Carrying and Burying the Deceased
وَسُنَّ تَرْبِيعٌ فِي حَمْلِهَا, وَإِسْرَاعٌ وَكَوْنُ مَاشٍ أَمَامَهَا, وَرَاكِبٍ لِحَاجَةٍ خَلْفَهَا, وَقُرْبٌ مِنْهَا, وَكَوْنُ قَبْرٍ لَحْدًا, وَقَوْلُ مُدْخِلٍ : , بِسْمِ اَللَّهِ, وَعَلَى مِلَّةِ رَسُولِ اَللَّهِ – وَلَحْدُهُ عَلَى شِقِّهِ اَلْأَيْمَنِ, وَيَجِبُ اِسْتِقْبَالُهُ اَلْقِبْلَةَ, وَكُرِهَ -بِلَا حَاجَةٍ- جُلُوسُ تَابِعِهَا قَبْلَ وَضْعِهَا, وَتَجْصِيصُ قَبْرٍ, وَبِنَاءٌ وَكِتَابَةٌ, وَمَشْيٌ, وَجُلُوسٌ عَلَيْهِ, وَإِدْخَالُهُ شَيْئًا مَسَّتْهُ اَلنَّارُ, وَتَبَسُّمٌ, وَحَدِيثٌ بِأَمْرِ اَلدُّنْيَا عِنْدَه ُ. وَحَرُمَ دَفْنُ اِثْنَيْنِ فَأَكْثَرَ فِي قَبْرٍ إِلَّا لِضَرُورَةٍ, وَأَيُّ قُرْبَةٍ فُعِلَتْ وَجُعِلَ ثَوَابُهَا لِمُسْلِمٍ حَيٍّ أَوْ مَيِّتٍ نَفَعَهُ
It is recommended for 4 people to carry the deceased from each corner and hurry in the burial process. There should be no delay unless absolutely necessary and that the burial cannot be done due to conditions out of ones hand.
It is recommended that when the deceased is being carried from the area of the prayer to the area of the burial, the people walk in front of it. Those who are riding should ride behind it. It is better to walk if the graveyard is at a walkable distance. It is recommended to be next or close to the deceased while moving towards the burial spot.
It is also recommended for the grave to have a (lahd) niche carved at either side of the grave towards the bottom section where the body is placed.
It is recommended for the person placing in the body to lower it by saying, ” بِسْمِ اَللَّهِ, وَعَلَى مِلَّةِ رَسُولِ اَللَّهِ” (In the Name of Allah, and upon the religion of the Messenger of Allah). It is recommended to place the lahd towards the right side, where the deceased is facing the qiblah and this is an obligation. It is not always possible but should be tried to be done to the utmost of one’s ability.
It is disliked for a person to sit before the deceased is placed into the grave. Out of respect the person should remain standing unless there is a necessity.
It is disliked to plaster or decorate the grave itself without any exaggeration. There is no harm in writing the name of the deceased to mark the place of burial. It is further disliked to build anything over, writing on, walking over, sitting upon or placing something which is burnt (or touched by fire) on the grave. This is out of optimism that a person is safeguarded from the fire in the test of the grave and the Akhirah.
It is disliked to smile or talk about worldly matters near the grave. This is a time to reflect over death and the Akhirah. Smiling and doing idle talk will be disrespectful to the family of the deceased and the deceased himself.
It is prohibited to bury more than one person in a single grave unless absolutely necessary.
Imam Ahmad رحمه الله explicitly permits doing good deeds like reading Quran, fasting, charity, performing voluntary prayers and with the intention of giving its reward to the dead. The Hanabilah are very flexible in this matter. They extend the scope of this matter to even those who are still alive. The general rule is that acts of worship are done for oneself, but if a person wishes to give its reward to someone else then that is allowed as well. The Prophet of Allah ﷺ allowed this for quite a few acts of worship so it makes sense that it includes other similar actions as well. This is a matter of difference of opinion where some scholars opine that only those acts of worship explicitly mentioned in the Sunnah can be passed on to the dead. The Hanabilah respond to this that the Prophet ﷺ responded to the questions placed forward by the companions, and he didn’t have to specify each and every act individually.
وَسُنَّ لِرِجَالٍ زِيَارَةُ قَبْرٍ مُسْلِمٍ, وَالْقِرَاءَةِ عِنْدَهُ, وَمَا يُخَفِّفُ عَنْهُ, وَلَوْ بِجَعْلِ جَرِيدَةٍ رَطْبَةٍ فِي اَلْقَبْرِ, وَقَوْلُ زَائِرٍ وَمَارٍّ بِهِ : , اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ دَارَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ, وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اَللَّهُ بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ, يَرْحَمُ اَللَّهُ اَلْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَالْمُسْتَأْخِرِينَ, نَسْأَلُ اَللَّهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمْ اَلْعَافِيَةَ, اَللَّهُمَّ لَا تَحْرِمْنَا أَجْرَهُمْ, وَلَا تَفْتِنَّا بَعْدَهُمْ, وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلَهُمْ
It is recommended for a Muslim to visit the grave of another Muslim and recite the Quran and perform other good deeds that potentially benefit the deceased or reduce the suffering that they might be going through. This might include placing a moist palm leaf on the grave.
Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet ﷺ once passed by two graves, and those two persons (in the graves) were being tortured. He said,
إِنَّهُمَا لَيُعَذَّبَانِ وَمَا يُعَذَّبَانِ فِي كَبِيرٍ أَمَّا أَحَدُهُمَا فَكَانَ لاَ يَسْتَتِرُ مِنَ الْبَوْلِ، وَأَمَّا الآخَرُ فَكَانَ يَمْشِي بِالنَّمِيمَةِ
“They are being tortured not for a great thing (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other was going about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends). He then took a green leaf of a date-palm tree split it into two pieces and fixed one on each grave. The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Why have you done so?” He replied,
لَعَلَّهُ أَنْ يُخَفَّفَ عَنْهُمَا مَا لَمْ يَيْبَسَا
“I hope that their punishment may be lessened till they (the leaf) become dry.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Some scholars said that this act was specific to the Prophet ﷺ. Other scholars said that it is not specific. The general rule is that anything done by the Prophet ﷺ can and should be done by the Ummah unless explicitly stated otherwise because he is a role-model in everything to emulate. Ibn an-Najjar states that if placing a leaf on a grave potentially reduces the suffering in the grave, then reading the Quran is far greater.
The Hanabilah consider it to be disliked and not haram for women to visit the graves. Some of the companions said that they were prohibited from visiting the graves but not strictly prohibited. It was not something emphasized. This is a matter of difference of opinion where other scholars deem the ruling of prohibition to be abrogated and some even consider it to be recommended just as it is for men.
It is recommended for a person visiting the graveyard or for the one passing by to say,
اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ دَارَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ, وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اَللَّهُ بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ, يَرْحَمُ اَللَّهُ اَلْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَالْمُسْتَأْخِرِينَ, نَسْأَلُ اَللَّهَ لَنَا وَلَكُمْ اَلْعَافِيَةَ, اَللَّهُمَّ لَا تَحْرِمْنَا أَجْرَهُمْ, وَلَا تَفْتِنَّا بَعْدَهُمْ, وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلَهُمْ
“Peace be upon you, inhabitants of the dwellings who are of the community of the believers. If Allah wills we shall join you. May Allah grant mercy to those of you who hasten forward and those of you who lag behind. We ask Allah for ourselves and for you for a respite. O Allah, do no deprive us of a reward, nor afflict us after him. O Allah, grant us and him forgiveness”.
وَتَعْزِيَةُ اَلْمُصَابِ بِالْمَيِّتِ سُنَّةٌ, وَيَجُوزُ اَلْبُكَاءُ عَلَيْهِ, وَحَرُمَ نَدْبٌ, وَنِيَاحَةٌ, وَشَقُّ ثَوْبٍ, وَلَطْمُ خَدٍّ وَنَحْوُهُ
It is recommended to console a person who has suffered with the loss of a close one. It is of the rights a Muslim has over another Muslim.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
مَنْ نَفَّسَ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ الدُّنْيَا نَفَّسَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ يَسَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ فِي عَوْنِ الْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ الْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيهِ وَمَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِلاَّ نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّكِينَةُ وَغَشِيَتْهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ وَحَفَّتْهُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَذَكَرَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ وَمَنْ بَطَّأَ بِهِ عَمَلُهُ لَمْ يُسْرِعْ بِهِ نَسَبُهُ
“Whoever relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever helps ease one in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother. Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. People do not gather in the houses of Allah, reciting the book of Allah and studying it together, but that tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will cover them, angels will surround them, and Allah will mention them to those near him. Whoever is slow to good deeds will not be hastened by his lineage.” [Sahih Muslim]
It is permissible to cry as it is a completely natural thing, but it is disliked to exaggerate by wailing, screaming, slapping one’s chest/body and tearing one’s garments. Why? Because this indicates one’s displeasure and dislike to the decree of Allah. The Prophet’s of Allah cried at the demise or even at the loss of a loved one. Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام cried when the news of Prophet Yousuf’s عليه السلام alleged death reached him.
Based on the Hanbali primer, Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarat authored by Ibn Balban al-Hanbali as taught by Sheikh Zahed Fettah حفظه الله