Question: Is it permissible to observe a moment of silence to remember an event or the death of certain individuals?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Observing a moment of silence has no basis in the Sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). That said, it is also not a religious ritual, but rather a convention (adah) so it does not count as an accretion to the religion (bida) and would be permissible to do.
It would however be better to avoid unless there is overwhelming pressure to do it.
So, if you are part of a large organization in which your own actions are less noticeable, it would be better not to do observe the moment of silence.
However, if you are part of a smaller unit, such as a family or small business, in which one’s own individual actions would make or break one’s relationship with the others, one should observe the moment of silence. This is especially the case when the event has great emotional or political weight.
Now, this is obviously on the proviso that one is not showing this respect to a person of sin out of reverence for his sin, or a disbeliever out of reverence for his disbelief.
For example, having a moment of silence for Abu Jahl out of respect for his practicing his freedom of religion, or having a moment of silence to remember some famous brewer’s contribution to the science of brewing beer. These of course would be sinful.
In such a case, you would have to either take a very clear and calculated stance and convey to others why exactly you feel it is morally wrong to observe a moment of silence for such a person or avoid the situation completely in an allusive manner.
In general, we as Muslims need to be more clear and communicative, not loud and angry. We need to be sensitive and have hearts, but at the same time have our own identities and moral values.
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I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language