Praise be to Allah.
We put this question to Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah preserve him, who replied:
“I think that this is an innovated bid’ah. No preacher can claim that he loves to preach to people more than the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did. It is not reported anywhere that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to stand up to address the people with a khutbah in the graveyard. All that is mentioned is that one day he came to a grave when the burial had not yet been completed. He sat down, and his companions sat down with him, and he started talking to them about what happens when a person is on his deathbed and after he dies. This is the nearest thing that has been reported, and anyone who stands up to preach to the people after a burial is doing so on the basis of incorrect ijtihaad.
But the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this once…?
He did not preach as such. He just started talking to the people who were sitting with him. It was not intended as preaching and he did not stand up to deliver a khutbah.
So if a person sits by the grave and others sit with him, and he tells them the hadeeth of Abu Dawood (the hadeeth of al-Bara’), would this action be OK according to sharee’ah?
It is not OK according to sharee’ah, because the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not sit with the intention of preaching. He just sat down to wait until the burial was over. There is a difference between what happens by coincidence and what is done deliberately, and he never did this on any other occasion.
And Allaah knows best.