BismilLaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
FUNERAL RITES AND REGULATIONS IN ISLAM.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Always remember the destroyer of pleasures – Death.” The topic between your hands is a very important one, given that most certainly every human being will taste death, just as the prophets, kings, rich, poor, young, old, and nations of the past experienced. By the grace of Allah, Islam has provided a complete set of instructions for the dying individual, those who are present at the time of death, as well as those responsible for burying the deceased. These regulations and exhortations should be common knowledge among Muslims, since death often occurs when it is least expected. This Reminder attempts to provide the reader with a concise compilation of rules and regulations regarding funeral rites in accordance with authentic Islamic teachings.
What to do for a dying and dead person
- Gently but firmly advise and prompt the dying person to say the Shahaadah – the declaration: Laa ilaaha illa-Allah, which means there is no true god except Allah. This prompting in Arabic is known as Talqeen. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “Prompt your dying ones to say ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Allah.’ Whoever last words at the time of death was Laa ilaaha illa-Allah will enter Jannah (Paradise) one day, irrespective of what happens to him prior to that.” The talqeen is necessary only when the dying person is unable to utter the shahaadah.
Muslims are also encouraged to be present when non-Muslims are dying in order to present Islam to them. This permission is conditioned by the absence of any signs of shirk or acts of disobedience to Allah. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) visited a Jewish youth who used to serve the Prophet (s.a.w) during his fatal illness. He (s.a.w) sat by his head and said to him: “Embrace Islam, embrace Islam.” He looked at his father as if to take his permission. His father said: “Obey Abu Al-Qaasim (i.e. Muhammad).” He took his advice and died immediately thereafter. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “All praise be to Allah who has saved him from the Fire,” and commanded his companions to pray the funeral prayer over him. Allahu Akbar.
- It is recommended to supplicate and say good words aloud in the presence the one who is dying. These positive words make the process of dying easier, and recovery from illness more bearable. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “If you are in the presence of a sick or dying person, you should say good things, for verily the Angels say ‘Aameen’ to whatever you say.”
The practice of reciting Surat Yasin in the presence of the dying person or dead person is based on weak prophetic reports, having no basis in the authentic Sunnah. Neither the Prophet (s.a.w) nor his companions did it, or recommended that it be done. Those who observe the practice of reciting Yasin over the dead do so in light of the hadith: “Yasin is the heart of the Qur’an. Whoever recites it seeking the pleasure of Allah and the Hereafter will receive Allah’s forgiveness. So recite it to your dead.” Concerning this hadith, Ad-Dar al-Qutni is reported to have said: “In the chain of narrators of this hadith there is confusion. Its text is obscure and is not correct.” Another practice which has no foundation in the practice of the Prophet (s.a.w) and his companions, is turning the body of one who is dying so that he or she faces the Qiblah (i.e. the Ka’bah in Makkah). Turning the body became a custom after the time of the Prophet’s companions, but was objected to by leading scholars of that time. To be continued in shaa Allah. May Allah keep guiding us from any deviation.