I am a student at a famous university in Lahore. In my university the element of atheism and nonconformist is getting stronger each day.
Today one of them argued on the way Muslims bury their relatives, he said that in his point of view when a loved one dies, the place of his body should be preserved and should not be left the way it is ordered in Islam, i.e. it should not remain as wet mud, rather it should be in form of marble or something else.
My argument was entirely social in that I argued that even if he was not Muslim follower, it was easy to see that if a person dies and the place is reserved forever, there will come a time when we will run out of places to live. He demanded that I show to him any authentic proof of Islamic way of burial and also give more logic if possible.
I would be grateful to you if you could help me out and help me bring this person to the right path.
I do not think that Islam has anything to do with the formation of the graves and their preservation in general. In ordinary circumstances the basic requirement is that a Muslim is buried properly. This we understand is because Muslims want to avoid any disrespect to the body and its decay in open.
Now one can argue that the graves should be preserved forever or otherwise but that is never a matter of religious significance. You friend does not argue on the basis of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. You have responded well as far as I understand. We cannot say that Islam does not allow us to use any other material or keep the graves preserved forever. We can only say that it would not be wise and would also not be possible to do so. The matter does not relate to the basic teachings or doctrines of Islam and is subject to difference of opinion.