Fiqh Series: Book of Funeral From the book ‘Ad-Durar Al-Bahiyah Fi Masaa’il Al-Fiqhiyyah’ of Imam Shawkani

Book of Funeral

It is Sunnah to:

1 – Visit the ill[1]

2 – Instruct the one close to death to say the Shahadatayn

3 – To direct the dying person (towards Qiblah)[2]

4 – Close the dying persons eyes when he dies[3]

5 – Recite the Surah Yasin on him (over him) [4]

Initially, prepare him except to confirm his life, pay his debts and cover him.[5] Moreover it is permissible for one to kiss him[6]. The dying person must have confidence and trust in his Lord[7], repent to him and get rid of all what he owes others (i.e. debts, rights, possessions etc.)[8]


Section: Washing the Deceased

Those who are alive must wash the deceased Muslim; the closer in kinship must do the washing if he/she is from the same sex, and a couple may wash the one who is dead. The washing is three, five, seven times or more with water and lotus leaves (sidr). The last wash is with camphor. The right hand side parts of the body are to be washed first. The Shaheed (one who died in the battlefield for Allah’s cause) is not to be washed.

Section: Shrouding the Deceased

He must be shrouded in a garment that appropriately covers the body, even if it is the only garment he has. There is nothing wrong with adding more shrouds but without being extravagant. The Shaheed (Martyr) is to be shrouded in the garments he was wearing when he was killed. It is recommended to perfume the deceased’s body and shrouds.

Section: Praying on the Deceased

Praying on him is obligatory.

The Imam is to stand near the man’s head and the woman’s waist. Then he is to pronounce four or five takbeerat.

After the first takbeer he is to recite the Fatihah. Between the takbeerat, he is to pray on the deceased using the respond supplications.

One must not pray on the stealer of booty before it is distributed, one who killed himself (i.e. committed suicide), the disbeliever and the Shaheed.

Moreover, prayer can be offered on a deceased’s grave. It can also be offered on the absentee.

Section: Following the funeral and what is forbidden in it

The deceased should be taken quickly to where he is supposed to be buried.

Walking with it and carrying it is Sunnah

It is the same whether one is at the front or at the rear of the funeral.

It is disliked to ride (or drive).

Riding after finishing the funeral procession is permissible without disliking it, for the hadith of Jabir bin Samurah says that, “The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) performed funeral prayer on Ibn Ad-Dahdah, then an unsaddled horse was brought to him and a man hobbled it, and he (the Messenger of Allah) mounted it and it started strutting, which we followed and ran after it. One of the people said that the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, “How many branches in the Paradise are hanging down for Ibn Dahdah.” (Reported by Muslim)

The following are forbidden:

o   Announcing one’s death

o   Wailing

o   Following a funeral with fire (e.g. torches)

o   Tearing of one’s clothes

o   Asking for affliction and woe upon oneself.

One accompanying the funeral must not sit before it is put down. Standing for it has been abrogated.

Section: Burial, visiting graves

The deceased must be buried in a pit that protects him from beasts.

There is nothing wrong with a grave with pit dug within. But, digging a side extension within is better.

The deceased should be inserted from the rear part of the grave. He is to be laid on his right side facing the Qiblah. For those who are present it is preferred that each heaps three heaps of earth back in to the grave. The grave’s height above ground is not to exceed the span of one’s hand. Visiting the dead is legitimately preferable. The visitor should face the Qiblah. It is strictly forbidden to take graves as Mosques (i.e. places for prayer or worship), decorate them, light them, or sit on them. It is also forbidden to curse the dead.

Condolence is a legitimate act, and so is handing food to the deceased’s relatives.



[1] Sahih: Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said, “A Muslim has six duties towards other Muslims: When you meet him, you should salute him; when he invites you, accept his invitation; when he asks for your advice, give it to him; when he sneezes and praises Allah, say May Allah have mercy on you; when he is ill, visit him; and when he dies follow his funeral.” Recorded in Sahih Muslim

[2] Sheikh albani in his book Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz said: “No authentic hadith had been mentioned in this regard, rather it is reported that Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyib disliked directing the dead towards the Qiblah and he said, ‘Is not the dead person a Muslim,’ ibn Abi Shayba reported it in his collection (3/126)

[3] Sahih: Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) visited Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with him) when his eyes were open soon after he died. He closed them (the eyes) for him and said, “When the soul is taken away, the sight follows it.” Some members of his family began to weep. He (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said: “Do not supplicate for yourselves anything but good, for the angels say ‘Amin’ to what you say.” Then he said, “O Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah, raise his rank among those who are rightly-guided and grant him a successor from his descendants who remain behind. Grant him pardon and us, too. O Rubb of the worlds. Make his grave spacious for him and give him light in it.” Recorded in Sahih Muslim

[4] Da’eef: Narrated Ma’qil ibn Yasar: The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) said: Recite Surah Ya-Sin over your dying men. This is the version of Ibn al-Ala’. Graded Da’eef by sheikh albani in I’rwa al-Ghaleel no. 688.

[5] Sahih: Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) said: “The soul of the believer is attached to his debt until it is repaid for him.” Recorded in Musnad Ahmed, Sunan Ibn Majah and Sunan Tirmizi. Graded Sahih by sheikh albani in Al Jami’e no. 6779

[6] Sahih: Narrated Aisha and Ibn `Abbas: Abu Bakr kissed the Prophet after his death. Recorded in Sahih Bukhari

[7] Sahih: Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi was sallam) saying three days before his death: “Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah”. Recorded in Sahih Muslim

[8] Sahih: Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Give people their rights. Even the hornless sheep will take retaliation from the horned sheep.” Recorded in Adab al-Mufrad. Graded Sahih by sheikh albani


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