Date : 23-12-2009

Question :

Is it permissible to search for the remnants of a dead person if the place where they were buried is unknown? Is it permissible to move the remnants to another location? The fact of the matter is that (Z.R.T) was martyred at Gawr as-Safi, (2/6/1948) and was buried with a fellow martyr (M.R.E) in the same grave. However, the Jordan Valley Authority has constructed prefabricated buildings in that area where dredging operations and sewage works are being conducted. The exact place of the grave is unknown and it is feared that it would be destroyed or fall under the sewage pipelines. The person who buried them paid a visit to that area and was able to tell the approximate location of the grave (100 radius). Is it permissible to look for their remnants and move them, if found, considering the above facts?


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.


It is permissible to search for the remnants of the martyr if it was feared that the grave would be dredged and lost. This to preserve the sanctity and dignity of the deceased, as prescribed in Sharia, particularly the one who died fighting in the cause of Allah.


However, it is conditioned that the body and bones of the deceased are kept intact during the search operations since A’ishah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: “Breaking a deceased body’s bones is exactly like breaking them when he is alive.” {Related by Abu Dawud}. 


If the bones of the deceased were found then they should be collected and buried in the same place and surrounded with a barrier indicating that this is a grave of a Muslim martyr. This is to protect the sanctity of the grave from being transgressed deliberately or out of ignorance. The evidence on this is that Jabir Bin Abdullah moved the body of his martyred father to protect it from being carried away by the flood.


"Abdurahman Bin S`asa`ah reported that the water of the flood penetrated the grave of Amr Bin al-Jamouh and Abdullah Bin Amir who were buried in the same grave after being martyred in the battle of Uhud. When the grave was dug, the bodies were found intact, as if buried yesterday, and one of the martyrs was even placing his hand on his wound and when it was pulled away from the wound it returned. It is worth mentioning that this took place forty six years from their martyrdom." {Muwatt`a  Malik, (V.3: 669)}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.