Volume4, Page 37a: Its Legal Status
There is a consensus among all the great Muslim jurists that a funeralprayer for a deceased person is a collective obligation or fard kifayah. TheProphet, peace be upon him, commanded the Muslims to offer it, and they havebeen doing so ever since they received this commandment.
Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was informedof the death of a person, he used to ask: Does he owe anything to anyone?’ Ifthe 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 theMuslims: ‘Offer a (funeral) prayer for your brother”‘ (Bukhari andMuslim).
Volume4, Page 37b: 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 thedeceased, will get one kerat 68 of reward. And whoever follows it and remainswith it until the body is buried, will get two kerats of reward, the least ofwhich 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 beupon him. This is reported by the group.
Khabbab reported that he asked “O ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar! Did you hearwhat Abu Hurairah says? He says that he heard Allah’s Messenger, saying. ‘Whoeverleaves his house to attend a funeral prayer, offers funeral prayer, and thenfollows the funeral procession until the body is buried will receive two keratsof reward, each of which is like the mountain of Uhud. And whoever offers thefuneral prayer and then leaves for home (This proves that a person does notneed permission of the family of the deceased to leave after attending thefuneral) will get a reward like the mountain of Uhud” (Muslim). Ibn ‘Umarsent Khabbab to ‘Aishah asking her about the statement of Abu Hurairah. Shesaid, “Abu Hurairah has told the truth.” When Ibn ‘ Umar was informedabout this he said, “We have indeed lost many a kerat.”
Volume4, Page 38: Requisite Conditions for Funeral Prayer
The prerequisites for a funeral prayer are the same as for the obligatoryprayers. 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: “Oneshould 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 nofixed time for offering it. It may be offered at any time, including the timeswhen regular prayers may not be offered. This is the opinion of the Hanafi andShafi’i schools. Ahmad, Ibn Al-Mubarak, and Ishaq dislike offering a funeralprayer at sunrise, at noon when the sun is at its zenith, and at dusk when thesun is about to set, except in cases when it is feared that if delayed, thebody might decompose.
Volume4, Page 38a: Main Requirements of the Funeral Prayer
Certain requirements must be met for a valid funeral prayer, and failure tomeet any of these may invalidate the prayer. These requirements are givenbelow:
The real intention is what is in the heart, and its verbal utterance is notlegally required. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And they have been commandedno more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being truein (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 theintentions 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 validfuneral prayer to stand while praying if one is physically able to do so. Afuneral prayer offered while sitting or riding, without any valid excuse, isnot valid.
It is reported in Al-Mughni “It is not permissible for one to offer afuneral prayer while riding, as in this case an essential condition – standingwhile 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 ispreferable to put one’s hands together, placing the right on the left, as isdone in the prescribed regular prayer. Some disagree, but in our view it isbetter and preferable.
-3- Loud Recitation of Four Takbirs
This is based on a report transmitted by both Bukhari and Muslim on theauthority of Jabir who said: “Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him,offered funeral prayers for Najashi (Negus) and said four takbirs. (That is, hesaid Allahu akbar four times)
Tirmizhi said: Most of the learned Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bepleased with them) and others followed and acted in accordance with the aboveexample of the Prophet. They hold that four takbirs should be said in a funeralprayer. Among these scholars are Sufyan, Malik, Ibn Al-Mubarak, Ash-Shafi’i,Ahmad, and Ishaq.
Volume4, Page 39: Raising of One’s Hands During the Takbirs
It is sunnah to raise one’s hands while uttering the first takbir. There isnothing related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, to show that he raised hishands in funeral prayer except for the first takbir. Ash-Shawkani mentionsvarious opinions about takbirs and the arguments for them and says: “Inshort nothing except the first takhir is reported from the Prophet, peace beupon him. The acts and sayings of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allahbless them) by themselves do not constitute a conclusive argument. Thereforeone should raise one’s hands only on saying the first lakhir. For the rest ofthe (three) takbirs no such instruction is available, except when one changesfrom one posture to another as in the regular prayer. There is no such changeof posture required in the funeral prayer, so there is no need for raisinghands in other than the first “takbir”.
Volume4, Page 39a: Reciting “Al-Fatihah” and Salutations to the Prophet
(Abu Hanifah and Malik regard these as two essential requisites of funeralprayer)
Ash-Shafi’i has in his Musnad narrated from Abu Umamah ibn Sahl that one ofthe Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) told him thatwhen offering a (funeral) prayer it is sunnah for the imam to say aloud AllahuAkbar (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 forgivenessof the deceased. Nothing else is to be recited in between takbirs. Finally, heshould end his prayer with salutations in his heart. (According to the majorityof scholars, reciting al-fatihah, sending blessings upon the Prophet,supplicating for the deceased, and salutations are sunnah. In the case of theimam, however, it is sunnah to utter the takbir and salutations aloud in orderto 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 afuneral prayer that was led by Ibn Abbas. He recited Al-Fatihah and said: ‘Thisis a sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.”‘ Tirmizhi also reportedthis and remarked that this has been the practice of some of the learned amongthe Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them). Others preferto recite Al-Fatihah after the first takbir. This is the opinion ofAsh-Shafi’i, Ahmad, and Ishaq. Some others hold that Al-Fatihah is not to berecited in a funeral prayer. The funeral prayer should consist of praise forAllah (thana), blessings (salawat) upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, and aprayer (du’a) for forgiveness of the deceased. This is the opinion of Al-Thawriand other scholars of Kufah. Those who hold the recitation of al-Fatihah in afuneral prayer obligatory argue that the Prophet, peace be upon him, called ita prayer (salat) when he said: “Offer prayer (sallu) for your deceasedfriend.” And as no prayer can be complete without al-Fatihah, for theProphet, peace be upon him, also told us “no prayer is valid unlessal-Fatihall is recited in it.”
Volume4, Page 40: Invoking Blessings Upon Allah’s Prophet
Prayer for peace and blessings upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, may besaid in any form. If someone were to say: “O Allah, bless Muhammad,”it should suffice. It is better, however, to use the prayers transmittedthrough tradition, like the following:: Extravagance in Shrouding is Disliked
(Allahumma Salli ‘ala-Muhammad wa’ala ali Muhammad kama sallayta ‘alaIbrahim wa ‘ala ali Ibrahim wa barik ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala ali Muhammad kamabarakta’ ala Ibrahim wa ‘ala ali Ibrahim innaka hamidun Majid).” “OAllah! Grant peace to Muhammad and his family as you did to Ibrahim and hisfamily. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and his family as you blessed Ibrahim and hisfamily. Truly You are Most Glorious and Most Praiseworthy.’
This should be said after the second takbir, as is obvious, though there isnothing specifically reported in this regard as to its precise place in thefuneral prayer.
Volume4, Page 40a: Supplication for the Deceased
This is a basic element of funeral prayer according to the consensus ofjuristic opinion. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “When you offer afuneral 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 asound hadith.
For this purpose any supplication, even a brief one, may be used. It isrecommended, however, to use one of the following supplications reported fromthe Prophet, peace be upon him:
-1- Abu Hurairah said: The Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed in one of thefuneral prayers: Allahumma anta Rubbuha wa ant khalaqtaha wa anta razaqtaha waant hadaytaha lil lslam wa anta qabadata ruha-ha wa anta alamu bisirriha wa’alaniyatiha. Ji’nashuf’ala-hafaghfir laha zanbaha “Oh Allah ! You are herSustainer, You are her Creator, You provided her with sustenance, guided her toIslam, caused her to die, and You best know her secret and public life. Weplead to You on her behalf to forgive her sins.”
-2- Wa’ilah ibn al-Asqa reported: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, ledus 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 minfitnatal qabri wa azhabin nar wa anta ahlal wafa’ wal haq, allahummafaghfirlahu war-rahmhufa innaka antal ghafurur Raheem. ‘O Allah! So-and-so, sonof so-and-so, is under Your protection and mercy, so protect him from the trialof the grave and the torture of Hell Fire. You are the guardian of the truthfuland the faithful. OAllah! Forgive him and be merciful to him, as You are theMost 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’fuanhu wa ‘afahu wa akrim nuzulahu wa wassi’ mudkhalahu waghsilhu bi-ma’ ind wathalj wa barad wa naqi minal khataya kama yunaqi athaubu danis minad danas waabdilhu daran khairan min darihi wa ahlan khairan min ahlihi wa zaujan khairanmin zaujihi wa qih fitnatal qabr wa azhaban nar. ‘O Allah! Forgive him, havemercy on him, pardon him, heal him, be generous to him, cause his entrance tobe wide and comfortable, wash him with the most pure and clean water, andpurify him from sins as a white garment is washed clean of dirt. Give him inexchange a home better than his home (on earth) and a family better than hisfamily, and a wife better than his wife, and protect him from the trial of thegrave 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 wasaghirina wa kahirina wa zhakirina wa unthana. Allahumma man ahyatahu minnafa-ahyahu ‘alal Islam wa man tawafthu minna fa-tawafthu ‘ala iman. Allahumma latahrimna ajrahu wa la tudalana ba’dahu. “O Allah! Forgive our living, ourdead, our young, our old, our males and our females, those of us who arepresent, and those who are absent. O Allah! Whomsoever among us You keep tolive, make him to live in Islam, and whomsoever You cause to die, let him diein 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 andthe other Sunan books. (Authentic canonical collections of hadith)
If the deceased is a child, then it is desirable to pray: Allahumma ‘ij’alhulana 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 reportit from Al-Hasan. Nawawi said: “If the deceased is a child, a boy or agirl, 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 washafi’an wa thaqil bihi mawazlnahumma wa afrlghas sabra ‘ala qulubihima wa lataftinhumma ba’dahu wa la tuharim-humma ajrahu. “O Allah, make him (orher) for hisparents a forerunner, a treasure and an admonition, an honor, anintercessor, 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 notput them to trial after him (or her) nor deprive them of his (or her)reward.”
Volume4, Page 43: Timing of Supplications
Ash-Shawkani said: There are no fixed times for these prayers. One may useany of these after all the takbirs, or after the first or second or thirdtakbir, or divide it between each two takbirs, or say any of these prayers inbetween each two takbirs in the light of the practice of the Prophet, peace be uponhim. It is also said that supplications should be done in the words given inthe above reported hadith for both male or female dead persons.
Volume4, Page 43a: Supplications after the fourth takbir
It is preferred to supplicate for the deceased after the fourth takbir, eventhough the supplicant rnay have done so after the third takbir. This is basedon a narration by Ahmad on the authority of ‘ Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa who saidthat when his daughter died, at his funeral prayer for her he made fourtakbirs. After the fourth takbir, he stood supplicating for as much as he didin between the other takbirs. Then he said: “The Prophet, peace be uponhim, used to do the same in a funeral prayer.”
Ash-Shafi’i said: “After the fourth takbir one may say, Allahumma latuharimna ajrahu wa la taftinna ba’dahu. ‘O Allah! Do not deprive us of rewardfor (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 waqina ‘azhab an-Nar. ‘O Allah! Grant us good in this life and good in the lifeto come, and save us from the torment of Hell Fire.”
Volume4, Page 43b: Salutations
All jurists with the exception of Abu Hanifah are in agreement that the twosalutations (saying assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah), one to the right and theother to the left, are obligatory. Abu Hanifah, however is of the view thatthey are required, but not obligatory as a condition. Those who hold it to beobligatory argue that the funeral prayer is a prayer (salah), and as such itcannot be terminated except by salutations (to the right and left).
Ibn Mas’ud said: “Salutations at the end of a funeral prayer aresimilar to those said at the end of any formal prayer. The minimum that wouldsuffice in this respect is to say: “As-Salamu ‘Alaikum” or”salamun ‘alaikum” (the peace be with you or peace be withyou).”
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 hisCompanions who ended their funeral prayer with one salutation. No difference ofopinion among them is on record on this issue.
Ash-Shafi’i holds that two salutations, turning one’s face first to theright and then to the left, are commendable. Ibn Hazm said: “The second salutationis remembrance of Allah, and an act of virtue.”
Volume4, Page 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 atakbir.
-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).
Volume4, Page 44a: 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, andopposite the middle of a female body. This is based on a hadith reported fromAnas that he offered a funeral prayer for a male standing opposite his head. Assoon as the body of the man was removed, a female body was brought in forfuneral prayer. He led the prayer standing opposite the middle of her body.Thereupon he was asked, “Did the Prophet, peace be upon him, stand whereyou 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 preferredposition, because it is supported by other reports from Allah’s Messenger,peace be upon him.
Volume4, Page 44b: Funeral Prayer for a Number of Dead Persons
If there are a number of bodies, including both male and female, they shouldbe 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 beoffered for all of them.
If the deceased include both male and female, a separate prayer for each maybe offered. But it is also permissible to offer one prayer for all of them atonce. In such a case the male should be placed immediately before the Imam andthen the female in the direction of the Qiblah.
It is reported by Nafi’ from Ibn ‘Umar that he offered a funeral prayer fornine of the deceased, males and females. He placed the males closest to theimam and then the females in the direction of the Qiblah. He placed all of themin 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 attendingthis funeral were Ibn Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa’id and Abu Qatadah. Thelittle boy was placed before the imam. A man said: “I do not like thisarrangement, and looked towards Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa’id and AbuQatadah, and said to them: “What is this?” They replied: “Thisis the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him,. This was narrated by Nasa’iand 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 togetherwith a woman, the boy should be placed nearer the imam and the woman next to itin the direction of the Qiblah. And if there are men, women and children, thenthe children should be placed next to the men.
Volume4, Page 45: Three Rows for a Funeral Prayer are Commended
It is recommended that the people should make three rows ( The minimumnumber of people for a row is two persons) while offering a funeral prayer, andthat these rows should be straight. This is based on a report from Malik ibnHabairah who said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘Every believerwho dies is forgiven by Allah if a group of Muslims comprising three rows praysfor him’.” That is why, if there were not many people attending a funeralprayer, Malik ibn Habayrah would make them stand in three rows. This isnarrated by Ahmad, Abu Daw’ud, Ibn Majah, Tirmizhi, and Al-Hakim, who considersit a sound hadith.
Ahmad said: “If the number of people present at the funeral prayer isvery small I would still prefer that they make three rows.” He was asked:”What if there are only four people present?” He replied: “Theymay make two rows, with two persons in each line.” He did not like threerows with each of them consisting of only one person.
Volume4, Page 45a: A Larger Number is Much Preferred
A larger gathering of people for the funeral prayer is preferable, as isreported by ‘Aishah who said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, ‘If aMuslim 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 isnarrated 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 onewith Allah, pray for him, their prayer is accepted and he is forgiven’ .”This has been narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Daw’ud.
Volume4, Page 46: Arriving Late for Funeral Prayer
A person who misses a part of a funeral prayer should make up the missedtakbirs–making them consecutively. This is preferable, but if he cannot do itthere is no harm. Ibn ‘Umar, Al-Hasan, Ayyub Al-Sukhtiani, and Al-Awza’i are ofthe 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 noharm.” The author of Al-Mughni prefers this opinion and remarks: “Itis supported by a saying of Ibn ‘ Umar and there is nothing on record from theCompanions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) to contradict it. Itis reported by ‘Aishah that she said to the Prophet, peace be upon him, “OAllah’s Messenger, sometimes when I offer a funeral prayer, I cannot hear someof the takbirs by the imam?” He replied: “Say the takbir that youhear and do not worry about the ones that you miss. You do not have to repeatthese later on.” This statement is quite explicit. These areconsecutive–uninterrupted–takbirs and, if missed, they need not be repeatedlike the ones in the ‘Eid prayer.
Volume4, Page 46a: Persons for Whom Funeral Prayer is to be Offered
There is a consensus among the jurists that funeral prayer is offered forall Muslims, male or female, and young or old. Ibn Al-Munzhir said: “Thescholars are in agreement that if it is established that an infant is bornalive, that is, by his crying, sneezing, or moving etc., then, if it dies, afuneral 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 littleahead of it or to its right or left. A funeral prayer should be offered for anaborted baby, seeking for his parents the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.”This is reported by Ahmad and Abu Daw’ud. Another narration reads: “Aperson on foot may walk behind a funeral, or ahead of it, or on its left sideor right side or still nearer to it.” According to another report, “Arider 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 byAhmad, Nasa’i, and Tirmizhi, who consider it a sound hadith.
Volume4, Page 46b: Funeral Prayer for an Aborted Child
A miscarried fetus, less than four months old, may not be washed, nor may afuneral prayer be offered for it. It should be wrapped in a piece of cloth andburied. The majority of jurists are in agreement on this point.
On the other hand, if a miscarried fetus is four months old or older, andthe existence of life in it is established, then there is a consensus that itshould be washed and a funeral prayer offered for it. But if its life is notestablished by its movements or other evidence, then according to Malik,Al-Awza’i, AlHasan, and the Hanafi school, funeral prayer may not be offeredfor 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 beupon him, said: “If in a miscarried fetus life is established by itsmovements, a funeral prayer should be offered for it, and it is entitled to itsshare of inheritance.” According to this hadith offering a funeral prayerfor a miscarried fetus is conditioned upon proof of its life evident in signsof life, such as its movement, etc.
Ahmad, Sa’ id, Ibn Sirin, and Ishaq are of the opinion that in the light ofthe above hadith, a miscarried fetus may be washed and a funeral prayer may beoffered for it. The words used in this hadith are “a funeral prayer shouldbe offered for a miscarried fetus” because it has a soul and is alive. TheProphet, peace be upon him, informed us that a fetus receives a soul when it isfour months old. Others refute this argument with the assertion that there isconfusion in the chain of narrators of this hadith, and besides, a strongerhadith contradicts it. But this alone does not constitute a valid argument.
Volume4, Page 47: Funeral Prayer for a Martyr
A martyr is one who is killed in a battlefield fighting the enemies ofIslam. All the hadith on this subject are quite explicit that no funeral prayermay be offered for a martyr.
Bukhari has narrated from Jabir that the Prophet, peace be upon him, orderedthat the martyrs of the battle of Uhud be buried while they were stillbleeding. He neither washed them nor offered a funeral prayer for them.
Ahmad, Ahu Daw ‘ud and Tirmizhi reported that Anas said: “The martyrsof Uhud were not washed. They were buried with their wounds unwashed, and nofuneral prayer was offered for them.”
There are, however, some hadith that are equally explicit and state that afuneral 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 afuneral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud, eight years after their death, as if hewere bidding farewell to both the living and the dead.
Abu Malik Al-Ghafari reported: “The bodies of the martyrs of Uhud werebrought in batches of nine and placed with the body of Hamzah, who served asthe tenth. Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer forthem. After that the nine bodies were removed leaving Hamzah undisturbed. Thena batch of another nine martyrs was brought and placed beside Hamzah. TheProphet, peace be upon him, offered a funeral prayer for them as well. This waythe Prophet offered funeral prayer for all of them. This hadith has beennarrated by Al-Baihaqi, who says: “This is the most sound hadith on thissubject. It is, however, a mursal hadith. (Mursal: A hadith that rests on achain of authonties going no further back than the second generation after theProphet (peace be upon him))
The difference in the narrations in these various hadith has led jurists todiffer on this matter. Some take all of them together, while others prefer somenarrations over others. Ibn Hazm holds that either–offering or not offering(funeral prayer for the martyrs)–is permissible. It is alright whether or nota funeral prayer is offered for the martyrs. In one of his statements Ahmad hasalso 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 whetheror not to offer a funeral prayer (for a martyr), because there are reports infavor of both positions.” This is the opinion also of Ahmad, and he is theproper person to describe the principles of his school. He says: “What isapparent from this is that no funeral prayer was offered for the martyrs ofUhud before burying them. There were seventy people who fell martyrs in thatbattle, and any funeral prayer for them could not have taken place insecret.”
The hadith reported by Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah that the Prophet, peace be uponhim, 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 fewbesides him knew.
Abu Hanifah, Al-Thawri, Al-Hasan, and Ibn Al-Musayiyaib, however, areinclined to the reports stating that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did offerfuneral prayer for the martyrs. They hold that a funeral prayer must be offeredfor 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 formartyrs. Ash-Shafi’i in his Kitab al-Umm writes: “All reports receivedconcerning 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 heoffered funeral prayer for them and said seventy takbirs for Hamzah are notcorrect. Those who turn away from these sound hadith should be ashamed ofthemselves. The hadith reported by ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir also states that theProphet, peace be upon him, did so eight years after their death, as if he werebidding them farewell. This does not constitute abrogation of an establishedpractice. (See Al-Umm. by Ash-Shafi’i)
Volume4, Page 48: A Person Surviving a Battle but later Dying of Wounds
If one is wounded in a battle, but survives, remains in a stable conditionfor a while, and then dies, he should be washed, and a funeral prayer should beoffered for him, even though he may be a martyr. The Prophet, peace be uponhim, washed Sa’d ibn Mu’azh, and offered a funeral prayer for him, after hedied of his hand wounds. Sa’d was taken to the mosque, where he remained for afew 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 stablecondition, or he just talked or drank water and thereafter died, he is not tobe washed or offered a funeral prayer.
The author of Al-Mughni states: “It is recorded in Futuh Al-Sham, thata man said: “I took some water to give a drink to my cousin if he werestill alive after some injuries in the battle. On the way, I passed byAl-Harith ibn Hisham, who was also wounded in the same battle. I wanted to givehim a drink, but he noticed that another wounded man was looking toward him fora drink. At this he pointed that I should first give this man a drink. I wenttoward 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. Noneof them was washed or offered a funeral prayer although they all died after thebattle.
Volume4, Page 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 funeralprayer should be offered for him. This is based on a report by Bukhari thatJabir said: “A man from the tribe of Aslam came to the Prophet, peace beupon him, and confessed to fornication. The Prophet, peace be upon him, triedto 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 mansaid, ‘No.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked him, ‘Are you married?’ Hesaid, ‘Yes.’ Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered that the man bestoned to death. He was stoned to death at the place where ( ‘Eid prayer) usedto be offered. When the stones struck the man, he tried to run away, but wasovertaken and killed. After his death, the Prophet, peace be upon him, spokewell of him, and offered funeral prayer for him. Ahmad said: “We know ofno cases where the Prophet, peace be upon him, refused to offer funeral prayerfor any one except in cases of one convicted of embezzlement (of zakat funds)and a person who committed suicide.”
Volume4, Page 49a: Funeral Prayer for those Guilty of Embezzlement, Suicide, or SomeOther Sins
The majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion that a funeral prayer maybe offered for a person who is convicted of embezzlement of public funds, orcommits suicide or some similarly sinful act.
An-Nawawi said: “Al-Qadi said: ‘All Muslim scholars hold that a funeralprayer 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 ofwedlock. The reports about the Prophet, peace be upon him, not praying forembezzlers and those guilty of suicide may be explained perhaps by consideringsuch refusal to be a form of reprimand to these people. This is similar to hispractice of refusing to pray for those who died in debt, though he asked otherMuslims 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 diefighting or in revolt. The imam, or any one other than him, may lead thefuneral prayers. Likewise funeral prayers should be said for an innovator,provided his innovation does not become blasphemy, and prayer may also be saidfor one who commits suicide or kills some one else. A funeral prayer may beoffered in all such cases even though the deceased might have been the mostevil person on the face of the earth, provided he dies as a Muslim. This isbased on a hadith from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that has a generalbearing. “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 friendsto one another. The Qur’an says: “Verily! The believers are but a singlebrotherhood” Qur’an 49.10 and “The believers, men and women, areprotectors, one of another.” Qur’an 9.71
To prevent others from offering funeral prayers over a Muslim is a mostserious thing, for surely a sinful Muslim is more in need of prayers from hisMuslim 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 hasstolen something of the war booty.” The Muslims searched the deceased’spersonal effects and found less than two dirham worth of beads in them.
In another sahih hadith ‘Ata reported that a funeral prayer may be offeredfor 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 aspouse’s adultery both the man and wife are required to swear an oath thathe/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 todeath, and the person who flees from the battlefield and is put to death forit. ‘ Ata said: “I will never abstain from offering a funeral prayer for aperson who says: ‘I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah.’ Allahsays: ‘It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe to pray forforgiveness for pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear that theyare companions of the Fire’.” Qur’an 9.113
Another authentic hadith says that Ibrahim An-Nakh’i said: “Ourpredecessors never eschewed attending a funeral prayer for any Muslim. Theyoffered the funeral prayer for those who had committed suicide, and it is asunnah to offer funeral prayer for those who are stoned to death.” Inanother sound hadith Qatadah reported: “I do not know of any scholar whorefused to offer a funeral prayer for anyone witnessing that ‘there is no godbut Allah’.” Ibn Sirin, according to a sahih hadith, said: “I do notknow of any Muslim who considers it a sin to offer a funeral prayer for anotherMuslim.”
Abu Ghalib reported: “I asked Abu Amamah Al-Bahili: ‘What if a man isknown 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, havesaid: “There is no deity but Allah,” and he might have been forgivenby Allah’ .” In a sahih hadith Al-Hasan is reported to have said:”Funeral prayer will be offered for all those who declare ‘There is nodeity but Allah. ‘ It will be offered for all Muslims; for it is an act ofintercession on behalf of the deceased.”
Volume4, Page 51: Funeral Prayer for a Non-believer
A Muslim may not pray for a non-believer, for Allah says: “Nor do youever pray for any of them that dies, nor stand at his grave, for they rejectedAllah and His Messenger,” Qur’an 9.84 “It is not fitting for theProphet and those who believe to pray for forgiveness for pagans, even thoughthey 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 hehad made to him. But when it became clear to him that he (his father) was anenemy to Allah, he dissociated himself from him.” Qur’an 9.113-114
Likewise no prayer may be offered for their children, for what applies totheir 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 prisonerseparately from either or both of their parents, then a funeral prayer may beoffered for the children.
Volume4, Page 51a: Funeral Prayer on a Grave
It is permissible to offer funeral prayer for a deceased anytime after hisburial, 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 Uhudafter eight years. Zaid ibn Thabit reported: “Once we went out with theProphet, peace be upon him . When we reached al-Baqi ‘ (Famous cemetery inMadinah, where a large number of the Prophet’s companions are buried) wenoticed a newly dug grave. The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked about it andwas told that was the grave of such and such a woman. At this he said: ‘Why didyou not inform me of her death?’ They replied, ‘O Prophet of Allah! You werefasting and were resting at the time and we did not want to bother you. ‘ Hesaid: ‘Do not do that again. So long as I am with you, make sure you inform mewhen any one among you dies, for my prayers for the deceased is a mercy forthem.’ Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to the grave. We stood in rowsbehind 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 IbnHibban. The last two reporters regard it as a sound hadith.
Tirmizhi said: This has been the practice of most of the scholars, theCompanions 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 thatthe Prophet, peace be upon him, offered funeral prayer at a grave when afuneral prayer had already been offered by his Companions for the deceasedbefore her burial, for they could not bury her without a funeral prayer. Fromthis 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 theProphet, peace be upon him.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “These proven traditions of the Prophet, peace beupon him, do not contradict the sound hadith that reports the statement of theProphet, peace be upon him: ‘Do not sit by the graves, or offer prayer facingthem.’ 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 afuneral prayer at the grave is not forbidden, for funeral prayer does not haveto be offered at any specific place. It is rather better offered outside amosque than inside it. The funeral prayer at the grave is similar to offeringit 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 sameposition. Offering prayers other than funeral prayers are forbidden at graves,for there is a risk that this may tum these graveyards into mosques, againstwhich the Prophet, peace be upon him, wamed us. He cursed those who tum gravesinto places of worship, saying: ‘Some evil people will be overtaken by the Dayof Judgement, including those (evil people) who tum graves into mosques.’ Thiswarning has no bearing on an act that the Prophet, peace be upon him,repeatedly perfommed. ”
Volume4, Page 52: Funeral Prayer for an Absentee and for a Person who has Disappeared
Offering a funeral prayer for an absent person in another city ispennissible, whether the city is near or far. In such a case those offeringfuneral prayer should stand facing the qiblah, even if the city where theabsentee is located is not in the direction of the qiblah. After making anintention to pray for the absentee, takbirs should be said as they are nommallysaid in funeral prayer over a deceased who is present. This is based on ahadith 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 hisCompanions in rows and said four takbirs.
Ibn Hazm said: “The funeral prayer for an absentee may be perfommed bya group of people under an imam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, offered afuneral prayer for Negus, who had died in Ethiopia, with his Companionsstanding in rows behind him. There is consensus among the Companions regardingthis issue, and it should not be overlooked. Abu Hanifah and Malik, however,disagree with this view, but they have no ground for this disagreement.”
Volume4, Page 53: Offering Funeral Prayer in a Mosque
There is no harm in offering funeral prayer in a mosque, if there is nodanger of it becoming unclean. This is based on a narration of Muslim from’Aishah who said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, offered a funeralprayer for Suhail ibn Baida in the mosque, and the Companions likewise offeredfuneral 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 themosque would have nothing (i .e. no reward) . This statement not onlycontradicts 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. Somescholars, however, hold that this hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, issound, and the words, reported by Abu Daw’ud, “Whoever offers a funeralprayer in a mosque would have nothing,” mean such a person would not incurany burden (of sin). Ibn AlQayyim said: ‘It was not the usual practice of theProphet, peace be upon him, to offer a funeral prayer in the mosque. Rather hewould usually offer funeral prayers outside the mosque except when for somereason he had to offer it in the mosque. In certain cases he did offer funeralprayer in the mosque, as in the case of Ibn Baida, which shows that funeralprayer may be offered either inside or outside the mosque, but to do so outsidethe mosque is preferable.”
Volume4, Page 53a: 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’shadith: “The entire earth is a mosque except for a graveyard and abathroom.”
In a report from Ahmad it is said: “There is no harm in offering afuneral 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 hewas buried in his grave. Abu Hurairah also offered a funeral prayer over thegrave of ‘Aishah in the middle of the cemetery of Al-Baqi’, which was attendedby Ibn ‘Umar. And ‘Umar ibn Abd al-‘Aziz did likewise.”
Volume4, Page 53b: Women are Permitted to Offer Funeral Prayers
A woman, like a man, may offer a funeral prayer, singly or in acongregation. In fact, once when Umm ‘Abdallah offered funeral prayer for’Utbah, ‘Umar waited until she finished. ‘Aishah ordered the body of Sa’d ibnAbi Waqqas to be brought to her so that she could offer a funeral prayer overhim.
An-Nawawi said: “Women may offer (funeral) prayer in congregation justas 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 prayerindividually.
Volume4, Page 54: The Most Worthy Person to Lead a Funeral Prayer
Jurists differ as to the most worthy person to lead a funeral prayer. Somesaid: “The most appropriate person is the legal guardian of the deceased,then the (Muslim) ruler, then the father of the deceased, grandfather, or greatgrandfather, then the son or the grandson, then the one closest inrelationship. This is the opinion of the Maliki and Hanbali schools. Otherssaid: The best person is the father, then the grandfather, then the son, thenthe grandson, then the brother, then the nephew, then the paternal uncle, andthen his son in accordance with their blood ties with the deceased. This is theopinion 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 ifpresent at the funeral, then the judge, then the imam of the locality, then theguardian of a deceased woman, then the nearest blood relative. Of the bloodrelatives, if both father and his son are present, the father should be givenprecedence.
Volume4, Page 54a: Joining the Funeral Procession and Carrying the Coffin
A certain etiquette is recommended while walking in a funeral procession orcarrying 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 whilecarrying it. Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi, and Abu Daw’ud At-Tayalisi report that IbnMas’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 ofProphet, peace be upon him.” But this is optional. Abu Sa’id reported thatthe Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Visit the sick, and follow thefuneral procession, for it will (help) remind you of the Hereafter.” Thiswas narrated by Ahmad with a sound chain of narrators.
-2- A funeral procession must proceed at a fast pace. The group reported onthe 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, andothers reported that Abu Bakrah said: “If you had seen us following afuneral procession along with the Prophet, peace be upon him, you would havethought that we were jogging.” Bukhari reported in his book on Historythat, when Sa’d ibn Mua’zh died, the Prophet, peace be upon him, walked at sucha fast pace behind his funeral that our shoes came apart.”
The author of Al-Fath said: “In short, it is preferable to walk fast ina funeral, but this should not harm or affect the coffin or put to hardshipthose carrying the coffin or following it, because that would defeat theIslamic goal of promoting hygiene and avoiding placing undue hardship on otherMuslims.” Al-Qurtubi said: “This hadith means that people should notdelay the burial, because such a delay is often the result of arrogance andvanity.
-3- One may walk in front of the funeral, behind it, to its right side, orleft side, or close to it. There is a difference of opinion among the scholarson this point. The majority of the scholars hold that walking in front of thefuneral is preferable, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, Abu Bakr, and ‘Umarused 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 isindicated from the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, concerningfollowing a funeral.
Anas ibn Malik is of the opinion that one may walk anywhere in a funeralprocession, 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 walkbehind it, or in front of it, or to its right side or left side, or close toit.” Apparently there is no hard or fast rule in this regard, and thedifference of opinion in this regard is quite legitimate.
Abdur Rahman ibn Abza reported that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar used to walk in frontof a funeral, while ‘Ali walked behind it. When told that Abu Bakr and ‘Umarwere walking in front of the funeral, ‘Ali remarked: “They both know thatwalking behind a funeral is better than walking in front of it, just as theprayer of a person in congregation (jama’ah) is better than the prayer of oneoffering it alone. But Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did so in order to make it easy forothers.” This was narrated by Al-Baihaqi and Ibn Abu Shaibah. Al-Hafizsaid its chain of authorities is sound.
Riding behind the funeral, without a valid excuse, is disliked in theopinion of the majority of scholars. Doing so after the burial, is notdisliked, however, and is quite acceptable, as indicated by a hadith narratedby Thawban, which says that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was brought a mountto ride during a funeral, but he declined. But, when he returned after theburial and was offered a mount, he rode on it. They asked him about this (whyhe declined to mount during the funeral procession) and he replied:”Verily, the angels were walking with the funeral, so I did not like toride while the angels were walking. But, when the angels left, I rode themount.” This was narrated by Abu Daw’ud, Al-Baihaqi, and Al-Hakim, whosaid this hadith is sound according to the criterion of Muslim and Bukhari.Tirmizhi narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, walked with the funeralof Ibn Ad-Dahdah, but on his way back he rode on horseback. According toTirmizhi this is a sound hadith.
This hadith does not contradict the other hadith in which the Prophet, peacebe upon him, is reported to have said: “A rider must stay behind afuneral,” since this may imp!y that such an act is disliked, thoughpermissible. The Hanafi school holds that there is no harm in riding, althoughit is better to walk unless for some valid reason one is unable to do so. Andin 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 onthe point that a rider should stay behind a funeral procession.”
Volume4, Page 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 thecoffin put it down.
-4- Remain seated when a funeral procession passes by.
-5- Permit women to accompany a funeral procession.
Volume4, Page 56a:
Recite or raise one’s voice or any similar activity. Ibn Al-Munzhir relatedthat Qais ibn ‘Abbad said: “The Companions of the Prophet, peace be uponhim, disliked raising one’s voice on three occasions, namely, funeralprocessions, when remembering Allah, and on the battlefield.”
Sa’id ibn Al-Musaib, Sa’id ibn Jubair, Al-Hasan, An-Nakh’i, Ahmad, and Ishaqdid not like it when anyone from the rear of the funeral procession exhortedothers 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 ‘Umarwas present at a funeral, he heard someone from behind saying: ‘Pray forAllah’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 accompanyinga funeral procession is to remain quiet, as the pious among the previousgenerations of Muslims did. One should not raise one’s voice for recitation orfor the remembrance of Allah, or for anything else. Keeping quiet is better andis helpful in concentrating one’s attention on the funeral rites, which isneeded at that time. This is the correct position, and the fact that a largenumber of people do otherwise does not change it. There is a consensus amongscholars that the way ignorant people recite in the funeral processions,artificially prolonging sounds of various words and mixing them up, isforbidden.
Mohammad ‘Abduh issued a verdict concerning raising one ‘ s voice for theremembrance of Allah while following the funeral procession, in which he said:”In reference to the raising of one’s voice in a funeral procession forremembrance of Allah, we find in Al-Fath, under the chapter on”Funerals,” that it is disliked for a person walking in front of afuneral procession to make such remembrance loudly. If one wants to make anyremembrance, one may do it in one’s heart. Loud remembrance is something quitenew, and there is no precedent for it from the days of the Prophet, peace beupon him, and his Companions, or from the generation following them or theirSuccessors. Such a practice must be discouraged and stopped.”
Volume4, Page 56b: Carrying torches or fire in a funeral procession
These are forbidden as they are vestiges of the Days of Ignorance. IbnAl-Munzhir said: “This practice is disliked by all men of knowledge andscholars on record. Al-Baihaqi said: ‘Aishah, ‘Ubadah ibn Al-Samit, AbuHurairah, Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, and Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, all statedin their respective wills that their funeral processions should not includeanyone carrying fire (or torches). According to Ibn Majah, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari,on his deathbed, directed his heirs, saying: “Do not follow my funeralprocession carrying any censers (with fires in them to burn frankincense forits aromatic smoke and fragrance).” The people asked him: “Did youhear anything from the Prophet concerning this?” He said: “Yes, Iheard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying so. (Among the narrators of thishadith 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 forlight. Tirmizhi has reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that once at nightthe Prophet, peace be upon him, entered a grave to bury a dead person, and alantern was given to him and he took it.” Tirmizhi said: This hadith fromIbn ‘Abbas is sound.
Volume4, Page 57: Sitting down, when one is following a funeral, before thosecarrying the coffin put it down
Bukhari said: “A person accompanying a funeral procession should notsit down until the coffin is placed on the ground, and if he sits he should beasked 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, andhe who accompanies it should not sit down until the coffin is placed on theground.” Bukhari also reports from Sa’id Al-Maqabari who narrated that hisfather said: “We were attending a funeral, and Abu Hurairah was holdingMarwan’s hand, and they both sat down before the coffin was placed on theground. At this Abu Sa’id approached them, and taking Marwan by his hand saidto him: ‘Stand up! By Allah, this man (i.e., Abu Hurairah) knows that theProphet, peace be upon him, has forbidden us (to sit).’ Upon hearing this AbuHurairah said: ‘He is right.” This has also been reported by Al-Hakim, withthe following addition: “When Abu Sa’id told Marwan to stand up, he stoodup and then asked him: ‘Why have you made me stand up?’ At this Abu Sa’ idrelated this hadith to him. Then Marwan asked Abu Hurairah why he had notinformed him about that hadith. Abu Hurairah replied: ‘You were walking aheadof me, so when you sat down I too sat down.” Most of the Companions, theirsuccessors, 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 frontof 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 funeralprecession there is no harm if they arrive early at the place of burial and sitdown before its arrival.
Tirmizhi said: “It is related from some knowledgeable Companions of theProphet, peace be upon him, and others that they would walk ahead of a funeralprocession, and would sit down if they reached the place of burial before thecoffin. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi’i, who holds that, if a funeralarrives 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 itsarrival.”
Volume4, Page 58: Remain Seated When a Funeral Procession Passes by
Ahmad has reported that Waqid ibn ‘Amr ibn Sa’d ibn Mu’azh said: -I attendeda funeral procession in the tribe of Banu Salimah. I stood up on seeing thefuneral procession. Thereupon Naf’i ibn Jubair said to me: ‘Sit down. I willgive you the reason for this. Mas’ud ibn Al-Hakim Az-Zurrqi told me that heheard ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib saying: -The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded usto stand up upon seeing a funeral procession, but later on he would remainseated, 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 satdown, and we too sat. Tirmizhi said: ‘This hadith from ‘Ali is sound, and itincludes 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. Thishadith abrogates the one cited previously which says: ‘Stand up when you see afuneral procession.’ – Ahmad said: -One may or may not stand up for a funeralprocession, depending on one’s preference. He argues that the Prophet, peace beupon 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 IbnAl-Majishun of the Maliki school.
An-Nawawi said: “Considering all these opinions, standing up uponseeing a funeral procession is desirable.” Al-Mutawalli and Ahmad alsohold this view.
Ibn Hazm said: “Standing up upon seeing a funeral procession isrecommended, even if it is a funeral of a disbeliever or a pagan, until thecoffin is placed on the ground or disappears from sight. But if someone remainsseated there is no harm. Those who hold it as a desirable act cite what isrelated by the group on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar who reported from ‘Amir ibnRabi’ah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “When you see a funeralprocession stand up for it, and remain standing until it disappears from sightor (the coffin) is placed down on the ground.” Ahmad said: “WheneverIbn ‘Umar saw a funeral procession he would stand up for it and would remainstanding until it passed by.”
Sahl ibn Hanif and Qais ibn Sa’d reported that they were sitting inQadisiyyah (A town in Syria) and a funeral procession passed by them. On seeingit both of them stood up for it. They were told it was the funeral of anon-Muslim. They said: -Once when a funeral procession was passing by, theProphet, peace be upon him, stood up for it. And when told that it was funeralprocession 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 funeralprocession.
The wisdom behind standing, according to Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim, asstated in a hadith related from the Prophet, peace be upon him, is “toshow 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. Somedisapprove of standing for a funeral procession, while others prefer it. Someleave it to the individual’s discretion. Each of these scholars supports hisstand with specific arguments, and one may follow any of these opinions.
Volume4, Page 59: Permit Women to Accompany a Funeral Procession
Umm ‘Atiyah reported: “We were forbidden to accompany funeralprocessions, but this prohibition was not mandatory for us.” (Reported byAhmad, Bukhari, Muslim & Ibn Majah) Abdullah ibn ‘Amr reported: “Oncewhile we were with the Prophet, peace be upon him, he saw a woman – whom we thoughthe did not recognize – so he waited until she reached him. It was Fatimah, hisdaughter. He asked her: ‘What caused you to leave your house?’ She said: ‘Icame to visit the family living in this house in order to offer my condolencesand to comfort them in their grief.’ He said: ‘Did you accompany them to thegraveyard?’ She said: ‘God forbid! How could I do that, when I know what youhave said in this respect.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘Had youaccompanied the funeral procession to the graveyard, you would never have seenParadise, not until your grandfather’s father had seen it! (Reported by Ahmad,Al-Hakim, Nasa’i, and Baihaqi. The scholars, however, question the validity ofthis hadith, claiming it is not a sound hadith, because among its narrators isRabi’ah ibn Saif, who is not trustworthy)
Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiyyah reported that ‘Ali said: “The Prophet, peacebe upon him, went out and saw a group of women sitting outside. When he askedthem why they were sitting there, they told him that they were waiting for thefuneral 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 thecoffin?’ They said: ‘No.’ He asked them: ‘Will you place the body in thegrave?’ They said: ‘No.’ At this he said to them: ‘Then go back to your homeswith your sins and without gaining any reward.” (Reported by Ibn Majah andAl-Hakim. But one of its narrators is Dinar ibn ‘Omar, who is not reliable. AbuHatim 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 theHanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools hold this view. They all disapprove theparticipation of women in funeral processions. According to Malik, it is notdisliked for an old woman to leave her home to attend a funeral. In hisopinion, a young woman afflicted by the death of a dear one may also accompanya funeral procession without any disapproval, provided she is well covered andher presence does not cause any temptation.
Ibn Hazm contends that the argument put forth by the majority of scholars isnot sound, and that it is permissible for women to accompany funeralprocessions. He said: “We do not disapprove of women attending a funeralprocession, nor do we prevent them from doing so. Among the traditions reportedon this subject there is no authentic hadith. There are either mursal (Mursal:Report of a successor (tab’i) directly from the Prophet without mentioning theCompanion who might have heard it directly) or majhul (unknown) or such ascannot 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 proveprohibition, but merely shows that it is disliked. In fact the reverse is trueif we take into account the hadith narrated by Shu’bah on the authority ofWaki’, who in turn narrated it from Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, who heard it from Wahabibn Kaysan, who heard it from Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Ata who reported it fromAbu 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 thepangs, and the promised hour is near.” (The chain of authorities of thishadith is sound) In a sound hadith it is reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that he didnot regard it as a disliked act.
Volume4, Page 60: Not Attending a Funeral due to Some Forbidden Acts
The author of Al-Mughni said: “If one sees or hears something that isforbidden while attending a funeral, and one is capable of countering andrectifying it, one should do so. If not, then one may do one of two things:voice his disapproval of it, and continue with the funeral which will free onefrom any responsibility of any such disapproved acts, without abandoning thegood for the bad. The second course open to a person in such a case is to leavethe funeral procession, especially when one is able to leave it, so that one’scontinued participation will not lead one to hear or see a forbiddenthing.”