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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Salat al-Janazah: A Guide to Funeral Prayer

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Introduction

Salat al-Janazah is a significant part of the Islamic funeral ritual. It is a funeral prayer performed in the congregation to ask for forgiveness for the deceased and all deceased Muslims. This prayer is a collective obligation upon all Muslims (farḍ al-kifaya), which means that if some Muslims perform the prayer, the obligation is fulfilled. But, if no one fulfils it, then all Muslims will be accountable.

Every soul will taste Death [21:35]

Read our other blog for more information on the Obligatory prayers for Muslims.


When a Muslim dies, all other Muslims should say:

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
Truly! To Allah, we belong, and truly, to Him, we shall return. (Quran, 2:156)

Explaining Fard Kifayah (Funeral Prayer)

Fard Kifayah is a crucial concept in Islam that refers to the communal responsibility of the Muslim Ummah. It is an obligation that is fulfilled by the entire Muslim community. For instance, performing funeral prayers is a Fard Kifayah that requires the participation of enough members of the Muslim community. If enough people fulfill this responsibility, the rest of the Muslims are considered to have fulfilled their obligation before Allah. However, if the collective responsibility is not fully met, each Muslim must try to compensate for the shortfall. In summary, Fard Kifayah highlights the importance of collective responsibility and encourages Muslims to work together to improve their community.


Understanding the Term Janazah

During the Janazah prayer, we pray to Allah (SWT) to have mercy on the soul of the deceased and ask for Allah’s forgiveness for any wrongdoings that the deceased may have committed. As Muslims, we believe that if we lead a good life according to the teachings of Islam, our souls will go to paradise when we die. Where we will live an eternal life of happiness and peace.


Ghusul before Janazah

Ghusl refers to the ritual of washing the body of a deceased Muslim before the funeral prayer. Ghusl is an integral part of Islamic rituals and is performed to cleanse and purify the body of the deceased.


Read More: Ghusl: The Ritual and Spiritual Purity


Kafan

The corpse is typically wrapped in a simple white cloth (kafan) before being buried. This is done to respect the dignity and privacy of the deceased, with the family sometimes present. The kafan is traditionally made of cotton or linen fabric and is chosen for its purity and simplicity. The shroud should be simple and modest. It is for this reason that Muslims have preferred to use white cotton cloth to serve as the shroud. Men may use three pieces of cloth and women five pieces of cloth. Kafan also reminds us of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of preparing for the afterlife.


The Prohibited and Disliked Times for Janazah

The following times are considered Makruh for the Salat al-Janazah:

  1. When the sun begins to rise until approximately 10-15 minutes after sunrise.
  2. When the sun is at its peak or its highest point in the sky.
  3. When the colour of the sun turns pale until it sets completely, this starts approximately 20 minutes before sunset to when the sun sets completely.

Rows (Saf) for the Janazah Prayer

Narrated by Malik ibn Hubayrah (RA):

The Prophet (SAW) said: If any Muslim dies and three rows of Muslims pray over him, it will assure him (of Paradise). When Malik considered those who accompanied a bier to be a few, he divided them into three rows in accordance with this tradition.

(Sunan Abi Dawud 3166)

Narrated by Hazrat Abu Umamah (RA): “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) prayed for a deceased with seven people. Then, he arranged three in a saf (the first saf), two in a saf (the second saf) and two in a saf (the third saf).” [Al-Mujam al-Kabir (7785)]

Late Comers to the Janazah Salah

In the Hanafi Madhhab and Ibn Taymiyah‘s opinion, if someone is late and worries that performing Wudhu will cause him to miss the Janazah prayer, he is allowed to perform Tayammum instead. This exception is specifically for the Janazah prayer, enabling the latecomer to join the congregation without delay.


Significance of Janazah in Islam

The ritual reminds Muslims of the temporary nature of life and the inevitability of death, encouraging them to reflect on their mortality and strive for good deeds. Additionally, the funeral prayer unites the Muslim community by providing emotional support to the bereaved family and friends and promoting solidarity during times of loss.


Seeking forgiveness by doing Istighfar.


How to Pray Janazah Prayer

It is preferable that those praying to divide themselves into odd rows with one person as an imam standing alone in front and while facing the qiblah. The body is placed in front of the Imam. If there is more than one body, then these should be put in front of the other. The prayer involves praying for God to bestow peace, mercy and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and finally saying duas. There is no ruku in the Janazah prayer.


It involves a series of steps and recitations performed in a particular order. In this article, we will describe the ritual procedure of the Janazah prayer in detail.


Before the first takbir, there is no adhan or iqama (the traditional calls to prayer). The Janazah starts immediately.


1st Takbeer of Salat al-Janazah

Allah is the greatest

Saying Takbeer, raise both hands to the earlobe and after saying Takbeer then place the right hand on the left hand.

Seek refuge from Satan

Tauz (Seek refuge from Satan)
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaitan.
Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Note: After the first takbir, the practice of reciting Surah Al Fatihah in this particular Salah is not accommodated in the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. According to Hanafi you read any Dua such as below.

Sana for Salat al-Janazah
“Glory be to You, o Lord, all Praises are due unto You, and blessed is Your name and high is Your majesty and Your praises are elevated and none is worthy of worship but You.”

2nd Takbeer

Allah is the greatest

Note (Hanafi madhhab): Unlike the two Eid prayers, there is no raising of hands in the subsequent Takbeers except at the beginning, when saying the opening takbir (takbirat al-tahrimah). So, do not copy those around you who may be raising their hands at every takbir.

Durood

Durood for Salat al-Janazah

3rd Takbeer

Allah is the greatest

Dua for Janazah

Duas(Supplications) are significant in Islamic traditions. They allow us to connect with Allah (SWT), ask for His blessings, and seek forgiveness. During the Janaza Prayer, individuals recite duas to implore Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for the deceased and request that the soul be granted a place in paradise.


Read more to learn the Importance of Dua.


Janazah Dua for Male and Female

Janazah dua for male and female

O Allah, we seek safety for him by Your bond of protection. Certainly, You keep Your word and promise. O Allah, protect him from the trials of the grave and the torment of Jahannam. O Allah, forgive him, have mercy on him, pardon him, and grant him well-being.

Janazah Dua for Baby Boy

Janaza Dua for Baby Boy

Gracious God, Make him (this youngster) a beginning of profit and fortune for us, and make him a pleader for us and one whose pleading is recognized.

Janazah Dua for Baby Girl

Janaza Dua for baby Girl

Gracious God, Make her (this youngster) a beginning of profit and fortune for us, and make her a pleader for us and one whose pleading is recognized.

4th Takbeer

Allah is the greatest

Then you say a fourth Takbir and pause for a little while. Then you say one Taslim to the right and then to the Left, saying, “Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah.”

Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA):

Allah’s Messenger (PBUM) said, “Whoever attends the funeral procession till he offers the funeral prayer for it, will get a reward equal to one Qirat, and whoever accompanies it till burial, will get a reward equal to two Qirats.” It was asked, “What are two Qirats?” He replied, “Like two huge mountains.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1325]

Frequently Asked Questions about Funeral Prayer

What is the etiquette for attending a funeral prayer in Islam?

In Islam, it is recommended that we attend funeral prayers to show respect for the deceased and offer support to the grieving family. We should follow the proper procedures and supplications during the funeral prayer.

Can non-Muslims attend a funeral prayer in Islam?

Yes, non-Muslims can attend a funeral prayer in Islam as observers to show support for their Muslim friends or colleagues who have lost a loved one.

How does the funeral prayer differ from the regular daily prayers in Islam?

The funeral prayer in Islam has specific supplications and movements that are unique to it, such as the four Takbirs and recitations for seeking forgiveness for the deceased.

Can women Pray the funeral prayer in Islam?

In Islamic tradition, women generally do not participate in funeral prayers, as it is predominantly considered a duty for men. Nonetheless, women have the permission to perform funeral prayers, should they choose to do so, while observing the proper Hijab and standing in separate rows behind the men. This ensures upholding the principles of modesty and privacy, as prescribed in Islam.
It’s important to note that while women may offer funeral prayers, it is not customary for them to attend the burial at the graveyard. Islamic teachings suggest that it is preferable for women to refrain from visiting graves, aiming to maintain the solemnity and emotional restraint associated with such occasions.


Conclusion

Salat al-Janazah represents a pivotal aspect of Islamic funeral rites, the collective duty of the Muslim community. It underscores the transient nature of life and the importance of seeking forgiveness and mercy for the departed. As believers engage in the Janazah prayer, they deepen their spiritual connection with Allah, reaffirming their belief in the afterlife. It serves as a poignant reminder to prioritize good deeds as we prepare for the journey that never ends.

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