Is it permitted for women to go to graveyards to visit their deceased relatives etc.? And may a wife see her dead husband’s face before he is buried?
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There is a narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) reported in Tirmidhi, according to which the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have condemned women visiting the graveyard, however,another narrative clarifies that prophet Muhammad(pbuh)forbade women from visiting graves in the initial days of Islam as Arab women used to do a lot of wailing which was against the spirit of Islamic teachings. The narrative which allows women is reported both by Al-Hakim and Al-Baihaqi;
Hadrat Abdallah ibn Abi Mulaikah (r.a.) said, “Once Aishah (the wife of the Prophet (saws)) returned after visiting the graveyard. I asked, ‘O Mother of the Believers, where have you been?’ She said: ‘I went out to visit the grave of my brother Abd ar-Rahman.’ I asked her: ‘Didn’t the Messenger of Allah (saws) prohibit visiting graves?’ She said, ‘Yes, he did forbid visiting graves during the early days (of Islam), but later on he ordered us to visit them’.”
As is obvious from the above hadith that the Shari`ah does not hinder women from visiting the graves of their dead relatives. They may go to the graveyards and pray for their deceased relatives in a composed and controlled manner.
A wife may see her dead husband’s face before he is buried. The concept that the husband is Mehram for the wife as long as he is alive and becomes a non-Mehram after death has absolutely no basis in the teachings of the Shari`ah. It may come as a surprise for some to know that the caliph Abu Bakr (ra) was bathed after his death by his wife.