Praise be to Allaah.
The history of the green
The dome over the grave of
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) dates back to
the seventh century AH. It was built during the reign of Sultan Qalawoon,
and at first it was the colour of wood, then it became white, then blue,
then green, and it has remained green until the present.
Professor ‘Ali Haafiz (may
Allaah preserve him) said:
There was no dome over the
sacred chamber. There was in the roof of the mosque above the chamber a
waist-high enclosure of brick to distinguish the location of the chamber
from the rest of the mosque’s roof.
Sultaan Qalawoon al-Saalihi
was the first one to build a dome over the chamber. He did that in 678 AH.
It was square at the bottom and octagonal at the top, made of wood, and
built on top of the pillars that surrounded the chamber. Planks of wood were
nailed to it, over which plates of lead were placed, and the brick enclosure
was replaced with one made of wood.
The dome was refurbished at
the time of al-Naasir Hasan ibn Muhammad Qalawoon, then the leaden plates
slipped, but they were fixed and refurbished at the time of al-Ashraf
Sha’baan ibn Husayn ibn Muhammad in 765 AH. It fell into disrepair and was
renovated at the time of Sultaan Qayit Bey in 881 AH.
The chamber and dome were
burned in the fire that swept through the Prophet’s mosque in 886 AH. During
the reign of Sultaan Qayit Bey the dome was rebuilt, in 887 AH, and strong
pillars to support it were built in the floor of the mosque, and they were
built of bricks to the correct height. After the dome had been built in the
manner described above, cracks appeared in its upper part. When it proved
impossible to refurbish it, the Sultaan Qayit Bey ordered that the upper
part be demolished and rebuilt strongly using white plaster. So it was built
solidly in 892 AH.
In 1253 AH, an order was
issued by the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd al-Hameed to paint the dome green. He was
the first one to colour it green, and the colour has been renewed whenever
necessary until the present.
It became known as the
green dome after it was painted green. It was previously known as the white
dome or the fragrant dome or the blue dome. End quote.
Fusool min Tareekh
al-Madeenah al-Munawwarah by ‘Ali Haafiz (p. 127,
The scholars, both in the
past and in modern times, criticized the building of this dome and its being
given a colour. All of that is because of what they know of sharee’ah
closing many doors for fear of falling into shirk.
These scholars include the
1 – al-San’aani (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said in Ta-theer al-I’tiqaad:
If you say: A great dome
has been built over the grave of the Messenger (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him), costing a great deal of money, I say: This is in fact
great ignorance of the situation, because this dome was not built by him
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or by his Sahaabah or by
those who followed them, or by those who followed the Taabi’een, or by the
scholars and imams of the ummah. Rather this dome was built over his grave
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the orders of one of the
later kings of Egypt, namely the Sultan Qalawoon al-Saalihi who is known as
King Mansoor, in 678 AH, and was mentioned in Tahqeeq al-Nasrah bi
Talkhees Ma’aalim Dar al-Hijrah. These are things that were done on the
orders of the state and not on the basis of shar’i evidence. End quote.
2 – The scholars of the
Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:
There are those who take
the building of the green dome over the Prophet’s grave in the Prophet’s
Mosque as evidence that it is permissible to build domes over other graves,
such as those of the righteous and others. Is this argument correct or what
should our response to them be?
It is not correct to quote
the fact that people built a dome over the grave of the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as evidence that it is permissible to
build domes over the graves of the righteous dead and others, because those
people’s building a dome over his grave (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) was haraam and those who did it sinned thereby, because they
went against what is proven in a report from Abu’l-Hayaaj al-Asadi who said:
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to me: Shall I not
send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any image without
erasing it or any high grave without levelling it.
And it was narrated that
Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade plastering over graves, or sitting
on them or building over them. Both reports were narrated by Muslim in his
Saheeh. So it is not correct for anyone to quote the haraam action of
some people as evidence that it is permissible to do similar haraam actions,
because it is not permissible to go against the words of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by citing the words or actions
of anyone else. And because he is the one who conveyed the command from
Allaah, and he is the one who is to be obeyed, and we must beware of going
against his commands, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad صلى
الله عليه وسلم) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you,
abstain (from it)” [al-Hashr 59:7].
And there are other verses
which enjoin obedience to Allaah and to His Messenger. And because building
up graves and erecting domes over them are means that lead to associating
their occupants with Allaah, and the means that lead to shirk must be
blocked. End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn
Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood.
al-Daa’imah (9/83, 84)
3 – The scholars of the
Standing Committee also said:
There is no proof in the
fact that a dome was set up over the Prophet’s grave for those who take it
as an excuse for building domes of the graves of the awliya’ (“saints”) and
righteous people, because the building of a dome over his grave was not done
on his instructions and was not done by any of his companions (may Allaah be
pleased with them), or by the Taabi’een, or by any of the imams of guidance
in the early generations whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) testified were good. Rather it was done by people of
bid’ah (innovation). It was proven that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into
this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” And it
was proven that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to Abu’l-Hayaaj:
Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any image
without erasing it or any high grave without levelling it.
Narrated by Muslim. As it is not proven that he (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) built a dome over his grave, and it is not
proven from any of the leading imams; rather what is proven shows that to be
an invalid action, and no Muslim should feel any attachment to the action of
innovators who built a dome over the grave of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him). End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azzez ibn
Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ghadyaan,
Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood
al-Daa’imah (2/264, 265).
4 – Shaykh Shams al-Deen
al-Afghaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
(1379 AH) said, discussing the history of the green dome that was built over
the grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
and explaining that it is an innovation that was done by some sultans and
ignorant persons who erred and made a mistake, and that it is contrary to
the clear saheeh ahaadeeth and reflects ignorance of the Sunnah, and that
they went to extremes and imitated the Christians who are confused and
It should be noted that
until the year 678 AH, there was no dome over the chamber which contains the
grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
rather it was built by the king al-Zaahir al-Mansoor Qalawoon al-Saalihi in
that year (678 AH), when this dome was built.
I say: He did that because
he had seen in Egypt and Syria the adorned churches of the Christians, so he
imitated them out of ignorance of the command and Sunnah of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as al-Waleed imitated them by
adorning the mosque, as was mentioned in Wafa’ al-Wafa’.
It should be noted that
undoubtedly this action of Qalawoon was contrary to the saheeh ahaadeeth of
the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
but ignorance is a great calamity and exaggeration in love and veneration is
a real disaster, and imitation of foreigners is a fatal disease. We seek
refuge with Allaah from ignorance and exaggeration and imitation of
foreigners. End quote.
al-Hanafiyyah fi Ibtaal ‘Aqaa’id al-Qubooriyyah
The reason why it has not
The scholars have explained
the shar’i rulings concerning the building of this dome and its obvious
effects on the followers of bid’ah’ who have developed an attachment to this
structure and its colour, and they praise and venerate it a great deal in
their poetry and writings. Now it is up to the authorities to implement
these fatwas, and this is nothing to do with the scholars.
The reason why it is not
demolished is so as to ward off fitnah and for fear that it may lead to
chaos among the ordinary people and the ignorant. Unfortunately the ordinary
people have only reached this level of veneration towards this dome because
of the leadership of misguided scholars and imams of innovation. They are
the ones who incite the ordinary people against the land of the Two Holy
Sanctuaries and its ‘aqeedah and its manhaj. They are very upset about many
actions that are in accordance with sharee’ah in our view and contrary to
innovation in their view.
Whatever the case, the
shar’i ruling is quite clear, and the fact that this dome has not been
demolished does not mean that it is permissible to build it or any dome over
any grave, no matter what grave it is.
Shaykh Saalih al-‘Usaymi
(may Allaah preserve him) said:
The fact that this dome has
remained for eight centuries does not mean that it has become permissible,
and being silent about it does not indicate approval of it or that it is
permissible. Rather the Muslim authorities should remove it and put it back
as it was at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him). They should remove the dome and the adornments and engravings
that are found in the mosques, above all the Prophet’s Mosque, so long as
that will not lead to an even greater fitnah. If it would lead to an even
greater fitnah, then the ruler should postpone the matter until he finds an
opportunity for that. End quote.
Anwaa’uha wa ahkaamuha (p. 253).
And Allaah knows best.