The Burial Proedure in Islam

22nd June 2008

Allah (swt) says: …And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is well-acquainted with what you do.’ (Surah 63, v 11)
Abu Hurairah (ra) relates that RasulAllah (saw) stated: read the kalmia ‘La Ilaha Ilallah’ near the dying person (thus by reading the kalmia near them, their thoughts are diverted to the oneness of Allah (swt) and they pass away from this world in that state inshAllah). (Sahih Muslim)

Hazrat Maqir bin Yasaar (ra) relates that RasulAllah (saw) stated: read surah Ya-Sin near the dying person. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah)

Hazrat Jabir bin Zayd (ra) relates that the recitation of Surah R’ad (thunder) also causes the dying person to have some peace and eases the pangs of death. (Ibn Abi Shayba)

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) relates, I heard RasulAllah (saw) say: when anyone amongst you dies, then do not hold his body back (from the burial). Take the body quickly to the grave, after the burial read the opening 5 verses of Surah Baqarah towards the head of the grave. And read the last 2 verses of Surah Baqarah towards the foot of the grave. (Abu Dawood, v2, p94)

Due to governmental requirements and procedures a body may be held back from a burial. However, to delay a body from being buried due to the absence of certain family members is not permissible according to Shariah. This is due to the fact that in many ahadith, RasulAllah (saw) has expressly ordered that the body be buried as soon as possible after death.

Umme Salamah (ra) relates that at the time of death of her husband Abu Salamah (ra) Nabi Karim (saw) came to their house, the eyes of Abu Salamah (ra) had remained open after his death. Nabi Karim (saw) closed them and said: ‘when the soul is taken out of the body then the faculty of sight is also taken with it.’ Hearing this, the household of Abu Salamah (ra) started crying loudly.
Nabi Karim (saw) stated: O people! Make supplication for good and success, for whatever you are saying now, the angels say ‘Ameen’ to that. Then Nabi Karim (saw) himself made the following dua:

‘O Allah forgive Abu Salamah and raise his rank amongst those whom you have guided of your creation. Sustain his housefolk, O Allah forgive Abu Salamah and all of us also and make his grave wide and filled with light!’ (Sahih Muslim)

To take part in the funeral prayer and burial of a Muslim carries a very great reward indeed
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) relates that RasulAllah (saw) stated: whomsoever takes part in the funeral prayer of a Muslim and then stays on until the burial is completed. He will be rewarded the equivalent of 2 qirat. The comparison of 1 qirat is like the Mountain of Uhud.(Sahih Muslim)

Be aware, that this is applicable to the menfolk and women should refrain from the acts of burial alongside the men. There are also hadith which prohibit women from attending the cemeteries.

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abaas (ra) stated: the believer who takes part in the funeral prayer of his fellow believers the greatest reward that he attains is, after his death, he (the performer of the funeral prayer of others) has his sins forgiven. (Nawadirul Usool)

From this narration is it encouraged that a believer should, as much as is possible, take part in the funeral prayer and burial of the Muslims to attain the great reward that Allah (swt) has kept in these deeds.
For today is their turn and tomorrow it will be ours.

After performing the burial of any believer RasulAllah (saw) would wait at their grave and would say: supplicate for the steadfastness and forgiveness of your brother, for he is about to be questioned. (Abu Dawood)

The individuals who place the body in the grave should say: ‘Bismillahi Wa Ala Milathi Rasulillah’ (we place you in the name of Allah and on the religion of RasulAllah (saw) we hand you over to Allah). Then the body should be placed on its right side facing the qibla.(Duri Mukhtar)

After this cover the grave with earth, for each person to throw 3 handfuls in the grave is preferred. It is better that on throwing the 1st handful: ‘Minha Khalaqna Kum’ (from this earth we created you), is read. On the 2nd handful: ‘Wa Feha Nu’iydukum’ (and to this we are returning you). And on throwing the 3rd handful read: ‘Wa Minha Nukhrijukum Taratan Ukhra’ (from this again we shall raise you (on Qiyamah). (Duri Mukhtar)

The news of the passing away of Hazrat Jafar ibn Abi Talib (ra) reached RasulAllah (saw). He (saw) said to his household: ‘prepare food for the family of Jafar (ra), for they are at this time grieving and will not be attentive to food.’ (Jami Tirmidi, Ibn Majah)

It is regretful & shameful that today people frequent the house of the family of the deceased to have food rather than preparing & sending food to their house which is the way of our Prophet (saw).

May Allah guides to the straight path and make us of those who live with Imaan, die with Imaan and raise us on Qiyamah with the believers Ameen!

Mufti Yusuf Danka