Attending funeral procession of Christian family
Salaams moulana, my question pertain to attending the funeral procession of our christian family, brother, sister, mother, father, etc. Close relatives only. Our family both close as well as extended, on my side as well as on my wifes side are all christian, how do we deal with this matter in the future, in order to avoid ill feelings or disputes amongst us.
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
Alhamdulillaahi was salaatu was salaamu `alaa Rasoolillaahi wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi wa man waalaahu, wa ba`d:
Wa `alaykumus salaam.
It is not permissible for a muslim to attend the funeral of a non muslim, be they family or not.
Allaah says in Surah Tawbah, Aayah 84:
وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَى قَبْرِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ.
“And do not ever pray over any of them that has died, and do not stand at his grave, indeed they had disbelieved in Allaah and His messenger and died while they were openly disobedient.” [i]
Allaah revealed this Aayah after the death of the leader of the hypocrites, `Abdullaah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool, thereby putting a permanent end to Janaazah Salaah for all Kuffaar, because these Munaafiqeen (hypocrites) were not Muslim even though they professed to be such. So if it is prohibited for a hypocrite, then the prohibition for people that are openly kuffaar will be much stricter.
Janaazah Salaah is in reality a Du`aa, so from this Aayah we come to realise that it is not permissible to make any sort of supplication for a non muslim, and one common supplication which people make albeit at times without realising it, is “Rest in Peace” (or R.I.P for short), this is a supplication asking Allaah to let them rest in peace, therefore it is not permissible.
Allaah also says in Surah Tawbah, Aayah 113:
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ.
“It is not (correct and befitting) for the Nabi and those who have believed, to seek forgiveness for the polytheists even if they were relatives, after it has been made clear to them that they (the disbelievers) are the companions of the hellfire.” [ii]
When this is the case regarding Islaamic matters like du`aa etc, then what still about attending the church service, and hearing the sermon of kufr given there and at the graveside
However, what is permissible is to offer one’s condolences to the family without making any supplication for the deceased.
It is stated in Al-Fataawaa Al-Hindiyyah:
“If a kaafir dies, one may say to his (the deceased’s) father or family: “May Allaah recompense you with someone better, and correct you – i.e. correct you with Islaam (by making you muslim) – and grant you a muslim child.”” [iii]
The reason for this sort of du`aa being permissible is because any mention of “goodness” or “betterment” etc is used to refer to Islaam, so it’s actually a du`aa asking Allaah to guide this person to Islaam, and this kind of du`aa is permissible as long as a person is alive, but once they die then no du`aa can be made for them anymore.
So there is no harm in visiting your Christian family at their home and offering your condolences, however you should go at a time when there is no bible reading or praying taking place, but you may not take part in any of the funeral services.
And Allaah knows best.
Ubaidullah Ibn Adam Aal-Ebrahim.
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Rashid Ahmed Moosagie.
Monday 25th Shawwaal 1434 – 2nd September 2013.
[i]وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَى قَبْرِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ. – سورة التوبة آية 84.
[ii]مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ. . – سورة التوبة آية 113.