Some practices done upon burial
When someone dies, people have certain practices that I am going to list, hoping that you will comment and show the juristic ruling on these practices:
- Some palm tree leaves are put on the coffin (the piece of wood on which the dead body is placed) and these leaves are then buried with the dead person.
- After the burial of the dead body, a shaykh stands at the grave delivering a sermon and then invokes Allah for the dead person while people keep saying “Amen!” in a loud voice.
- This shaykh then addresses the dead person saying three times: “O so-and-so, the child of Adam! Remember the pledge that you died adhering to that you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah make you steadfast (thrice)!
- After the burial of the dead body, both the bereaved family and the relatives stand up to receive condolences from people by shaking their hands and saying to them, “May Allah reward you with the best for your condolences and repay your efforts!”
- After people leave, the bereaved family and some relatives and friends of the dead person stand at the grave and recite Surah Yasin, either individually or collectively in a loud voice.
- Afterwards, the bereaved family gather in their divan or in a pavilion specially prepared for funerals for three days during which a shaykh is hired to recite the Qur’an from the morning until the evening, whereas the relatives of the dead person are obliged to make food during these three days.
- On the third day and after `Isha’ (Night) Prayer, the bereaved family make what is called “Circle of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) for the dead person” in which some shaykhs recite some Surahs (Qur’anic chapters) of the Qur’an alternately. Then, some dates or the like are distributed to the attendance.
- The male relatives of the dead person then go to offer condolences to the bereaved family including women with whom such relatives sit and shake hands, whether they are Mahrams (unmarriageable relatives) or non-Mahrams (marriageable relatives).
Are such practices permissible? I would be grateful if you could explain this point, may Allah reward you with the best!
All the practices referred to in the question mentioned above are newly-invented Bid’ahs (innovations in religion), except for the practice of offering condolences to the bereaved family which is a permissible practice for comforting the bereaved family. A consoler may say to the bereaved family, “May Allah grant you solace, relieve your affliction and forgive your deceased relative!”
Also, it is desirable to prepare food for the bereaved family and offer such food to them according to their need, as they become engrossed in their affliction and have no time to prepare food themselves.
Therefore, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed of the death of Ja’far ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), he said: “Make food for the family of Ja’far for there has befallen them that which is preoccupying them.”
As for the practices done by people these days such as setting up pavilions and big tents for big gatherings, hiring reciters of the Qur’an, preparing big banquettes, spending a lot of money and time, all this costs the bereaved family and others a lot, these practices and others referred to in the question mentioned above are Bid’ahs for which Allah has sent down no authority. It was reported that Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Bajali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “We used to regard gathering at the bereaved family’s house and making food after the burial a kind of wailing.” If the money spent for such funeral gatherings are taken from the inheritance, it is a kind of injustice to the inheritors, particularly when there are minors and orphans among the inheritors, in which case it shall be unjust consumption of their property.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Date: Muharram 3, 1442 AH
Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah no. 18068-6
Shaykh Ibn Baz
Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Aal Al-Shaykh
Shaykh Salih Fawzan
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan