FAQs & Fatwas Islamic Studies

A Question on The Funeral Prayer

Asalamu alaykum,

Asalamaleykum sheikh Webb, i have something that i need help. I don’t have your email that is why i decided to write here.

I reside in US, i have a question concern praying for someone who died but he/she died in other countries (not in US), under Islam can we pray(offer Janazah) here in US while the body is in another country?

Shukuran shekh, inshallah i hope we will get the best out of it.

The Answer:

Asalamu alaykum,

I received your question and would like to say that I share your concern and pray for you in your loss. I ask Allah to replace this loss with what is better, grant you light and forgive the deceased.

Secondly, I advise you to wait until you are able to visit the dead’s grave and pray on him/her there. The Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] prayed the absentee prayer for the Ethiopian king “Najashi” who died in a place where no one was able to pray on him. Thus, if one dies and is prayed upon, he does not meet this condition.

If the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] missed the congregational funeral prayer of a person, he would visit the grave of the dead and pray for him/her there. This was done in the case of the woman who used to clean his mosque and died. When the Prophet [May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] was told of her death, he went to her grave and prayed on her. In the meantime, I encourage you to pray for the deceased and seek forgiveness for him/her.

I’m aware of a difference of opinion on this issue and hope that this answer will not be used to attack, disrupt or create problems with others. Imams may differ with this answer, and I certainly respect their contentions with respect and admiration.

Allah knows best

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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  • Asalamu alaykum,
    Thanks a lot shekh Suhaib. I hope other scholar will give there opinions concern this issue.

    I am looking forward to see you in Houston Inshallah.

  • As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi,

    As we all know the Prophet (saws) prayed the absentee prayer upon Najashee and there is a consensus on the authenticity of this event. This proves that it is legislated. The issue which scholars have differed over is that of why the Prophet (saws) prayed on him. The Hanafiyyah and Malikiyyah said that that was from the special charactersitics of the Propeht (saws) and thus not legislated for anyone else after that. Thier strongest opinion is that it has not been narrated that the Prophet (saws) prayed on anyone else who was absent. The rest of the the Shafiiyah and Hanabilah have a strong response to this which is that there has to be an authentic text indicating something to be from the special characteristics of the Prophet (saws) and without that text we are generally commanded to follow the Prophet (saws) who was sent as our example. This group made no difference between if the person had been prayed upon or not and accepted the generality of the najashi story and stated that their is no indication of restrianing the ruling upon those who weren’t prayed upon.

    So now your saying so where did Shaikh Suhaib get his opinion? Well, I would say he has a well enough background to look at the texts and tell you, but he is likely impressed with the stronger (but not as famous of Imam Ahmad) which was chosen by shiakh al-Islam and his student Ibn al-Qayyim. They are saying that if the absentee dead Muslim wasn’t prayed upon then the fard-kifayyah moves to whoever will do it. Yet if he/she was prayed upon, then that fard kifayyah is removed.

    This is one of the cases that the strongest opinion to most people of knowledge after comparison is one that wasn’t so famous in the previous authorized works of the madhahib.

    And Allah knows best

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