The followers of the leading religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam had grave yards to bury their dead. The first grave yard of Islam was “Jannat-ul-Mu’allah” in Makkah in which the most important personalities who were the pillars of Islam, were buried including Hazrat Abdul Muttalib, Hazrat Abu Talib, Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Amina.
After Migration, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) purchased a piece of land from two orphans and created the first grave yard in Madinah. It was called Jannat-ul-Baqi. It is located near the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid-e-Nabavi).
As’ad bin Zararah, an Ansarian companion of the Messenger was the first to be buried there followed by Usman bin Maz’oon, and a migrant companion to be buried in this grave yard. Subsequently, about 7,000 companions were buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi including the wives of the Messenger of Allah except Sayyida Khadija, Hazrat Ummul Banin (s.a.), Hazrat Fatima bint Asad, the mother of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), Hazrat Halima, Hazrat Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, Hazrat Aqeel ibn Abu Talib, the Messenger’s aunts Hazrat A’tika and Hazrat Safia, the third caliph Usman bin iffan and Malik bin Anas, one of the jurists.
The Lady of Paradise, Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.), the Infallible Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.), the Infallible Imam Ali ibnal Husayn Zain-al-Abedin (a.s.), the Infallible Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) and the Infallible Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) of the Ahlul Bayt were also buried in Jannat –ul-Baqi.
The Caliphs of the Ottoman Empire respected the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and built tombs on the graves. On April 21, 1926 corresponding to Shawwal 8, 1344 A.H., and the mausoleums in Jannat-ul-Baqi were demolished by King ibn Saud following the Wahabi school of thought. Wahabis claimed that in Surah al-Tawbah Ayah 84, Allah says: “Should any of them die, never pray for him or stand on his grave. They have disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and have died while committing evil.” They only read the bold letters and do not read the complete Ayah!
Similarly, Wahabis discourages building tombs or raised graves. According to the Glorious Qur’an a mosque was built on the cave where the People of Cave perished. Surah al-Kahf Ayah 21: “...and some of them said,”Let us establish a building at the youth’s sleeping place. The majority prevailed in their suggestion of the establishment of a mosque in that place.”
The Wahabis further claim that people ask for help from the dead, they should only ask for help from Allah directly without intermediary. Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 35: “Believers, have fear of Allah. Find means to reach Him and strive hard for His cause so that you may have everlasting happiness.” Allah is asking to find means or intermediary to reach Him! Prophet Yaqoob could have prayed to Allah directly to cure his eye-sight but Prophet Yousuf gave his shirt to his brothers and told them to put it on his father’s eyes and as soon as the shirt was placed on Prophet Yaqoob’s eyes, his blindness disappeared and he became healthy!
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) had encouraged Muslims to visit the graves of Muslim brothers especially their relatives. The Infallible Imam Ali al-Reza (a.s.) said: “Whoever visits a graveyard, face towards Ka’aba, places one hand on the grave and recites 7 times Surah Qadr, Allah will protect him from the horrors of the Day of Resurrection (Qiyamat).
WIKIPEDIA and Lecture by the renowned scholar Sayyid Ammar Naqshwani