Is it Permitted to Place Flowers on a Grave, or is this an Innovation (Bid`a) in Islam?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Asalamu ‘Aleykum

Is it bid’a or wrong in any way to place flowers on a family grave? There is much argument about this issue in my family.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
It is permitted to put flowers on a grave.
However, it may be superior to plant something, as opposed to merely place it on the grave, so it can live longer and increase in its benefit to the deceased.
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a garden in Madina or Makka and heard the voices of two people who were being tortured in their graves. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, remarked, ‘They are being tortured and are not being punished for anything very great.’ Then he said, ‘Rather one of them did not guard himself from urine and the other was involved in back-biting.’ Then he called for a leafless palm branch and broke it into two pieces and put one on each grave. He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, why did you do this?’ He said, ‘Perhaps their torture will be lightened for them for as long as these do not dry up – or until they dry up.'”[Bukhari]
Whilst commentating on this tradition (hadith), Mulla `Ali al-Qari writes in his Mirqat al-Mafatih, “Thus, some of the imams of our later scholars have issued legal verdicts (fatwa) which state that it is a sunna to place palm branches and myrtle on the grave as people are accustomed to.” [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih, also quoted with discussion by Tahtawi in his marginal notes (hashiya) on Maraqi al-Falah]
Ibn `Abidin also comments on this saying, “What is taken from the tradition is the recommendation of placing them [= palm stalk] in following the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Analogy can be made from this for what people customarily do in our times by placing myrtle boughs and the like. A number of the Shafi`is concurred.” [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar]
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

What does the word "adornment" (zeena) in the Qur’an refer to?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: Assalamu alaikum.
I have recently came across different interpretations of the meaning of the word “adornment” in the Qur’an. Does it refer to jewelry and makeup etc or something else? I have started to doubt whether I should wear hijbs with patterns such as polka dots, flowers etc.Are they permissible?
Answer: In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
Dear Sister,
Assalamu alaikum,
Thank you for your question.
Ostensibly, patterned hijabs would fall under the category of “illa ma dhahara minha,” in verse 31 of Surat al-Noor, wherein Allah Ta’ala says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof…”
I consulted Tabari’s tafsir and Raghib’s Mufradat to get a better sense of the definition of the word “zeena,” or adornment. Generally, adornment is that which has the effect of beautifying the person and is the opposite of something that mars or blemishes. There are different types of adornment, such as intellectual, mental, and physical. Intellectual and mental adornment include beautifying oneself with good manners and virtues. Physical adornment consists of two kinds: that which is hidden and that which is apparent. Hidden adornment would include the hair and breasts, for example, and jewelry, particularly the kind that jingles and attracts attention.
However, an exception is made for what would be considered an acceptable amount of jewelry that a woman might normally wear all the time, such as a ring or single bracelets. Additionally, adornment which is already apparent also refers to that part of a woman’s attire she would wear under ordinary circumstances, or something which is pre-existing.That is why if one’s garment or scarf is patterned, it would fall under the category of what is already apparent.
Islam is not a religion of hardship and given the cultural, geographic, and income diversity found in the Muslim world, someone would be hard pressed to say that Muslim women’s clothing must all be the same color, pattern. etc. What is more important is for you to gauge if you’re presentable, comfortable, and professional vs. made up. We women know the difference between clothing that is neat and attractive (within limits) and clothing that is revealing and inappropriate.
See also: Can Women Wear Colorful Clothing? and: Modesty: Kohl, Jilbabs, and Allah
I hope this helps.
May Allah reward you,
Zaynab Ansari
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani