Date : 01-06-2022

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia on exhuming graves and digging in state and private lands in search for hidden treasures?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Jurists are agreed that it is forbidden to dig up graves, so it isn`t permitted to exhume or remove graves so long as they contain bones because the sanctity of their dwellers is similar to that of the living. Prophet Mohammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said about the sanctity of the dead: "Breaking a deceased body’s bones is exactly like breaking them when he is alive.” {Related by Abu Dawud}." He also said: "It is much better for one of you to sit on a live coal, which will burn his clothes and get to his skin, than to sit on a grave."{Related by Muslim}.

These narrations highlight the sanctity of the dead and that preserving their graves against harm is obligatory because Allah, The Almighty, says: "We have honoured the sons of Adam"{Al-Isra`/70}.Therefore, not exhuming graves and not violating their sanctity is honouring their dwellers. Moreover, the degree of prohibition increases when graves are dug up in search for hidden treasures.

In addition, it isn`t permitted to search for treasures in the lands of others, be they owned by the state or the citizens since doing so constitutes a transgression against others property. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Everything belonging to a Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim; his honour, his blood and property."{Related by Muslim}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.