What Should be Done when a Loved One Dies?

When someone dies, their body becomes sacred, and Islam has specified ways of honoring the deceased.

One must close the eyes of the deceased. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “When a soul is seized, the eyesight follows it.” The deceased must then be covered. This way, the deceased body is respected and the dignity is preserved. Despite the sadness and grief that may overcome family members, they should be strong and proceed to prepare for burial without delay and contact the elders or any Islamic Funeral Director in the area to handle the burial procedures including the funeral prayer. This is because of the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) which he attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): ‘Hasten to bury the deceased, for if he was righteous, then you are taking him to something good, and if he was otherwise, then it is an evil of which you are relieving yourselves.”

The information of the demise of the loved one may then be disseminated to relatives, neighbors, friends and co-workers of the deceased so that they may share in the reward of participating in the funeral prayer as well as praying for the deceased. Praying for the deceased is very important as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Pray to Allaah only for good for yourselves, because the angels (who are present) say “amen” to whatever you utter.’ Then he said: ‘O Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah; raise his station among those who are rightly-guided; and take good care of his family that he has left behind. O Lord of the Worlds! Forgive him and us, make his grave spacious, and put light therein for him.”  

The deceased may be buried where he/she dies as this is recommended and the deceased is to be buried in a Muslim cemetery unless one is unable to locate one. Family members and loved ones are permitted to weep over the deceased. However, wailing, shouting or any other excessive actions are prohibited. The Prophet wept over his son Ibrahim (Abraham) at his death saying, “The eyes shed tears and the heart feels pain, but we utter only what pleases the Lord. O Ibrahim! We are aggrieved at your demise.” It is also permissible for loved ones and family members to mourn for a period of three days on the death of a near relative. Additionally, the mourning period for a widow is extended to four months and ten days. This waiting period is called the iddah and it is mandated by God as it appears in the Quran. Family members and loved ones are requested to frequently visit the grave of the deceased and pray for him or her and also pray to God to save the deceased from the torment of the grave and the difficulties of the hereafter.

May Allah swt forgive the believing women and men for their shortcomings and their sins. Ameen.

 Some of them should hasten to pay off his debts from his money, even if that means paying all that is left. If he did not have any wealth, then the state should pay on his behalf, if he had tried his best to pay off his debts. If the state does not do that, and some people volunteer to do that, then that is OK.

It was narrated from Sa’d ibn al-Atwal (may Allaah be pleased with him) that his brother died, leaving three hundred dirhams, and leaving dependents. He said, “I wanted to spend it on his dependents, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Your brother is being detained by his debt, so go and pay it off for him.’ So I went and paid it off, then I came and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I have paid it off, except for two dirhams which a woman claimed (were owed to her), but she had no proof.’ He said, ‘Give them to her, because that is her due (or, because she is speaking the truth).’”  (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi. One of its isnaads is saheeh and the other is like the isnaad of Ibn Maajah. Al-Boosayri classed it as saheeh in al-Zawaa’id).

We ask Allaah to forgive the believing men and women. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad

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