assalaamu alaykum. Why is it that traveling to visit the graves of Prophets is prohibited while it is desirable to travel to visit the pyramids and other touristic sites, as mentioned in fatwa 90476? The hadith never mentioned travelling to visit the graves; rather, it just states traveling to visit mosques? Why is that traveling to visit the Prophet, peace be upon him, is haram and visiting the things made by pharaoh is halal?
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 ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Traveling for the purpose of visiting the graves of Prophets is different in essence from traveling for other purposes such as entertainment or tourism or the like in terms of intention. Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wrote about the difference of opinion among scholars regarding undertaking a journey:
“Regarding the hadeeth that reads, ‘One should not undertake a journey to visit mosques except to three...,’ some scholars said that it does not indicate prohibition but that it means that it is not legislated, neither obligatory nor recommended; rather, it is permissible, just like traveling for trade and other purposes. It is said to them: such journeys (for trade or other purposes) are not intended as a form of worship; rather, they are intended for some worldly benefit, whereas traveling to visit graves is intended as a form of worship, and worship should be performed only with obligatory or recommended actions. Therefore, if a scholarly consensus is reached that traveling to graves is neither obligatory nor recommended, then when one does it as an act of worship, it is considered a religious innovation opposing the consensus, and performing a religious innovation for the purpose of worship is not lawful...”
Ibn Al-Atheer wrote, “The hadeeth: ‘One should not undertake a journey except to three...’ is similar to the hadeeth that reads, ‘Do not make a special journey except to three...’ The intended meaning is that no place should be made a destination for traveling with the intention of worship and seeking nearness to Allaah except these three places: Al-Masjid Al-Haraam, Al-Masjid An-Nabawi, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa because of the honorable status that these places hold.” [Jaami' Al-Usool, 9/283]
Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar wrote:
“There is a difference of opinion regarding traveling to visit other than these (mosques) like visiting the righteous whether alive or dead or going to virtuous places to seek blessings and pray there. Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al-Juwayni said, ‘It is prohibited to travel to other than these (mosques) according to the apparent meaning of this hadeeth. This is what Al-Qaadhi Husayn accepted, and this was also said by Qaadhi ʻIyaadh and a group of scholars. Their evidence is the hadeeth narrated by the authors of Sunan in which Basrah Al-Ghifaari said to Abu Hurayrah when he traveled to At-Toor Mountain, ‘If I had met you before you left, you would not have gone there!’ They use this hadeeth as evidence and interpret it in a general sense...’” [Fat-h Al-Baari]
Ibn Hajar then cited the other view of the Shaafiʻis in this regard (that it is not prohibited) and their commentary on the hadeeth in reference.
Allaah knows best.
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