Dear Shaykh Gibrl,
As-salaamualaykum wa rahamtullah. Eid Mubarak to you and your family.
What is the significance of taking a ghusl after visiting a cemetery? I noticed that the Malays encourage this practice and I couldn’t find anything about it in the few books of fiqh that I possess. Please advise.
`Alaykum Salam and Eid Mubarak,
Merely visiting a cemetery is not a cause for ghusl in the Law, so ghusl whether before or after visiting a cemetery is neither Sunna nor mustahabb.
Ghusl is mustahabb for someone after one has washed the dead, as is wudu‘ for a person after they have carried the dead. Additionally, visiting the graves is an emphasized Sunna on Jumu`a (after Salat) as well as the day before and the day after, as is ghusl on the day of Jumua (before Salat). However, it would be good for the person visiting the dead to have ritual purity as that will be more helpful if they recite Qur’an, make du`a for the dead, and/or sit around the graves.
Every culture has practices that are based on popular imagination of what is religious rather than fiqh. Sometimes it is categorically haram and they treat it as acceptable and practice it across their society without a peep from ulema, such as applying henna on the hands of bridegrooms.
Success is from Allah and He knows best.
Hajj Gibril Haddad