Ruling on sleeping on the ground for forty days as mourning over the dead

Question:

What is the Islamic method for holding a Ma’tam (mourning assembly)? In the Sudanese rural areas, most relatives and neighbors of the dead person usually sleep on the ground for forty days in mourning for the dead and do not apply perfume during this period. They slaughter animals as Sadaqah (voluntary charity) a week after his death. Would you please explain to us the legal point of view in this regard?

Answer:

The habit of holding Ma’tam and staying to meet people who come for consolation is a type of Bid’ah (innovation in religion). Neither the Prophet (peace be upon him) nor his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to do this. Likewise, sleeping on the ground and the abstinence of the relatives and neighbors of the dead from applying perfume for forty days is a type of Bid’ah.

Similarly, slaughtering animals a week or forty days after the death of someone as a Sadaqah for the dead or serving meat to those who come to offer consolation is Bid’ah. So, it is Wajib (obligatory) to abandon such habits and reproach those who practice them as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.1

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  1. Sahih Al-Bukhari [Book on reconciliation] no. 2697; Sahih Muslim [Book on judicial decisions] no. 1718; Abu Dawud[Book on Al-Sunnah] no. 4606; Ibn Majah [Introduction] no. 14; Musnad Ahmad p. 6/240. 

  • Date: Dhul-Qa'dah 25, 1441 AH
  • Source: Fatwas of the Permanent Committee of KSA no.5275-1
  • Muftis: Shaykh Ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Qa'ud