Question:

My grandfather is buried in a grave with a headstone. The 1sts kalma was inscribed on the headstone ever since he was buried. One of my aunts recently heard from somewhere that having the kalmas written on headstones of graves is wrong according to Islamic teachings, as it is wrong to write the name of Allah like that, some reason similar to that. I want to know whether it really is forbidden or is it okay according to religion? I have tried searching for the answer but cannot find anyone who has addressed this specific issue.

Is it allowed to write the 1st kalma (or any other kalma) on gravestones?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Fuqaha’ have mentioned that there is leeway to put a gravestone which identifies the person in the grave. The idea of the gravestone is identification alone. Anything beyond this is not permissible. This also applies to any Qur’anic ayaat or kalimaat written on the grave/gravestone. In fact, it may even lead to disrespect of these ayaat, which is severely reprimand-able in Shariah.1

If it is possible to change the gravestone to a generic slab with the name of your grandfather for identification, I recommend you to do so. Sometimes doing so may cause problems in the family and create fitna. If that is anticipated, then approach the issue in a very diplomatic manner.

May Allah forgive your grandfather and give him place in Jannatul Firdaus, Ameen

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

1فإن الكتابة طريق إلى تعرف القبر بها، نعم يظهر أن محل هذا الإجماع العملي على الرخصة فيها ما إذا كانت الحاجة داعية إليه في الجملة كما أشار إليه في المحيط بقوله وإن احتيج إلى الكتابة، حتى لا يذهب الأثر ولا يمتهن فلا بأس به. فأما الكتابة بغير عذر فلا اهـ حتى إنه يكره كتابة شيء عليه من القرآن أو الشعر أو إطراء مدح له ونحو ذلك حلية ملخصا (الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (2/ 238))