This article is a summary of the course Funeral Rites in Islam offered by Islamic Online University. This course is based on a 160 page
book by Dr Bilal Philips of same name. Dr Bilal’s work is in turn based on Ahkaamul Janaiz by Naasiruddin Albaani. The s
ignificance of his
work is that it is thoroughly authenticated. The disadvantage of the(Sheikh Nasir’s) work is that it remains in the hidden wo
rld of manuscripts, though a concise work abridged by the author himself is available. The references in my document are a select few from IOU course and the default reference for all issues outlined below is IOU course and through its authority the Ahkaamul Janaaiz. I must say that nothing here is mine with even words being chosen from the source referred above. It must also be kept in mind that no amount of summary can catch the actual beauty of Prophetic narrations and the original work. I would not be answering any questions with regard to this document and the reader is referred to the relevant course on IOU web
site. In the end I have added Shaykh Naasir’s will because
it clarified many of my questions and I found it thus useful. In the end I have included some posters for ready reference and learning. I have left two sections on benefiting the dead and visiting the graves as an incentive for the one who joins the course.
Muslims are supposed to do certain acts of worship at what appears to them their deathbed and those around are to support the dying person and provide certain basic services.
The dying person should be encouraged to repeat with faith the declaration based
upon Prophet’s(SAW) statement, “Prompt your dying
ones (to say) laa illaha il-lal-
laah (Sahi Muslim 2:1996) and whosoever’s last words before dying are laa illaha il
-lal-laah, will enter
paradise one day, even if he is afflicted before that by punishment”
Ghaleel Vol 3:p150].
This practice of encouraging the dying ones is also based on Prophet’s practice.
Muslims are also encouraged to be present when non Muslims are dying in order to present Islam to them, who may accept it at that time. To be beneficial they must accept it on the basis of knowledge of Islam (Quran 47:19), sincerely (98:5), with certainty (Sahi Muslim 1:41) and before the actual throes of death begin.
Those present around should say good and positive things which would make both dying or recovery from illness easier. This is based on
Prophet’s command (SAW), “If you are in the presence of a sick or dying person, you should say good things for verily the ang
‘Aameen’ to whatever you say”
(Sahi Muslim 2:2002).
The prophet (SAW) taught Umm Salamah to say:
Allahumma-ghfirlee wa lahu wa a qibnee minh uqba hasanah
[O Allah, forgive him and me, and grant me a good substitute after him]
The recitation of Soorah al Yaseen may be included in the meaning of Good words mentioned in above hadeeth. Howover, it is like reciting any other chapter of the Glorious Quran and specifically reading it for some special virtue for dying person is a sinful innovation in religion.
Similarly turning the dying person towards Kaabah is an innovation tha
t came into practice after the time of Prophet’s companions. This
practice was opposed by the scholars of that time. When Saeed ibn al- Mussayb (one of the seven leading legal scholars of Madeenah) was turned towards Kaabah during unconsciousness, he (upon regaining his consciousness) instructed that his bed be turned back to its original position.
(Ahkaamul- Janaiz p11 nt15).
Those around should not pity upon the dying person who is in difficulty for that would make it difficult for him to accept his fate. They
must tell him that Allah is just and may quote to him the Prophet’s statement, “Whoever Allah wishes good for, He afflicts with trials”
[Sahi Bukhari 7:548]
A dying person should avoid thoughts like “I am too young” or “Why me?” and think positively about Allah. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, three days before his death, “None of you should die except thinking the best of Allah”
(Sahi Muslim 4:6408).
He should try to be in a state of hope and fear as is illustrated in following hadeeth. Anas reported that the Prophet (SAW) visited a youth
and asked him, “How do you find yourself?” He replied, “By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, Verily I hope for the best from Allah
and fear my
sins.” Allah’s Messenger (saw)said, “Whenever two come together in the heart of
a slave (of Allah) in such a situation, Allah gives him
what he hopes for and protects him from what he fears”
(Ahkamul Janaiz p3 nt2).
Any discourse on death is incomplete without the 48th verse of Soorah an-
Nisaa in which Allah says, “Verily Allah will
not forgive shirk
but He forgives anything besides it for whomsoever He wishes”.
The sick person (howsoever sick he may be) should not wish for death for prophet (SAW) told his uncle Abbaas, “O uncle, don’t
wish for death, for verily if you were good and your death is delayed, it will add more good to your previous goodness and it will be better for you;
and if you were bad, find fault in your bad(and seek forgiveness) and it will be better for you, so don’t wish for death”
(Ahkaamul Janaiz p4).
However if one still wishes to pray for death he may do so as follows:
Allahumma ahyinee maa kaanatil hayaatu khyran lee
(O Allah keep me alive as long as living is best for me)
wa tawaffanee ithaa kaanati- wafaatu khayran lee
(and take my life if death is better for me)
The dying person must also heed the Prophet’s statement
(SAW), “Whoever has with him a wrong taken from the honor of his brother
Muslim or from his wealth, should return it before the day of Judgment when neither dirham nor deenar will be accepted; if he has righteous deeds, it will be taken from them, and if
he doesn’t have righteous deeds, it will be taken from his friends bad deeds and put on him”
(Sahi Bukhari 3:629).
The dying person/ his relatives should pay his debts for Prophet (SAW) said, “There are two types of debt: whoever dies inten
ding to repay them, I will be responsible for them, and whoever dies with no intention to repay them will have it taken from his good deeds.
There will not be any deenars or his dirhams on that Day”
(Ahkaamul Janaiz, P5).
Regarding inheritance the Prophet (SAW) was report
ed to have said, “A Muslim must not inherit from a disbeliever, nor should a disbeliever inherit from a Muslim”
(Sahi Bukhari 8:498).
However the interests of non-inheriting relatives or friends may be protect under the Islamic principle of waseeyah (will) whereby a
person may give away up to a one third of his wealth. Consequently Prophet (SAW) said, “It is not right for a Muslim who has
to bequeath to pass two nights without having it in writing with him”