Home > About Prayer > Funeral Prayer (Salat-al-Janazah or Salat-al-Mayyat)

Funeral Prayer (Salat-al-Janazah or Salat-al-Mayyat)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي ; وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي ; وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي ; يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

It was narrated that Imran bin Hussain said: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Your brother has died, so get up and pray for him.”

(Hadith No. 1948, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3).

To offer funeral prayer for a deceased Muslim is an obligation upon us, as proven from above mentioned hadith. It is an obligation of community i.e. ‘Fard-e-kifayah’, which means that it is necessary to perform the funeral prayer over every deceased Muslim, whether one person performs it or some people perform it or a large number of people perform it. If not done, all will be guilty of a serious sin for neglecting the obligation.

Sad to say, many Muslims do not even know the importance of offering funeral prayer; many do not even know how to perform it; lot of ignorance prevails. Let us take this discussion as an opportunity to get acquainted with significance, procedures and other do(s) /don’t(s) of the funeral prayer.

A. Importance of funeral prayer

We have already talked about the importance of performing funeral prayer is a ‘fard-e-kifayah’, an obligation upon whole community. But the importance doesn’t end here; there are lots of rewards associated with funeral prayer.

A.1. Reward for the deceased (for whom funeral prayer is offered)

Aishah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “No one among the Muslims dies, and Salat is performed for him by a community of Muslims reaching one hundred, and they intercede (supplicate) for him, except that their intercession for him is accepted.” In his narration, Ali bin Hujr said, “One hundred or more than that.”

(Hadith No. 1029, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 2198 (947), Book of Funerals, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 1994, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3).

Some other narrations, reported by Imam Muslim (Hadith No. 2199 (948), Book of Funerals) in his Sahih, tell us similar report with the number of people as forty (reported on authority of Kuraib, the freed slave of Abdullah bin Abbas).

Thus we see that if a group of people (numbering above forty or hundred, as per different narrations) offer funeral prayer for a deceased Muslim, and supplicate for the deceased, their supplication for the dead is accepted by Allah.

A.2. Reward for those who offer funeral prayer

The reward for offering funeral prayer is not limited to the deceased only; the ones who offer funeral prayer are also promised handsome reward for performing this obligation. Refer to following narration:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Whoever attends a funeral procession till he offers funeral prayer for it, will get a reward equal to one Qirat; and whoever accompanies it till burial will get a reward equal to two Qirat.” It was asked, “What are two Qirat?” He replied, “Like two huge mountains.”

(Hadith No. 1325, Book of Funerals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 2193 (945), Book of Funerals, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

In the narration reported by Imam Muslim, ‘Uhud’ has been used for mountain.

B. Where is funeral prayer offered?

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “All of the earth is a masjid except for the graveyard and the washroom.”

(Hadith No. 317, Chapters on Salat, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 1; Hadith No. 745, Chapters on Mosques & Congregations, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1).

So, we can offer prayer at any place except the graveyard and the washroom. This rule applies to all types of prayers. However, in case of funeral prayer, there is an exception related to praying in a graveyard. Refer to following hadith:

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA) that a black woman used to sweep the mosque. The Prophet (PBUH) noticed she was missing and he asked about her after a few days. He was told that she had died. He said, “Why did you not tell me?” Then he went to her grave and offered the funeral prayer for her.

(Hadith No. 1527, Chapters regarding Funerals, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2).

Similar narrations have been reported by Imam Muslim and Imam Abu Dawud also. This tells us that in some specific cases, where need arises (like if the deceased had been hurried without funeral prayer being offered on him/her), it is permissible to perform the funeral prayer beside the deceased person’s grave. In other circumstances, praying in graveyards is not permissible.

We should also remember, that the funeral prayer can also be offered in a mosque; however, doing so doesn’t mean that it brings additional reward. Funeral prayer carries same rewards, whether it is performed in a mosque or in a place outside.

C. Times when funeral prayer should not be offered

Uqbah bin Amir Al-Juhni narrated, “There are three times that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) prohibited us from performing Salat in, or burying our dead in: When the sun’s rising appears until it has risen up; when the sun is at the zenith until it passes; and when the sun begins its setting until it has set.”

(Hadith No. 1030, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 2015, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3; Hadith No. 1519, Chapters regarding Funerals, Ibn Majah, Vol. 2).

The narration is self-explanatory; care should be taken that no prayer or burial is done during these times.

D. How is funeral prayer offered? – The procedure.

The various steps of funeral prayer are as following:

D.1. Number of Takbirs in funeral prayer

There are plenty of narrations that tell us that there are four Takbirs in funeral prayer. Let me quote one of the narrations to support this:

Narrated Jabir (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) offered the funeral prayer for Ashama An-Najashi and said four Takbir(s).

(Hadith No. 1334, Book of Funerals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 2207 (952), Book of Funerals, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

Some narrations for more than four Takbirs can also be found; but four Takbirs is the universally accepted number and is agreed upon by all scholars unanimously.

Start the funeral prayer by saying first Takbir.

D.2. Recitation after first Takbir

It was narrated that Abu Umamah said, “The Sunnah when offering the funeral prayer is to recite Umm-al-Qur’an (i.e. Surah Al-Fatiha, Chapter No. 1) quietly in the first Takbir, then to say three (more) Takbirs, and to say the Taslim after the last one.”

(Hadith No. 1991, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3).

There is a difference of opinion among scholars about whether Surah Al-Fatiha is to be recited in funeral prayer or not. As per followers of Hanafi view, only ‘Thana’ (pronounced as ‘Sana’ by Urdu linguists) is to be recited after first Takbir. The wordings of ‘Thana’ are: Subhana kalla humma wabihamdika watabarakasmuka wata-a’la jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka. The Hanafis recite this and proceed with second Takbir.

Followers of Shafi’ and other views say that it is mandatory to recite Surah Al-Fatiha in funeral prayer. This view is substantiated by the hadith mentioned above. I will quote more narrations in support of this view:

Talhah bin Abdullah bin Awf narrated: Ibn Abbas (RA) performed Salat for a funeral and he recited ‘Fatiha-til-Kitab’ (i.e. Surah Al-Fatiha). So I asked him about it and he said, “It is from the Sunnah, or, from completeness of Sunnah.”

(Hadith No. 1027, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 1335, Book of Funerals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 3198, Book of Funerals, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3; Hadith No. 1989, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3; Hadith No. 1496, Chapters regarding Funerals, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2).

We can see that almost every collection of ahadith reports the hadith authenticating recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha in funeral prayer. Therefore, there is absolutely no doubt that Surah Al-Fatiha should be recited after first Takbir in funeral prayer. I do not agree with the Hanafi opinion on this point.

After this, say second Takbir and proceed with the prayer as explained ahead.

D.3. Recitation after second Takbir

All scholars agree that after second Takbir, one should say Salat upon the Prophet (PBUH). The wordings of Salat upon the Prophet (PBUH) are: Allahumma salli ala-Muhammad wa ala aal-e-Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim wa ala aal-e-Ibrahim innaka Hameed-um-Majeed; Allahumma barik ala Muhammad wa ala aal-e-Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim wa ala aal-e-Ibrahim innaka Hameed-um-Majeed.

After this, pronounce third Takbir and continue the prayer as explained ahead.

D.4. Recitation after third Takbir

After third Takbir, supplication should be made for the deceased. There are various supplications for funeral prayer which the Prophet (PBUH) recited. Important thing to remember is that the main purpose of funeral prayer is to ask Allah’s blessings for the deceased.

We will talk about the two most widely supplications for the deceased in the funeral prayer. The first one is explained in following hadith:

Abu Ibrahim Al-Ashhali narrated from his father, who said, “When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) would perform the Salat for the funeral, he would say: Allahum-maghfir li-hayyina wa mayyitina wa shahidina wa ghaibina, wa saghirina wa kabirina, wa dhakarina wa unthana. Yahya said, “Abu Salam bin Abdur-Rahman narrated from Abu Hurairah (RA), from the Prophet (PBUH), what is similar to that but he added: Allahumma man ahyaytahu minna fa ahyihi alal-Islam wa man tawaffaytahu minna fatawaffahu alal-Iman.

(Hadith No. 1024, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

This is followed by Hanafis.

Followers of Shafi’ view recite the same supplication with some addition; refer to following narration:

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) offered the funeral prayer, he would say: Allahum-maghfir li-hayyina wa mayyitina wa shahidina wa ghaibina, wa saghirina wa kabirina, wa dhakarina wa unthana; Allahumma man ahyaytahu minna fa ahyihi alal-Islam wa man tawaffaytahu minna fatawaffahu alal-Iman; Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu wa la tudillana ba’dah.

(Hadith No. 1496, Chapters regarding Funerals, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 3201, Book of Funerals, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3).

So, the supplication for deceased, to be recited after third Takbir in funeral prayer is:

Allahum-maghfir li-hayyina wa mayyitina wa shahidina wa ghaibina, wa saghirina wa kabirina, wa dhakarina wa unthana; Allahumma man ahyaytahu minna fa ahyihi alal-Islam wa man tawaffaytahu minna fatawaffahu alal-Iman. (to be recited minimum; enough as per Hanafi view)

+

Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu wa la tudillana ba’dah. (optional; but compulsory as per Shafi’ view)

Both views are correct and can be acted upon. There are several other supplications also proven by ahadith, which one may recite in funeral prayer. I personally go with the method adopted by Hanafi followers.

After completing this supplication, pronounce the fourth Takbir and continue with the prayer as detailed ahead.

D.5. Recitation after fourth Takbir

There is no particular recitation after fourth Takbir. The Sunnah way, agreed by all, is to say Taslim immediately after pronouncing fourth Takbir. This is also proven by the hadith of Abu Umamah quoted in Section D.3.

A minor difference of opinion is encountered here: Hanafi followers say Taslim in the manner it is done in normal Salat i.e. by turning head first towards right and then towards left; Shafi’ followers say Taslim in a different manner; they do it only once, towards the right side.

I personally prefer and follow the Hanafi way.

Saying Taslim completes the funeral prayer.

E. Some other important things related to funeral prayer

E.1. Where should the Imam stand?

Funeral prayer is offered while keeping the dead in front. The position of Imam differs depending whether the deceased is a male or a female. Following narration clarifies this for us:

Abu Ghalib narrated: I prayed for the funeral of a man with Anas bin Malik (RA), so he stood parallel to his head. Then they came with body of a woman from Quraish. They said, “O Abu Hamzah! Perform the prayer for her.” So he stood parallel to her waist. Al-Ala bin Ziyad said to him, “Is this how you saw Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) standing in place for the funeral as you did for her, and for the place that you stood for the man?” He said, “Yes.” When he was finished, he said, “Remember (this).”

(Hadith No. 1034, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 1494, Chapters regarding Funerals, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2).

Therefore, the Imam should stand parallel to the head or shoulders of the deceased if the deceased is a male, and he should stand parallel to the waist / mod-body of the deceased if the deceased is a female.

E.2. Combined funeral prayer can be offered for more than one deceased.

Ibn Juraij said: I heard Nafi claim that Ibn Umar (RA) offered funeral prayer for nine together. He put the men closer to the Imam and the women closer to the Qiblah, and he placed them (the women) in one row. And the body of Umm Kulthum bint Ali (RA), the wife of Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA), and a son of hers called Zaid were placed together. The Imam that day was Sa’eed bin Al-As and among the people were Ibn Umar (RA), Abu Hurairah (RA), Abu Sa’eed (RA) & Abu Qatadah (RA). The boy was placed closer to Imam. A man said something objecting to that, so I looked at Ibn Abbas (RA), Abu Hurairah (RA), Abu Sa’eed (RA) & Abu Qatadah (RA), and said, “What is this?” They said, “It is Sunnah.”

(Hadith No. 1980, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3).

So, if there is more than one deceased, single funeral prayer can be offered for all of them, irrespective of theirs genders and ages. Placing of bodies should be as described in above mentioned hadith.

E.3. Funeral prayer should be performed while standing.

E.4. Funeral prayer can be performed by a single person, or in a congregation.

E.5. Funeral prayer is performed quietly; this is supported by hadith of Abu Umamah quoted in Section D.2. Only Takbirs and Taslim are pronounced loudly.

E.6. Funeral prayer can be performed for a deceased more than once.

E.7.
Funeral prayer can be performed by women; however, all requirements of modesty etc. should be strictly taken care of.

E.8. Funeral prayer can be offered in absence of the dead body (i.e. ‘Ghaibana Salat’).

The hadith mentioned in Section D.1 tells us that the Prophet (PBUH) offered funeral prayer for An-Najashi (the King of Ethiopia) in the absence of the dead body.

E.9. Funeral prayer for a child

Some scholars are of the view that funeral prayer is not required for a deceased child. Their view is based on following hadith:

It was narrated that Aishah (RA) said, “Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet (PBUH), died when he was 18 months old, and the Prophet (PBUH) did not offer funeral prayer for him.”

(Hadith No. 3187, Book of Funerals, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3).

The other view is that funeral prayer should be offered for every deceased child above the age when the spirit of life has been inspired in to the body (i.e. four months or so). This view is based on the following hadith:

It was narrated from Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The rider should move behind the Janazah and the pedestrian may walk wherever he wishes, and the (funeral) prayer should be offered for a child.”

(Hadith No. 1950, Book of Funerals, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 3; Hadith No. 1031, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

I personally favour the second view; however, both views are authenticated by Sunnah, and we can adopt whichever we want to.

E.10. Funeral prayer should not be offered for the one who commits suicide.

Jabir bin Samurah narrated: A man killed himself, so the Prophet (PBUH) did not perform Salat over him.

(Hadith No. 1068, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

There are other narrations also which prove that the Prophet (PBUH) did not performed funeral prayer for the Muslims who committed suicide. Therefore, we should ensure in our society that whoever commits a suicide, funeral prayer should not be offered for him/her. This is essential in order to convey the message to the society that suicide is a sin and prohibited in Islam.

E.11. Funeral prayer for martyrs and the one killed by a legal punishment prescribed in Islam

There is a difference of opinion among the scholars whether these two categories people are to be prayed upon or not. However, my personal understanding is that funeral prayer should be offered for them.

Concluding remarks

Funeral prayer is an obligation for the whole community and it is important that all of us should know how to offer the prayer. Imagine if we are in a situation where there is no other than us to perform or lead the funeral prayer for any deceased; then every one of us should be able to take care of this duty. This could happen to us also. We all should be prepared for this. Dear brothers and sisters, please ensure that all of us are well acquainted with the procedure of performing the funeral prayer. I will mention the procedure in brief here again:

Step 1. Pronounce the first Takbir to start the prayer. Recite the ‘Thana’ and ‘Surah Al-Fatiha’. After this, pronounce second Takbir.

Step 2. Recite ‘Salat’ upon the Prophet (PBUH). After completion, pronounce third Takbir.

Step 3. Recite supplication for the deceased, as explained in the discussion earlier. After completion, pronounce fourth Takbir.

Step 4. Say Taslim after fourth Takbir. The funeral prayer is completed.

All other requirements of the prayer have been explained in the article. Some disagreements are encountered at some places, but these disagreements should not lead to any conflict among the Muslims; my request to all will be to stick to the Sunnah so that the harmony and unity is maintained among the Ummah on this front too.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

.سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون َ ; وَسَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ ; وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Check Also

Correct way of performing Sujood (Sajdah/Prostration)

Also remember, as discussed above, that if Sujood is not done properly, it may render our prayer invalid. All this tells us that Sujood is an important part of our Salat, and it is imperative that we do Sujood properly, as taught to us by the Prophet (PBUH), so as to ensure that our prayers are offered properly.

148 comments

  1. Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

    The correct version of hadith is as follows:

    It was narrated form Abdullah bin Jafar (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) gave the family of Jafar (RA) three days (to mourn), then he came to them and said, “Do not weep for my brother after today.” Then he said, “Call my brother’s sons for me.” We were brought to him with our hair like chick feathers, and he said, “Call the barber for me.” And he told him to shave our heads. – (Hadith No. 4192, Book of Combing, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 4).

    It cannot be due to the death that the Prophet (PBUH) shaved their heads, as that is not a part of Islamic rituals, rather it is a Pagan ritual. There must be definitely some other reason for him doing so. Most probably, their hair were large and in disarray as the statement of hadith says ‘our hair like chick feathers’. May be that made the Prophet (PBUH) to get their hair removed.

    And Allah knows best.

  2. jazakallahu khair..now no confusion thanks

  3. Assalaamualikum brother..
    i have heard of an Hadith of prohet pbuh regarding the funeral prayers of a person who has done suicide or having a debt leaving behind nothing to fulfill the debt..the prophet pbuh did not offer the prayers on them but ordered sahabas to offer the prayers on them.

  4. Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

    The hadith about this matter is as follows:

    Jabir bin Samurah narrated: A man killed himself, so the Prophet (PBUH) did not perform Salat over him. – (Hadith No. 1068, Chapters on Janaiz, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

    Which hadith are you talking about?

    According to this hadith, the ruling is that there shouldn’t be funeral prayer for the one who commits suicide. This is the view of Umar bin Abdul Aziz and Al-Awzai. But Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafi say that Sahabas performed prayer for that person and the Prophet (PBUH) didn’t, therefore, even if prayer is performed for him there is no harm.

    However, I personally go with the hadith and view of Umar Ibn Abdul Azeez and Al-Awza’i. And we can still make dua for him even if we do not offer funeral prayer for him.

    And Allah knows best.

  5. Assalmo Alaykum.After salat in mosque,if some one ask the imam for dua for sick person,than is it permissible to join in collective dua with raising hands? What is the sunnah Dua for reciting if it is done for deceased, after burial or after meny days/years?What is the difference between Fateih/ Dua for dead and eesalay swab for dead?jazak Allah

  6. Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

    Dear brother there is no harm in making collective dua for a sick person or a person in need/stress. This can be done in Masjid, or at any other place. There is nothing that stops us from making dua to Allah.

    In such a case there is no specified dua in any language; it is up to the people there to make dua in any language.

    There is no such ritual to do for a dead person for any certain number of days after his/her burial. The moment we do so, it becomes a Bida’a.

    Regarding your last question, please go through a separate detailed article titled “Praying on graves; Waseelah; Shafa’at etc. – Right or Wrong?” available on our website. Insha’Allah that shall be very helpful.

    Feel free to write back in case any doubt remains.

    And Allah knows best.

  7. Asalaam alaykum w.w. Jazakallah Khairan. I have seen people raise their hands after every Takibir in The funeral prayer. Others keep them folded apart from the first Takibir. Which one is the correct opnion

  8. Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

    I consider both to be all right; a person has the option to choose whichever way he is convenient with.

    And Allah knows best.

Leave a Reply