A friend of mine has asked a question relating to the Isreali-Palestinian riots recently. He has stated that the tomb of prophet Yusuf (a.s.) was ransacked during the time. He says that this violation of a sacred grave was done by Palestinians. Here is his question with regard to this information:
As a Muslim, I am revolted and offended by the ransacking of Joseph’s Tomb. Not only because we should respect each other’s religious sensibilities, but because Joseph (Prophet Yakoob) is a revered prophet to Muslims as well. I am sure that most share my sense of sorrow and horror at this event.
I would like to know, what is the punishment for desecration of graves for Muslims from a Qur’anic standpoint. Would the people who committed this heinous and grave act go to Heaven or Hell?”
Could you please throw some light upon his question?
Before answering your question, I would like to make a small correction in your statement: “Joseph” is the anglicized name of Yusuf (pbuh), while “Jacob” is that of his father, “Yaqoob“ (pbuh).
Now, coming to your specific question, we, due to our limited knowledge, cannot give a verdict about anyone’s future in the hereafter. One’s position in the hereafter, shall be decided solely by the All-knowing God. God has also informed us that this decision shall be taken with due consideration to all the variables that effected the actions of the individual.
However, a Muslim state may implement punishments for all such actions, which it considers as crimes. Desecration of the graves of the prophets of God can be one of the punishable crimes in a Muslim state. If such be the case, on the basis of their beliefs, Muslims should not make different laws governing the various prophets of God. In other words, a Muslim state should implement the same punishments for any verbal or practical blasphemy against any other prophet of God, as it would have implemented if such blasphemy was committed against the Prophet (pbuh).
Thus, in my opinion, even though we cannot give a verdict about those involved in the referred crime for the hereafter, yet, as a principle, a Muslim state should administer the same punishment on them, as it would have administered, if the grave, in question, was that of Mohammed (pbuh), rather than that of Joseph (pbuh) or Jacob (pbuh).
I hope this helps.
October 28, 2000