Subject : Funeral Prayer and Condolences in Light of Precautionary Measures
Fatwa Number : 3563
Date : 15-03-2020
Classified : Call to Islam & Sincerity in Advice
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

In light of the latest precautionary measures adopted by the government, how should funeral prayer be performed? What is the ruling of Sharia on receiving mourners at funeral homes, attending burials, and having weddings?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds.

Allah The Almighty has facilitated the affairs of the believers that it became a principle as well as a distinctive feature of the Islamic faith. This is attested to in the following verse: "God charges no soul save to its capacity"{Al-Baqarah, 286}.

It is no secret that we are at a crucial stage requiring adherence to the principle, "prevention is better than cure". This is why the government has adopted a number of precautionary measures to reduce or eliminate the spread of the disease {Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)}. For example, the suspension of Friday prayer and other congregational prayers in mosques. This indicates the seriousness and importance of this matter, as preserving life is one of the higher objectives of Islamic Sharia. In addition, the intermingling of people these days leads to contracting infectious diseases, which, God forbid, could result in death, and consequently the nullification of the aforementioned objective. The evidence on this is that Allah The Almighty says," And kill not yourselves. Surely God is ever Merciful to you."{An-Nisaa`, 29}.

It is known that paying condolence is desirable since the Messenger of Allah says, "There is no believer who consoles for his brother for a calamity, but Allah will clothe him with garments of honor on the Day of Resurrection.'{Ibn Majah}. The aim, here, is to console the family of the deceased. Some of the phrases said to a Muslim on this sad occasion are: "May Allah multiply your reward", "May Allah give you patience and peace to pass through this trial", and "May Allah forgive him/her." Moreover, it isn`t conditioned to kiss or shake hands when paying condolences since shaking hands is an act of Sunnah and it should be left at this difficult time to prevent the contraction of the disease. In addition, paying condolence starts from the moment someone dies until after three days from his or her burial. However, the Sunnah is achieved from one instance of paying condolence. Kindly check "Hashiyat Al-Jamal Ala Al-Minhaaj, 2/212}.

Funeral prayer is a collective duty .i.e. if it is performed by one person then others aren`t held liable for it. Although Friday prayer is an individual duty, people, in the current situation, aren`t held liable for not performing it in the mosque. By analogy, people won`t be held liable for not attending weddings and funerals. In these difficult days that we are experiencing, the closest family members of the deceased should perform the funeral prayer at the cemetery or the local mosque, then take him/her to the cemetery where condolences are to be paid without shaking hands or kissing. It also suffices to pay condolences via phone calls or text messages. We, Iftaa` Department, don`t recommend opening funeral homes to prevent gathering, mingling and consequently contracting diseases.

As for weddings, we recommend that they are attended by the closest relatives of the bride and the bridegroom, and that congratulations are paid via phone calls and text messages.

The aforementioned procedures boil down to adopting means to reach an end and obeying those in authority, as commanded by Almighty Allah Who says, " O you who believe, obey God, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you"{An-Nisaa`, 59}. And Allah The Almighty knows best.



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