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Subject : The Manner of Burial according to Islamic Law

Fatwa Number : 3622

Date : 04-07-2021

Classified :

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What is the appropriate manner of burial according to Islamic Law?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Burying the dead is an obligation that should be performed on both a Muslim, a Dhimi (A non-Muslim living under the protection of a Muslim state), and a miscarried fetus, which has human form. However, it is recommended for the fetus that has no human form. Kindly check {Bushara Al-Kareem, V.1:469}.

The deceased must be buried in a pit that protects his body from tampering and which conceals the body and its odor. However, the perfect form of the grave to be dug is equal to the height of an average person with his arms extended upwards (About 2 metres). It is also recommended that the grave is made as wide as a cubit and a span of a palm. It was narrated from Hisham bin ‘Amir that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Dig the grave deep, make it spacious and prepare it well.” {Related by Tirmithi}.

As for the manner of burial, the basic rule is that the pit must be either a Shaqq or a Lahd.

If the ground is firm, it is recommended that the pit be a Lahd, a hollow dug in one side of a deep grave. It must be large enough to accommodate the body of the deceased. Finally, the open side of the Lahd is sealed off with a wall of bricks.

If the ground is soft, it is recommended that the pit is a Shaqq. The pit is dug in the floor of the grave. It must be large enough to accommodate the body of the deceased. Finally, the Shaqq is roofed over with blocks. 

However, it is better not to use, for the grave, any material processed with fire, such as steel and cement, and use stones, clay and the like instead. Kindly check {Moghni al-Mohtajj, V.3:37}. 

Hanfi and Hanbali jurists even stated that it is disliked to use materials treated with fire. However, Hanafis made an exception where they stated that if the ground is soft and these materials were used over the deceased, not around him, then it is permissible. Kindly check {Hasheyat Ibn Abdeen Ala Al-Dur Al-Mokhtar, V.2:236}, {Shareh Motaha Al-Eradat, V.1:373}, and {Moghni al-Mohtajj, V.2:53}.

The manner of entering the deceased into the grave:

1-The deceased is entered into the grave head first.

2- After entering the deceased into the grave, he is laid on his right side and his face is turned towards the qibla (direction of prayer). 

3-The face of the deceased is laid against the wall of the grave and it is recommended to bend his keens to take the form of Ruku`.

4-It is recommended that the deceased is lowered in the grave and laid there by his closest male relatives with these final words: Bismillah wa a'la millati rasulullah which means 'being placed in the name of Allah and as one belonging to the community of the Messenger of Allah.

5-The bands on the shroud are unwrapped. It is recommended to uncover the right cheek of the deceased to touch the soil. Moreover, a brick, if necessary, may be used to support the deceased.

6-The grave is roofed with bricks or wood. It is recommended that the people attending the burial toss handfuls of dirt or soil in the grave, then shovel dirt into it. However, it is unlawful to shovel earth directly on the deceased for there must be a barrier between them.

7-It is recommended to cover the grave with palm branches.

8-After finishing the burial, it is recommended to ask forgiveness for the deceased and that he be firm in his answers because he is being questioned. 

9-After finishing the burial, it is recommended to give instructions to the deceased and ask Allah, loudly or silently, to make him firm in his answers for he is being questioned.

10-It is permissible to mark the grave by a line of bricks and a headstone. And Allah the Almighty knows best. 



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