Muslim Burials: Common Practies Not Sanctioned By The Sunnah

Funeral practices in various countries often reflect the influence of local traditions and other religions. Muslims are required to confine all related rituals within the bounds prescribed by The Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Innovations in religion that have no sanction from The Quran or the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) should be scrupulously avoided as is clear from the following Hadith:

"...Beware of invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation (i.e., Bida'h), and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire." (Abu Daud and at-Tirmidhi).

A Bida'h can be any of the following:

  1. A statement, act or belief in conflict with a Sunnah
  2. An act prohibited by the Holy Prophet (pbuh)
  3. A practice of the non-Muslims that has become associated with Islamic worship
  4. An act of worship supported by only a very weak or fabricated Hadith.

The following are some of the common rituals practiced by Muslims in various cultures that have no sanction from the Shariah and are therefore prohibited. For a more comprehensive list authoritative books listed in the bibliography may be consulted:

  1. To have special prayer meetings or meals on the third, tenth, fortieth or any other specific day after death for the deceased.
  2. To incorporate in one's Will and Last Testament provisions for special prayers, meals, or other charitable deeds to be performed on specific days after one's death.
  3. To perform special prayers or charitable deeds during Ramadan, Shaban or any other month for the deceased.
  4. To place flowers, incense, perfume or any other similar offering on the grave.
  5. To seek the intercession of so-called holy men, saints, or the prophets with Allah on behalf of the deceased.
  6. To transport the deceased's body from one town to another for the specific purpose of burying it next to a holy man, or a relative.
  7. To recite The Quran or call Iqamah or Azan at the grave at any time during or after the burial.
  8. To recite a specific Quranic verse e.g., "minha khalaqnakum wa feeha nueedukum wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra" (From the (earth) did we create you, and into it shall we return you, and from it shall we bring you out once again): (The Quran 20:55), while throwing handfuls of soil in the grave.
  9. To write or print inscriptions of any kind on the Kafan.
  10. To place anything including pieces of paper with verses from The Quran with the body in the grave.
  11. To recite Surah Yaseen or any other surah from The Quran loudly during the Ghusl, Takfeen or the burial.
  12. To visit the grave of a deceased person on a specific day or occasion.
  13. To perform Wudu or take a shower before visiting a grave.
  14. To believe that pious or so-called holy people can intercede with Allah on our behalf for His Grace and Mercy.
  15. To refrain from food and drinks until after a burial.
  16. To place The Quran on the chest of the deceased or near him.
  17. To wear specific type of clothes in mourning.
  18. To clip the nails or to shave the armpits or the pubic hair of the deceased.

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