My father and mother died a decade ago. I want to know under the light of Islam how I should pray for them at their grave. What is the best way to ask Allah to forgive them? Should a Muslim recite Qur'an by sitting or standing by the grave or somewhere in the graveyard? If yes, how?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Visiting graves is desirable for men. The Prophet said: “I forbade you from visiting graves, but you may now visit them.” [Muslim]
However, this is dislikeable for women according to the view of the majority of Muslim scholars. The Sunnah for the one who visits graves is to greet the dead (i.e. to say Assalaamu Alaykum) and ask Allah's Mercy, forgiveness and safety for the inhabitants of the graves.
Buraydah reported that the Prophet used to teach them when they went to graveyard to say: “Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the graves, amongst the believers and the Muslims. Verily, we will, Allah willing, be united with you; we ask Allah for well-being for us and for you.” [Muslim]
Moreover, Imam Muslim narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that she said to the Prophet : “What should I say to them, O Messenger of Allah, when visiting graves? He replied: Say, peace be upon you inhabitants of the abodes, among the believers and Muslims. May Allah grant Mercy to those who have preceded us and those who are to follow them. Certainly, Allah willing, we will join you.”
This is the perfect manner that should be practiced when visiting graveyards since it is proved from the practice, the saying, and the teaching of the Prophet .
There is no harm for a person to stand facing the Qiblah and to supplicate for the dead people. Reciting the Quran at the time of visiting graves is an innovation since it is not reported from the Prophet nor from the four-guided Caliphs, whom we are ordered to follow.
Therefore, we say that the visiting should be restricted to greeting and supplicating for them.
Allah knows best.
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