Putting a sign on the grave
Fatwa No: 90624

Question

My question has several parts. Firstly is it permissible to place a thin piece of concrete, stone, or wood (level with the ground) at the head of the grave, so one knows where the grave is? The second part is whether it is permissible to write on the concrete, stone or wood who lies in the grave. If not, is it permissible to write whether the grave belongs to a man or woman? Please note that I do not mean a headstone, which is above ground level; I speak of a marker which is the same level as the ground.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

It is permissible to put a sign on the grave, either a stone, wood and the like, according to the opinion of the majority of scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. The scholars of the Shaafi'i School of jurisprudence, are even of the view that this is desirable.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "It is permissible to put a stone or a piece of wood as a sign in order to recognise the grave. Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "It is permissible for a man to put a sign on the grave in order to recognise the buried as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) put a sign on the grave of 'Uthmaan Ibn Math'oon  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him. Besides, Abu Daawood  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that when 'Uthmaan Ibn Math'oon  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was buried, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ordered a man to bring a stone in order to mark the grave, but the man was unable to lift the stone [as it was very heavy], so the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) rolled up his sleeves, lifted the stone and put it at the head of the buried, and said: "This is to recognise the grave of my brother so that I would bury whoever dies of my family next to his grave." [end of the quote of Ibn Qudaamah]

Therefore there is no harm if this sign is at the ground level or raised a span of a hand from the level of the ground.

As regards writing on the grave, then this is disliked according to the view of the majority of the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade covering the grave with cement, or sitting on it, or erecting on it, or writing on it. [An-Nasaa'i and At-Tirmithi]

So writing on the grave is disliked and this applies to whether the deceased is a man or a woman.

Allaah Knows best.

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