TOPIC: Death in Islam

Death in Islam 2 years 1 month ago #3124

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Death is a normal occurrence which will hit each one of us at its’ predestined time. Allah says in the Qur’an (interpretation of its meaning)
“Every soul will taste death” [3: 185].

So let us make use of our life before our death as advised by the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him who said “Make the most of five things before five others: life before death, health before sickness, free time before becoming busy, youth before old age, and wealth before poverty.” ( Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 1077).
But how should a Muslim react to the death of a loved one and what are the proper steps to take during the morning and burial period?

A Muslim reaction to death

Whilst the death of a person happens at its predestined time, it is a test for those related to the deceased. Hence as Muslims, we react to death the same way we react to trials. We react by being patient and saying " Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji'oon".

Allah says in the Quran (meaning of its interpretation),

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, {2:155}
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return." {2:156}
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided. {2:157}

Since the death of a loved one is a test, it is important for us to use the opportunity to remember death, repent, and draw closer to Allah. Usually when a person loses a loved one, it reminds one of the realities of death. What have you and I prepared for when we are shrouded and placed beneath the earth?

Mourning and condolence

The mourning of a deceased should not be more than three days except the case of a widow. It was narrated that, Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan reported that when the news of her father’s death reached her, she called for some perfume and wiped it on her forearms, and said: “I do not need it, but I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to mourn for any dead person for more than three days, except for a husband, (in which case the period of mourning is) four months and ten days. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4926).

It is also important to note that it is not the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to wear black while mourning, raise one’s voice in wailing and lamenting, striking the cheeks and eulogizing the deceased. These are all bid’ah and actions of the jaahiliyyah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) disavowed the one who does that when he said: “He is not one of us who rends his garment and slaps his cheeks and calls out with the call of jaahiliyyah.”

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned in Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, (17/414): Wearing black in mourning for the dead is a kind of bid’ah and displaying grief, and it is akin to rending one’s garment and slapping one’s cheeks. He also mentioned in Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 17/329, that wearing black clothes at times of calamity is an innovation with no Sunnah basis.

Should the family of the deceased gather to receive condolence ie (stay in a particular place where people who wish to offer condolence can meet them)?

This is a matter in which the scholars differed: The view of the Shaafa‘is and Hanbalis is that it was markooh to gather in order to receive condolence, and many of the Maalikis; some of them even stated that it is haraam. The strongest evidence was the report of Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah who sated: We used to regard gathering with the family of the deceased as wailing (which is forbidden). Narrated by Ahmad, 6866; and Ibn Maajah, 1612.
They also stated that gathering to receive condolence is something that was not done by the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) or any of his Companions, hence it is something that has been introduced. It is also contrary to the practice of the righteous early generations, who did not gather to receive condolences.

However, the of some of the Hanafis, some of the Maalikis and some of the Hanbalis, were of the opinion that there was nothing wrong with gathering to receive condolence as long as the it was free of objectable actions and innovation. One of the strongest evidence quoted was the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) according to which, that if a member of her family died, the women would gather together, then they would depart, except her own relatives and close friends. She would order that a pot of talbeenah be cooked, then some thareed would be made and the talbeenah would be poured over it. Then she would say: Eat some of it, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Talbeenah soothes the heart of the sick person, and it takes away some of the grief.”
They also viewed gathering to offer condolences under the heading of traditions or customs, and not acts of worship, and the issue of innovation is not applicable with regard to traditions or customs; rather the basic principle with regard to traditions or customs is that they are permissible.

Cooking from the household of the deceased.

We see these days that when a person dies, immediate families of the deceased cook for those who come to offer condolence. The correct thing is for relatives and neighbors to prepare meals for the immediate family of the deceased. It was narrated that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard that his cousin Ja’far ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) had died in the Battle of Mu’tah, he told his family to make food for the family of Ja’far, and said, “Because there has come to them that which will preoccupy them.”

It is also important to note that it is not permissible for the family to cook for people for the sake of the deceased whether it is done on the day of the death, or on the fourth or tenth day after the death, or at the new year. So the slaughtering a ram or cow for the sake of the deceased is NOT permitted during funeral or “mourning ceremony”. This is also because the hadith narrated by Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali (may Allaah be pleased with him) – one of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) –who said, “We used to count gathering with the family of the deceased and making food for them after the burial to be a kind of wailing (niyaahah).”

Lastly, there have been many cases where a person dies and the family is disheartened, not just because of the death of their loved one but also because of the cost that comes with mourning and burial.
The religion of Allah is easy, rather it is the people that make it difficult. All innovations/ bid’ah introduced into the religion are bad and are not accepted by Allah, as the prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated repeatedly that: "Every newly-invented thing is a bid'ah (innovation), every bid'ah is a going astray, and every going astray will be in the Fire." (Reported by al-Nisaa'i in al-Sunan, Salaat al-'Eedayn, Baab kayfa al-Khutbah). Reports with the same meaning were narrated via Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) by Ahmad, via al-'Irbaad ibn Saariyah by Abu Dawud and via Ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) by Ibn Maajah..

Key things to remember.

• There is no need to give money to the family of the deceased.
• Forty days’ celebration that people do is bid’ah. In sha Allah I will explain more about this in my next post.
• There is no such thing as a person dying before their time or a dead person avenging their death.
• There is no such thing as ‘spirts of the dead’. After a person has been buried, they are either getting rewarded or punished in their graves.

In sha Allah I will be posting next on funerals, and some innovations regarding it, as well how the living can benefit the dead.


Read the second part here
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