Sufyaan [ ibn ‘ Uyayanah ] narrated to us from ‘ Abdullaah ibn Deenaar from ‘ Abdullaah ibn ‘ Umar( R.A) that the Prophet, peace and blessings be on him, said, “Do not enter the ruins of the people who were previously punished unless you are weeping. If you are not weeping, then do not enter their ruins, for I fear that what has befallen them may also befall you.”
(Musnad Ah.mad, Vol. 2, p . 9. The isnaad of this hadeeth is saheeh according to the conditions set by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.)
The Prophet said this to his companions when he led them in 9 AH, in an expedition to Tabook (about 400 miles north of Madeenah) against the Roman forces on a reported invasion from Syria and reached ai-Hijr, one of the archaeological remains of the Thamood, to whom Allah sent Prophet Saalih, peace be on him. The arrogant Thamood people were severely punished by Allah when He sent to them thunderbolts, followed by terrible earthquakes which destroyed their homes and buried them: “So the mighty blast took the wrong-doers unawares, and they lay prostrate in their homes before the morning.” (Sural Hood, 11:67) (LB)
According to Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘ Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him), it is not permissible to visit the ruins of the people who were punished by Allah if the purpose of the visit is mere sightseeing. (Permanent Committee fatwa no. 26/394) Even the Prophet ~ hurried as he passed by Waadi Mullassar between Mina and Muzdalifah, the very place where Allah destroyed Abrahah and his forces that came with a mighty army and elephants to destroy the ka’bah. If one happens to pass by such ruins, one must contemplate the punishment that Allah inflicted on the sinners who disobeyed Him blatantly and feel the awe of the situation to the point of weeping, otherwise, one should hurry and leave.
Thulaathiyyaat Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him)
Reports of Imaam Ahmad that have only three narrators between him and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Saalim as–Saffaareenee al–Hanbalee ~(1114 –1188 AH)