Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- It is not prescribed in the Islamic Shari`ah to worship Almighty Allah by visiting the grave of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). However, it is recommended to visit his grave when one visits his Mosque.
2- Additionally, while visiting his grave, we must abide by the etiquette stated by the scholars of Islam, and we are not allowed to do any unlawful acts such as seeking blessings by touching the grave.
Elaborating on the issue of visiting the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) grave, Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hassan Ash-Shareef, a renowned scholar and da`iyah, said,
We all love the Prophet and we are required to send peace and blessings on him, follow his footsteps, and protect his Sunnah.
However, it is not prescribed in the Islamic Shari`ah to worship Almighty Allah by visiting the Prophet’s grave. Although, it is prescribed and recommended in the Islamic Shari`ah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque.
While visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, we can stand by his grave and send peace on him and his two Companions, Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), with politeness and without touching the grave or doing any other unlawful acts.
With regard to the etiquette of visiting the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) grave, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Al-Musayyar, the late professor of Islamic creed and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, elaborates:
It is most appropriate for a Muslim visiting the Prophet’s Mosque to begin with praying two rak`ahs, preferably in Ar-Rawdah Ash-Sharifah, to greet the mosque. Then the visitor may walk to the blessed grave from the direction of the qiblah in a polite, calm, and humble manner, face the grave, and then say, “O Allah’s Prophet, may the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you.”
The visitor may also praise the Prophet’s character by mentioning some of his attributes upon greeting him. Then, the visitor may move rightwards by an arm’s length to face Abu Bakr’s grave and greet him and then proceed by the same distance to stand before `Umar’s grave and greet him, too.
Then, if any visitor wants to pray for themselves, then they are required to face the qiblah, not the grave, while doing so.
It was reported in some narrations that when the mosque was free of worshippers, the Companions of the Prophet would sit by the rummanah of the pulpit (a spherical shape in the Prophet’s pulpit where he would rest his hand while delivering speeches) with the grave to their right and then face the qiblah to supplicate Almighty Allah. `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) would visit the Prophet’s grave and say, “Peace be upon the Prophet, peace be upon Abu Bakr, and peace be upon my father.” Then he would leave.Some scholars made a distinction between the dwellers of Madinah and its visitors with regard to the desirability of standing at the Prophet’s grave. Imam Malik said, “It is not highly desirable for a resident of Madinah to stand at the [Prophet’s] grave when entering the Prophet’s Mosque. This is, however, highly desirable for the visitors of Madinah.”
Imam Malik was also reported as saying, “It is, however, permissible for a resident of Madinah who has just turned back from a journey outside Madinah or who is setting out for a journey outside it to stand at the grave of the Prophet and invoke Allah’s peace and blessings upon him, Abu Bakr, and `Umar.”
This distinction between the inhabitants of Madinah and its visitors as to standing at the Prophet’s grave is followed by another distinction pertaining to the desirability of performing supererogatory prayer at the Prophet’s mosque.
Generally speaking, the jurists of Islam, based on an authentic hadith of the Prophet, agree that a Muslim’s supererogatory prayer is best performed at home. The prescribed prayers are, however, best performed in congregation at the mosque for men. But Imam Malik said, “In my viewpoint, for the visitors of Madinah, offering supererogatory prayers is more recommended at the Prophet’s Mosque than at home.”
Here we find it necessary to recall the hadith in which Allah’s Messenger said, “O Allah, do not make my grave a worshipped idol. Almighty Allah has intensely cursed the people who took the graves of their prophets as places of worship.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
We do love the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) in his highly commendable character, and we fully comply with his Sunnah and guidance.
Allah Almighty knows best.