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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 15: Burial Service (Hadith -- The Traditions)


Chapter 15:
Burial Service (Hadith -- The Traditions):


 

(Note: The superscript-numbers [e.g., intention2] that appear in the text [in pink] refer to the numbers of the explanatory footnotes that appear at the end of each Hadith [Tradition].)


1 Ma`qil said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

Recite the Surah Yasin before the dying among you." 1 (Ah-Msh. 5 : 3.)

1 This chapter is full of expressions of Divine greatness and glory.


2 Umm Salamah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"When you visit a sick person or a dead one, speak well (of him), for the angels say amina to what you say." (M-Msh. 5 : 3.)


3 `A'ishah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, kissed `Uthman ibn Maz`un while he was dead, and he wept, so that the tears of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, flowed over the face of `Uthman.
2 (Tr-Msh. 5 : 3.)

2 `Uthman ibn Maz`un was the first person to die from among those who had fled from Makkah to Madinah for the sake of their faith in Allah.


4 Anas said,
Along with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, we visited Abu Saif, the blacksmith, and he was Ibrahim's foster-father. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, took Ibrahim (in his arms) and kissed him and smelt him. then we visited him after this while Ibrahim was yielding up his spirit; so tears began to flow from the eyes of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Auf said to him, And thou too, O Messenger of Allah? He said, "O Ibn `Auf! That is compassion." Then he wept again and said:

"Surely the eye sheds tears and the heart grieves and we do not say but what the Lord is pleased with; and we, O Ibrahim! are full of grief on account of thy separation." 3 (B. 23 : 43.)

3 Ibrahim was the Holy Prophet's son by his Coptic wife, Mary. He died when he was eighteen months old. The words uttered by the Holy Prophet on this occasion will serve as a beacon to the world in its tragedies. Abu Saif's wife was wet-nurse to the Holy Prophet's son.


5 `Abd Allah said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"He is not of us who slaps the cheeks and tears the garments and mourns like the mourning of the (days of) Ignorance." (B. 23 : 35.)


6 `Umar said,
Leave them (the women) alone, weeping over Abu Sulaiman, so long as there is not throwing of dust on heads or wailing.
4 (B. 23 : 34.)

4 A Muslim must bear the calamity of the death of a friend or a relative patiently. Weeping is but a sign of tenderness and compassion in the human heart, but wailing and other manifestations which are not consistent with patience are forbidden.


7 Anas said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"There is, from among the people, no Muslim who has three of his (children) dead before they have reached majority but Allah will make him enter paradise by His gracious mercy on their account." (B. 23 : 6.)


8 Umm `Atiyyah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, came to us while we were washing (the body of) his daughter; so he said:

"Wash her thrice or five times or more than that with water having (leaves of) the lote tree (boiled in it), and the last time put in camphor; and when you have finished, inform me."

So when we had finished we informed him, and he threw towards us his waist-wrapper and said:

"Put it next to her body." (B. 23 : 9.)


9 `A'ishah reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, was shrouded in three pieces of white washed cotton cloth
5, made in Yaman; there was neither shirt in them nor turban. (B. 23 : 19.)

5 Sahuliyyah were so called in relation to Sahul, a place in Yaman, where they were woven or whence they were brought; or they were garments beaten and washed and whitened, so called in relation to sahul meaning one who beats and washes and whitens cloths (LL).


10 Abu Hurairah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Whoever stays with a bier until he joins the burial service over it, he has one portion; and whoever remains present till the body is buried, he has two portions." (B. 23 : 58.)


11 Bara' ibn `Azib said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, commanded us.....to follow biers (to their last resting-place), to visit the sick person, to accept (the invitation of) one who invites (to a dinner), to help the oppressed one, to execute the oath, to return the salutation, and to utter a prayer for the sneezer.
6 (B. 23 : 2.)

6 Only the first two commandments relate to this chapter, following a bier and visiting a sick person.


12 `Amir reported,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"When one of you sees a bier then, if he does not accompany it, he should stand until he leaves the bier behind or the bier leaves him behind, or it is put down before it leaves him behind." (B. 23 : 47.)


13 Jabir said,
A bier passed by us and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, stood up for it, and we (also) stood up. Then we said, O Messenger of Allah! It is the bier of a Jew. He said:

"When you see a bier, stand up." 7 (B. 23 : 50.)

7 Equal respect must be shown to a bier whether it is that of a Muslim or a non-Muslim.


14 Abu Hurairah reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, gave the news of the death of the Negus on the day on which he died. He went forth to the place of prayer and made the people stand in ranks and uttered four takbirs.
8 (B. 23 : 4.)

8 The Negus was the ruler of Abyssinia. He had become a Muslim. The hadith shows that a burial service may be held over a dead body in its absence. It further shows that the funeral service consisted of four takbirs.


15 Umm `Atiyyah said,
We were forbidden to follow biers, and it was not a decisive prohibition.
9 (B. 23 : 30.)

9 Women were advised not to go perhaps, because, in the first place they could not help in carrying the bier, but more so because they might break down under grief.


16 Al-Mughirah reported,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"The rider shall go behind the bier; and he who walks on foot may go behind it and before it and on its right and on its left, remaining near to it." (AD-Msh. 5 : 5.)


17 Ibn `Abbas reported,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, came to a grave apart form other graves, so he arranged the people into ranks and pronounced four takbirs.
10 (B. 23 : 54.)

10 A fuller account is given in B. 23 : 5. The burial service over the deceased had been held during the night, and the Holy Prophet was not informed. So he held a burial service over again on the grave. The hadith further shows that the people arranged themselves into ranks behind the imam. The general practice is to have at least three ranks (AD-Msh. 5 : 5), but there is no harm if there are two (B. 23 : 54).


18 The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:
"Whoever prays on the bier"..........He called it salat (prayer), and there is no ruku` in it, nor sajdah; and no one should talk during the service; and there is in it takbir and taslim; and Ibn `Umar would not pray (on the bier) unless he had performed the wudzu'.(B. 23 : 57.)


19 Samurah reported,
A woman died in childbirth, and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, held a burial service over her, and stood opposite the middle (of the bier).
11 (B. 6 : 29.)

11 This hadith is again related by Bukhari in 23 : 64 under the heading : "Where to stand in the case of the woman and the man." This shows that the same position should be adopted by the imam, whether the bier is that of a male or a female. Imam Abu Hanifa interpreted the middle as meaning the breast, and that is the right position of the imam according to him, both in the case of the female and the male.


20 Talhah said,
I prayed on a bier behind Ibn `Abbas, and he recited the Fatihah and said, (I have done this) so that you may know that it is the Sunnah.
12 (AD-Msh. 23 : 66.)

12 Ibn `Abbas recited the Fatihah in a voice which others could hear, so that they might know that it was the Holy Prophet's practice. This shows that it was ordinarily recited in a low voice not audible, and further that it was meant to be so recited by the imam as well as the congregation. The same is the case with the prayers after other takbirs. The Fatihah is recited after the first takbir; al-salat `ala-l-Nabi, as in the sitting position in prayer, after the second; and an intercessory prayer for the deceased (hh. 22, 23) after the third; while the taslim is uttered after the fourth.


21 Abu Hurairah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"When you pray over the dead one, be sincere in your prayer for him." 13 (AD-Msh. 5 : 5.)

13 The burial service is thus an intercessory prayer for the deceased one, and any prayer may be offered. Hadith contains several such prayers. The one generally adopted is given in the next hadith.


22 Abu Hurairah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to say when he held a burial service over a bier:

"O Allah! Forgive our living ones and our dead ones, and those of us who are present and those who are absent, and our young ones and our old ones, and our males and our females. O Allah! Whom Thou keepest living among us cause him to live in submission to Thee, and whom Thou causest to die from among us make him die in faith. O Allah! Do not deprive us of his reward, and do not make us fall into a trial after him." (AD-Msh. 5 : 5.)
23 Hasan said,
The Fatihah should be recited over the child and then one should say, O Allah! Make him for us a cause of recompense in the world to come and as one going before and a reward.
14 (B. 23 : 66.)

14 According to one report, the word dhukhr-an (a treasure) is added before the final word ajr-an. No burial service is held over a still-born child (B. 23 : 80).


24 Abu Hurairah said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Whoever strangles himself strangles himself into fire, and whoever stabs himself with a spear stabs himself into fire." 15 (B. 23 : 84.)

15 According to one hadith, the Holy Prophet did not lead the burial service of a man who committed suicide, but his companions held such a service.


25 Jabir said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, gathered together in one cloth two men out of those who were killed in (the battle of) Uhud. Then he asked, "Which of them knew more of the Qur'an"? When one of them was pointed out to him, he gave him precedence in the lahd, and said, "I shall be a witness of these on the Day of Resurrection". And he commanded that they should be buried with their blood (on them) and they were not washed, nor was a burial service held over them.
16 (B. 23 : 73.)

16 Lahd (from lahada, he inclined to a thing) is an oblong excavation in the side of the grave, a lateral hollow, in which the dead body is placed, the opening into the grave being then closed with bricks, so that when the grave is filled with earth the body remains intact. As this hadith shows, preference was given to the lahd the other body being placed in the shaqq, the pit itself, and therefore burial in the shaqq is not disallowed. In the case of a coffin, the shaqq alone would serve the purpose.

The martyrs of Uhud were neither washed nor was a burial service held over them, and the same rule may be followed in the exigency of war or other exigencies. Towards the end of his life, however, the Holy Prophet held a burial service on the grave of the martyrs of Uhud.


26 Ibn `Umar reported,
When the dead body was placed in the grave, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to say:

"In the name of Allah and with Allah and according to the religion of the Messenger of Allah." (Ah-Msh. 5 : 6.)


27 Muhammad reported without tracing it up to the Holy Prophet,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, threw on the dead body (at its burial) three handfuls of dust with both his hands, and he caused water to be sprinkled on the grave of his son Ibrahim, and placed pebbles on it. (Msh. 5 : 6.)


28 Sufyan, the date-seller, reported,
He saw the grave of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, gibbous-shaped.
17 (B. 23 : 96.)

17 The Arabic word is musannam which means raised from the ground like the sanam (hump) of the camel.


29 Jabir said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, forbade the plastering of the grave, and the construction of a building on it, and sitting on it.
18 (M-Msh. 5 : 6.)

18 The prohibition to plaster, and build on, a grave may have been due to the waste of money which it would involve. Sitting on the grave is prohibited because it is disrespectful.


30 `A'ishah, wife of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, reported:
When a person of her family died and the women gathered together over it, then they dispersed, except the family of the dead and those closely related to him, she used to order a cooking-pot of talbinah which was cooked, then tharid was made and the talbinah was cast over it; then she would say, Eat of it, for I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, say

"The talbinah gives the rest to the heart of the sick one and takes away some of the grief." 19 (B. 70 : 24.)

19 Talbinah (from laban meaning milk) is food made of bran, milk and honey, or simply of bran and honey, so called because it is white like milk; and tharid is bread crumbled into small pieces with fingers over which broth is poured, sometimes prepared with marrow and with eggs, considered to be most delicious. It shows that there was a gathering when a person died, the object no doubt being to console the bereaved family. When they dispersed, food was sent by some near relative to the family itself and very nearly related friends. The whole gathering did not partake of food.


31 `A'ishah said,
When the news came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, that Ibn Harithah and Ja`far and Ibn Rawahah were killed, he sat (in the mosque), and grief could be seen in his face, and I saw (him) through the opening at the pivot of the door.
20 (B. 23 : 40.)

20 To sit in some place so that people may come and express their sympathy with and console the bereaved family is, therefore, according to the Holy Prophet's practice. Praying for the deceased one is not forbidden, but there is no authority for the present practice to offer prayers by the raising up of hands with every new-comer. The only prayer was the burial service and a prayer on the grave


32 `A'ishah said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Do not abuse the dead, for they have gone on to what they sent before." 21 (B. 23 : 97.)

21 Abuse is forbidden not only in regard to the dead from among Muslims but the dead in general. But criticism in not forbidden in any case; it sometimes becomes a necessity, as in the case of the reporters of hadith.


33 `A'ishah reported,
A man said to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him,

My mother died a sudden death, and I am sure that if she had been able to speak she would have given in charity; will she have a reward if I give in charity on her behalf? He said "Yes". 22 (B. 23 : 95.)

22 This hadith and the one that follows show that charity on behalf of the dead is a source of benefit to them; and it appears that charity on behalf of the dead was generally practised in early Islam. Recital of the Holy Qur'an to the dying ones is recommended (h. 1), but the practice of reciting the Holy Qur'an over the dead body or on a grave is not traceable to the Holy Prophet and is an innovation. Recital of the Holy Qur'an is a good deed in itself, but to do it for remuneration does not bring any good to the reciter and certainly none to the dead. There is no authority of the Holy Prophet for the Qul ceremony on the third day, or for the ceremonies connected with the tenth and fortieth days after death. Nor can they be considered as acts of charity, for they are not for the benefit of the poor.


34 It is reported on the authority of Sa`d ibn `Ubadah that,
His mother died while he was absent. So he said, O Messenger of Allah! My mother died while I was absent; will it benefit her if I give in charity on her behalf? He said, "Yes". He said, Then I make thee a witness that my orchard Mikhraf is a charity on her behalf. (B. 55 : 15.)


35 Buraidah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to teach them (to say), when they went forth to the graves:

"Peace be with you, Dwellers of this abode! from among the faithful and the Muslims; and we, if it please Allah, will join you; we ask of Allah security for ourselves and for you." (M-Msh. 5 : 8.)
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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 15: Burial Service (Hadith -- The Traditions)

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