Sunday, 21 October 2007

Janazah 104



After the body is bathed, it obligatory that the deceased is prayed over.

The obligation i.e. Fardhu Kifayah is fulfilled if a single Muslim male who has reached the age of discrimination prays over the deceased. It is not fulfilled by a prayer of women alone when there is a male available, though if there is no one besides women, they are obliged to pray and their prayer fulfills the obligation.

It is recommended to perform the funeral prayer in a group i.e. with Jama'ah. It is Makruh (offensive) to pray Solat-ul-Janazah at a cemetery; whilst it is recommended to perform Solat-ul-Janazah in the mosque.

Who Should Lead the Solat-ul-Janazah

The person best suited to lead the Solat-ul-Janazah as Imam is the one who is best suited to wash the deceased - according to the hierarchy of priority as previously mentioned. This ruling is applicable except for women, who must not lead. The family member responsible for the deceased is given preference in leading the prayer even if the deceased be a Sultan or the Imam of the mosque.

The older of two persons (meaning more years in Islam), provided he is upright - takes precedence over the more learned in Sacred Law when it comes to the selection of the Imam for Solat-ul-Janazah - when they are at the same level - e.g. in the case of two sons or two brothers. This is due to the fact that the purpose of Solat-ul-Janazah is to pray for the deceased, and the supplication of an older person is more likely to be answered; and the older is given precedence over any others at that level, though if they are of the same age, then one is chosen according to the order used for the Imamate of other prayers.

The responsible family member is given precedence in leading the funeral prayer even when the deceased has stipulated some other non-family member to be the Imam.

Placing the Body for Solat-ul-Janazah

It is recommended that the Imam stand by the head of the enshrouded deceased, if male, and by the posterior, if female because this better screens her from view. During the Solat-ul-Janazah, the deceased is on a bier in front of the Imam and lying on his/her right side facing the direction of the Qiblat.

If there are several bodies, it is best to perform a separate funeral prayer for each individual, though it is permissible to pray for all of them in a single prayer by putting the biers directly in front of the Imam. This is done by placing the biers one after another - parallel with the rows of worshippers, whereby each body is facing the direction of the Qiblat. If the dead differ in gender, the closest body to the Imam should be an adult male, then a boy, then a woman. However, if all are male, all female, or all boys, then they should be arranged so that the closest is - the best Muslim, then the next best (in piety, abstinence from this world, godfearingness, and all praiseworthy traits), and so forth.

If bodies are brought successively, the first one brought is placed closest to the Imam, even if the later arrival is more virtuous or the first body is a boy, though not if a female, whose body should be placed further from the Imam than that of a male brought subsequently.

Description of the Solat-ul-Janazah

To begin the prayer, one must firstly make Niyyat. One must keep in mind its obligatory character, though need not explicity intend it as a Fardhu Kifayah obligation. One may confine oneself to merely intending to pray FOUR AllahuAkbars over the particular deceased person as an obligatory act, without intending its being in fulfillment of a communal obligation. When starting the prayer, the intention must coincide with one's opening AllahuAkbar.

It is valid for someone to perform Solat-ul-Janazah for a dead person who is absent while following an Imam who is praying over a dead person who is present.

One says AllahuAkbar four times in the funeral prayer, raising one's hands to shoulder level at each one, and it is recommended between each one to fold the right hand over the left. The funeral prayer is not invalidated by adding a fifth AllahuAkbar, even intentionally, though if the Imam adds one - then the follower does not do likewise, but simply waits to finish with him when he says his Salams.

After the first AllahuAkbar it is obligatory to recite the Al-Fatihah. It is recommended to say "I take refuge, etc." (Ta'awwudh) before it and "Ameen" after it, though not to recite the Opening Du'a Iftitah or a Surah therein. It is obligatory that the Al-Fatihah be recited in the funeral prayer and that the other spoken elements be uttered, but as for each occuring after its respective AllahuAkbar, the only one which must obligatorily be in its place is the Blessings on the Prophet Muhammad SAW, which must come after the second AllahuAkbar.

After the second AllahuAkbar whilst remaining standing throughout the funeral prayer, it is obligatory to say the Blessings on the Prophet Muhammad SAW after which it is Sunnah to make du'a for the Believers. It is also Sunnah to bless the folk / family of the Prophet SAW after the blessings upon him and to say "Alhamdulillah" before it.

After the third AllahuAkbar one supplicates for the deceased. The recommended supplication is:

"O Allah, this is Your slave, and son of Your slave. He has left the zephyr of this world and its spaciousness, in which were the things and people he loved, for the darkness of the grave and that which he will meet. He testified that there is no god but You alone without a partner, and that Muhammad is Your slave and messenger. You know him better than we. O Allah, he has gone to remain with You, and You are the best to remain with. He is now in need of Your mercy, and You have no need to torment him. We come to You in desire for You, interceding for him. O Allah, if he did well, treat him the better, and if he did wrong, disregard it and through Your mercy show him Your good pleasure and protect him from the trial and torment of the grave. Make his grave spacious for him and distance the earth from his sides, and through Your mercy protect him from Your torment until You raise him and send him safely to Your paradise, O Most Merciful of the Merciful." (n: This is the optimal supplication, The minimum is mentioned below:

It is commendable to say before the above:

"O Allah, forgive those of us who are alive and those who are young head those present and those who are and those who are old, those who are male and those who are female. O Allah, let those of us You give life live by Islam, and let those of us You take back die in a state of faith."

If it is the funeral of a child, one may add to this:

"O Allah, send him ahead to smoothe the way for his parents, and make him a reason for reward, a treasure, admonition, reflection, and intercessor. Make the scales of their good deeds heavy through him, and fill their hearts with patience."

After the fourth AllahuAkbar, it is Sunnah to say:

"O Allah, do not withhold from us his recompense, nor try us after him, but forgive us and him."

Then one says "Assalaamu'alaikum" twice. The first one is obligatory and the second one is Sunnah.

The Integrals of Solat-ul-Janazah

The integrals of the funeral prayer are seven:

(a) the intention;

(b) standing;

(c) saying "AllahuAkbar" four times;

(d) the Al-Fatihah;

(e) the Blessings on the Prophet Muhammad SAW;

(f) the supplication for the deceased, the minimum being "O Allah, forgive this deceased";

(g) and the first of the two times one says "Assalaamu'alaikum" to finish the prayer.

The conditions of the Solat-ul-Janazah are the same as other prayers, but in addition require:

(a) that the deceased's body has been washed before the prayer;

(b) and that the Imam and those praying do not stand ahead of the body during the prayer - i.e closer to the direction of the Qiblat;

It is offensive to perform the funeral prayer over a body before it has been shrouded. If someone dies under a pile of rubble, and it is impossible to take out the body and wash it, then he is not prayed over i.e. there will be no Solat-ul-Janazah for such person.

A latecomer to the funeral prayer whom the Imam has preceded by having already said "AllahuAkbar" a number of times - recites Al-Fatihah after his own opening AllahuAkbar, and then says "AllahuAkbar" each time the Imam does, though he performs the integrals in order from the point at which he began - i.e. reciting Al-Fatihah after his first AllahuAkbar, the Blessings on the Prophet Muhammad SAW after the second, and the supplication for the deceased after his third, and when the Imam finishes with Salams, the latecomer goes on to complete his remaining number of times of saying "AllahuAkbar" and the other spoken elements, and then finishes with his own Salams.

It is recommended that the body not be lifted until the latecomer finishes his Solat. If the latecomer joins the group with his opening AllahuAkbar, and the Imam immediately says the second AllahuAkbar before the latecomer has had a chance to recite Al-Fatihah, then the latecomer omits Al-Fatihah says "AllahuAkbar" with the Imam. Here the latecomer has performed the first two AllahuAkbars i.e. both the second one which he performed with them, and the first one which lacked Al-Fatihah, and he is no longer obliged to recite Al-Fatihah. If the Imam's AllahuAkbar occurs while such a latecomer is reciting Al-Fatihah, he discontinues it and says "AllahuAkbar" with the Imam.

If the Imam says "AllahuAkbar" and the follower does not say it until the Imam has said it a second time, it invalidates the follower's prayer.

Repeating the Solat-ul-Janazah

When one has performed a funeral prayer over someone, it is recommended that one does not repeat it.

Someone who has missed praying a funeral prayer until after the deceased has been buried may pray it at the grave and such a prayer is legally valid whether the deceased was buried before the funeral prayer had been performed over him, or whether after, though it is Unlawful to bury a Muslim before his funeral prayer, and anyone who knows of it is guilty of sin, but only on condition that the person praying at the grave had reached puberty and was sane on the day the deceased died - as he was thus one of those responsible for the communal obligation of praying over the deceased. Otherwise, he may not pray there.

Praying Over The Dead Who Are Not Present

It is permissible to perform the funeral prayer for an absent person whose body is out of town, even if not far, and even if the body is not in the direction of the Qiblat which the person praying faces. But such a prayer does not lift the communal obligation from the people of the town where the deceased died.

It is not permissible to perform the funeral prayer over someone, who is absent from the place of prayer when the body is in the same town. However this is permissible if it is at the edge of a large city and it is a problem to reach.

If part of the body of a person whose death has been verified is found, then it is obligatory to wash, shroud, and pray over it, even if the part is a fingernail or hair, as there is no difference between a little and a lot, provided that the part was separated from him after death and provided the rest of him has not been prayed over, for if it has, then it is not obligatory to pray over the part.

Burying the Shuhada (The Martyrs)

It is Unlawful to wash the body of a Shahid (Martyr) even if the body is in a state of major ritual impurity (Janabah) or the like, or perform the funeral prayer over him. A Shahid (Martyr) is defined as - a person who died in battle against non-Muslims as a result of fighting them, as opposed to someone who died otherwise, such as a person killed out of oppression when not in battle, or who died from fighting non-polytheists, such as Muslim transgressors. The last two categories of people are not considered as Shahid.

It is recommended that war gear be removed from the body e.g. such as a breastplate, helmet, armour, bullet-proof jacket etc. and it is best to bury the Martyr in the rest of his bloodstained clothes, since it is the effect of Worship, though the responsible family member may nevertheless remove the garments and shroud the body before burial.

Burying The Stillborn

A premature baby (i.e. ageing less than six full months) that dies is treated as an adult if it gave a cry, sneeze, or cough when it left the mother or showed movement. Treated as an adult here means that it is obligatory to wash, shroud, pray over, and bury the baby, since its life and death have been verified.

If the foetus had reached four months in the womb, which is the time at which the Ruh (spirit) is breathed into it, then it is washed before burial but not prayed over.

If the foetus has not reached four months, then it is only obligatory to bury it.

Carrying The Deceased To The Grave

The burial should take place immediately after the Solat-ul-Janazah and not be delayed to wait for anyone besides the responsible family member, provided he is reasonably nearby, if it is not be feared that the condition of the body will change. However, if it is feared that the body's condition will change, then the family member is not awaited.

It is best that the bier be carried by its poles, sometimes by four men i.e. one pole on the shoulder of each, the poles being parallel with the bier and supporting it, two ends forward and two ends back, and sometimes by five, the fifth man between the two forward poles. It is recommended that the bearers walk faster than usual, though they should not trot.

It is recommended for men to follow the bier to the place of burial close enough behind to be considered part of the funeral procession. It is offensive to follow it with fire or incense burners, which are likewise offensive at the burial. Beyond this, and any additions from customs and culture are reprehensible and blameworthy Bid'ah.

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