Praise be to Allaah.
Prayers should not be
offered in mosques in which there are graves. The graves should be dug up
and the remains transferred to the public graveyards, with each set of
remains placed in an individual grave as with all other graves. It is not
permissible for graves to be left in mosques, whether that is the grave of a
wali (“saint”) or of anyone else, because the Messenger (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade that and warned against that, and
he cursed the Jews and Christians for doing that. It was narrated that he
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May Allah curse the
Jews and the Christians, for they took the graves of their Prophets as
places of worship.” ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, “He was
warning against what they had done.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1330, Muslim,
And when Umm Salamah and Umm Habeebah told him about a church
in which there were images, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “When a righteous man died among them, they would build a place
of worship over his grave and put those images in it. They are the most evil
of mankind before Allaah.” (Saheeh, agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 427; Muslim,
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Those who came before you took the graves of their Prophets and righteous
people as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship – I
forbid you to do that.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 532, from
Jundab ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali). So the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) forbade taking graves as places of worship and he
cursed those who do that, stating that they are the most evil of mankind. So
we must beware of that.
It is known that everyone who prays at a grave is taking it
as a place of worship, and whoever builds a mosque over a grave has taken it
as a place of worship. So we must keep graves far away from the mosques and
not put graves inside mosques, in obedience to the command of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and so as to avoid the curse issued by our Lord against those who build places of worship over graves, because when a person prays in a mosque in which there is a grave, the Shaytaan may tempt him to call upon the deceased or to seek his help, or to pray to him or prostrate to him, thus committing major shirk; and because this is the action of the Jews and Christians and we are obliged to differ from them and to keep away from their ways and their evil actions. But if the graves are ancient and a mosque was built over them, then it should be knocked down, because this is an innovated thing, as was stated by the scholars, and so as to avoid the means that may lead to shirk. And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al Shaykh Ibn Baaz 10/246.