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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 15: Burial Service (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 15:
Burial Service (Summary of the Chapter):


When news of death is received, one should repeat the words inna li-llah-i wa inna ilai-hi-raji`un (v. 1). The asking of forgiveness for the departed ones is a Muslim's duty towards a Muslim (v. 2), and this is done by the holding of a burial service at death. Burial service is prohibited in the case of those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger (v. 3), the particular people referred to in the verse being hypocrites whose disbelief had become manifest.

Details as to the duties of the living towards the dying and the dead are given in Hadith. Visiting the sick is a duty laid upon every Muslim (h. 11). When signs of the approach of death are witnessed in a person, the Holy Qur'an may be recited by his bedside (h. 1). Speaking well of the dead or a sick person when a visit is paid to him is recommended (h. 2). Grief for the dying or the dead is but natural, and one may weep when overcome (hh. 3, 4), but wailing, slapping the cheeks, tearing garments, etc., are forbidden (hh. 5, 6). Death of children is spoken of as a blessing in disguise (h. 7). The dead body must be washed and cleaned of all impurities and then wrapped up in a clean cloth (hh. 8, 9). Following the bier is an act of great merit (h. 10), and a duty which a Muslim owes to his dead brother (h. 11). Respect must be shown to the bier, whether it be of a Muslim or of a non-Muslim (hh. 12, 13). A burial service may be held even in the absence of the dead body (h. 14). Women were advised not to follow a bier but there is no prohibition against it (h. 15). The bier may be followed on foot or riding (h. 16). Those who follow the bier arrange themselves into ranks behind the imam at the burial service (h. 17). The service consists of four takbirs and taslim while standing, there being no ruku` or sajdah but wudzu' must be performed before joining it (hh. 17, 18). The bier is placed before the imam who stands opposite the middle, or the breast, of the dead body (h. 19). The first takbir is followed by the recital of the Fatihah in a soft voice audible to oneself (preceded by the istiftah, as in prayer); the second by the recital of al-salat `ala-l-Nabi; the third by an intercessory prayer for the dead one in particular, but it includes the living as well; and the fourth by taslim (hh. 20-23). Burial service must be held even on a Muslim who is guilty of heinous sins (H. viii : 6). The committing of suicide is, according to Islam, a criminal act, but even such a person may not be deprived of the burial service (h. 24). In the battle-field the washing, the shrouding and the burial service were dispensed with, and two men were buried in one grave (h. 25). What should be said and done at the burial is related in (hh. 26, 27). The tomb should be raised a little above the ground and should be gibbous in shape (h. 28). The plastering of tombs or construction of buildings on them is discouraged (h. 29). The gathering of friends and relatives to console the bereaved family is allowed, and so also is the preparation for them of food, at which only those very nearly related should be present (hh. 30, 31). Abusing the dead is forbidden (h. 32). Charity on behalf of the dead is allowed (hh. 33, 34). When visiting graves, one must pray for the dead (h. 35).

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 15: Burial Service (Summary of the Chapter)

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