Greeting: the dead at graves

Q242 :According to some Hadiths, it is recommended to greet the dead when one visits or passes by a graveyard. At the same time, Allah states in the Qur'an that those who are in their graves cannot hear. Please explain.

A242 : The Qur'anic verse which you have referred to is correct. It tells the Prophet : "You certainly cannot make those who are in the graves hear you." (35;22) This is a statement of fact which tells us that those who are dead cannot hear what we say; whether we address them directly or we are talking to each other. At the same time, we are recommended to offer a greeting to the dwellers of a graveyard who are actually dead. When we enter a graveyard or pass it by, we are recommended to say: "You believers, the dwellers of this place, peace be to you. You are gone ahead of us and we shall certainly join you, Allah willing. I pray to grant both you and us security and peace." If you examine this Hadith carefully, you are bound to come to the conclusion that it is meant as a reminder to ourselves. First of all, we state that those dwellers in the grave were believers and this means that even the most pious of believers will certainly die. We then state that we shall join them because Allah has made it inevitable that every human being dies. This is followed by a prayer of peace and security to those who are gone and to ourselves. In practical terms, this is a reminder to ourselves to work hard in obedience to Allah before we are overtaken by death. A Muslim should always remember death because it is a warning. The Prophet says that Allah has given us two warnings: the Qur'an and death. The fact that we use this form of reminding ourselves of the Day of Judgment does not mean that the dead will hear us. They certainly do not since Allah states this in the Qur'an. Allah, however, may pass on to them what we have said so that their souls, wherever they are, may reply to our greeting.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )