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Khawarij Bluring The Distinction Between ‘Grave-Worship’ And Quranic Persona-Worship – And The Reason For It.

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There are many verses of Quran which were revealed about creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) being elevated  and believed to be Ilah (i.e. god) partners of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and then were worshiped instead/beside of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). This can be termed persona/character-worship. Khawarij have also invented term of grave-worship and it is used by them for anyone who does a action on grave. On contrary, Muslims believe there is no such thing as Muslims engaging in grave-worship and nor this has happened in the past. Also there was no and is no authentic evidence that establishes graves were ever worshipped even by disbelievers of pre-Islamic era. But a Khariji claimed most of the Shirk mentioned in Quran is about grave-worship and this is a distortion of truth.

Information Regarding Discussion With The Khariji:

Recently on a Khariji forum subject of grave-worship some how was brought into discussion. Where Abu Zubair (aka Expergefactionist) claimed most of verses about Shirk in Quran were in reality were about grave worship. I noted Khariji attempted to blur the distinction between persona-worship and what is traditionally termed grave-worship in their sect. I Muhammed Ali (aka SkippedPath) felt this was something which needs to be challenged and refuted, because it is a new step and another low, and march toward distortion of message of Quran. His objective was to establish the base – graves of righteous people from Ummah of Prophet Nuh (alayhis salaam) lead to idol worship. Then establish exact par between belief and actions of pre-Islamic era polytheists and belief and actions of Muslims. This would help the Khawarij to apply verses revealed for polytheists of pre-Islamic era upon belief and actions of Muslims. My real concern was and is that if this bluring of distinction between persona-worship and grave-worship is unchallenged then an evil innovation will gain foot-hold and will result in distortion actual Quranic message.

Information About The Discussion:

Below is the exchange we had. Please note, all material of Abu Zubair and of myself is being posted seperately. Originally these posts were not in this order. Material in purple writing was not part of original responses but it is being added during writing of this article. Also credit goes to brother A.D.H.M of SalafiAqeeda blog who had saved the material and reproduced it on his blog, here, and from where I have reproduced it below. And there was more material but I have no means of recovering it from IslamicAwakening forum because the forum has been down for about a year. When I saw the material being used by brother ADHM I re-read the material and realised I have missed the key points. And these points were actually the very reason due to which I challenged the Abu Zubair’s statement. But Iblees being tricky chucked the spanner in the works and made me forget my objectives. Al hamdu lillah, bumping into the discussion reminded me and I hope to compensate for the lapse. In sha Allah, that part will follow after the discussions.

Content Of Discussion  Between Abu Zubair And MySelf:

Abu Zubair: “Majority of the Shirk mentioned in the Quran is to do with the graves, i.e. glorification of righteous people leading to idol worshiping.The Prophet SAW explicitly mentioned graves and forbade us from taking them as Masajid, citing the Yahud and Nasara as an example. The Quran is crammed full of it.The classical theological literature is only representative of theological polemics relevant to the age of the author. None of these classical works will have much on Shirk in Allah's Hukm, secularism, etc, or creation of Adam. Moreover, the classical Ash'ari heritage requires you to condition your mind in Greek philosophy before one even comes to conclusion that there is a God. Ibn Khuzayma makes a remark in his Kitab al-Tawheed, merely in passing, that Kalimatullah is uncreated because the Prophet SAW sought refuge in them, and seeking refuge from creation is not from the Deen of Muslims. Lo and behold, seeking refuge in the Prophet is no longer Shirk according to you guys (do correct me if I am wrong).”

[Majority of the Shirk mentioned in the Quran is to do with the graves, i.e. glorification of righteous people leading to idol worshiping.”] ß regarding this I wrote: “Where is the proof for majority of Shirk mentioned in Quran is to do with graves? I assure you I have read the entire Quran number of times and had fortune of reading Tafasir and I have not read any Tafsir stating this golden nugget. Could you guide me to the expert Mufassir who let this nugget out of the bag of goodies.”

M.A.R: [“Majority of the Shirk mentioned in the Quran is to do with the graves, i.e. glorification of righteous people leading to idol worshiping.”] ß regarding this I wrote: “There is nothing in Quran about grave worship. Praise of righteous dead did not lead into idol worship. The narration of Bukhari on which you are basing your point is a fabrication and goes against clear texts of Quran. The Hadith says, after Prophet Nuh (alayhis salaam), his Ummah worshipped the Saliheen of their Ummah. Yet the Quran is clear in stating that Prophet Nuh (alayhis salaam) was sent to eradicate the worship of those idols which the Hadith say became idols after him. In other words according to Hadith the Saliheen were worshiped after Prophet Nuh (alayhis salaam) and according to Quran his Ummah was worshipping them before his Prophethood and he was sent to warn them. That is not proof of your position.

[There was a detailed reply in this regard in light of Quranic verses. It was established that nation of Prophet Nuh alayhis salaam worshipped the idols before the anouncement of Prophet-hood of Prophet Nuh alayhis salaam. He was sent to his nation to eradicate their worship. If the relevent Hadith is believed it will mean worship the idols became idols after the flood. This boils down to, polytheists of Prophet Nuh alayhis salaam being killed for worshipping the idols which came to existance after the death of polytheists – which is utterly senseless. I argued the content of Hadith contradicts Quranic facts hence its weak and maybe fabricated. Unfortunately the material cannot be recovered because the forum has been closed down. In sha Allah in due time I will reproduce the discussion with evidence in near future.]

M.A.R: It is also worth pointing out how you are blurring the distinction between persona worship into grave worship. Quran talks about persona worship in some places, such as worship of Prophet Isa (alayhis salaam). You’re twisting that into grave worship. The all important point, the polytheists and the Christians believed so and so is Ilah (i.e. ma'bood) ... But Khawarij accuse the Muslims of worshiping the graves even when no one takes the graves as ma'bood/Ilah nor those who occupy the graves are believed to be ma'bood/Ilah. The belief which makes the action Shirk is absent. Hence accusation of Shirk is unfounded and returns to one who issues it. And this is as per the Hadith: “Hudhaifa Ibn al Yaman said that the Prophet said: Verily, I fear about a man from you who will read the Qur'an so much that his face will become lightened and he will come to personify Islam. This will continue until Allah desires. Then these things will be taken away from him when he will disregard them by putting them all behind his back and will attack his neighbor with the sword accusing him of Shirk. The Prophet was asked - which of the two will be deserving of such an accusation? - The attacker or the attacked? The Prophet replied - the attacker.” [Ref: Ibn Hibban, VolNo.1, Page No. 282]

M.A.R: [“The Prophet SAW explicitly mentioned graves and forbade us from taking them as Masajid, citing the Yahud and Nasara as an example.”] ß regarding this I wrote: “Very good and valid point, the Ahadith which the Khawarij interpret to mean, Muslims will worship graves, only, come togather to establish that Muslims should not make graves in Masajid which the Jews and Christians use to do. Evidence of which is walk into any major Christian Church and see graves in it. I went to a school trip and I was walking on their graves inside the church. I enquired was told these are graves of bla bla ... People literally were walking ... the graves were part of floor, to differentiate different stone was used with a silver panel ... thats all.”

“If Shirk of worshiping graves was going to take place and become such a big issue that no one before Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab new la ila il Allah in the land of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) and vast majority of his Ummah was to fall into grave-worship then surely one can say question why there is not a single Hadith in which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) clearly stated people will worship graves? And instructed the Muslims do not worship graves. Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam passed away leaving no guidance regards to such important issue of grave-worship in his majority of Ummah. Yet Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has left us guidance regarding issues which are insignificant compared to major Shirk. Absence of such guidance itself is indication that Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam did not fear the occurance of grave-worship if there ever was chance of Ummah as whole or part worshiping graves Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) would have told so and would have left clear guidance regarding grave-worship.”

Abu Zubair:
“Considering what is meant by Shirk of graves is not dancing on them, but praying to the dead, and considering the Quran is crammed full of references to those who pray to other than Allah and how it is futile, it is pretty clear to any reader most of the Shirk censured in the Quran is of this category.”

Abu Zubair: “1) The Quranic verses about making Dua to Allah alone are too numerous to mention. This is all about grave-worshipping. As I said, the main aspect of Shirk (amongst others) in grave-worship is praying to other than God, which the Quran focuses more on than any other Shirk.”

M.A.R: "When I was a Wahhabi, and I was one very extreme and zealous Wahhabi, a asooli one, then my definition of grave-worship was, going to graves doing engaging in prostration, supplicating Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) while facing graves and asking the occupant of grave, your defintion of grave-worship has slightly evolved to make Quran fit your religion My understanding of the definition stems from how Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab used this phrase and those who succeeded him but your is a novel effort to blurr distinction between persona worship [which worhsip of a personality living/dead] and grave worship [which is prostrating to, kissing grave, asking the person in the grave for something while being at the grave] so you can inject the poison and blame of grave-worship into text of Quran.”

Between Grave-Worship And Persona-Worship:

Persona-worship is, beleiving a human is a god partner or the God, and thus this human being is derserving of worship, and then worshiping him. What I had termed persona-worship and stated, this is mentioned in Quran, this persona-worship is based on three fundamental principles, (i) those who worshiped a human being – affirmed Ma’budiyyah for that human – in other words believed that human is worthy/deserving of worhsip, (ii) they believed the one they worship beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is Ilah (i.e. god) partner of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), (iii) they performed the action with intention of worship.  This is what I termed persona-worship of Quran. Grave-worship is defined by Khawarij as, any act of worship directed toward Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) facing a grave is grave-worship (i.e. Dua),  or any act which is performed in worship but performed facing a grave (i.e. prostration. bowing) is grave-worship. What the Khawarij term grave-worship has absolutely nothing to do with any verses of Quran. And importantly grave-worship is without three components which determine a action to be worship – Ma’budiyyah is missing, belief of Ilahiyyah is missing, and intention of worship is also missing. Only thing that exists is an action and action without at least two of these three fundamentals cannot be worship.[1]

Abu Zubair’s Trick Of Khariji Trade:

Abu Zubair’s statement that Quran is full of refferences about grave-worship, was implying two things, (i) Shirk of persona-worship is performing without affirmation of belief of Ilahiyyah, Ma’budiyyah, Niyyah (i.e.intention) of worship, (ii) or it could mean, ‘Shirk’ of ‘grave-worship‘ is beleiving a human is a god partner or the God, and thus this human being is derserving of worship and then worshiping him. And both of these a real possibilities because both are in accordance with understanding of Wahhabism. Coming back to topic, Abu Zubair in the beginning defined grave-worship as latter of the two. Yet clue to what is traditional and actual ‘grave-worship’ is in his own posts. He stated Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had stated: Majority of the Shirk mentioned in the Quran is to do with the graves, i.e. glorification of righteous people leading to idol worshiping.The Prophet SAW explicitly mentioned graves and forbade us from taking them as Masajid, citing the Yahud and Nasara as an example.[2] The Quran is crammed full of it.” Abu Zubair connects grave-worship with Ahadith in which of Prophet cursing the Jews and Christians. These Ahadith imply Jews/Christians engaged in acts of worship at the graves therefore taking graves as places of worship means performing actions of worship at the grave-site. And in light of implications of Hadith ‘grave-worship’ is performing of specific actions at grave-site. Note Abu Zubair termed grave-worship to be: “…i.e. glorification of righteous people leading to idol worshiping.” What he means is, glorification of Awliyah via supplication (i.e. Dua) leads to polythiesm and he clearly stated this in another place: “Considering what is meant by, Shirk of graves, it is not dancing on them, but praying to the dead, …” and here: “… the main aspect of Shirk (amongst others) in grave-worship is praying to other than God.” From this we can understand that what Abu Zubair’s portraying as ‘grave-worship’ is not the traditional Khariji definition of ‘grave-worship’ and this is what I alluded to in my last response, when I was a Wahhabi ...

Blurring The Distinction Between Grave-Worship And Persona-Worship:

Please note that Abu Zubair was attempting to make persona-worship into grave-worship. As explained above persona-worship is believing a living creation to be with Ilah, Ma’bud, and then performing for it and action with intention of worship. And ‘grave-worship’ is performing acts of worship such as supplicating Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) at a grave of Wali-Allah. Or performing actions which are performed in worship such as prostration, or bowing while facing a grave. And none of the verses of Quran talk about grave-worship in this traditional meaning. Rather the verses point toward what I termed persona-worship.

The Evil Resulting From Blurring The Two Distinctive Concepts:

If persona-worship is allowed to be turned into grave-worship and this notion gains foot-hold then its effect would be that all verses about Shirk would become connected with performing of actions facing graves or being present at graves. And this would give impression that pre-Islamic era polytheists actually engaged in these activities at the graves of their idol-gods. And this is simply not true the polytheists believed their idols are Ilahs beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and they worshipped them as such. Abu Zubair was simply laying the foundation for a reprehensible innovation into text of Quran by saying majority of verses about Shirk are about grave-worship. The real danger was his evolved understanding would result in a un-Quranic concept being made part of Quranic understanding and laymen would employ the traditional grave-worship definition and inject it into Quran.

Why Was Abu Zubair Attempting To Blurr The Two:

He attempted to blur the clear distinction between what they termed ‘grave-worship’ and persona-worship of Quran because this is the foundation for charge of Shirk and this helps to justify Khariji Takfir of Muslims. After injecting his Khariji poison into the verses, it would be easy to impress laymen and convince them of ‘truth’ of Kharijism because it would give impression that polytheists of pre-Islamic era engaged in grave-worship and Muslims do exactly the same. The real trick was, that he kept the label grave-worship same, but redefined its meanings so when he is challenged to prove his assertions he can can bounce back: Yea! But I defined the grave worship as glorification of Awliyah-Allah. If no one noticed it he could go on to employ the word grave-worship. The Muslim talibul ilm would be take his definition into account and laymen would understand his usage of grave-worship according to traditional definition of grave-worship. His trick was serving two purposes it was advancing his cause on according to traditional definition and he was managing to argue about definition of Ibadah (i.e. worship) with his innovative definition of grave-worship.And therefore any verse he quotes according to his evolved definition of grave-worship would equally be applying to traditional definition of grave-worship. And with this like Khawarij he would apply verses revealed for polytheists of pre-Islamic era upon belief and actions of Muslims. It were for these reasons that his use of phrase grave-worship was challenged and a new termonology was coined. So people realise the clear difference between the two concepts and catch-out the cunning Iblees.

Why I Challenged Only A Particular Aspect:

He claimed Quran is replete with evidences connected with grave worship and attempted to establish Shirk of Muslims by accusing them of grave-worship. With this objective connected act of grave-worship to polytheists of Arabia. His objective was to establish Shirk of Muslims due to similarity of actions with polytheists. His logic was, they invoked their dead pious-men [gods], and performed acts of worship to for them, and you also invoke the dead pious-men. Note he would have omitted the mention of pious-men being the gods of polytheists because we Muslims don’t believe Awliyah-Allah are gods. So in reality he would have been arguing to establish Shirk of Muslims merely on similarity of actions. My objective was to refute the very basis of his argument. If the foundation of his argument - ploytheists were guilty of grave-worship, Quran is replete evidence of grave-worship - is refuted and it is established that this claim is not true. Than it would refute the very foundation of his position hence any argument based on a false claim will be invalid. Also his methodology will become clear to people that he judges Shirk based on similarity of actions and not of belief.[3]

Why It Is Important To Point Out The Distortion:

When Muslims visit the tombs of Awliyah-Allah, they face the grave of a Wali, and supplicate Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to raise the darajaat (i.e. stations) of Wali of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in paradise. And beseech Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for forgiveness of ones own-self. Or to ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) through the vasta (i.e. mean) of Wali – as in, O Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), through the means of your servants fulfill my needs and grant me etc. Actions which are totally free of any blame from perspective of Shari’ah. On other hand some foolish people when they visit the graves of Awliyah-Allah they out of reverance for the Shaykh prostrate to him. This action is Haram in religion of Islam. We are not allowed to prostrate to anyone other then Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). And one who engages in this action to respect and honour anyone other than Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is guilty of major sin. Yet Khawarij declare such foolish person to be a grave-worshipper and polytheist.[4] Also it has been seen that Muslims kiss the tomb of the Wali and this is a quetionable practice amongst scholars. Some Muslim scholars deem it permissible and others dislike it. Whatever the case none of these scholars consider kissing the grave of Wali to be serious enough to declare a believer as polytheist grave-worshipper. Contrary to Islamic schoalrship Khawarij accuse Muslims of worshiping the graves. Abu Zubair (aka Experfactionist) belongs to sub-sect of Kharijism, Wahhabism. The core teaching of this sect is that vast majority of Muslims of earth, excluding members of their own sect, are mushrik/polytheist. Every effort is made by the adherents of this sect to argue and to attempt  to prove this repugnant notion. Yet the truth is, Muslims beileve there is no Ilah (i.e. Deity), and none is worthy of worship except Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Three Foundations Of Eman:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have gave three instructions, to not to kill anyone who affirms confession of Tawheed, to not to nullify Islam based on actions, and not to nullify Islam for major sins, and evidence follows:“Anas bin Malik narrates from the Prophet  who said: Three things are the roots of faith: (i) To refrain from (killing) a person who says “there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah” (ii) Not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits (iii) and also not to declare him out of Islam due to any of his deed. Jihad continues from the day I was sent as Prophet to ...” [Ref: Abu Dawud, B14, H2170] The Khawarij invalidate the Tawheed of Muslims for actions/deeds (i.e. prostration to ghayr-ullah) even though Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) prohibited it. They invalidate Tawheed due to major sin - i.e. prostration to ghayr-ullah - even though Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) forbade nullifying Islam of a person for a major sin. A a natural result of Takfir of Muslims by Khawarij for actions and major sins, they makes the blood of Muslims Halal upon themselves – meaning then Khawarij consider it permissible to wage war and kill Muslims, even though they profess, there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah. Despite the fact that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has prohibited killing of anyone who professes, there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah.


Grave-worship is without belief of Ilahiyyah, Ma’budiyyah, intention of worship. Persona worship mentioned in the Quran is, with all three. Abu Zubair attempted to inject into Quran the notion that polytheists worshiped graves by blurring the distinction between Quranic persona-worship. His objective was to use his injected Khariji poison in Quran to establish similarity of action between actions of Muslims and polytheists. My objective was to attack and refute all key components of his position to establish Islamic position. It was established, charge of grave-worship can only be true, according to both definitions of grave-worship (i.e. traditional and evolved), if one directing any act toward them believes in Ilahiyyah and Ma’budiyyah of occupant of grave, and intends to worship him, and performs the action of worship. Otherwise grave-worship has not taken place. It was established prostration to anyone other than Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is forbidden in Islam and it is a major sin. And Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) prohibited the nullifying of Islam of anyone for actions, and major sins, and prohibited killing of anyone who professes who recites, there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah. Yet Abu Zubair like the rest of his kind engages in two prohibitions and agrees with killing of Muslims for what his Khariji sect deems to be major Shirk, and would principally engage in the killing of Muslims, if pastures were green enough.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi


- [1] In Islam all three are required plus the action of worship has to be sanctioned in Shari’ah. If anyone doubts it, would you worship Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) without any of the three, plus the action sanctioned by Shari’ah? Why not? Your worship would be invalid even if one of these three fundamentals are missing. Note all polytheists require at minimum two, (i) beliefe of Ma’budiyyah for a creation, (ii) and intention of worship, according to Islam to be guilty of polytheism. There actions of worship do not have to be those actions which are sanctioned by Shari’ah. In fact what ever action these non-Muslims deem to be worship, in accordance with their own religions, that will be considered worship, and it would be enough to warrant Shirk of worship from Islamic perspective. Their un-Islamic actions of worship will not be rejected/disregarded when determining if they are guilty of Shirk of worship. Only those actions of worship in which Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is worshipped have to be sanctioned by Shari’ah otherwise such innovated actions of worship will be rejected.

- [2] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) cursed the Jews and Christians for taking the graves as Masajid: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger said, "May Allah's curse be on the Jews for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets." [Ref: Bukhari, B8, H428] “Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah said: Let there be curse of Allah upon the Jews and the Christians for they have taken the graves of their Messengers as places of worship.” [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1081] And evidence of this is that old churches and synagogues are built on top of grave-yards. In other words Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) cursed them for constructing places of worship over grave yards. Note Masjid Nabvi was made on ex-grave-yard: “Anas b. Malik said: The Mosque (of the Prophet) was built in the land of Banu al-Najjar which contained crops, palm trees and graves of the disbelievers. The Messenger of Allah said: Sell it to me for some price. They (Banu al-Najjar) replied: We do not want (any price). The palm-trees were cut off, and the crops removed and the graves of the disbelievers dug opened. He then narrated the rest of the tradition. But this version has the word "forgive" in the verse, instead of the word "help.” [Ref: Abu Dawood, B2, H454] This establishes that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not like the Masjid to be built over a grave-yard and considered it Haram. So when constructing the Masjid Nabvi (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) all the graves were dug out and remains of polytheists removed from the area.

- [3] The section, Three Foundations Of Eman, establishes why nullifying Islam is incorrect, refer to it.

- [4] What the Khawarij declare to be grave-worship, only action is present and this action [if action is Haram even than it is performed] without beleiving creation is Ilah, without believing in Ma’budiyyah, without intention of worship, therefore it cannot be major Shirk, and it cannot be termed grave-worship. It would be grave-worship if the belief of Ilahiyyah is affirmed for the occupant of grave, Ma’budiyyah is affirmed for the occupant of grave, Niyyah of worship is made, and action of worship is performed.

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