Mustadrak and many more.
  2. Although Syeikh al-Bujairami claimed that al-Nasyiri narrated this riwayat (narration) with a connected chain of narrators, we do not find the claimed chain of narrators for us to confirm this.
  3. We find out that most of this riwayat (narrations) refer to Syeikh Taqiyuddin al-‘Alawi (872h), in which he found his father’s writings that claimed Abu Abdullah al-Hafiz said that it is from the Prophet PBUH. However, once again with our own limitation, cannot find the chain of narrators (sanad) from Syeikh Abu Abdillah al-Hafiz to Rasulullah PBUH.

Status of Hadith

Based on our observation of reviewing the books of hadith which compiled the texts of hadith, we cannot find the perfect chain of narrators (sanad) on that particular hadith mentioned before. As for that, we would like to conclude that the hadith has no solid resources to prove its validity, thus, it is porhibited for us to relate it to the Prophet PBUH or spread it to others.

In brief, this hadith is invalid (not sahih). So, we have to be cautious on saying something is narrated from Rasulullah PBUH as what he himself warns us regarding this in a valid (sahih) hadith:

مَنْ حَدَّثَ عَنِّي حَدِيثًا وَهُوَ يُرَى أَنَّهُ كَذِبٌ فَهُوَ أَحَدُ الْكَاذِبَيْنِ

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: '"Whoever narrates a Hadith from me thinking it to be false, then he is one of the two liars." (Either the one who invents a lie or the one who repeats it; both are liars).

Sunan Abu Daud (43)

It is one of the obligations and responsibilities of the scholars of the study of hadith to extract and authenticate (takhij) the books of Fiqh to ensure the authenticity and validity of the hadith mentioned as basis of practices and rituals. This is what has been practised by the scholars:

  • Imam al-Zaila’ie in his book entitled Nasab al-Rayah, he authenticated hadiths recorded in a book entitled al-Hidayah which is one of the resources in mazhab Hanafi.
  • Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his book, Talkhis al-Habir summarized hadiths mentioned in al-Badrul Munir which authenticate (takhrij) al-Kabir by Imam al-Rafi’e; a book of Fiqh in mazhab al-Syafie.
  • Imam al-Hafiz al-Iraqi authenticated (takhrij) hadis-hadis in Ihya’ Ulum al-Din; a work of Hujjatul Islam al-Ghazali.

Regarding this matter, we have to know that the scholars never intend to insult or degrade Fiqh scholars who are renowned by their big contributions and works. It is a way of helping each other with truth and patience (sabr).

Second: In the Pespective of Fiqh

  1. Through our research, we find that this practice is only found in the hasyiahs of contemporary Fiqh scholars, whether it is in Mazhab Hanafi or Mazhab al-Syafie.
  2. They include the riwayat in explaining the benefits of burying the dead. One of it is by reciting surah al-Qadr seven times at the dirt from the graveyard, then place it either in the kafan or together with other dirts meant to bury the dead in his lahd. This practice is believed to protect the dead from the tortures of the grave.
  3. However, the scholars who claimed this neither provide the chain of narrators (sanad) pertaining to the hadith, nor explain the status of the hadith. This is a huge impact on practicing the hadith as this issue is related to the unseen (ghaibiyyat), which need an evidence to proof its validity to be practiced.

Imposing Analogy (Qiyas) of Putting Date’s Leaves on the Graveyard

Some people tried to prove the validity of the practice presenting the following hadith:

It is narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas R.Anhuma, it is recorded that the Prophet PBUH was passing two graves, when he suddenly said:

"‏ إِنَّهُمَا لَيُعَذَّبَانِ وَمَا يُعَذَّبَانِ فِي كَبِيرٍ أَمَّا أَحَدُهُمَا فَكَانَ لاَ يَسْتَتِرُ مِنَ الْبَوْلِ، وَأَمَّا الآخَرُ فَكَانَ يَمْشِي بِالنَّمِيمَةِ ‏"‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ أَخَذَ جَرِيدَةً رَطْبَةً فَشَقَّهَا بِنِصْفَيْنِ، ثُمَّ غَرَزَ فِي كُلِّ قَبْرٍ وَاحِدَةً‏.‏ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، لِمَ صَنَعْتَ هَذَا فَقَالَ ‏"‏ لَعَلَّهُ أَنْ يُخَفَّفَ عَنْهُمَا مَا لَمْ يَيْبَسَا ‏"‏‏.‏

"They are being tortured not for a great thing (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other was going about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends). He then took a green leaf of a date-palm tree split it into two pieces and fixed one on each grave. The people said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Why have you done so?" He replied, "I hope that their punishment may be lessened till they (the leaf) become dry."

Sahih al-Bukhari (218), (1361) and (6052)

In a long hadith, it is recorded that Jabir RA narrated by the Prophet PBUH, where he said:

إِنِّي مَرَرْتُ بِقَبْرَيْنِ يُعَذَّبَانِ فَأَحْبَبْتُ بِشَفَاعَتِي أَنْ يُرَفَّهَ عَنْهُمَا مَا دَامَ الْغُصْنَانِ رَطْبَيْنِ

“I passed by two graves the occupants of which had been undergoing torment. I liked to make intercession for them so that the might be relieved of this torment y as long as these twigs remain fresh,”

Sahih Muslim (3012)

Imam al-Bukhari included an athar reported by Buraidah and Ibn Umar R.anhuma in one of the chapter in his book; Sahih al-Bukhari:

وَأَوْصَى بُرَيْدَةُ الأَسْلَمِيُّ: "أَنْ يُجْعَلَ فِي قَبْرِهِ جَرِيدَانِ" وَرَأَى ابْنُ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا فُسْطَاطًا عَلَى قَبْرِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَن .فَقَالَ: "انْزِعْهُ يَا غُلاَمُ فَإِنَّمَا يُظِلُّهُ عَمَلُهُ

“Buraidah al-Aslamiy left a will of putting date’s leaves on his own grave when he died. Ibnu Umar saw a tent on the grave of Abdul Rahman and asked for it to be removed by saying, “O’ boy! remove it. The only thing that will protect him is his deeds”

Sahih al-Bukhari (209)

The Ruling and Opinions of the Scholars on Understanding the Hadith

Pertaining this issue, there are two ways on understanding the hadith.

  • First opinion: It is sunnah to put date’s leaves or what is equivalent on the graveyard. It is mentioned by the Fiqh scholars of Mazhab al-Syafie.

وَيُسَنُّ أَيْضًا وَضْعُ الْجَرِيدِ الْأَخْضَرِ عَلَى الْقَبْرِ وَكَذَا الرَّيْحَانُ وَنَحْوُهُ مِنْ الشَّيْءِ الرَّطْبِ وَلَا يَجُوزُ لِلْغَيْرِ أَخْذُهُ مِنْ عَلَى الْقَبْرِ قَبْلَ يُبْسِهِ لِأَنَّ صَاحِبَهُ لَمْ يُعْرِضْ عَنْهُ إلَّا عِنْدَ يُبْسِهِ لِزَوَالِ نَفْعِهِ الَّذِي كَانَ فِيهِ وَقْتَ رُطُوبَتِهِ

It is sunnah to put a fresh date’s leaves on the graveyard. As well as for other fresh plants that have nice scents. It is prohibited for anyone to remove them before they dry because the deceased are depending on their fresh state which is the only time they are beneficial to the dead,

Refer Mughni al-Muhtaj, al-Khatib al-Syarbini (2/56)

  • Second Opinion: It is included as one of the specialties (khususiyyat) of the Prophet PBUH. Imam al-Khattabi is one of the persons who mentioned this.

فَإِنَّهُ مِنْ نَاحِيَةِ التَّبَرُّك بِأَثَرِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَدُعَائِهِ بِالتَّخْفِيْفِ عَنْهُمَا وَكَأَنَّهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَعَلَ مُدَّة بَقَاء النَّدَاوَة فِيْهِمَا حَدّا لما وَقَعَت بِهِ المَسْأَلَة مِنْ تَخْفِيْفِ العَذَاب عَنْهُمَا وَلَيْسَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَجْلِ أَنَّ فِيْ الجَرِيْدِ الرّطَب مَعْنَى لَيْسَ فِيْ اليَابِسِ

It is a form of gaining blessing from the traces of the Prophet PBUH and also from his du’a for the dead to be free from the torment of death. It is almost like the Prophet PBUH put the duration of the freshness of the leaves as a duration of validity of the du’a. The freshness is not the benchmak here.

Refer Ma’alim al-Sunan, al-Khattabi (19)

Practices that May Shield a Man from the Torment of Death

We hereby include some of the practices that is in accordance with the Quran and al-Sunnah, hopefully, we can practice them in our daily life. Some of the practices are:

  1. Have Faith and Doing Good Deeds

This is the major ways on shielding ourselves from the torment of death. Allah says:

ثَبِّتُ ٱللَّـهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا بِٱلْقَوْلِ ٱلثَّابِتِ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَفِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ ۖ وَيُضِلُّ ٱللَّـهُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ ۚ وَيَفْعَلُ ٱللَّـهُ مَا يَشَآءُ

“Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.”

(Surah Ibrahim: 27)

Al-Imam Ibn Kathir rahimahullah in his tafseer, Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azhim quoted words of Sufyan al-Thauri rahimahullah in which he said that the ayat mentioned before is related to the torment of death.[2]

Allah SWT strengthen the heart of the believers with a perfect soul; those who always practice good deeds and being steadfast in his faith to Him. He also strengthen them with a life in this world and the Hereafter. When they die, they are still in this faith (Islam). And when it is time for them to be questioned in the barzakh, they are able to answer it excellently.[3]

  1. Observing the Boundaries (Ribat) on the Path of Allah

Those who always observe the boundaries on the path of Allah and have patience in doing so. This is based on the hadith narrated by Fadhalah bin ‘Ubaid RA in which the Prophet PBUH said:

كُلُّ الْمَيِّتِ يُخْتَمُ عَلَى عَمَلِهِ، إِلاَّ الْمُرَابِطَ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْمُو لَهُ عَمَلُهُ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيُؤَمَّنُ مِنْ فَتَّانِ الْقَبْرِ

“Everyone who dies will have fully complete his action, except one who is on the frontier (in Allah's path), for his deeds will be made to go on increasing till the Day of Resurrection, and he will be safe from the trial in the grave.”

Narrated by Abu Daud (2500) & Al-Tirmizi (1621). Status: Sahih

  1. Recite Surah al-Mulk

This is based on a hadith by Ibn ‘Abbas R.anhuma in which he recorded that:

ضَرَبَ بَعْضُ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم خِبَاءَهُ عَلَى قَبْرٍ وَهُوَ لاَ يَحْسِبُ أَنَّهُ قَبْرٌ فَإِذَا فِيهِ إِنْسَانٌ يَقْرَأُ سُورَةَ تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ حَتَّى خَتَمَهَا فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنِّي ضَرَبْتُ خِبَائِي عَلَى قَبْرٍ وَأَنَا لاَ أَحْسِبُ أَنَّهُ قَبْرٌ فَإِذَا فِيهِ إِنْسَانٌ يَقْرَأُ سُورَةَ تَبَارَكَ الْمُلْكُ حَتَّى خَتَمَهَا ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ هِيَ الْمَانِعَةُ هِيَ الْمُنْجِيَةُ تُنْجِيهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ

"One of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) pitched a tent on a grave without knowing that it was a grave. Suddenly he heard a person from the grave reciting Surah al-Mulk till he completed it. So he went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: 'Oh Messenger of Allah, I pitched my tent on a grave without realizing that is was a grave. Then suddenly I heard a person from the grave reciting Surah al-Mulk till he completed it.' The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'It is the defender, it is the deliverer - it delivers from the punishment of the grave.'"

Riwayat Al-Tirmizi (2890)

  1. Supplications (du’a) Taught by the Prophet PBUH

There are supplications (du’a) taught by the Prophet PBUH that can be practiced in which these du’a are made by the Prophet himself in order for him to be safe from the torment of death. The du’a is as the following:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ، وَمِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ، وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ، وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ

O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the torment of Hell, from the torment of the grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the mischief of Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist)”

Narrated by Al-Bukhari (1377)

This is a really great du’a to be practiced. In fact, there are many riwayat who differ in term of words used, but have the same meaning.

Lessons from the Story of Imam Ibn al-Jauzi Rahimahullah

There is a renowned story of a famous hadith scholar named Imam al-Hafiz Ibn al-Jauzi Rahimahullah. In a book entitled al-Maudhu’at, he made it his routine to recite surah al-Fatihah, ayat al-Kursi, two verses from Surah Ali ‘Imran, (which are the 18th and the 26th) after each prayers. It is believed that those who did this will get the fadhilat as stated below:

  • Allah will grant paradise to those who recite them after each prayers
  • Allah will see them 70 times per day
  • Allah will grant 70 of their wishes
  • Allah will save them fom their enemy
  • Allah will protect them

Al-Hafiz Ibn al-Jauzi said: This hadith is fabricated (maudhu’). He later explained:

“I have been hearing this hadith since I was a kid and even practiced it for almost 30 years due to my respect to the narrators of the hadith. When I knew that it is fabricated, I abruptly stop the practice.”

Then one person asked Ibn al-Jauzi: Isn’t it used in good deeds?

He then answered:

اسْتِعْمَالُ الْخَيْر يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَكُونَ مَشْرُوعًا فَإِذَا عَلِمْنَا أَنَّهُ كَذِب خَرَجَ عَنِ المَشْرُوعِيَّة

“Depending on something as the source to do good deeds must be accompanied by the fact that they are authentic. When it is proven that they are fabicated, then the action is rejected.”

Let us take a moment to ponder on the action of al-Imam Ibn al-Jauzi rahimahullah that abruptly left the practice he has been doing for 30 years (in which his practice was due to his great respect towards the narrators of the hadith) only for the fact that there is no authentic basis on this. We end this issue by a du’a as follows:

رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ

Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.

(Surah al-Hasyr:10)


After observing and reviewing the opinions, our say in this issue is:

  • First: This is the practise of minority of past righteous people. Most of the scholars never practiced this as claimed.
  • Second: Those who practice this presented athar and hadith as sources and evidences. However, they employ an incorrect analogy (qiyas). In fact, a clear evidence here is the opinion of Ibn Umar R.anhuma which stated the opposite.
  • Third: Stating that a person may be safe from the torment of death needs a solid and authentic evidence as proof. Hence, in this issue, there is none to prove the authenticity.
  • Fourth: Relying on the authentic evidence from the Quran and al-Hadith is the correct practice.

Last but not least, we would like to remind all of us to practice the religion through authentic resources and always be away from things which are unclear. It is sufficient for us to practice things that have a clear explanation from the Quran and hadith so that our good deeds are always in line with the Shari’a and will be accepted by Allah . Wallahua’lam.