As some of you have noticed, I have posted some material from our Akabir such as Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi talking in a positive manner about the gatherings known as Urs (also called Hawl in other parts of the Muslim word). It is clear that they were referring to gatherings free of any unlawful actions or transgressions against the sacred law, gathering such as these have existed from their time till the present day. I came across the following legal verdict (fatwa) from Shah Abd al-Aziz al-Dehlawi on the topic which it is hoped will be of benefit. We ask Allah (Most High) to enable us to post in the future additional material we have collated on this topic:
My master Shah Abd al-Aziz al-Dehlawi said in his Fatawa Aziziyyah (1/38):
Visiting the graves after a year has three scenario’s:
i) After fixing a day one or two people, without it being gathering consisting of a large number of people, go out to the graves. Their aim is only to visit and seek forgiveness, this much is established from narrations. It is related in Dur Manthur that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would each year visit the graves and pray for forgiveness for the inhabitants of the graves. This much is established and mustahab.
ii) In an organised gathering with many people congregating at the graves, they complete a recitation of the Quran and do Fatihah upon shirini or food which is then distributed amongst the common folk present. This kind of action was not present at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) nor the rightly guided Khulafah (Allah be pleased with them all). If someone does this there is no harm, because this is not a bad action, rather from this the dead obtain benefit from the living.
iii) The gathering at the graves be in such a manner that people fix a time for gathering at the graves, wearing fine clothing and come as in the manner as if it were Eid. They are gathered at the graves for merriment. Dancing and musical instruments and other unlawful innovations such prostrating and circling graves are present, this third type is unlawful and prohibited, rather some of these matters reach the boundaries of disbelief. This is the meaning of these two hadith, ‘Do not make my grave a place of festivities’ this hadith is in Mishkat. And “O Allah do not make my grave an idol which is worshipped’, this hadith is also in Mishkat.