Urs of the beloveds of Allah is an Islamic function, which is generally organized by the Khalifa to commemorate the death anniversary of a wali. To a wali, death is the culmination of a life long yearning to meet Allah and His Rasool (S.A.W.). In terms of the dictionary it means wedding. In Arabic, the bride and groom are called Aroos.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) mentions in an authentic Hadith, "When the Munkar and Nakir (the angels who question the deceased after death), questions the wali in the grave about Allah, Islam and the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Wali successfully answers the questions, they (lovingly) declare Sleep like the bride who will only be awakened by the beloved (Mishkaat). Hence the word Urs is traced to a Hadith.
Annually on the day or month on which the wali parted from this world and entered into the hereafter, the mureed and followers and general public gather at the gravesite, recite Quran, Zikrullah, Khatme Khwajagaan and render Esaale Sawaab to the soul of the wali. Normally a lecture is given by an 'alim, who discusses Quranic verses and Ahadith relating to Aulia Allah. The life of the Wali is presented as an example for other Muslims to follow. People are encouraged to emulate the Imaan, Piety (Taqwa), sacrifices and services of the wali.
The roots of Urs are also traced to the actions of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the four Khulafaae Raashidoon. Ibne Ali Sheebah reports that: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) used to visit the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud every year. He used to send Salaams to them. The four righteous Khulafa upheld this Sunnah also, who used to visit the graves of Shuhadae Uhud (Those companions of the prophet (S.A.W.) who lost their lives in the Battle of Uhud, which took place in Madina). (Fatawa Shaami, Tafseere Kabeer Durre Mansoor).
Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith of Delhi (son of Shah Waliallah) writes in his famous Fatawa Azizia, page 45: Secondly, many people must assemble, recite the Holy Quran, recite fatiha on something sweet and other edibles and then distribute it amongst those present.
The Chaadar and Sandal procession is a public event designed to reflect love and respect of the soul of the wali. It is an event whereby homage is paid to the wali, and to his success in the hereafter. Trays are decoratively laden with many Ghilaaf (sheets of material used to cover the grave of the wali), flowers, Itr, Niyaaz and sandal powder. These trays are carried on the head as a mark of respect (This does not constitute Ibaadat in any way). The mureedeen and other devotees of the saint normally prepare the trays. A Shaamyaana (roughly translated as a four - handled shade, awning or umbrella) usually in the colours of the Silsila to which the saint belongs; is held aloft by those who are taking part in the procession. It is there to shelter on from the natural elements, viz. The sun and rain. It also lends dignity to the procession
Devotional poetry based on the Hamd (Praise of Allah), Na' at (Praise of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and Manqabat (Praise of Aulia Allah) are sung all the way during the procession. Salat o Salaams and Zikrullah are also recited in some countries. These processions differ in different countries in presentation and style; as, the cultural flavourings and influences differ. These various cultural influences should not be mistaken as an imitation of any "religious denomination''.
Chaadars are placed on the grave of the Aulia Allah. This is an act of Sunnah. After the demise of the Prophet (S.A.W.) a sahaabiyah came to Sayyida Ayesha Siddiqah (R.A.) and requested her to show the grave of the Prophet (S.A.W.). Sayyidah Ayesha Siddiqah (R.A.) then raised a Gilaf (sheet of fabric) from the grave of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (S.A.W.). The sahaabiyah became very, very emotional, wept beyond control, finally collapsed and passed away. (Baihaqi Shareef). Fatawa Shami, Volume 5. The Chapter on Libaas also states that it is good to place Chaadar on graves of Aulia Allah.
The grave is then sprinkled with sandal, Itr and covered with flowers. To place flowers and other fresh branches on the graves is also a Sunnah. (Bukhari Sheriff Vol.1). Itr is sprinkled onto the grave, as perfume (itr), has a certain degree of affinity with the rooh and spirituality. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) loved perfume. One of the three things made for Huzoor (S.A.W.) to prefer in this world is perfume, (Hadith). The sprinkling of Itr is for our benefit. The spiritualised precincts of a wali's tomb are sprinkled with itr so that it ushers us into calmness and serenity. It tends to purify our thoughts and is also synonymous with the state the wali is in. Aulia Allah is a special servant of Allah.
Their graves are covered with a Ghilaaf just as we cover the Quran and Kaabah with Ghilaaf. The heart of a believer is the throne of Allah (Hadith). Even up to this day the walls housing the grave the Prophet (S.A.W.) is laden with Ghilaaf bearing Kalima Sharief and other Quranic verses which can be seen clearly from the outside also. This Sunnah is in practice from the days of the sahaaba and maintained even by the present Wahaabi regime. The Fuqahaae Kiraam have stated that the intentions behind covering the graves of Aulia Allah is love and respect for their spiritualized souls.
It also displays recognition of the achievement and success of the departed soul. It also dawns on the observer that this is the grave of a beloved of Allah who has reached the ultimate goal of nearness to Allah. The Fuqaahae Kiraam (Islamic jurists) have stressed that chaadars should not be placed on the graves of the general Muslim public.
highlight the status and honor of the Aulia Allah, let us take into
account the following ayah of the Holy Quran: Thus, then, if he be
of nearest to Allah, (there is for him) rest and satisfaction, and a
'Garden of Delights'. (S.56.V88/89.)