Etiquette of Funerals

Mujalid said: al-Shu`bi said: “The Ansar, if someone died among them, would go to his grave and recite the Qur’an there.” al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #244) with a chain that contains Sufyan ibn Waki` who is weak according to Haythami, but from whom Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad took over eighty narrations. Furthermore Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya also cites it as evidence in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

Ya`qub ibn al-Sayyid `Ali al-Hanafi said: “[One visiting the graves] should read Surat Ya Seen or whatever is easy for him to recite from Qur’an. Know that Abu Hanifah, May Allah have mercy upon him, considered it blameworthy (makruh) to recite Qur’an at the cemetary, but not Muhammad, May Allah have mercy upon him.” Mafatih al-jinan sharh shir`at al-Islam p. 580.

Qadi Khan al-Hanafi said in his Fatawa: “Whoever recites from the Qur’an over the graves: if he intends thereby that the familiarity of the sound of the Qur’an reach them, then let him recite. If he did not intend that, then Allah hears the Qur’an wherever you recite it.” Suyuti mentions it in Sharh al-sudur (p. 312).

al-Za`farani said: “I asked al-Shafi`i about reciting Qur’an at the graveside and he said: la ba’sa bihi — There is no harm in it.” al-Khallal narrates it in al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #243), Suyuti in Sharh al-sudur (p. 311), and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Kitab al-ruh (Madani ed. p. 18).

Ibrahim ibn Rahawayh said: “There is no harm in reciting the Qur’an in cemetaries.” al-Khallal narrates it with his chain (p. 123 #245).

Imam Ahmad said the same. Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355).

al-Khallal said: Abu `Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham al-Bazzar — our most trustworthy shaykh — narrated to me: “I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal pray behind a blind man who was reciting Qur’an over the graves.” Ibn Qudama relates it in al-Mughni (1994 ed. 2:355) as well as al-Khallal himself with his chain in his book al-Amr bi al-ma`ruf (p. 123 #242).

Nawawi said: “Whoever visits a grave, let him greet its dweller, recite some Qur’an, and make an invocation for the deceased.” al-Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin, end of Kitab al-Jana’iz.

He also said in al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab: “It is desirable (yustahabb) that one who is visiting the graves recite from the Qur’an what is easy for him to recite, after which, that he invoke Allah on their behalf. Shafi`i stipulated it and his companions all agreed with him.” In another place he says: “If they conclude the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave it is better.” Suyuti mentioned both excerpts in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

Nawawi also said in his Sharh Sahih Muslim (al-Mays ed. 3/4:206): “The scholars have declared desirable — mustahabb — the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave.”

al-Qurtubi said: “As for reciting over the grave, then our companions (Malikis) are categorical that it is lawful, and others say the same.” Suyuti mentioned it in his Sharh al-sudur (p. 311).

al-Jazayri said: “Someone who visits the grave must engage in du`a and supplication. He must reflect upon those who died and he must recite Qur’an for the dead, for the more correct view is that this benefits the dead.” al-Jazayri, al-Fiqh `ala al-madhahib al-arba`a (2:540).

One of the false rulings given by Albani in his Talkhis ahkam al-jana’iz (p. 102 #90) concerning recitation at the graveside is that it is an innovation — he claims — to recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave: minha khalaqnakum and upon throwing the second: wa fiha nu`idukum and upon throwing the third: wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra “From it (the earth) We created you // and into it We return you // and from it We shall bring you out once more” (20:55). The proof that this is a hasty and careless ruling is:

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