Author’s note: This article is not intended to hurt the feelings of those who visit graves of saints. Rather, an attempt is being made to highlight reality as it is. Disagreement is welcome. Please keep comments civil and related to the article.
I visited the Tabligh Markaz in Nizamuddin (Delhi) and after Maghrib decided to visit the nearby dargah (which is hardly 5 minutes from the Markaz) to see what goes on. While I had seen pictures of people doing sajdah to graves, seeing a picture and seeing it in real life are two completely different things. Needless to say, it was utterly shocking.
When zealous Sahabah (RA) asked Prophet Mohammad (SAW) if they could do sajdah to him, he refused stating that sajdah is reserved for Allah (SWT) alone. When sajdah cannot be done to Prophet Mohammad (SAW), then how can sajdah can be done to graves of saints?
Furthermore, you cannot enter the main area where the grave is located bare headed, but it is okay to enter a mosque bare headed. More respect being shown for a saint’s grave than a mosque, I guess. People were putting sheets on the grave and spreading flowers on it. Maybe someone can provide me Hadith where it says this is acceptable or a practice followed by Sahabah.
Also, in the area right in front of the grave there were people singing Qawwali while playing the harmonium. While musical instruments have been labelled the devil’s instruments by Prophet Mohammad (SAW), I do not know why Qawwali has to be sung right in front of the grave of a saint.
Most women entering the dargah were inappropriately dressed. Muslim and non-Muslim women alike in short kurtis with skin tight leggings, sleeveless tops, less than decent sarees, skin tight jeans, and then they cover their head with a dupatta (actually a portion of their head) as if that is going to make a difference. (If women believe they are visiting a holy place, then it is surprising they do not feel the need to dress appropriately even over there).
Concerning dua, it doesn’t have to be in front of a grave. A person can ask Allah (SWT) in tahajjud, in salat-ul-hajat, after every fardh prayer, and at any time of the day. And even if someone is going to tell me that wasila is allowed in Islam, a lot of people visiting the dargah do not ask Allah (SWT) through wasila. They ask the saint directly. That is shirk. No one can do anything without Allah (SWT).
Most importantly, how can one be sure that it is indeed the grave of a saint, and not the grave of an ordinary person. In fact, how can one be sure that someone is actually buried there?