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
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
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
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
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
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
Fiqh 4.39 a: Reciting "Al-Fatihah" and Salutations to the
(Abu Hanifah and Malik regard these as two essential requisites of funeral
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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."
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 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."
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
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
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
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
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
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.