Q. I have been taught from small that when we go to the cemetery we should not raise our hands in dua, but have them at our sides. Could you kindly provide evidence giving its shar’e ruling as people have started to question this act.
A. The act of raising one’s hands for dua in the cemetery is not a prohibited one. In fact, it is allowed. The only time it is disliked and discouraged is when one is facing the grave while making the dua.
As evident in many traditions, raising the hands for dua is known to be one of its etiquettes which carries a lot of blessings. Besides this, it is evident that the Prophet (S.A.S) raised his hands for dua in the cemetery. In a hadith recorded by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, it states, ‘Until he came to Al Baqee (the cemetery), he stood and lengthened his standing, then he lifted (raised) his hands three times’. (Sahih Muslim). While commenting on this hadith, the great scholar, Imam An Nawawi writes, ‘In this tradition, it is evident that in the cemetery it is commendable to lengthen one’s dua and to repeat it and also to lift ones hands for it (as the Prophet (S.A.S) did in Jannatul Baqee (the cemetery in Madina). It is also evident that the dua of the standing person is more complete than that of a sitting person in the cemetery’. (Al Kamil – Sharh of Sahih Muslim by Imam Nawawi printed with Sahih Muslim Vol. 1 Pg. 313).
Similarly in the hadith recorded by Abu Awana and mentioned by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his famous commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari, Fathul Baari, it states in the hadith of Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) that he said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) at the grave of Abdullah Zil Bajadain, when he completed from burying him, he (the Prophet (S.A.S)) turned towards the Qibla and raised his hands (for dua). (Fathul Baari – commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari).
From the above tradition, it shows that one should turn towards the Qibla while making the dua in the cemetery. It would also be permissible to raise ones hands while making dua, as it is evident in the traditions.
However, if one is facing the grave, then he should refrain from raising the hands for dua since it likens one to those who pray and seek help from the inmates of the grave. This is clearly recorded in the famous book of Fatawas named Kifayatul Mufti.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan