‘Reacting To Death In Family’
Death is a certainty and will come to everyone including our family members. Islam provides Muslims with a code of behavior, ethics, and social values, which helps us in tolerating and developing adaptive coping strategies to deal with stressful life events.
The first of which is the goal of life which is to prepare for the life to come, and hence the command to be pleased by the will of Allah and not question it. This helps us in not loosing ourselves which people without faith tend to they find it very difficult to cope with life once the tragedy of loosing a loved one happens. The Prophet ﷺ is the best example who at the death of his adored sixteen month old child, Ibrahim, held his son in his arms and said “The eyes send their tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us.”
When witnessing the nearly unbearable pain of losing a loved one, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most pleasing to your Lord – that is, placing your heart in the hands of Allah Al-Jabbar (The Repairer of Hearts), and ensuring your words and actions are compatible with the beautiful Sunnah of our Prophet ﷺ . Your eyes can tear, and your heart can grieve, but you say nothing that displeases Allah.
If the person has died and the soul has departed, then his relatives have to do the following:
Closing the Eyes
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to see Abu Salamah when his sight had become fixed (he had passed away). So the Prophet ﷺ closed his eyes and said: ‘When the soul is seized and it leaves the body, the eyes follow it…..’ (Sahih Muslim, Ahmad)
Making Dua for the Deceased
Some of Abu Salamah’s family wept and wailed, whereupon the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Pray to Allaah only for good for yourselves, because the angels (who are present) say “amen” to whatever you utter.’
Then he said: ‘O Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah; raise his station among those who are rightly-guided; and take good care of his family that he has left behind. O Lord of the Worlds! Forgive him and us, make his grave spacious, and put light therein for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and others)
Cover the Deceased with a Cloth
This is because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), according to which the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ was shrouded in a striped cloak. (al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
Do not cover if the person died in the State of Ihram
This is because of the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas who said: “Whilst a man was standing at ‘Arafaah, he fell from his mount and broke his neck (or he said, he died). The Prophet ﷺ said: “Wash him with water and lotus leaves, and shroud him in two cloths” (according to another report, “… in his two cloths [which he was wearing for ihraam]”) “… and do not perfume his body, and do not cover his head [or his face], for he will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection reciting the Talbiyah.” (al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
They should hasten to prepare him and take him out (Funeral)
We see it as a common practice to hold the funeral procession until a son or a daughter come from abroad to catch the last glimpse but this is against the Sunnah. We are expected to hasten to get the Procession done.
This is because of the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) which he attributed to the Prophet ﷺ : ‘Hasten to bury the deceased, for if he was righteous, then you are taking him to something good, and if he was otherwise, then it is an evil of which you are relieving yourselves.” (al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
If someone misses the Funeral they can perform it when they visit the Grave
We have an opportunity to make up if we miss the funeral prayer of our family member. One can go and offer the funeral prayer over the grave. Imam al-Shaafa’i and others are of the view that it is permissible to offer the funeral prayer over the grave of the deceased. The evidence for that is:
The report narrated by al-Bukhaari (458) and Muslim (956) that the Messenger ﷺ offered the funeral prayer for a woman at her grave. She used to clean the mosque, and the Sahaabah had buried her without informing the Messenger ﷺ of her death.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ passed by a grave where the burial had taken place at night and said: “When was this one buried?’ They said: Last night. He said: “Why didn’t you tell me?” They said: We buried him in the dark of night and we did not want to wake you up. He stood up and we stood in rows behind him. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: And I was among them, and he offered the funeral prayer for him. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1321).
It was narrated from Yazeed ibn Thaabit (may Allaah be pleased with him) that they went out with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ one day and he saw a new grave. He said: “What is this?” They said: It is So and so, the freed slave woman of Banu So and so – and the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ recognized her name – She died at noon when you were taking a nap, and we did not want to wake you up for her. The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ stood and the people formed rows behind him, and he said takbeer four times (i.e., offered the funeral prayer). Then he said: “No one should die when I am still among you without you telling me, for my prayer for him will be a mercy.” [Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (2022)].
Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated in al-Musannaf (3/239) a number of reports from the Sahaabah and Taabi’een who offered the funeral prayer over graves after the burial, including ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who offered the funeral prayer at the grave of her brother ‘Abd al-Rahmaan; and Ibn ‘Umar who offered the funeral prayer at the grave of his brother ‘Aasim; and Sulaymaan ibn Rabee’ah and Ibn Sireen and others. This was also narrated by Ibn Hazm in al-Muhalla (3/366) from Anas, ‘Ali and Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with them all).
They should bury him in the city or country where he died
Firstly because that would contradict the haste in burying that is enjoined in Islam.
Also it was narrated that when a brother of ‘Aa’ishah died in Wadi al-Habashah, and he was moved from the place where he had died, she said, “The only thing that upset me (or grieved me) was that I wished that he had been buried in the place where he died.” (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi with a saheeh isnaad).
Al-Nawawi said in al-Adhkaar: “If he (the dying person) leaves instructions that he be moved to another land [for burial], those instructions should not be carried out, because moving the deceased [to another land for burial] is haraam according to the correct view of the majority, and was clearly stated by those who examined the matter in depth.”
Should hasten to pay off his debts
This is one very serious thing that is simply kept for later on to deal with by people. Some of them should hasten to pay off his debts from his money, even if that means paying all that is left. If he did not have any wealth, then the state should pay on his behalf, if he had tried his best to pay off his debts. If the state does not do that, and some people volunteer to do that, then that is OK. Either way this is something that should be settled asap.
Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 4367).
The Prophet ﷺ refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day and said, I have paid it off, the Prophet ﷺ said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” [Musnad Ahmad (3/629); classed as hasan by al-Nawawi]
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari (4/547):
This hadeeth indicates how difficult the issue of debt is, and that it should not be undertaken except in cases of necessity. End quote.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: “The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1078)].
Al-Mubaarakfoori said in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (4/164):
The words “the soul of the believer is suspended” – al-Suyooti said: i.e., it is detained and kept from reaching its noble destination. Al-‘Iraaqi said: i.e., no judgement is passed as to whether it will be saved or doomed until it is determined whether his debt will be paid off or not. End quote.
So hasten to pay the Debt of the dead
It was narrated from Sa’d ibn al-Atwal (may Allaah be pleased with him) that his brother died, leaving three hundred dirhams, and leaving dependents. He said, “I wanted to spend it on his dependents, but the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Your brother is being detained by his debt, so go and pay it off for him.’ So I went and paid it off, then I came and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I have paid it off, except for two dirhams which a woman claimed (were owed to her), but she had no proof.’ He said, ‘Give them to her, because that is her due (or, because she is speaking the truth).’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi).
Also it was narrated from Samurah ibn Jundub that the Prophet ﷺ prayed the funeral prayer (according to one report, he prayed the Fajr prayer), and “when he had finished he said, ‘Is there anybody here from the family of So and so?’ The people remained silent, because whenever he brought anything up, they would keep quiet at first. He said that three times, and no one answered. Then a man said, ‘Here he is.’ A man stood up and came, dragging his lower garment, from the back of the assembly. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘What kept you from answering me the first two times? I did not mention your name except for a good reason. So-and-so – a man from amongst them – is being kept by his debt from Paradise. If you wish, you may ransom him, or if you wish, you may leave him to the punishment of Allaah.’ If only you had seen his family and those who knew of his affairs getting up and paying off his debts, until there was no one left who could make any demands from him.’” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa’i, al-Haakim, al-Bayhaqi, al-Tayaalisi in his Musnad and Ahmad).
Iddah of the Wife
The basic principle with regard to the woman whose husband has died is that she must remain in her husband’s house until her ‘iddah ends, because the Prophet ﷺ said: “Stay in the house in which the news of your husband’s death came to you, until your ‘iddah is over.” [Narrated by Ibn Maajah (2031); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani].
It is not permissible for her to leave her husband’s house, except in the case of need or for some necessary purpose.
Things that the Family shouldn’t be doing
1. Do not preoccupy with the dead rather start thinking on how to benefit the deceased. Take it as reminder and prepare for your own death. Maintain Patience, self-composure and submission to Allah’s decree.
2. Stop prompting me to say the Shahadah once the soul has departed.
3. Do not cry, weep, wail, raising the voice.
4. Do not strike cheeks or tear clothes. These are actions of Jaahiliyah.
5. Do not say things that displease Allah or express dissatisfaction over the decree of Allah.
6. Do not Mourn for more than 3 days except for the Wife who is to mourn for 4 months and ten days (iddah).
7. Do not call for gathering or offer food on the third day (Ziyarah) of the death.
8. Do not call for gatherings and remember the death on specified days like the 7th day (Saatwa), the tenth day (duswa), the fortieth day (Chehallum) all common Bidahs in the sub-continent.
9. Do not gather or call upon or pay others to come and recite and finish Qur’an.
Link to Urdu Lecture by Shaikh Yasir Al-Jabrihttps://youtu.be/RQJtAcvI_rg
Note: The Lecture can have more or less details from the that what is written here in English. The Tests will ONLY be from what is written here in English. The Lectures are provided to have give better understanding of the matter.