21. Perform salaah of Tahiyyatul Masjid (2 Rak’ahs) in the Rowdha. This is the correct thing to do before reciting the salaam to the Rasul Sal’am. This is a right due to Allah, and comes before the right due to the Rasul Sal’am. Then we already saw under NO. 11 above how Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qais Rah first recited these before coming to meet the Rasul Sal’am.
Hazrat Jaabir R.A. reports: “I once returned from a journey and came to meet the Nabi Sal’am who was at that time in the mosque. The Nabi Sal’am asked me: “Have you performed Tahiyyatul Masjid prayer?” I replied: “No”. The Nabi Sal’am said: “First perform Tahiyyatul Masjid prayers and then come to me.”
22. In the first rak’ah of this salaah recite Surat Al Kaafiroon (Qul yaa Ayyuhal Kafiroon) and in the second rak’ah recite Surat Ikhlaas (Qul huwallahu Ahad). In the first Surat we read a complete denial of any form of shirk (associating anything with Allah) and in the second we read a complete affirmation of Allah’s oneness.”
23. The ulama say it is best to stand for prayer in that part of the Rowdha where the Nabi Sal’am used to stand in prayer. In Zubda this spot is marked in this manner: “With the mimbar in line with your right shoulder and the pillar with the casket in front of you”. Hazrat Imaam Ghazaali Rah has also described the spot similarly. Hazrat Ibn Hajar Rah writes in ‘Shar’h Manaasik’ that the casket was burnt and in its place a mehraab was built. This is the mehraab that is known as Rasulullah Sal’am’s mehraab today. Most of the ulama have mentioned that it is preferable to perform your Tahiyyatul Masjid salaah at this place. During the one-year stay in Madina Munawwarah the humble writer did not have the courage to stand on this spot once. If it is not possible to perform salaah at this spot then any place in the Rowdha could be chosen.
24. Now having performed this salaah, give thanks to Allah for the great favor granted and beg of Him that He accept the Haj and Ziyaarat. You may perform the Sajdah-Shukr (thanks-giving sujood) or Salaat ash Shukr. Many ulama have said that one should perform the Sajdah-Shukr. (N.B. it is a known fact that according to the Hanafis one does not perform a single sajdah only. When Sajdah-Shukr is mentioned it means nafl salaah in fact. However here the Hanafis too have said it is permissible to perform sujood only. (See Sharh Lubbab). As for the Shafis’s, they accept sujood on its own but at a place like this in the Rowdha-they do not call for sujood-shukr. (see shar’h Manaasik)
25. It may happen that Fardh salaah may be about to be performed or in the process of being performed when you enter the mosque. When that happens, do not perform Tahiyyatul Masjid, join the fardh salaah and also make niyyat for the Tahiyyatul Masjid, so that reward for both is attained. Similarly when you enter at a time when it is makrooh to perform any nafl salaah. As for example after Asr, then too no Tahiyyatul Masjid salaah should be performed.
26. After salaah walk towards the grave while keeping the heart and mind clear of evil thought and all thought centered on the exalted personage of the Rasul Sal’am. The ulama inform us that the heart of a person cannot become influenced and affected with the blessings of that Holy Place, when that heart is not free from evil thoughts, desires and passions. On the contrary such hearts which are worldly inclined and disconnected with the hereafter are in dire peril that the anger of the Rasul Sal’am come on them and on the day of Qiyaamah he may turn away from them. May Allah with His mercy save us from that. For this reason it is required that every visitor to the grave of Rasulullah Sal’am at hat moment keep his mind free of any worldly inclinations as much as possible while at the same time keeping alive the great hope for Allah’s Infinite and Perfect Grace. Every visitor should cast his attention to the Nabi Sal’am who is the ‘Mercy to all’ and present himself before the Nabi Sal’am and through his wasselah, beg Allah’s mercy and forgiveness (Sharh Lubaab)
27. When visiting any grave, the respectful manner is to approach the grave from the side where the feet rest, so that if Allah should grant the inmate of the grave sight of the visitor, it is easier for him to see the visitor. It is clear that when any person is buried facing the Qibla, lying on his right side his eyes are inevitably cast towards his feet. Thus when anyone approaches him from the side where the head is at rest, he has difficulty in seeing the visitor (Fathul Qadeer)
In view of the above some ulama have stated (see Sharh Manasik) that the visitor to the Holy Grave of Rasulullah Sal’am should approach from the feet end. Mawahib, however, the author is of the opinion that one should approach from the Qibla side facing the front of Rasulullah Sal’am, but it is still better if the approach is from the direction of the feet-end of the grave.
Some other ulama prefers that the approach should be from the head side, because Tahiyyatul Masjid salaah will first have been performed in the Rowdha. The Rowdha is situated at the head-end of the grave and if anyone comes from there, should from the feet end, he will have to go right around the grave on the north side, which will be almost similar to making a tawaaf of the grave, and performing tawaaf around any grave is prohibited.
For this reason, in spite of what has been said above, these ulama prefer the visitor to come from the Rowdha, to the Rasul Sal’am from the head side. However, they too are agreed that under normal circumstances the visitor to the grave should prefer the feet side approach.
28. When facing the grave, stand with the back towards the Qibla, about two paces away from the corner pillar that is on the wall at the head side, turning slightly to the right so that the face is exactly opposite the Holy Countenance of Rasulullah Sal’am (Zubdah)
According to the author of Ithaaf, this pillar now lies inside the brass screen
Hazrat Mulla Ali Qari Rah says one should sand facing the silver peg that is in the brass screen. (Sharh Lubaab)
29. Stand about three or four paces away from the screen wall of the enclosure. Respect demands that one should not come nearer, that the eyes be cast down, that one should not look around from side to side, and that one stands still, while bearing in mind that now I stand facing the blessed presence of the Messenger of Allah and the man of the most exalted rank, is aware of my presence. Hazrat Ibn Ameerul Haaj Rah writes in his book ‘Madkhal’: “With utmost respect and humility more than can ever be written here should one stand in this auspicious spot because there one stands before the only intercessor whose intercession is sure to be accepted by Allah. Whoever intended visiting his home, reaches his desires, aims and whoever had presented himself to the door of his house will not return from there disappointed. Whoever prayed to Allah through his waseelah, has his prayer answered. Whoever asks, receives. These things are proved by the experience of man. For this reason the more respectful and humble one appears in his presence, the better it is for oneself. Indeed one should have the idea in mind that: “Here I stand in his presence as if he is still alive, because as for the knowledge of the position and condition of his Ummat and their intentions are concerned, Rasulullah Sal’am knows of it now in death as he knew about the Ummat in his lifetime.” (Madkhal vol.1)
30. Standing there, recite salaam to the Rasul Sal’am. Words for this salaam have been compiled in many Haj-guide books. The former elders of Islam used various combinations of salaam and may had various ways of greeting the Nabi Sal’am, thereby pouring out their hearts to him. So it should be, if love and adoration fills that heart.
“Sire, when in thousands the lips of thousands sing the praise;
From thy side one blessed silence answers all.”
Some others again could only utter a few words of greetings.
“Where my silence can convey the exceeding love that fills this overflowing heart, let silence prevail.”
Hazrat Mulla Ali Qari Rah reports that some elders like Hazrat Ibn Umar R.A. used to recite only: ‘Assalamu Alayka Ay-yuhan Nabi-yu Wa rahmatullahi Wa barakaatuh.’
‘Salam to you O Nabi of Allah and on you Allah’s Mercies and blessings.’
Others again preferred a much longer form of salutation. If we look at Hadith literature, then there too we find numerous forms of salawaat, in various lengths and styles. This tends to indicate the correctness of the practice of the ulama. Maulana Hazrat Rashid Ahmad Gangohi Rah written the words of salutation to be recited to the Nabi Sal’am, wrote further: “As much as you desire, may you add to these words, bearing in mind that the words should convey respect and honor.” (zubdah)
Hazrat Imaam Nawawi Rah, who wrote a lengthy salutation, noted thereafter that Hazrat Ibn Umar R.A. only used to say:
“Assalamu Alayka Ya Rasulullha.”
“Assalamu Alayka Ya Abaa Bakr.”
“Assalamu Alayka Ya Abataah (O my father.)”
In the humble opinion of the author of these lines, when a person understands the meaning of the Arabic salutations he recites ad it flows from his lips with ecstatic pleasure; it is not wrong for him to continue in a lengthy manner.
However, where the translation is not known and no pleasure felt it is perhaps best that one does not continue reading lengthily in parrot fashion. In such cases it would be more appropriate to stand in a dignified manner and a heart filled with ecstatic love, reciting salawaat quietly and slowly
“Assalatu Wassalaamu Alayka Ya Rasulullah.”
One should continue reciting these words stopping for a few moments before repeating the same. (N.B. In the previous chapter refer to Hadith number 10 about reciting salawaat seventy times.)