Chapter Twenty-One

Funeral Prayer in Absentia

The hadith I have used is by no means to go against the great Imams i.e. Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. There method of Salaah is also correct as it is according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The hadith quoted are to show that the Fatwas of Imam Abu Hanifa are according to the Sunnah as the Ghair Muqalids object to this.

Note: The hadith numbers before the hadith indicate the different chains of narrations; hence, each chain will count as a separate hadith.

Hadith 1-4

‘Imran bin Husain and other companions narrate that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Your brother Najashi has passed away, stand to offer Salaah. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) stood, the companions arranged their rows behind and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said four takbirs, the companions had this opinion that the funeral was in front of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).” 1

Hadith 5

‘Imran bin Husain and other companions narrate the above hadith to the extent ‘Imran said, “We prayed behind the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and we thought that the funeral is present in front of us.” 2

Hadith 6-7

‘Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrates that the funeral of Najjashi was made shown to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), he saw it and prayed over it.” 3

Hadith 8

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) announced to the companions the death of the Negus (alNajashi) on the day that he died, then took the companions to the place of prayer, arranged the rows then said the four takbirs.” 4

Common Sense

Firstly, we find from the narrations that the companions had the opinion that the Funeral was in front, why would they think so if there was nothing present. Let’s say that the funeral was not in front of them then we believe it was shown to the Prophet hence it was not prayed in absent of the funeral. Secondly, Najjashi passed away in Darul Kufr there was no funeral prayer for him, for this reason the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed it. Imam Abu Dawud has placed this hadith in this section for this reason.

Thirdly, some had doubt on Najjadhi’s Iman and people said a prayer was said over a Kafir from Habshah. The reason for this prayer was to prove he was a Muslim, some people say that Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was not a Muslim, Allah forbid. The reason why they say this is because the funeral pray

Fourthly, The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would make complete preparations for the funeral prayer. If by chance the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was resting, or in the dark night, or in the day time heat, the companions would not disturb the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and bury the deceased the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would say, “Do not do this, call me for your funeral prayers.”

Ibn Majah narrates from ‘Aamir bin Rabi’ah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Let me know of the a deceased when died as my prayer upon them is mercy.” Fifthly, at the time of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) many companions died, there is no clear hadith saying that he offered the funeral prayer in the absence of the deceased. If it was permissible the Messenger of Allah would have offered, it. When the rightly guided Khaliphs died, none of the Muslims prayed the funeral prayer in absentia over them, and if they did, the reports about it would have been transmitted from them from every side.

Sixthly, if we had news of the passing away of someone in a plane accident, drowning or similar where the body was missing, how would you be sure the person is dead? In December 2007 a similar incident happened in the UK and was national news where a person ‘had an accident in the sea’ and drowned. He was missing until the coroner pronounced him “dead” 3 weeks later. Five years later he showed up. Hence, Imam Abu Hanifa took all ahadith into consideration and also the practices of the companions to decide that the funeral should be present as there is no funeral prayer without the funeral. Albani5 says: It (funeral prayer over every Muslim in absentia) is among the innovations in religion of which no one doubts, among those who know the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the madhhab of the Salaf. 6 Ibn Qayyim7 says: “It was not part of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) guidance or Sunnah to pray on every single dead in absentia, for a great deal of the Muslims died in absentia and he did not pray over them, and it is true that he prayed the funeral prayer over Negus.” 8

My question is:

“Did the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed the absentia funeral Salaah all the time?”

Hope you can prove these two questions and when doing so I do not want to hear the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed the absentia funeral Salaah etc. but I want Sahih hadith that clearly (no meanings or interpretations) states the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed the absentia funeral Salaah all the time and that he did this action until he passed away. Good luck!

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