Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 3 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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What are the obligatory measures concerning the deceased?

What are the obligatory measures concerning the deceased?

Answer

1. Washing the deceased.
2. Shrouding the deceased.
3. Praying over the deceased.
4. Burial.

The funeral prayer

The funeral prayer is a communal obligation. The conditions necessary for the validity of the prescribed prayers and others are applicable to the funeral prayer. These include purity of body, clothes and place of prayer, covering one's awrah [those parts of the body which are required to be covered in Islam], facing the direction of prayer and standing when one is able to.

Where it is performed?

It is permissible to pray the funeral prayer in the mosque or any other place which is pure but not unlawful to pray in. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed the funeral prayer in the mosque as well as in the musalla (an area in the desert where the prayers of the two 'Eids were prayed). 'Abad ibn 'Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr narrated that when Sa’d died, 'A`isha ordered that his body be brought to her. So the funeral procession passed through the mosque [to reach her house] and she made supplications for him. As she was criticized for this, she said, "How quick people come to conclusions! The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed over ibn Bayda` in the mosque" [recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and others]. Ibn 'Umar, (may God be pleased with them both) narrated that 'Umar (may God be pleased with him) prayed over Sa'd in the mosque as did Suhaib.

Scholars who maintain that the funeral prayer is to be prayed in the musalla follow the apparent meaning of textual evidences. However, Shafi'i scholars explained that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed the funeral prayer in the musalla because the mosque could not accommodate all of those who attended the funeral prayer. Based on this, Shafi'i scholars recommended that funeral prayers be held in the mosque due to the virtue of the place and because it can accommodate the attendees.

Praying the funeral prayer after the prescribed prayer

If the deceased is taken into the mosque after the prescribed prayers, the funeral prayer is to be performed before the supererogatory prayer since it is a duty to hasten burial. Abu Huraira (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Make haste with the funeral rites for if the deceased was righteous, you will be forwarding it to welfare and if it was otherwise, you will be relieved of an evil placed on your shoulders" [recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmed, al-Hakim, al-Tirmidhi].

The Ruling

• It is recommended to hasten all the affairs concerning a deceased.
• It is permissible in Islamic law to pray funeral prayers in mosques.
• A person may pray the funeral prayer, pray the supererogatory prayer associated with the obligatory prayer alone while the funeral prayer is being held in the mosque, exit the mosque or sit in the mosque without participating in the funeral prayer since it is a communal obligation.
• The funeral prayer is not to be postponed due to a supererogatory prayer associated with the obligatory prayer since one does not conflict with the other.

And God Almighty knows best.
 

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