The Funeral Prayer is obligatory in nature and this is established both by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The Funeral Prayer is an invocation to Allah Almighty for the forgiveness of the dead. When offered in congregation, its effectiveness is greatly enhanced and it is believed to invoke Allah’s mercy and His blessings. Therefore, more and more people should try to join in the funeral congregation, but the prayer should not be delayed on that account.
The Funeral Prayer is obligatory in nature and this is established both by the Qur’an and Sunnah; thus the one who denies it falls outside the pale of Islam.
Fard Parts in Funeral Prayer
These are two:
(a) To pronounce Takbir four times, each Takbir representing a rak’ah; there is no Ruku’ or Sajdah in this prayer.
(b) Qiyam (Standing position): Funeral Prayer is not allowed to be offered in the sitting position without a genuine reason, nor can it be offered while riding.
These are three:
(a) Glorification of Allah Almighty,
(b) Invocation of blessings for the holy Prophet,
(c) Prayer for the forgiveness of the dead.
The Prescribed Procedure
The dead body properly washed and shrouded should be placed north-south or east-west, as the case be, in front of the Imam who stands in front facing the Qiblah. The other people stand behind the Imam in straight rows, three or more, of an odd number. The intention is to offer the Funeral Prayer Fard Kifayah of four Takbirs for the glorification of Allah Almighty, blessings for the Prophet and forgiveness of the dead. The prayer is then offered in the following way:
(1) The Imam, saying the first Takbir, raises the hands to the ears and places them under the navel, and the followers do the same after him. Then Thana’ as given below is recited:
Subhanaka-Allahumma wa bi-hamdika wa tabarak-asmuka wa taala jadduka wa jalla thana’uka wa la-ilaha ghairuk,
“Glory be to Thee, 0 Allah, and I praise Thee; Blessed is Thy name and Thou art exalted; Thy praise is glorified, and there is no god other than Thee”.
(2) After the second Takbir by the Imam, which is called without raising the hands, blessings of Allah Almighty, as given below, are invoked upon the Prophet:
Allahumma sall-i ‘ala Muhammad-in wa ‘ala al-i Muhammad-in kama sallaita wa sallamta wa barakta wa rahimta wa tarahhamta ‘ala Ibahima wa ‘ala ali i Ibrahima Innak-ahamidum majid.
(3) After the third Takbir by the Imam, which is called out again without raising the hands, the following invocation, is made to Allah Almighty:
llahumm-aghfir li-hayyina wa mayyitina
wa shahidina wa gha’ibina wa saghlrina wa kabirina
wa zakarina wa unthana
Allahumma man ahyaitahu minna fa-ahyihi ‘alal-Islam
Wa man tawaffaitahu minna fa-tawaffihi ‘alal-Islam.
“O Allah! forgive those of us who are still living; and those who are dead ; those of us who are present and those who are absent, and our minors and our elders. 0 Allah I let the one whom Thou keepest alive from among us, live his life according to Islam, and let the one whom Thou causest to die from among us, die as a believer”.
(4) After the fourth Takbir, the Imam turns his face to the right and then to the left, saying:
As-salam-u ‘alaikum wa rahmat-u ‘Allah
“Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy”, each time, and the followers do the same to bring the prayer to completion.
Regulations Relating to Burial
1. To bury the dead body is an obligation just like washing it and offering the funeral prayer over it.
2. The length of the grave should be according to the size of the body and the depth half of that.
3. The body before burial should be placed on the Qiblah side of the grave, so that the persons lowering it into the grave should automatically face towards the Qiblah.
4. While lowering the body into the grave, one should say:
In the name of Allah, we bury according to the way of the Prophet of Allah
5. After lowering the body into the grave, it should be turned on its right so that it faces towards the Qiblah.
6. The dead body of a woman should be lowered into the grave under a curtain; if it is feared that a portion of it might be exposed, it will be obligatory to have a curtain while placing it down in the grave.
7. Filling the grave with earth should be started from the head side; each person should help fill the grave with both the hands. While putting earth for the first time, one should say: Minha khalaqna-kum
“Out of it We created you”
8. After the burial, the people should stay for a while at the grave and make invocations for the forgiveness of the deceased.