Funeral Guide

  • Visiting the Sick

    The Prophet orders us to do seven things and prohibited us from doing seven other things. To pay a visit to the sick (inquiring about his health), To follow funeral processions, To say to one who sneezes, "May Allah be merciful to you" (if he says, "Praise be to Allah!"), To return greetings, To help the oppressed, To accept invitations, To help others to fulfill their oaths. (Bukhari) A sick person to whom visiting is prescribed is someone who cannot see other people due to their illness. If a person has a cold for example, and is still out and about meeting people, then it is not obligatory to visit them. Visiting the sick is prescribed for those whom you know and those whom you don't know. Visiting the sick does not have to be a long and tiresome activity, because the ill person may also become burdened by the presence of the visitor. Visitors should check to make sure whether the visit will be appropriate and if certain times work better than others. Visits should be long enough to convey salaam and wishes, and to pray for their recovery. Of course, this will vary depending on the relationship you have with the ill person. Family members sometimes like to visit more frequently and may stay longer than other visitors.

  • Visiting non-Mahram of the Opposite Gender

    Men are permitted to visit non-mahram women, and women are permitted to visit non-mahram men, provided that they are not alone together, there is proper covering, and there is no risk of fitnah. “Chapter on women visiting (sick) men. Umm al-Darda’ visited one of the Ansaari men from the mosque.” Then he narrated a hadith from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said that she visited Abu Bakr and Bilaal (may Allah be pleased with them both) when they fell sick when they first came to Madeenah. (Bukhari) Muslim narrated from Anas that Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them), after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died: “Let us go to Umm Ayman and visit her as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to visit her,” so they went to her. (Muslim) Ibn al-Jawzi said: This is to be interpreted as referring to one from whom there is no fear of fitnah, such as an old woman

  • Final Moments

    If possible, you should try to encourage the dying person to say the Shahadah (Muslim), La Ilaha Il Allah, There is no god but Allah, for whoever’s last words are La Ilaha Il Allah, will enter Paradise one day, even if he is afflicted before by punishment (Muslim). You can make duaa at that time and speak of good things in front of the dying person, as it makes death easier. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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." (Muslim)

  • Upon Death

    Upon death, those around the person should remain calm, and understand that this is the will of Allah SWT. Though mourning is allowed (discussed later) it should not be excessive, and actions such as screaming and wailing are prohibited, as they indicate displeasure and rejection of what Allah SWT has decreed.

  • Closing the Eyes and Saying Dua (Supplication)

    This is based on the Hadith narrated by Umm Salamah (RA): the Prophet (pbuh) entered the gathering and saw that the eyes of the deceased Abu Salamah (RA) were open. He closed them and said, “Indeed when the soul is taken, the eyes follow it.” He then said the following du’a: O Allah, forgive Abu Salamah and raise his level among the rightly guided, and let his offspring be like him. Forgive us and forgive him, O Lord of all the worlds, and expand his grave and illuminate it for him. (Muslim)

  • Covering the Body with a Cloth

    The deceased should be covered with a cloth which is large enough to cover the entire body; this is was an approved practice of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In fact Aishah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was covered with a Yemeni cloak at the time of his noble death. (Bukhari)

  • Do Not Delay the Burial

    It is reported by Abu Hurairah (RA), that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Hasten the funeral rites.” (Bukhari) The wisdom behind this order is to minimize the contact with the deceased, to help reduce the hurt and grief. Therefore it is not permissible in Islam to delay the burial until all of the relatives arrive to see the body. Delaying the body would also require the need for embalming to slow the process of decay.

  • Bury the Deceased in the Same Area of Death

    The Prophet (pbuh) forbade his followers from transporting the bodies from one area to another. (Abi Dawud) It is not allowed in Islam to transport the body from one area or country to another area or country. Transporting the body goes against the teaching of the Prophet (pbuh) who told us not to delay the funeral, and furthermore it adds many unnecessary expenses to the process.

  • Washing the Body

    A male's body is to be washed by a male. A female's body should be washed by a female. A minor's body can be washed by either a man or a woman A husband can wash his wife's body and vice versa. Procedure for Washing the Body Following 3 steps must be done before washing the body. Place the body on the washing table. Keeping the private parts of the body covered, remove all other garments from the body. Gently but firmly press the stomach and clean out by a towel or cloth any excertions that may have resulted by stomach pressing. The body is now ready for washing. Body should be washed with your hands or a piece of clean cloth. Use clean and warm water to wash the body. The body is to be washed three times, five times or seven times-always an odd number of times. For each washing, first place the body on its left and wash the right side using warm water and soap. Then place it on its right side and wash the left side. Male's hair should be unbraided, washed and combed. Female's hair should be gathered into two braids, with loose hair at end of each braid. For the final washing, scented water (non-alcoholic scent) can be used. Now perform ablution (wudu) for the body. Do not forget to clean the teeth and nose also. Generous application of non-alcoholic perfume can be made on various parts of the body. Perfumed cotton can be placed on the front and the rear private parts and the nostrils.

  • Wrapping the Body

    For men, three pieces of clean, cotton preferably white cloth should be used. Each piece of cloth should be large enough to cover the entire body. A similar procedure applies for women except that five pieces of cloth are used. Again each piece of cloth should be large enough to cover the body. Apply non-alcoholic perfume to the kafan. Use a piece of cloth and tie the top (head side) and bottom (foot side). The two tie knots should be different so as to recognize the head side. Material Required Name of the Cloth Approximate size Kafan 4 feet x 12 feet Head Wrap 4 feet x 4 feet Body Wrap 4 feet x 6 feet Chest Wrap 4 feet x 4 feet Body Sheet 4 feet x 8 feet Note: Tear a one inch strip from the length of the Kafan sheet and use it as strings to tie the body. For wrapping an adult male body, three pieces, i.e., Kafan, Body wrap and Body sheet are required. For wrapping an adult female body, all five pieces are required. Procedure for wrapping the body (male) Spread the Body Sheet on a flat table, a firm bed or floor. Then the Body wrap on the Body Sheet about one foot each from the top and the bottom edge of the Body Sheet. Fold the Kafan sheet over in half, so that its size after folding is 4 feet x 6 feet. At the crease in the middle, cut a hole big enough for the head of the body to pass through. Unfold the Kafan sheet and lay it on the two sheets prepared earlier in steps 1&2 above; the cut hole will now be in the center of the Kafan sheet. Lay the body on its back on one half (which is on the other two sheets) and pull the other half of the Kafan sheet over the whole body, making sure that the head comes out through the hole; except for the head, the rest of the body should be covered inside the Kafan sheet. Comb the hair on top and back of head. Roll the upper half of Kafan sheet from both the right and the left sides to gather in the center of the body. Wrap the lower long sides of the Kafan sheet over the body from both the right aand the left sides (from shoulders to feet). Then unroll the upper half of the Kafan sheet to spread it over the lower half wrapped previously on the body (as above) and wrap it along both sides of the whole body. To do this, the whole body will have to be tilted on its side to push the Kafan sheet under the body; first on the right side and then on the left side. Wrap the left side of the Body Wrap over the body and cover it by wrapping the right side of the Body Wrap over the left side on the body. Wrap the Body Sheet in a like manner, with the right side over the left side on the whole body. Gather at the head and tie a string, then gather at the feet and tie a string. Use another string to tie in the middle of the body. Procedures for wrapping the body (female) Spread the Body sheet on a flat table, a firm bed or floor. Lay the Chest wrap on the Body sheet about two feet each from the top and the bottom edge. Then lay the Body wrap on the Chest wrap about one foot each from the top and the bottom edge of the Body sheet. Fold the Kafan sheet over in half, so that its size after folding is 4 feet x 6 feet. At the crease in the middle, cut a hole big enough for the head of the body to pass through. Unfold the Kafan sheet and lay it on the three sheets prepared earlier in steps 1-3 above; the cut hole will now be in the center of the Kafan sheet. Lay the body on its back on one half (which is on the other three sheets) and pull the other half of the Kafan sheet over the whole body, making sure that the head comes out through the hole; except for the head the rest of the body should now be covered inside the Kafan sheet. Comb and brush the hair in two groups loose or braids; spread one group on the rught breast and the other group of hair on the left breast. Roll the upper half of Kafan sheet from both the right and the left sides to gather in the center of the body. Wrap the lower long sides of the Kafan sheet over the body from both the right and the left sides (from shoulders to feet). Then unroll the upper half of the Kafan sheet to spread it over the lower half wrapped previously on the body (as above) and wrap it along both sides of the whole body. To do this ,the whole body will have to be tilted on its side to push the Kafan sheet under the body; first on the right side and then on the left side. Fold the Head wrap in half; raise the head and upper part of the body to slip about one half of the Head wrap under the body. Then fold the other half over and around the head so that the face is not covered and the lower edge of the Head wrap covers the hair on the breast. Now wrap the left side of the Body wrap over the body and cover it by wrapping the right side of the Body wrap over the left side on the body. Next in alike manner wrap the Chest wrap with the right side of the wrap over the left side of the wrap on the body. Use the Kafan strings to tie around the body; one just below the shoulders, another in the middle on the navel, and third string a little above the knees on the thighs. Cover the face with the Head wrap. Lastly wrap the Body sheet all over the body with the right side over the left side on the body; gather at the head and tie a string and then gather at the feet and tie a string. If necessary tie a string in the middle of the body also.

  • Funeral Prayer

    It is recommended that Janazah (Funaral Prayer) is prayed outside of the mosque, known as the Musallah. It may also be prayed inside the mosque, though this was not the most common practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The funeral prayer is a petition of mercy for the deceased. In joining it, there is mercy and blessing for both you and the deceased. Following points must be followed before starting of the funeral prayer: The funeral prayer is conducted standing up facing the Qibla with no ruku or sajjud. The rows must be formed in odd numbers, preferable three rows. The body of the deceased should be kept in front of the Imam. The Imam stands approximately by the center of the body if the deceased is a male, and by the shoulder if the deceased is a female. If the prayer to be offered is for more than one person, then the bodies should be placed one in front of the other male body closest to the Imam and female body further away. The following are the steps to offer the Janazah prayer There are four ‘takbirs’ in the prayer. The first ‘takbir’ is performed and then the ‘Sana’ and ‘Surah Al-Fatiha’ are read silently (as in normal ‘Salat’). Subhaanaka allaahumma wa bihamdika wa tabaaraka ismuka wa ta'aala jadduka wa jalla thannaa-uka wa laal ilaaha ghayruka Translation: Glory be to you Oh Allah, and praise be to You, and blessed is your name, and exalted is Your Majesty, and there is none to be served besides. After the second ‘takbir’ (remain standing) read ‘Darud’. Allaahumma salli alaa muhammadin wa alaa muhammadin kama sallayta alaa ibraaheema wa alaa aali ibraaheema innaka hameedun majeed. Allahumma baarik alaa muhammadin wa alaa aali muhammadin kamaa baarakta alaa ibraheema wa alaa aali ibraheema innaka hameedun majeeedun. Translation: Oh Allah! Shower Your mercy upon Muhammad (upon him be peace) and the followers of Muhammad (upon him be peace), as You showered Your mercy upon Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam) and the followers of Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam). Behold You are Praise worthy, Glorious. Oh Allah! Shower Your blessing upon Muhammad (upon him be peace), as you showered Your blessings upon Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam) and the followers of Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam). Behold You are Praise worthy, Glorious. After the third ‘takbir’ (remain standing) read ‘Supplication’ asking Allah to forgive and help the deceased and Muslims in general. Allaahumma ighfir lihayyinaa, wa mayyitinaa, wa shaahidinaa, wa ghaa-ibinaa, wa sagheerinaa, wa kabeerinaa, wa dhakarinaa wa unthaanaa. Allaahumma man ahyaytahoo ion: Oh Allah! Forgive those of us that are alive and those of us that are dead; those of us that are present, and those of us who are absent: those of that are young, and those of us that are adults; our males and females. Oh Allah! Whomsoever of us You keep alive, let him live as a follower of Islam, and whomsoever You cause to die, let him die as a Believer. If the deceased is a male child, the invocation is: Allaahumma ij'alhu lanaa faratan, wa j'alhu lanaa ajran wa dhukharn wa j'alhu lanaa shaafi'an wa mushaffa'an. If the deceased is a female child, the invocation is : Allaahumma ij'alhu lanaa faratan, wa j'alhaa lanaa ajraan wa dhukhran wa j'alhaa lanaa shaafi'atan wa mushaffa'atan. Translation: Oh Allah, make him/her (this child) a source for our salvation; and make him/her a source of reward and treasure for us; and make him/her an intercessor for us, and one whose intercession is accepted. After the fourth ‘takbir’ (remain standing) say ‘Salaam’ (as in normal ‘Salat’). A Few other points to keep in mind: When not carrying the body, one should walk in front or beside the bier. No idle talk is permitted. One should either be silent or better still praying. No music or outburst of emotion is allowed. When you enter the cemetery, you should recite: Assalam alaikum yaa ahlil kuboor (Peace be upon you O people of the graves)

  • The Burial

  • Patience in Grief

    llah (SWT) says in the Quran: Verily We will test you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life and the fruit [of your labour], so give glad tidings to the patient ones. (Quran 2:155) It is an obligation for the relatives to practice patience and self restraint and accept the decree of Allah. It is important to always remember that Allah will test mankind. Furthermore, among the glad tidings for the people who practice patience is that Allah will make for them a house in Paradise. (Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidhi) However, it is important to keep in mind that true patience is not when the initial shock and reaction has faded away. Allah’s reward is for those who practice patience is at the initial time of the calamity; true patience is when calamity first strikes.

  • Benefiting the Dead

    The deceased should not be forgotten, they now face the future alone and can no longer act on their own accord. They can however derive benefits from our supplications and actions, which are done on their behalf. Prayers for the Dead The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘There is no person who has died and who has Muslims whose number reach one hundred praying for him and they intercede on his behalf, except that it will be accepted.” (Muslim) The dead will feel the presence of his brothers after his burial for a period of time no longer than it takes to slaughter a lamb and distribute its meat. The meaning of the above statement by ‘Amr bin Al-’Aas has preceded: ‘ After you have buried me, sit around my grave for a period of time no longer then it takes to slaughter a lamb and distribute its meat, so that I feel your presence, and see what I will review with the Angels of my Lord.’ (Muslim) Supplications for the Deceased Immediately after Burial Related from Uthman bin Affan that whenever the Messenger of Allah completed the burial of a deceased he would stand over him and say, ‘Seek forgiveness for your brother, and ask that he be firm because he is now being questioned.’ (Abu Dawud) Continuing Charity The Messenger of Allah said, “When anyone dies all his actions cease except in three cases, continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a pious child that makes supplications for him.” (Muslim) Charity given by his Child It is related from Aisha (RA) that a man said to the Prophet, “My mother died all of a sudden. I think if she was able to talk she would give charity, so would she receive any reward if I gave charity on her behalf?” He replied, “Yes”. (Bukhari/Muslim) Supplications and seeking Forgiveness by all the other Muslims and Believers The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and women, Allah will write him a blessing for each believing man and woman.’ (Saheeh al-Jaami) Death is an inevitable journey, which we will all face alone. All worldly attachments will be left behind and only our belief, righteous actions and worship will be of any use. Therefore we should remember death frequently and fear Allah. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘At evening, do not expect to live till morning, at morning do not expect to live till evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death.’ Belief in life after death is an essential part of belief in Islam. Also referred to as the Hereafter, it is the final destination of all mankind. Here, on the Day of Reckoning, we will face the Almighty Creator and be held accountable for all the actions and deeds we undertook in this worldly life. One of the first stages of life after death is the grave, as confirmed by the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah who said, ‘The grave is the first stop from among the stops to the Hereafter, and if one successfully passes through it, then whatever follows it is easier. If however, one does not successfully pass through it then whatever comes after it is more difficult.’ (Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb) The information in this section has been gathered from MuslimDirectory

  • Visiting the Graves

    Visiting graves in order to remember the hereafter is permitted. However, one must be careful not to anger Allah SWT by commit any form of shirk (associating anyone with Allah SWT). Making duaa to the dead, asking for their assistance, wailing, or any form of magic are strictly prohibited. Not only does the visitor benefit by remembering their destiny, but the deceased can also benefit if the visitor offers their salams and makes duaa for them, and prays to Allah SWT for their forgiveness. One of the duaas that may be recited is: “Assalaamu ‘alaykum ahl al-diyaar min al-mu’mineen wa’l-Muslimeen, in sha Allaah bikum laahiqoon, as’al Allaaha lana wa lakum al-‘aafiyah" Translat: "Peace be upon you O people of the dwellings, believers and Muslims, In sha Allaah we will join you, I ask Allaah to keep us and you safe and sound.” The deceased can continue to gain reward as per the following hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said that there are three things, however, which may continue to benefit a person after death: charity given during life which continues to help others, knowledge from which people continue to benefit, and a righteous child who prays for him or her (Muslim).

  • Forbidden Actions

    Screaming and wailing over the dead: It is considered a sign of disbelief to wail and scream over the dead because it is identified with an act kufr (disbelief) (Muslim). This is the case because screaming and wailing indicates displeasure and rejection of what Allah has decreed. Allah is the source of all that is good, and His are the wisest of all actions. Therefore those who have emaan would never commit such an act of ignorance. Hitting the cheeks and tearing the clothes: All forms of self punishment and material destruction are forbidden in Islam. Islamic practices minimize the emotional hurt of the relative; therefore excessive mourning, scratching and hitting the cheeks, ripping cloths and similar practices which prolong the grieving process are not allowed. It is narrated by Ibn Mas’ud that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever slaps his face, tears his clothes or invites (others) to an un-Islamic slogan is not of us.” (Bukhari) Shaving the head or ruining the hair (Bukhari): In pre-Islamic times in Arabia, women used to shave all their hair or dishevel it and leave it muddled, this is because women’s hair was considered part of her beauty as it still does today. Within Islam, women are required to move away from all forms of beautification as a sign of mourning, but they are prohibited from exceeding such bounds by shaving or messing up their hair. Excessively announcing someone’s death: It is haram (forbidden) in Islam to make a big deal about announcing the death of someone. Announcing it in minarets or in the market place etc, is not allowed by Islam (Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah). However, a calmly stared announcement is permissible. This is based on another Prophetic Hadith; narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA), the Prophet (pbuh) announced the death of Najashi (RA) to his companions and prayed the funeral prayer for him (Bukhari). Gathering to “comfort” the family of the deceased Gathering to give condolence for the family of the deceased in the Mosques, homes etc is not regarded as the Sunnah of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). In fact, Jarir ibn Abdullah said, “[they] used to regard gathering at the home of the deceased’s family and their preparation of food an aspect of wailing. (Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah) Such gatherings only renew the sorrow of the family, thus it should be avoided. Preparation of food by the family of the deceased There is no obligation on the family of the deceased to prepare food for others who come to give condolence. In fact the Prophet ordered his companions to prepare food for the family of the deceased to ease their difficulties. When Ja’far (RA) passed away, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered his companions to prepare food for the family of Ja’far (RA). (Ibid)

  • Permissible Actions

    To uncover and kiss the face: Kissing the face of the deceased is considered a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Sahabahs (companions of the Prophet). Therefore those present may uncover the face of the dead and kiss it. It is reported by Aishah (RA) that she saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) kiss ‘Uthman ibn Math’un after he had passed away. (Sunan Abi Dawud) Crying/mourning is permissible for only three days (Ibid): Please refer to the “Forbidden Actions” Section for further guidelines. Saying Al-Istirja: When the news of someone’s death reaches the family and friends they are encouraged to say the following verse from the Quran; 'innaa lillaahi wa- 'innaaa 'ilayhi raaji-'uunn [ to Allah we belong and to Allah is our return] (Quran 2:156) (Bukhari) This verse from the Quran should serve as a reminder for all of us, and its not necessarily a dua’a for the deceased. Mourning (Al-Hidad): After the incident of death women are required to avoid all forms of beautification as a sign of their mourning for their relatives, children or husbands. This should not exceed the maximum three days for the child or other relatives. For the husband, the mourning period is four months and ten days. Umm Salamah (RA) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “a widow must not wear clothes dyed yellow or red, nor wear ornaments, henna or Kohol” (Sunan Abi Dawud). However, the Prophet (pbuh) did make it permissible for women to use small amounts of incense at the time of bathing or at the end of menses. (Bukhari) Furthermore, the mourning widow should spend her four months and ten days in her husband’s house (Sunan Abi Dawud). However, in order to support her economic and social needs, she may leave the home for the duration of her work; then return to her husband’s home. The Importance of Patience: Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: Verily We will test you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life and the fruit [of your labour], so give glad tidings to the patient ones. (Quran 2:155) It is an obligation for the relatives to practice patience and self restraint and accept the decree of Allah. It is important to always remember that Allah will test mankind. Furthermore, among the glad tidings for the people who practice patience is that Allah will make for them a house in Paradise. (Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidhi) However, it is important to keep in mind that true patience is not when the initial shock and reaction has faded away. Allah’s reward is for those who practice patience is at the initial time of the calamity; true patience is when calamity first strikes.

  • Funeral Notification

    It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I am.” He said: “Who among you has attended a funeral today?” Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has fed a poor person today?’ Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I have.” He said: “Who among you has visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I have.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “These (traits) are not combined in a person but that he will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Muslim, 1028. From the Hadith above, we come to learn the benefits of joining the Funeral Procession. Our busy schedules make it almost impossible for us to attend funerals on a regular basis. To remedy this issue, we have established a notification service that will inform you of funerals in your area. This will not only be a source of maghfirah for the deceased, but will also be a source of great reward for you. In addition, we will also inform you of body washing and funeral preparation workshops that we will be holding.

  • Support for the Living

    Losing a loved one is perhaps one of the biggest tests that one can be tested with in his life. Many times people end up failing this test and blame themselves and their Lord for taking the life of their loved one. However, we must remember that Allah has told us in the Quran that we will return to him and that everything will die. Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was tested with the death of his loved ones. First, his beloved uncle Abu Talib passed away, then his wife Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) passed away and slowly all his children passed away until only Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) was left.