Burial of the Deceased and Taziya (Shafii)


What is the taziya? What to do after the dead?

The term tashyi’ refers to the acts carried out after washing and enshrouding the body. In other words, it means everything done from placing the body into the coffin until taking it to the cemetery after the funeral prayer.

Only men carry the coffin even if the deceased is a female Muslim. It is forbidden to carry the coffin in a way that it can fall down and demean the deceased.

It is permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral ceremony of his/her non-Muslim relative.

The deceased is carried either in a coffin or on a stretcher. It is Sunnah for those who carry the deceased to walk in a medium speed. It is reprehensible to speak loudly during the funeral ceremony. It is a Sunnah for those who escort the deceased to walk in front of or by the coffin and to contemplate about death. Clapping hands is reprehensible. When one sees a funeral procession, he/she says the following,

”Allahu akbar Allahu akbar Allahu akbar. Hadha ma wa’adana Allahu wa rasuluhu wa sadaqallahu wa rasuluh. Allahumma zidna imanan wa taslima.” Meaning: (Allah is (the) Greatest. Allah is (the) Greatest. Allah is (the) Greatest. This is what Allah and His Messenger promised to us. Allah and His Messenger told the truth. O Allah! Increase our faith and submission.)

One can also say the following, “Subhana al-hayy alladhi la yamutu abada” (Glory be to Allah who always is ever living and who never dies.)

After the deceased is taken to the cemetery, he/she is buried. The burial should not be carried out during the night unless it is a necessity.

The grave can either be a garden from the gardens Paradise or a pit from the pits of Hell depending upon the deeds of the deceased in this world.

A big hole is dug to be a grave for the deceased. It is a Sunnah to dig the grave as deep as the height of a medium size man.

Men should place the body into the grave. Those who have priority in leading the funeral prayer (close relatives) also have priority in placing the deceased into the grave. When placing the deceased into the grave, it is said,

“Bismillahi wa ala millati Rasulillah”. It is also Sunnah to say the following invocation,

“Allahumma iftah abwaba as-samai li ruhihi wa akrim nuzulahu wa wassi’ madhalahu wa vassi’ lahu fi kabrih.”

Meaning: (O Allah! Open the Gates of heaven for his soul, bless him, and widen the place he enters and widen his grave).

It is obligatory to lay down the body on its right side facing towards the direction of the qiblah. After the deceased is placed into the grave, logs of timber are covered over the body. After that, the grave is filled with dirt.

The filled-grave can be about a span higher than the ground. Unless it is necessary, only one body is buried into one grave. One should not sit or step on a grave.

After completion of the tasks of burial, it is Sunnah to do the talkin (inculcation to the deceased). Talkin can be done by reciting the following:

Meaning: O so and so, the son (daughter) of so and so! When you are leaving this World, remember your covenant! There is no god but Allah. He is the Only One and He has no partners. Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. The final Hour will arrive, and there is no doubt that. Allah will resurrect those in the graves. Say, “I am contented with Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion, Muhammad as my prophet, the Ka’bah as by qiblah, Qur’an as my guide (leader) and Muslims as my siblings. My Lord is Allah other than whom there is no god. He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.

O servant of Allah! Say that there is no god but Allah. My Lord is Allah. My religion is Islam. My prophet is Muhammad (pbuh).

O Lord! Do not leave this deceased alone. You are the best of inheritors.”

Death is a divine law that everyone will face one day and from which there is no escape. It is prohibited in Islam to lament by saying the characteristics of the deceased. Every exaggerated word and action, such as tearing the clothes, beating the body, etc., which shows discontentedness concerning the death, is not acceptable in Islamic understanding. However, there is no harm in crying silently out of grief.

After the completion of the tasks of burial, it is recommended to sprinkle some water over the grave, to put some small rock around the grave, and a stone or a pole to the head side and to bury the relatives close to each other.

It is Sunnah at least a group from the congregation to stay in the cemetery and pray Allah for the deceased.

It is reprehensible to put pictures on the graves and construct them in a fancy fashion. It is also reprehensible to construct buildings over the graves. The grave can be only a span higher than the ground.

Visiting graves is a Sunnah for men, but reprehensible for women. However, visiting the graves of prophets and righteous believers is Sunnah for women as well. One who visits the cemetery first greets the cemetery, recites the Qur’an and invokes Allah for the deceased. Greeting the cemetery can be done as follows: “al-Salamu alaykum ya dara qawmin mu’minin wa inna bikum insha Allahu lahikun (Peace be upon you O the abode of the nation of believers! We will certainly, if Allah wishes follow you).”

Expressing sadness and condolences to the relatives of the deceased is a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Visiting the relatives of the deceased and consoling them for three days is a Sunnah muakkadah. Cooking food for the relatives of the deceased and insisting them to eat is also a Sunnah. It is a bid’ah (innovation in religion) that the relatives of the deceased prepare food and invite everybody to eat it. Those who go to console and express condolences may pray by saying “May Allah increase your spiritual rewards, bestow upon you good patience, and may Allah show mercy upon the deceased”.

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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