Fiqh-us-Sunnah
Find on this Page


Fiqh 4.30: Cleaning the Body by Tayammum When Water is Unavailable

If there is no water to wash the dead body, then it may be cleaned with tayammum (ablution with dust), for Allah says in the Qur'an: "If you do not find water, then perform tayammum (ablution with dust)." And the Prophet said: "The entire earth has been made pure and a mosque for me." Similarly if it is feared that the body might deteriorate if it is washed, then it may be given a tayammum.

The same applies to a woman who passes away when there is no other woman around to wash her, or if a man dies and there are only women but no man to wash him. Abu Daw'ud in his collection of Marasil, and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Makhul, report that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If a woman dies while she is with men and there is no other woman with them, or if a man dies while with woman, and there is no other man there, then the body of the dead person may be given a tayammum instead of washing it and then it should be buried. They both will be regarded as ones who died when there was no water available to wash (and purify)."

The body of a woman shall be given tayammum by one of her mahrim consanguine relatives with his hand. If there is no consanguine relative present, then any other man can give her a tayammum by wrapping a piece of cloth around his hand. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah and Ahmad. Malik and Ash-Shafi'i are of the view that "if a male relative of the deceased is available, then he should wash the body of the dead woman, for in matters of 'awrah ('Awrah (Arabic), those parts of a person's body which must be covered. A man must cover the front and back of his pubic region. There is disagreement about the navel, thighs, and knees. There is, however, no disagreement over what constitutes a woman's 'awrah. Her entire body is 'awrah and must be covered, except her hands and face) (nakedness of the private parts) and being alone with a woman, she is considered and treated in such a case as a male person for him.

In Al-Murawwa it is noted that Malik said: "I heard the scholars saying: 'If a woman dies and there is no other woman there to wash her, nor any male consanguine relative nor her husband who could undertake this responsibility, then she should be given a tayammum, wiping her face and hands with dry soil'." Malik said: "The same should be done in the case of a man who dies and there are only women around him." (Ibn Hazm holds that if a man dies while among women and there is no man around, or if a woman dies while among men with no other woman around, then the women may wash the body of the man and the men the body of the woman while covered in thick cloth. The water should be poured over the whole body without any physical contact. He is of the view that tayamm~m may not be given instead of a wash except when no water is available)

Fiqh 4.31: One Spouse Washing the Other

The jurists are agreed on the permissibility of a wife washing the body of her dead husband. 'Aishah said: "Had I known then what I know now, I would not have allowed anyone, except his wives, to wash the body of the Prophet." This has been transmitted by Ahmad and Abu Daw'ud, and by al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith.

There is a difference of opinion, however, on the permissibility of the husband washing the body of his dead wife. The majority of scholars, nonetheless, consider it permissible, as is shown by a report, narrated by ad-Daraqutni and Al-Baihaqi, that Ali washed the body of Fatimah on her death. This is also supported by a hadith that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to 'Aishah: "If you die before me, I will myself wash you and enshroud you." Ibn Majah records this hadith.

The Hanafi school holds that it is not permissible for a husband to wash his wife's dead body, and if there is no other woman available then he should give her tayammum. However, the above hadith prove the contrary of this view.

Fiqh 4.32: A Woman Washing a Boy

Ibn al-Munzhir said: "All great scholars are agreed that a woman may wash the body of a young boy."

Fiqh 4.33: Legal Status of the Shroud

Shrouding the body of the deceased, even it be with just one piece of cloth, is a collective obligation (fard kifayah) of the Muslims. Bukhari narrated from Khabbab that he said: "We migrated with Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, seeking Allah's pleasure, and we hope He will reward us for that. In the meanwhile some of us died and received no reward in this life. One of them was Musa'ab ibn 'Umayr, who was killed in the Battle of Uhud. We did not find anything to shroud him in except a piece of cloth. When we covered his head, his feet would show, and if we covered his feet, his head would show. Allah ' s Messenger, peace be upon him, ordered us to use the cloth to cover his head with it and cover his feet with some grass." 66

Fiqh 4.33 a: Preferable Practices in Shrouding

In shrouding, the following practices are recommended and should be observed while preparing a body for burial.

1 The shroud should be nice, clean, and large enough to cover the entire body. This is based on a narration of Ibn Majah and Tirmizhi, who regard it a sound hadith from Abu Qatadah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If one of you is a guardian to his deceased brother, he should give him the best shroud he can."

2 A shroud should be white, as it is recorded by Ahmad, Abu Daw'ud, and Tirmizhi on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Wear white clothes, for these are your best clothes, and enshroud your dead in them." Tirmizhi considers it a sound hadith.

3 The shroud should be scented and perfumed. The hadith is cited by Ahmad and by Al-Hakim, who regards it as sound, in accordance with Jabir's narration that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If you perfume a dead body, do it three times." Abu Sa'id, Ibn 'Umar, and Ibn 'Abbas directed their heirs in their wills to perfume their shrouds with aloes-wood.

4 The shroud should be three wraps for a man and five wraps for a woman, in light of what is narrated by the group from 'Aishah who said: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was wrapped in three pieces of new white sheets of cloth from Yemen, without a shirt or a turban."

Tirmizhi said: "The majority of the scholars among the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) and others hold this view." Sufyan Al-Thawri said: "A (deceased) male should be shrouded in three pieces of cloth, or a shirt and two loose pieces of cloth, or (if necessary) three wraps of cloth.

One wrap may suffice if nothing else is available. Two wraps will also suffice, but three wraps are preferable for those who can afford it. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq. They hold that a deceased female should be enshrouded in five sheets.

It is reported from Umm 'Atiyyah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, gave her a loincloth, a shirt, a scarf, and two pieces of cloth (to be used as a shroud for him). Ibn Al-Munzhir said: "Most of the scholars, our teachers, are of the opinion that a woman should be shrouded in five sheets of cloth.

Fiqh 4.34: Shrouding a Pilgrim

If a pilgrim dies, he is to be washed the same way any non-pilgrim is washed. He should be shrouded in his ihram (two pieces of seamless cloth which the pilgrims don during umrah or hajj. His head should not be covered, nor should any perfume be applied to his body, because the restrictions of ihram still apply to him. This is based on what the group reported from Ibn 'Abbas, who said: "During the last hajj, a man, mounted on a horse, was close to Allah's Prophet, peace be upon him, and was trying to learn more from him, when he suddenly fell off his mount. The horse kicked him and killed him. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, was told about him, he said: 'Wash him with water and lotus (leaves), then wrap him in his two sheets, and do not perfume his body nor cover his head, for Allah, the Exalted, will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with talbiyah (The prayer uttered during hajj by the pilgrims) on his lips'."

The Hanafi and Maliki schools hold that when a pilgrim dies, then his state of ihram is terminated, so that thereafter he may be shrouded like any nonpilgrim. His shroud may be sewn, his head may be covered, and he may be perfumed. In their opinion the case of the man who died while with the Prophet, peace be upon him, during the Hajj season is of a special case and does not set a precedent for other cases. Nevertheless the reason given (for not covering his head or perfuming his body . . ) applies generally. The statement that he will be raised on the Day of Judgement with talbiyah on his tongue clearly applies to all who die in the state of ihram, because it is a well established juristic principle that a ruling true for one case is also true and applicable to other similar cases, unless there is something indicating that the case is specific in nature and limited in scope.

Fiqh 4.35: Extravagance in Shrouding is Disliked

A shroud should be nice, but not so extravagantly expensive that it would unduly burden a person.

Ash-Shafi'i remarked, "Ali said: 'Do not be extravagant in shrouding me. I have heard Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, say: "Do not be extravagant in preparing your shroud for it will soon be taken away."' This is narrated by Abu Daw'ud, in whose chain of narrators is a man called Abu Malik, who is of somewhat dubious character.

It is narrated that Huzhaifah said, "Do not be extravagant in preparing the shroud. Buy for my shroud two clean white sheets of cloth."

Abu Bakr said: "Wash this garment of mine, and add another two sheets of cloth, and shroud me in them." At this 'Aishah said, "This garment that you are wearing is old and worn out." He said, "The living are more deserving of the new garments than the dead. This shroud is only to absorb the secretions of the body."

Fiqh 4.35 a: Using Silk Cloth in the Shroud

It is not permissible for a man to be buried in a silk shroud, but it is permissible for a woman. This is based on the following saying of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, concerning silk and gold: "Both of these things, i.e. gold and silk, are forbidden for the males of my ummah, but they are permissible for the females."

Many scholars, however, disapprove of a woman using a silk shroud, because this is extravagant and a waste of money and therefore forbidden. These scholars differentiate between the permissibility for a woman to wear ornaments during her lifetime and the practice of beautifying the shroud after her death.

Ahmad said: "I do not like a woman to be shrouded in silk." Likewise Al-Hasan, Ibn al-Mubarak, and Ishaq expressed their disapproval. Ibn AlMunzhir said, "I know of no other scholars with a different view on this subject."

Fiqh 4.35 b: The Shroud Should Be Purchased with the Deceased's Money

A person who dies and leaves some money behind should have his shroud purchased with his money. If the deceased did not leave any money, then, whoever is responsible for taking care of his living expenses should provide his shroud. In case the deceased leaves no money and there is no one to take care of him, then his shroud should be purchased by the Public Treasury of the Muslims. Otherwise individual Muslims should take care of it. The same applies in case of both the males and the females.

Ibn Hazm said: "The cost of a woman 's shroud and the digging of her grave should be met out of her own money. Her husband is not obliged to pay for it, for the properties of Muslims are forbidden to be used except by the authority of the Qur'an or sunnah.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Verily, your blood and property are sacred and are forbidden to each other." Allah, the Exalted, imposed on a husband the responsibility of providing his wife with food, clothing, and housing. The shroud is not synonymous with clothing, according to the language in which Allah chose to address us, nor is the grave equivalent to housing.

Fiqh 4.37: Funeral Prayer, its Legal Status

There is a consensus among all the great Muslim jurists that a funeral prayer for a deceased person is a collective obligation or fard kifayah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded the Muslims to offer it, and they have been doing so ever since they received this commandment.

Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was informed of the death of a person, he used to ask: Does he owe anything to anyone?' If the answer was in the affirmative, he would then ask: 'Has he (the deceased) left anything to settle his debt?' If he had left something to settle his debt, he would offer the funeral prayer for him. Otherwise, he would say to the Muslims: 'Offer a (funeral) prayer for your brother"' (Bukhari and Muslim).

Fiqh 4.37 a: Reward for Offering Funeral Prayer

Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever follows a funeral procession and offers the prayer for the deceased, will get one kerat 68 of reward. And whoever follows it and remains with it until the body is buried, will get two kerats of reward, the least of which is equal in weight to 'Mount Uhud' or he said 'one of them is like Uhud.' The narrator is not certain as to the exact words used by the Prophet, peace be upon him. This is reported by the group.

Khabbab reported that he asked "O 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar! Did you hear what Abu Hurairah says? He says that he heard Allah's Messenger, saying. 'Whoever leaves his house to attend a funeral prayer, offers funeral prayer, and then follows the funeral procession until the body is buried will receive two kerats of reward, each of which is like the mountain of Uhud. And whoever offers the funeral prayer and then leaves for home (This proves that a person does not need permission of the family of the deceased to leave after attending the funeral) will get a reward like the mountain of Uhud" (Muslim). Ibn 'Umar sent Khabbab to 'Aishah asking her about the statement of Abu Hurairah. She said, "Abu Hurairah has told the truth." When Ibn ' Umar was informed about this he said, "We have indeed lost many a kerat."

Fiqh 4.38: Requisite Conditions for Funeral Prayer

The prerequisites for a funeral prayer are the same as for the obligatory prayers. Anyone intending to offer funeral prayer must be in a state of purity, be free from all minor and major impurities, must cover his or her "awrah," and stand facing the direction of the Ka'bah.

Malik reported from Nafi' that Abdullah Ibn 'Umar used to say: "One should not offer a funeral prayer unless he is in a state of purity."

The funeral prayer differs from the prescribed prayers in that there is no fixed time for offering it. It may be offered at any time, including the times when regular prayers may not be offered. This is the opinion of the Hanafi and Shafi'i schools. Ahmad, Ibn Al-Mubarak, and Ishaq dislike offering a funeral prayer at sunrise, at noon when the sun is at its zenith, and at dusk when the sun is about to set, except in cases when it is feared that if delayed, the body might decompose.

Fiqh 4.38 a: Main Requirements of the Funeral Prayer

Certain requirements must be met for a valid funeral prayer, and failure to meet any of these may invalidate the prayer. These requirements are given below:

1 Intention

The real intention is what is in the heart, and its verbal utterance is not legally required. Allah says in the Qur'an: "And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in (faith)." Qur'an 98.5 And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, all deeds (of a person) will be judged in the light of the intentions behind them, and every person will attain what he intends."

2 Standing Prayer

The majority of scholars regard it as an essential condition for a valid funeral prayer to stand while praying if one is physically able to do so. A funeral prayer offered while sitting or riding, without any valid excuse, is not valid.

It is reported in Al-Mughni "It is not permissible for one to offer a funeral prayer while riding, as in this case an essential condition - standing while praying - would be missing." This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Ash-Shafi'i, and Abu Thaur. There is no difference on this point. It is preferable to put one's hands together, placing the right on the left, as is done in the prescribed regular prayer. Some disagree, but in our view it is better and preferable.

3 Loud Recitation of Four Takbirs

This is based on a report transmitted by both Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Jabir who said: "Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, offered funeral prayers for Najashi (Negus) and said four takbirs. (That is, he said Allahu akbar four times)

Tirmizhi said: Most of the learned Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) and others followed and acted in accordance with the above example of the Prophet. They hold that four takbirs should be said in a funeral prayer. Among these scholars are Sufyan, Malik, Ibn Al-Mubarak, Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq.

Fiqh 4.39: Raising of One's Hands During the Takbirs

It is sunnah to raise one's hands while uttering the first takbir. There is nothing related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, to show that he raised his hands in funeral prayer except for the first takbir. Ash-Shawkani mentions various opinions about takbirs and the arguments for them and says: "In short nothing except the first takhir is reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him. The acts and sayings of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless them) by themselves do not constitute a conclusive argument. Therefore one should raise one's hands only on saying the first lakhir. For the rest of the (three) takbirs no such instruction is available, except when one changes from one posture to another as in the regular prayer. There is no such change of posture required in the funeral prayer, so there is no need for raising hands in other than the first "takbir".

Fiqh 4.39 a: Reciting "Al-Fatihah" and Salutations to the Prophet

(Abu Hanifah and Malik regard these as two essential requisites of funeral prayer)

Ash-Shafi'i has in his Musnad narrated from Abu Umamah ibn Sahl that one of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) told him that when offering a (funeral) prayer it is sunnah for the imam to say aloud Allahu Akbar (first opening takbir), then to recite al-Fatihah silently in his heart, and then send salutations to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and then pray for forgiveness of the deceased. Nothing else is to be recited in between takbirs. Finally, he should end his prayer with salutations in his heart. (According to the majority of scholars, reciting al-fatihah, sending blessings upon the Prophet, supplicating for the deceased, and salutations are sunnah. In the case of the imam, however, it is sunnah to utter the takbir and salutations aloud in order to communicate with those praying with him) The author of Al-Fath says: "The chain of narrators of this hadith is sound."

Bukhari reported from Talha ibn Abdullah that he said: "I offered a funeral prayer that was led by Ibn Abbas. He recited Al-Fatihah and said: 'This is a sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him."' Tirmizhi also reported this and remarked that this has been the practice of some of the learned among the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them). Others prefer to recite Al-Fatihah after the first takbir. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq. Some others hold that Al-Fatihah is not to be recited in a funeral prayer. The funeral prayer should consist of praise for Allah (thana), blessings (salawat) upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, and a prayer (du'a) for forgiveness of the deceased. This is the opinion of Al-Thawri and other scholars of Kufah. Those who hold the recitation of al-Fatihah in a funeral prayer obligatory argue that the Prophet, peace be upon him, called it a prayer (salat) when he said: "Offer prayer (sallu) for your deceased friend." And as no prayer can be complete without al-Fatihah, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, also told us "no prayer is valid unless al-Fatihall is recited in it."

Fiqh 4.40: Invoking Blessings Upon Allah's Prophet

Prayer for peace and blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, may be said in any form. If someone were to say: "O Allah, bless Muhammad," it should suffice. It is better, however, to use the prayers transmitted through tradition, like the following:: Extravagance in Shrouding is Disliked

(Allahumma Salli 'ala-Muhammad wa'ala ali Muhammad kama sallayta 'ala Ibrahim wa 'ala ali Ibrahim wa barik 'ala Muhammad wa 'ala ali Muhammad kama barakta' ala Ibrahim wa 'ala ali Ibrahim innaka hamidun Majid)." "O Allah! Grant peace to Muhammad and his family as you did to Ibrahim and his family. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and his family as you blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly You are Most Glorious and Most Praiseworthy.'

This should be said after the second takbir, as is obvious, though there is nothing specifically reported in this regard as to its precise place in the funeral prayer.

Fiqh 4.40 a: Supplication for the Deceased

This is a basic element of funeral prayer according to the consensus of juristic opinion. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When you offer a funeral prayer for a deceased person, pray sincerely for him to Allah." This is reported by Abu Daw'ud, Al-Baihaqi and Ibn Hibban, who said it is a sound hadith.

For this purpose any supplication, even a brief one, may be used. It is recommended, however, to use one of the following supplications reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him:

1 Abu Hurairah said: The Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed in one of the funeral prayers: Allahumma anta Rubbuha wa ant khalaqtaha wa anta razaqtaha wa ant hadaytaha lil lslam wa anta qabadata ruha-ha wa anta alamu bisirriha wa 'alaniyatiha. Ji'nashuf'ala-hafaghfir laha zanbaha "Oh Allah ! You are her Sustainer, You are her Creator, You provided her with sustenance, guided her to Islam, caused her to die, and You best know her secret and public life. We plead to You on her behalf to forgive her sins."

2 Wa'ilah ibn al-Asqa reported: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, led us in a funeral prayer for a man from among the Muslims. I heard him saying: Allahumma inna fulana ibna fulan fi zhimatika wa habla jawaraka, fa-qihu min fitnatal qabri wa azhabin nar wa anta ahlal wafa' wal haq, allahumma faghfirlahu war-rahmhufa innaka antal ghafurur Raheem. 'O Allah! So-and-so, son of so-and-so, is under Your protection and mercy, so protect him from the trial of the grave and the torture of Hell Fire. You are the guardian of the truthful and the faithful. OAllah! Forgive him and be merciful to him, as You are the Most Merciful, Most Forgiving'." Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Daw'ud.

3 ' Awf ibn Malik reported: "I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, while offering a funeral prayer, say: Allahumma-ghfir lahu war-rhamhu wa'fu anhu wa 'afahu wa akrim nuzulahu wa wassi' mudkhalahu waghsilhu bi-ma' ind wa thalj wa barad wa naqi minal khataya kama yunaqi athaubu danis minad danas wa abdilhu daran khairan min darihi wa ahlan khairan min ahlihi wa zaujan khairan min zaujihi wa qih fitnatal qabr wa azhaban nar. 'O Allah! Forgive him, have mercy on him, pardon him, heal him, be generous to him, cause his entrance to be wide and comfortable, wash him with the most pure and clean water, and purify him from sins as a white garment is washed clean of dirt. Give him in exchange a home better than his home (on earth) and a family better than his family, and a wife better than his wife, and protect him from the trial of the grave and the torture of Hell Fire'." This is narrated by Muslim.

4 It is reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer and said: Allahummaghfir lihayatina wa mayatina wa saghirina wa kahirina wa zhakirina wa unthana. Allahumma man ahyatahu minna fa-ahyahu 'alal Islam wa man tawafthu minna fa-tawafthu 'ala iman. Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu wa la tudalana ba'dahu. "O Allah! Forgive our living, our dead, our young, our old, our males and our females, those of us who are present, and those who are absent. O Allah! Whomsoever among us You keep to live, make him to live in Islam, and whomsoever You cause to die, let him die in faith. O Allah! Do not deprive us of our reward for (supplicating for) him, and cause us not to go astray after him." This is narrated by Ahmad and the other Sunan books. (Authentic canonical collections of hadith)

If the deceased is a child, then it is desirable to pray: Allahumma 'ij'alhu lana salafan wa zhukhran. "O Allah! Make him our forerunner and make him (a means of) reward for us and a treasure." Bukhari and Al-Baihaqi report it from Al-Hasan. Nawawi said: "If the deceased is a child, a boy or a girl, one should say what is reported in the hadith, namely, "O Allah! Forgive our living, our dead, . . . ," and add the words: Allahumma 'ij'alhu faratan li-abwaihi wa salafan wa zhukhran wa izatan wa i'tibaran wa shafi'an wa thaqil bihi mawazlnahumma wa afrlghas sabra 'ala qulubihima wa la taftinhumma ba'dahu wa la tuharim-humma ajrahu. "O Allah, make him (or her) for hisparents a forerunner, a treasure and an admonition, an honor, an intercessor, and cause him (or her) to make their scales of good deeds heavier (on the Day of Judgement). O Allah! Grant them patience, and O Allah! Do not put them to trial after him (or her) nor deprive them of his (or her) reward."

Fiqh 4.43: Timing of Supplications

Ash-Shawkani said: There are no fixed times for these prayers. One may use any of these after all the takbirs, or after the first or second or third takbir, or divide it between each two takbirs, or say any of these prayers in between each two takbirs in the light of the practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him. It is also said that supplications should be done in the words given in the above reported hadith for both male or female dead persons.

Fiqh 4.43 a: Supplications after the fourth takbir

It is preferred to supplicate for the deceased after the fourth takbir, even though the supplicant rnay have done so after the third takbir. This is based on a narration by Ahmad on the authority of ' Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa who said that when his daughter died, at his funeral prayer for her he made four takbirs. After the fourth takbir, he stood supplicating for as much as he did in between the other takbirs. Then he said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to do the same in a funeral prayer."

Ash-Shafi'i said: "After the fourth takbir one may say, Allahumma la tuharimna ajrahu wa la taftinna ba'dahu. 'O Allah! Do not deprive us of reward for (supplicating for) him/her, nor put us to trial after him (or her)'."

Ibn Abu Hurairah said: "After the fourth takbir the elders used to say: Allahumma Rabbana atina fi ad-Dunya hasanatan wafi al-Akhirati hasanatan wa qina 'azhab an-Nar. 'O Allah! Grant us good in this life and good in the life to come, and save us from the torment of Hell Fire."

Fiqh 4.43 b: Salutations

All jurists with the exception of Abu Hanifah are in agreement that the two salutations (saying assalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullah), one to the right and the other to the left, are obligatory. Abu Hanifah, however is of the view that they are required, but not obligatory as a condition. Those who hold it to be obligatory argue that the funeral prayer is a prayer (salah), and as such it cannot be terminated except by salutations (to the right and left).

Ibn Mas'ud said: "Salutations at the end of a funeral prayer are similar to those said at the end of any formal prayer. The minimum that would suffice in this respect is to say: "As-Salamu 'Alaikum" or "salamun 'alaikum" (the peace be with you or peace be with you)."

Ahmad is of the opinion that one salutation - the salutation to the right - is sunnah, and there is no harm if one says it while looking straight ahead. This is based on the practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions who ended their funeral prayer with one salutation. No difference of opinion among them is on record on this issue.

Ash-Shafi'i holds that two salutations, turning one's face first to the right and then to the left, are commendable. Ibn Hazm said: "The second salutation is remembrance of Allah, and an act of virtue."

Fiqh 4.44: Summary for Funeral Prayer

1 Make sure that you meet all the requirements for a formal prayer (salah);

2 Stand up with the intention of supplicating for the deceased;

3 Raise both hands with a takbir (takbirat al ihram);

4 Fold your right hand over your left hand;

5 Commence the funeral prayer with the (silent) recitation of Al-Fatihah.

6 After Al-Fatihah say another takbir,

7 Offer salutations to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and end with a takbir.

8 Now supplicate for the deceased, and end with a takbir.

9 Make a general supplication.

10 End the prayer with salutations (to the right and to the left side).

Fiqh 4.44 a: Imam's Position in Funeral Prayer for a Male or a Female

It is sunnah for the imam to stand opposite the head of a male body, and opposite the middle of a female body. This is based on a hadith reported from Anas that he offered a funeral prayer for a male standing opposite his head. As soon as the body of the man was removed, a female body was brought in for funeral prayer. He led the prayer standing opposite the middle of her body. Thereupon he was asked, "Did the Prophet, peace be upon him, stand where you stood in the cases of a man and a woman?" He answered: "Yes." This is narrated by Ahmad, Abu Daw'ud, Ibn Majah and Tirmizhi, who regards it as a sound hadith. Al-Tahawi said: This is the most preferred position, because it is supported by other reports from Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him.

Fiqh 4.44 b: Funeral Prayer for a Number of Dead Persons

If there are a number of bodies, including both male and female, they should be placed in separate rows, between the imam and the direction of the Ka'abah, with the best among them nearer to the imam, and a single funeral prayer may be offered for all of them.

If the deceased include both male and female, a separate prayer for each may be offered. But it is also permissible to offer one prayer for all of them at once. In such a case the male should be placed immediately before the Imam and then the female in the direction of the Qiblah.

It is reported by Nafi' from Ibn 'Umar that he offered a funeral prayer for nine of the deceased, males and females. He placed the males closest to the imam and then the females in the direction of the Qiblah. He placed all of them in one row. The funeral of Umm Kulthum, daughter of 'Ali and the wife of 'Umar, and her son called Zaid, was led by Sa'id ibn al-'As, and among the people attending this funeral were Ibn Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa'id and Abu Qatadah. The little boy was placed before the imam. A man said: "I do not like this arrangement, and looked towards Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa'id and Abu Qatadah, and said to them: "What is this?" They replied: "This is the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him,. This was narrated by Nasa'i and Al-Baihaqi, and Al-Hafiz says its chain of authorities is sound.

Another hadith says that if a funeral prayer is offered for a child together with a woman, the boy should be placed nearer the imam and the woman next to it in the direction of the Qiblah. And if there are men, women and children, then the children should be placed next to the men.

Fiqh 4.45: Three Rows for a Funeral Prayer are Commended

It is recommended that the people should make three rows ( The minimum number of people for a row is two persons) while offering a funeral prayer, and that these rows should be straight. This is based on a report from Malik ibn Habairah who said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'Every believer who dies is forgiven by Allah if a group of Muslims comprising three rows prays for him'." That is why, if there were not many people attending a funeral prayer, Malik ibn Habayrah would make them stand in three rows. This is narrated by Ahmad, Abu Daw'ud, Ibn Majah, Tirmizhi, and Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith.

Ahmad said: "If the number of people present at the funeral prayer is very small I would still prefer that they make three rows." He was asked: "What if there are only four people present?" He replied: "They may make two rows, with two persons in each line." He did not like three rows with each of them consisting of only one person.

Fiqh 4.45 a: A Larger Number is Much Preferred

A larger gathering of people for the funeral prayer is preferable, as is reported by 'Aishah who said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'If a Muslim dies and his funeral prayer is attended by a group of a hundred Muslims, and they all sincerely pray for his forgiveness, he is forgiven'." This is narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, and Tirmizhi.

Ibn 'Abbas reported: "I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: 'If a Muslim dies and a group of forty people, who do not associate any one with Allah, pray for him, their prayer is accepted and he is forgiven' ." This has been narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Daw'ud.

Fiqh 4.46: Arriving Late for Funeral Prayer

A person who misses a part of a funeral prayer should make up the missed takbirs--making them consecutively. This is preferable, but if he cannot do it there is no harm. Ibn 'Umar, Al-Hasan, Ayyub Al-Sukhtiani, and Al-Awza'i are of the opinion that such a person is not required to repeat the missed takbirs, and he should finish his prayer with the salutations led by the imam.

Ahmad said: "If he cannot make the missed takbirs, there is no harm." The author of Al-Mughni prefers this opinion and remarks: "It is supported by a saying of Ibn ' Umar and there is nothing on record from the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) to contradict it. It is reported by 'Aishah that she said to the Prophet, peace be upon him, "O Allah's Messenger, sometimes when I offer a funeral prayer, I cannot hear some of the takbirs by the imam?" He replied: "Say the takbir that you hear and do not worry about the ones that you miss. You do not have to repeat these later on." This statement is quite explicit. These are consecutive--uninterrupted--takbirs and, if missed, they need not be repeated like the ones in the 'Eid prayer.

Fiqh 4.46 a: Persons for Whom Funeral Prayer is to be Offered

There is a consensus among the jurists that funeral prayer is offered for all Muslims, male or female, and young or old. Ibn Al-Munzhir said: "The scholars are in agreement that if it is established that an infant is born alive, that is, by his crying, sneezing, or moving etc., then, if it dies, a funeral prayer should be offered for it."

Al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "One may ride one's mount behind the funeral, and walk on foot a little ahead of it or to its right or left. A funeral prayer should be offered for an aborted baby, seeking for his parents the mercy and forgiveness of Allah." This is reported by Ahmad and Abu Daw'ud. Another narration reads: "A person on foot may walk behind a funeral, or ahead of it, or on its left side or right side or still nearer to it." According to another report, "A rider should ride behind the funeral, whereas one on foot may walk anywhere. And a funeral prayer should be offered for a child." This is reported by Ahmad, Nasa'i, and Tirmizhi, who consider it a sound hadith.

Fiqh 4.46 b: Funeral Prayer for an Aborted Child

A miscarried fetus, less than four months old, may not be washed, nor may a funeral prayer be offered for it. It should be wrapped in a piece of cloth and buried. The majority of jurists are in agreement on this point.

On the other hand, if a miscarried fetus is four months old or older, and the existence of life in it is established, then there is a consensus that it should be washed and a funeral prayer offered for it. But if its life is not established by its movements or other evidence, then according to Malik, Al-Awza'i, AlHasan, and the Hanafi school, funeral prayer may not be offered for it. They base their opinion on a hadith transmitted by Tirmizhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Jabir that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If in a miscarried fetus life is established by its movements, a funeral prayer should be offered for it, and it is entitled to its share of inheritance." According to this hadith offering a funeral prayer for a miscarried fetus is conditioned upon proof of its life evident in signs of life, such as its movement, etc.

Ahmad, Sa' id, Ibn Sirin, and Ishaq are of the opinion that in the light of the above hadith, a miscarried fetus may be washed and a funeral prayer may be offered for it. The words used in this hadith are "a funeral prayer should be offered for a miscarried fetus" because it has a soul and is alive. The Prophet, peace be upon him, informed us that a fetus receives a soul when it is four months old. Others refute this argument with the assertion that there is confusion in the chain of narrators of this hadith, and besides, a stronger hadith contradicts it. But this alone does not constitute a valid argument.

Fiqh 4.47: Funeral Prayer for a Martyr

A martyr is one who is killed in a battlefield fighting the enemies of Islam. All the hadith on this subject are quite explicit that no funeral prayer may be offered for a martyr.

Bukhari has narrated from Jabir that the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered that the martyrs of the battle of Uhud be buried while they were still bleeding. He neither washed them nor offered a funeral prayer for them.

Ahmad, Ahu Daw 'ud and Tirmizhi reported that Anas said: "The martyrs of Uhud were not washed. They were buried with their wounds unwashed, and no funeral prayer was offered for them."

There are, however, some hadith that are equally explicit and state that a funeral prayer should be offered for martyrs. Bukhari reported from 'Uqbah ibn 'Amir that one day the Prophet, peace be upon him, went out and offered a funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud, eight years after their death, as if he were bidding farewell to both the living and the dead.

Abu Malik Al-Ghafari reported: "The bodies of the martyrs of Uhud were brought in batches of nine and placed with the body of Hamzah, who served as the tenth. Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer for them. After that the nine bodies were removed leaving Hamzah undisturbed. Then a batch of another nine martyrs was brought and placed beside Hamzah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer for them as well. This way the Prophet offered funeral prayer for all of them. This hadith has been narrated by Al-Baihaqi, who says: "This is the most sound hadith on this subject. It is, however, a mursal hadith. (Mursal: A hadith that rests on a chain of authonties going no further back than the second generation after the Prophet (peace be upon him))

The difference in the narrations in these various hadith has led jurists to differ on this matter. Some take all of them together, while others prefer some narrations over others. Ibn Hazm holds that either--offering or not offering (funeral prayer for the martyrs)--is permissible. It is alright whether or not a funeral prayer is offered for the martyrs. In one of his statements Ahmad has also expressed a similar view. Ibn al-Qayyim approves of this view and says: "The correct position in this regard is that one is given a choice whether or not to offer a funeral prayer (for a martyr), because there are reports in favor of both positions." This is the opinion also of Ahmad, and he is the proper person to describe the principles of his school. He says: "What is apparent from this is that no funeral prayer was offered for the martyrs of Uhud before burying them. There were seventy people who fell martyrs in that battle, and any funeral prayer for them could not have taken place in secret."

The hadith reported by Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not offer funeral prayer for these martyrs is sound and very explicit. Jabir' s father was among those who were killed that day, and he knew what few besides him knew.

Abu Hanifah, Al-Thawri, Al-Hasan, and Ibn Al-Musayiyaib, however, are inclined to the reports stating that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did offer funeral prayer for the martyrs. They hold that a funeral prayer must be offered for martyrs. However, Malik, Ash-Shafi'i, Ishaq, and, according to one report, Ahmad, prefer the reports that say no funeral prayer is to be offered for martyrs. Ash-Shafi'i in his Kitab al-Umm writes: "All reports received concerning this subject are sound and show that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not offer funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud. Those who report that he offered funeral prayer for them and said seventy takbirs for Hamzah are not correct. Those who turn away from these sound hadith should be ashamed of themselves. The hadith reported by 'Uqbah ibn 'Amir also states that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did so eight years after their death, as if he were bidding them farewell. This does not constitute abrogation of an established practice. (See Al-Umm. by Ash-Shafi'i)

Fiqh 4.48: A Person Surviving a Battle but later Dying of Wounds

If one is wounded in a battle, but survives, remains in a stable condition for a while, and then dies, he should be washed, and a funeral prayer should be offered for him, even though he may be a martyr. The Prophet, peace be upon him, washed Sa'd ibn Mu'azh, and offered a funeral prayer for him, after he died of his hand wounds. Sa'd was taken to the mosque, where he remained for a few days, and then he died as a martyr because of his infected wound.

If on the other hand, a wounded fighter does not survive in a stable condition, or he just talked or drank water and thereafter died, he is not to be washed or offered a funeral prayer.

The author of Al-Mughni states: "It is recorded in Futuh Al-Sham, that a man said: "I took some water to give a drink to my cousin if he were still alive after some injuries in the battle. On the way, I passed by Al-Harith ibn Hisham, who was also wounded in the same battle. I wanted to give him a drink, but he noticed that another wounded man was looking toward him for a drink. At this he pointed that I should first give this man a drink. I went toward him to give him a drink, but he also found another man looking to him. So he gestured that I should first give him the drink. Thus they all died. None of them was washed or offered a funeral prayer although they all died after the battle.

Fiqh 4.49: Funeral Prayer for a Person Sentenced to Death for a Crime

Anyone sentenced to death by an Islamic court is to be washed and a funeral prayer should be offered for him. This is based on a report by Bukhari that Jabir said: "A man from the tribe of Aslam came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and confessed to fornication. The Prophet, peace be upon him, tried to avoid him four times, while the man repeated his testimony against himself. Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked the man: 'Are you mad?' The man said, 'No.' The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked him, 'Are you married?' He said, 'Yes.' Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered that the man be stoned to death. He was stoned to death at the place where ( 'Eid prayer) used to be offered. When the stones struck the man, he tried to run away, but was overtaken and killed. After his death, the Prophet, peace be upon him, spoke well of him, and offered funeral prayer for him. Ahmad said: "We know of no cases where the Prophet, peace be upon him, refused to offer funeral prayer for any one except in cases of one convicted of embezzlement (of zakat funds) and a person who committed suicide."

Fiqh 4.49 a: Funeral Prayer for those Guilty of Embezzlement, Suicide, or Some Other Sins

The majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion that a funeral prayer may be offered for a person who is convicted of embezzlement of public funds, or commits suicide or some similarly sinful act.

An-Nawawi said: "Al-Qadi said: 'All Muslim scholars hold that a funeral prayer be offered for all Muslims - those sentenced to death under Islamic law, or stoned to death, or those who committed suicide, or were born out of wedlock. The reports about the Prophet, peace be upon him, not praying for embezzlers and those guilty of suicide may be explained perhaps by considering such refusal to be a form of reprimand to these people. This is similar to his practice of refusing to pray for those who died in debt, though he asked other Muslims to offer the funeral prayer for them'."

Ibn Hazm said: "Funeral prayer should be offered for all Muslims, whether good or bad, including those sentenced to death and those that die fighting or in revolt. The imam, or any one other than him, may lead the funeral prayers. Likewise funeral prayers should be said for an innovator, provided his innovation does not become blasphemy, and prayer may also be said for one who commits suicide or kills some one else. A funeral prayer may be offered in all such cases even though the deceased might have been the most evil person on the face of the earth, provided he dies as a Muslim. This is based on a hadith from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that has a general bearing. "Offer a funeral prayer for your friend (a fellow Muslim)," he is reported to have said on the death of a Muslim. All Muslims are friends to one another. The Qur'an says: "Verily! The believers are but a single brotherhood" Qur'an 49.10 and "The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another." Qur'an 9.71

To prevent others from offering funeral prayers over a Muslim is a most serious thing, for surely a sinful Muslim is more in need of prayers from his Muslim brothers than a pious and saintly person!

An authentic hadith records that a man died in Khayber, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Offer a funeral prayer for your friend. He has stolen something of the war booty." The Muslims searched the deceased's personal effects and found less than two dirham worth of beads in them.

In another sahih hadith 'Ata reported that a funeral prayer may be offered for an illegitimate child, and his mother, and for those who curse each other, (In cases of Lu'an, for instance, when in the absence of any evidence of a spouse's adultery both the man and wife are required to swear an oath that he/she is telling the truth or face being cursed by Allah if they were lying) as well as the person who is killed in requital, and the person stoned to death, and the person who flees from the battlefield and is put to death for it. ' Ata said: "I will never abstain from offering a funeral prayer for a person who says: 'I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah.' Allah says: 'It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe to pray for forgiveness for pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear that they are companions of the Fire'.'' Qur'an 9.113

Another authentic hadith says that Ibrahim An-Nakh'i said: "Our predecessors never eschewed attending a funeral prayer for any Muslim. They offered the funeral prayer for those who had committed suicide, and it is a sunnah to offer funeral prayer for those who are stoned to death." In another sound hadith Qatadah reported: "I do not know of any scholar who refused to offer a funeral prayer for anyone witnessing that 'there is no god but Allah'." Ibn Sirin, according to a sahih hadith, said: "I do not know of any Muslim who considers it a sin to offer a funeral prayer for another Muslim."

Abu Ghalib reported: "I asked Abu Amamah Al-Bahili: 'What if a man is known to drink liquor. Should a funeral prayer be offered for him? ' He said: 'Yes, for he might [at least] once in his life, while lying down for rest, have said: "There is no deity but Allah," and he might have been forgiven by Allah' ." In a sahih hadith Al-Hasan is reported to have said: "Funeral prayer will be offered for all those who declare 'There is no deity but Allah. ' It will be offered for all Muslims; for it is an act of intercession on behalf of the deceased."

Fiqh 4.51: Funeral Prayer for a Non-believer

A Muslim may not pray for a non-believer, for Allah says: "Nor do you ever pray for any of them that dies, nor stand at his grave, for they rejected Allah and His Messenger," Qur'an 9.84 "It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe to pray for forgiveness for pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire. And Ibrahim prayed for his father's forgiveness only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he (his father) was an enemy to Allah, he dissociated himself from him." Qur'an 9.113-114

Likewise no prayer may be offered for their children, for what applies to their parents applies to them as well, except for children who accept Islam, because one of their parents was a Muslim or they die or are taken prisoner separately from either or both of their parents, then a funeral prayer may be offered for the children.

Fiqh 4.51 a: Funeral Prayer on a Grave

It is permissible to offer funeral prayer for a deceased anytime after his burial, even if a prayer was offered prior to his burial. As mentioned above, the Prophet, peace be upon him, offered funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud after eight years. Zaid ibn Thabit reported: "Once we went out with the Prophet, peace be upon him . When we reached al-Baqi ' (Famous cemetery in Madinah, where a large number of the Prophet's companions are buried) we noticed a newly dug grave. The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked about it and was told that was the grave of such and such a woman. At this he said: 'Why did you not inform me of her death?' They replied, 'O Prophet of Allah! You were fasting and were resting at the time and we did not want to bother you. ' He said: 'Do not do that again. So long as I am with you, make sure you inform me when any one among you dies, for my prayers for the deceased is a mercy for them.' Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to the grave. We stood in rows behind him and he offered a funeral prayer for her with four takbirs." This hadith has been reported by Ahmad, Nasa'i, Al-Baihaqi, Al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban. The last two reporters regard it as a sound hadith.

Tirmizhi said: This has been the practice of most of the scholars, the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them), as well as others. Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq hold the same view. This hadith also shows that the Prophet, peace be upon him, offered funeral prayer at a grave when a funeral prayer had already been offered by his Companions for the deceased before her burial, for they could not bury her without a funeral prayer. From this hadith it is also obvious that praying for the dead (before the burial) was a common practice of the Companions, and was not limited only to the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said: "These proven traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, do not contradict the sound hadith that reports the statement of the Prophet, peace be upon him: 'Do not sit by the graves, or offer prayer facing them.' This is a sound hadith that bids us not to sit or pray at the graves. What is forbidden is to offer formal prayer (salah) facing a grave. Offering a funeral prayer at the grave is not forbidden, for funeral prayer does not have to be offered at any specific place. It is rather better offered outside a mosque than inside it. The funeral prayer at the grave is similar to offering it beside the coffin. In either case the prayer is offered for the deceased, and his body, whether it is in the coffin or in the grave, remains in the same position. Offering prayers other than funeral prayers are forbidden at graves, for there is a risk that this may tum these graveyards into mosques, against which the Prophet, peace be upon him, wamed us. He cursed those who tum graves into places of worship, saying: 'Some evil people will be overtaken by the Day of Judgement, including those (evil people) who tum graves into mosques.' This warning has no bearing on an act that the Prophet, peace be upon him, repeatedly perfommed. "

Fiqh 4.52: Funeral Prayer for an Absentee and for a Person who has Disappeared

Offering a funeral prayer for an absent person in another city is pennissible, whether the city is near or far. In such a case those offering funeral prayer should stand facing the qiblah, even if the city where the absentee is located is not in the direction of the qiblah. After making an intention to pray for the absentee, takbirs should be said as they are nommally said in funeral prayer over a deceased who is present. This is based on a hadith reported by the group on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, infomned people about the death of Negus the day he died, and then took them out to offer funeral prayer for him. There he arranged his Companions in rows and said four takbirs.

Ibn Hazm said: "The funeral prayer for an absentee may be perfommed by a group of people under an imam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer for Negus, who had died in Ethiopia, with his Companions standing in rows behind him. There is consensus among the Companions regarding this issue, and it should not be overlooked. Abu Hanifah and Malik, however, disagree with this view, but they have no ground for this disagreement."

Fiqh 4.53: Offering Funeral Prayer in a Mosque

There is no harm in offering funeral prayer in a mosque, if there is no danger of it becoming unclean. This is based on a narration of Muslim from 'Aishah who said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer for Suhail ibn Baida in the mosque, and the Companions likewise offered funeral prayer for Abu Bakr and 'Umar in the mosque, and no one objected to it, because the funeral prayer is similar to other (formal) prayer. '

Abu Hanifah and Malik do not approve of it, citing a hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to the effect that whoever offers a funeral prayer in the mosque would have nothing (i .e. no reward) . This statement not only contradicts the practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions, but is also a weak hadith due to other reasons. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: "This is a weak hadith, and is reported through a single transmitter, Salih, the freed slave of Al-Tawamah, and he is an unreliable narrator. Some scholars, however, hold that this hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is sound, and the words, reported by Abu Daw'ud, "Whoever offers a funeral prayer in a mosque would have nothing," mean such a person would not incur any burden (of sin). Ibn AlQayyim said: 'It was not the usual practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to offer a funeral prayer in the mosque. Rather he would usually offer funeral prayers outside the mosque except when for some reason he had to offer it in the mosque. In certain cases he did offer funeral prayer in the mosque, as in the case of Ibn Baida, which shows that funeral prayer may be offered either inside or outside the mosque, but to do so outside the mosque is preferable."

Fiqh 4.53 a: Funeral Prayer in the Graveyard

A majority of jurists disapprove of offering funeral prayer in a graveyard. This is the view of 'Ali, Abd-Allah ibn 'Amr, and Ibn 'Abbas, and also of 'Ata, An-Nakh'i, Ash-Shafi'i, Ishaq, and Ibn Al- Munzhir, and they cite the Prophet's hadith: "The entire earth is a mosque except for a graveyard and a bathroom."

In a report from Ahmad it is said: "There is no harm in offering a funeral prayer (as distinct from formal salah) in a graveyard as the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself offered a funeral prayer over a deceased while he was buried in his grave. Abu Hurairah also offered a funeral prayer over the grave of 'Aishah in the middle of the cemetery of Al-Baqi', which was attended by Ibn 'Umar. And 'Umar ibn Abd al-'Aziz did likewise."

Fiqh 4.53 b: Women are Permitted to Offer Funeral Prayers

A woman, like a man, may offer a funeral prayer, singly or in a congregation. In fact, once when Umm 'Abdallah offered funeral prayer for 'Utbah, 'Umar waited until she finished. 'Aishah ordered the body of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas to be brought to her so that she could offer a funeral prayer over him.

An-Nawawi said: "Women may offer (funeral) prayer in congregation just as they are permitted to perform other sunnah prayers. Al-Hasan ibn Saleh, Sufiyan Al-Thawri, Ahmad, and the Hanafi school also hold the same view. Malik, however, is of the opinion that women should offer the funeral prayer individually.

Fiqh 4.54: The Most Worthy Person to Lead a Funeral Prayer

Jurists differ as to the most worthy person to lead a funeral prayer. Some said: "The most appropriate person is the legal guardian of the deceased, then the (Muslim) ruler, then the father of the deceased, grandfather, or great grandfather, then the son or the grandson, then the one closest in relationship. This is the opinion of the Maliki and Hanbali schools. Others said: The best person is the father, then the grandfather, then the son, then the grandson, then the brother, then the nephew, then the paternal uncle, and then his son in accordance with their blood ties with the deceased. This is the opinion of AshShafi'i and Abu Yusaf. Abu Hanifah and Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan, however, are of the opinion that the preferred order is the (Muslim) ruler if present at the funeral, then the judge, then the imam of the locality, then the guardian of a deceased woman, then the nearest blood relative. Of the blood relatives, if both father and his son are present, the father should be given precedence.

Fiqh 4.54 a: Joining the Funeral Procession and Carrying the Coffin

A certain etiquette is recommended while walking in a funeral procession or carrying a coffin:

1 Carrying a coffin and accompanying it to the graveyard is recommended. According to the sunnah it is preferable to go all around the coffin while carrying it. Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi, and Abu Daw'ud At-Tayalisi report that Ibn Mas'ud said: "If one walks in a funeral procession and carries the coffin, one should do so from all the sides of the coffin, for this is a sunnah of Prophet, peace be upon him." But this is optional. Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Visit the sick, and follow the funeral procession, for it will (help) remind you of the Hereafter." This was narrated by Ahmad with a sound chain of narrators.

2 A funeral procession must proceed at a fast pace. The group reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Walk briskly while carrying a coffin, for if the deceased is righteous, you would be taking it to something better, and if he or she is an evil person, then you will be getting him or her off your necks." Ahmad, Nasa'i, and others reported that Abu Bakrah said: "If you had seen us following a funeral procession along with the Prophet, peace be upon him, you would have thought that we were jogging." Bukhari reported in his book on History that, when Sa'd ibn Mua'zh died, the Prophet, peace be upon him, walked at such a fast pace behind his funeral that our shoes came apart."

The author of Al-Fath said: "In short, it is preferable to walk fast in a funeral, but this should not harm or affect the coffin or put to hardship those carrying the coffin or following it, because that would defeat the Islamic goal of promoting hygiene and avoiding placing undue hardship on other Muslims." Al-Qurtubi said: "This hadith means that people should not delay the burial, because such a delay is often the result of arrogance and vanity.

3 One may walk in front of the funeral, behind it, to its right side, or left side, or close to it. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars on this point. The majority of the scholars hold that walking in front of the funeral is preferable, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, Abu Bakr, and 'Umar used to walk in front of it, as narrated by Ahmad, and compilers of Sunan.

The Hanafi school holds that walking behind a funeral is preferable, as is indicated from the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, concerning following a funeral.

Anas ibn Malik is of the opinion that one may walk anywhere in a funeral procession, as mentioned above in the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him: "A rider should ride behind the funeral, whereas one on foot may walk behind it, or in front of it, or to its right side or left side, or close to it." Apparently there is no hard or fast rule in this regard, and the difference of opinion in this regard is quite legitimate.

Abdur Rahman ibn Abza reported that Abu Bakr and 'Umar used to walk in front of a funeral, while 'Ali walked behind it. When told that Abu Bakr and 'Umar were walking in front of the funeral, 'Ali remarked: "They both know that walking behind a funeral is better than walking in front of it, just as the prayer of a person in congregation (jama'ah) is better than the prayer of one offering it alone. But Abu Bakr and 'Umar did so in order to make it easy for others." This was narrated by Al-Baihaqi and Ibn Abu Shaibah. Al-Hafiz said its chain of authorities is sound.

Riding behind the funeral, without a valid excuse, is disliked in the opinion of the majority of scholars. Doing so after the burial, is not disliked, however, and is quite acceptable, as indicated by a hadith narrated by Thawban, which says that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was brought a mount to ride during a funeral, but he declined. But, when he returned after the burial and was offered a mount, he rode on it. They asked him about this (why he declined to mount during the funeral procession) and he replied: "Verily, the angels were walking with the funeral, so I did not like to ride while the angels were walking. But, when the angels left, I rode the mount." This was narrated by Abu Daw'ud, Al-Baihaqi, and Al-Hakim, who said this hadith is sound according to the criterion of Muslim and Bukhari. Tirmizhi narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, walked with the funeral of Ibn Ad-Dahdah, but on his way back he rode on horseback. According to Tirmizhi this is a sound hadith.

This hadith does not contradict the other hadith in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, is reported to have said: "A rider must stay behind a funeral," since this may imp!y that such an act is disliked, though permissible. The Hanafi school holds that there is no harm in riding, although it is better to walk unless for some valid reason one is unable to do so. And in light of the above hadith a rider should stay behind the funeral procession. Al-Khattabi said: "I know of no difference of opinion amongst scholars on the point that a rider should stay behind a funeral procession."

Fiqh 4.56: Actions to be Discouraged in a Funeral Procession

While accompanying a funeral procession, it is disliked to:

1 Recite or raise one's voice or any similar activity.

2 Carrying torches of fire in a funeral procession.

3 Sitting down, when one is following a funeral before those carrying the coffin put it down.

4 Remain seated when a funeral procession passes by.

5 Permit women to accompany a funeral procession.

Fiqh 4.56 a:

Recite or raise one's voice or any similar activity. Ibn Al-Munzhir related that Qais ibn 'Abbad said: "The Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, disliked raising one's voice on three occasions, namely, funeral processions, when remembering Allah, and on the battlefield."

Sa'id ibn Al-Musaib, Sa'id ibn Jubair, Al-Hasan, An-Nakh'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq did not like it when anyone from the rear of the funeral procession exhorted others to pray for forgiveness of the deceased. Al-Awza'i said: This is a bid'a (innovation in religion). Fuzhail ibn 'Amr said: "Once, while Ibn 'Umar was present at a funeral, he heard someone from behind saying: 'Pray for Allah's forgiveness for the deceased. May Allah forgive him.' Ibn 'Umar said: 'May Allah not forgive you'."

An-Nawawi said: "You should know that the right manner of accompanying a funeral procession is to remain quiet, as the pious among the previous generations of Muslims did. One should not raise one's voice for recitation or for the remembrance of Allah, or for anything else. Keeping quiet is better and is helpful in concentrating one's attention on the funeral rites, which is needed at that time. This is the correct position, and the fact that a large number of people do otherwise does not change it. There is a consensus among scholars that the way ignorant people recite in the funeral processions, artificially prolonging sounds of various words and mixing them up, is forbidden.

Mohammad 'Abduh issued a verdict concerning raising one ' s voice for the remembrance of Allah while following the funeral procession, in which he said: "In reference to the raising of one's voice in a funeral procession for remembrance of Allah, we find in Al-Fath, under the chapter on "Funerals," that it is disliked for a person walking in front of a funeral procession to make such remembrance loudly. If one wants to make any remembrance, one may do it in one's heart. Loud remembrance is something quite new, and there is no precedent for it from the days of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions, or from the generation following them or their Successors. Such a practice must be discouraged and stopped."

Fiqh 4.56 b: Carrying torches or fire in a funeral procession

These are forbidden as they are vestiges of the Days of Ignorance. Ibn Al-Munzhir said: "This practice is disliked by all men of knowledge and scholars on record. Al-Baihaqi said: 'Aishah, 'Ubadah ibn Al-Samit, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri, and Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, all stated in their respective wills that their funeral processions should not include anyone carrying fire (or torches). According to Ibn Majah, Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari, on his deathbed, directed his heirs, saying: "Do not follow my funeral procession carrying any censers (with fires in them to burn frankincense for its aromatic smoke and fragrance)." The people asked him: "Did you hear anything from the Prophet concerning this?" He said: "Yes, I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying so. (Among the narrators of this hadith is a man called Abu Huraiz, the freed slave of Mu'awiyah, who is "unknown" amongst the narrators of hadith)

If the burial takes place at night, however, fire or torches may be used for light. Tirmizhi has reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that once at night the Prophet, peace be upon him, entered a grave to bury a dead person, and a lantern was given to him and he took it." Tirmizhi said: This hadith from Ibn 'Abbas is sound.

Fiqh 4.57: Sitting down, when one is following a funeral, before those carrying the coffin put it down

Bukhari said: "A person accompanying a funeral procession should not sit down until the coffin is placed on the ground, and if he sits he should be asked to stand up." He reports from Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Stand up when you see a funeral procession, and he who accompanies it should not sit down until the coffin is placed on the ground." Bukhari also reports from Sa'id Al-Maqabari who narrated that his father said: "We were attending a funeral, and Abu Hurairah was holding Marwan's hand, and they both sat down before the coffin was placed on the ground. At this Abu Sa'id approached them, and taking Marwan by his hand said to him: 'Stand up! By Allah, this man (i.e., Abu Hurairah) knows that the Prophet, peace be upon him, has forbidden us (to sit).' Upon hearing this Abu Hurairah said: 'He is right.'' This has also been reported by Al-Hakim, with the following addition: "When Abu Sa'id told Marwan to stand up, he stood up and then asked him: 'Why have you made me stand up?' At this Abu Sa' id related this hadith to him. Then Marwan asked Abu Hurairah why he had not informed him about that hadith. Abu Hurairah replied: 'You were walking ahead of me, so when you sat down I too sat down." Most of the Companions, their successors, the Hanafi and Hanbali schools, Al-Awza'i and Ishaq hold this vlew.

The followers of Ash-Shafi'i, however, hold that a person walking in front of a funeral procession may sit down before the coffin is placed on the ground. There is agreement among scholars that for those walking ahead of the funeral precession there is no harm if they arrive early at the place of burial and sit down before its arrival.

Tirmizhi said: "It is related from some knowledgeable Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and others that they would walk ahead of a funeral procession, and would sit down if they reached the place of burial before the coffin. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi'i, who holds that, if a funeral arrives while one is seated, one need not stand upon its arrival. Ahmad said: "There is no harm whether one stands up or remains seated upon its arrival."

Fiqh 4.58: Remain Seated When a Funeral Procession Passes by

Ahmad has reported that Waqid ibn 'Amr ibn Sa'd ibn Mu'azh said: -I attended a funeral procession in the tribe of Banu Salimah. I stood up on seeing the funeral procession. Thereupon Naf'i ibn Jubair said to me: 'Sit down. I will give you the reason for this. Mas'ud ibn Al-Hakim Az-Zurrqi told me that he heard 'Ali ibn Abi Talib saying: -The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded us to stand up upon seeing a funeral procession, but later on he would remain seated, and bade us to do the same.' ' - Muslim has reported it in these words: "We saw the Prophet, peace be upon him, standing, so we stood. Then he sat down, and we too sat. Tirmizhi said: 'This hadith from 'Ali is sound, and it includes four of the successors of the Companions who related it successively. According to some people of knowledge this is the common practice.''

Ash-Shafi'i said: -This is the most authentic report on the subject. This hadith abrogates the one cited previously which says: 'Stand up when you see a funeral procession.' - Ahmad said: -One may or may not stand up for a funeral procession, depending on one's preference. He argues that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to stand up for a funeral, but later on he would remain seated.' This is also the opinion of Ishaq ibn Ibrahim. Ahmad, Ishaq ibn Hubaib, and Ibn Al-Majishun of the Maliki school.

An-Nawawi said: "Considering all these opinions, standing up upon seeing a funeral procession is desirable." Al-Mutawalli and Ahmad also hold this view.

Ibn Hazm said: "Standing up upon seeing a funeral procession is recommended, even if it is a funeral of a disbeliever or a pagan, until the coffin is placed on the ground or disappears from sight. But if someone remains seated there is no harm. Those who hold it as a desirable act cite what is related by the group on the authority of Ibn 'Umar who reported from 'Amir ibn Rabi'ah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When you see a funeral procession stand up for it, and remain standing until it disappears from sight or (the coffin) is placed down on the ground." Ahmad said: "Whenever Ibn 'Umar saw a funeral procession he would stand up for it and would remain standing until it passed by."

Sahl ibn Hanif and Qais ibn Sa'd reported that they were sitting in Qadisiyyah (A town in Syria) and a funeral procession passed by them. On seeing it both of them stood up for it. They were told it was the funeral of a non-Muslim. They said: -Once when a funeral procession was passing by, the Prophet, peace be upon him, stood up for it. And when told that it was funeral procession of a Jew, he exclaimed: 'Does he (a Jew) not possess a soul?'' (Bukhari and Muslim) Ibn Mas'ud and Qais used to stand up for a funeral procession.

The wisdom behind standing, according to Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim, as stated in a hadith related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, is "to show respect to Him Who seizes the souls" or in the words of Ibn Hibban "as a mark of respect to Allah Who seizes the souls."

In short, there is disagreement on this issue among the scholars. Some disapprove of standing for a funeral procession, while others prefer it. Some leave it to the individual's discretion. Each of these scholars supports his stand with specific arguments, and one may follow any of these opinions.

Fiqh 4.59: Permit Women to Accompany a Funeral Procession

Umm 'Atiyah reported: "We were forbidden to accompany funeral processions, but this prohibition was not mandatory for us." (Reported by Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim & Ibn Majah) Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported: "Once while we were with the Prophet, peace be upon him, he saw a woman - whom we thought he did not recognize - so he waited until she reached him. It was Fatimah, his daughter. He asked her: 'What caused you to leave your house?' She said: 'I came to visit the family living in this house in order to offer my condolences and to comfort them in their grief.' He said: 'Did you accompany them to the graveyard?' She said: 'God forbid! How could I do that, when I know what you have said in this respect.' The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'Had you accompanied the funeral procession to the graveyard, you would never have seen Paradise, not until your grandfather's father had seen it! (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Hakim, Nasa'i, and Baihaqi. The scholars, however, question the validity of this hadith, claiming it is not a sound hadith, because among its narrators is Rabi'ah ibn Saif, who is not trustworthy)

Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiyyah reported that 'Ali said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, went out and saw a group of women sitting outside. When he asked them why they were sitting there, they told him that they were waiting for the funeral procession. He asked them: 'Are you going to wash the body?' They said: 'No.' The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked them: 'Are you going to carry the coffin?' They said: 'No.' He asked them: 'Will you place the body in the grave?' They said: 'No.' At this he said to them: 'Then go back to your homes with your sins and without gaining any reward." (Reported by Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim. But one of its narrators is Dinar ibn 'Omar, who is not reliable. Abu Hatim says he is not well known, Azdi describes him as matruk (unacceptable), and Al-Khalili in his Al-Irshad calls him "a liar.") Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Umar, Abu Amamah, 'Aishah, Masruq, Al-Hasan, An-Nakh'i, Awza'i, Ishaq, and the Hanafi, Shafi'i and Hanbali schools hold this view. They all disapprove the participation of women in funeral processions. According to Malik, it is not disliked for an old woman to leave her home to attend a funeral. In his opinion, a young woman afflicted by the death of a dear one may also accompany a funeral procession without any disapproval, provided she is well covered and her presence does not cause any temptation.

Ibn Hazm contends that the argument put forth by the majority of scholars is not sound, and that it is permissible for women to accompany funeral processions. He said: "We do not disapprove of women attending a funeral procession, nor do we prevent them from doing so. Among the traditions reported on this subject there is no authentic hadith. There are either mursal (Mursal: Report of a successor (tab'i) directly from the Prophet without mentioning the Companion who might have heard it directly) or majhul (unknown) or such as cannot be presented as an argument." Then he mentions the hadith by Umm 'Atiyyah and says: "Even if it were a sound hadith it does not prove prohibition, but merely shows that it is disliked. In fact the reverse is true if we take into account the hadith narrated by Shu'bah on the authority of Waki', who in turn narrated it from Hisham ibn 'Urwah, who heard it from Wahab ibn Kaysan, who heard it from Muhammad ibn 'Amr ibn 'Ata who reported it from Abu Hurairah that once when the Prophet, peace be upon him, attended a funeral, 'Umar saw a woman there and yelled at her. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Leave her, O 'Umar! Verily her eyes shed tears, the soul feels the pangs, and the promised hour is near." (The chain of authorities of this hadith is sound) In a sound hadith it is reported from Ibn 'Abbas that he did not regard it as a disliked act.