Past Debts, Preparation of Will and Funeral

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about paying past debts, how to prepare one’s will including instructions for one’s funeral and what must be done.



Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. In the past I wronged my employer, I recently explained to him what I did and offered to pay him back what I owed him, he forgave me and refused to take the money. I have other debts I must pay off like zakat of previous years etc., can I use the money he refused to pay of those debts?

2. I have many years of prayers and fasts to repay, in case I pass away before completing this I want to write in my will the total for every missed prayer and fast and instruct my family to pay this amount to charity – is the correct and valid?

3. What is the sunna for the passing of someone? Where I live when someone passes the person is prayed over then buried then the funeral will last for 3 days, the relatives must wear black and the 40th day after the passing of the deceased is a highlighted day in my culture the family will either do a mawlid on this day or something like this. If none of this is Islamic I would prefer to not have any of it done and I will instruct this in my will.

4. Also, I was told that if you go to someone’s funeral and hit yourself out of grief the deceased will be punished, is this true? If it is I will also instruct in my will for nobody to do this when I pass away.

Jazak Allah khayran.



Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. Yes.

2. Yes. Please also see What Can We Do about Missed Prayers of a Deceased?

3. You should just write in your will that you want everything to be done by the Sunna. Please see What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar.

Regarding the forty day event, please see Is It Permissible to Complete the Qur’an Forty Days After Someone’s Death?

As for the relatives wearing black, it is permissible, but only for three days, but better not to be done. (Ibn Abidin)

4. That is true.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever slaps their face, tears their clothes, or cries out [with over exaggerated claim] of the pre-Islamic era is not of us.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

I pray this helps.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Should We Turn Away From the Deceased Before Supplicating?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have recently attended an Islamic funeral where the imam asked the congregation to turn away from the deceased before making dua.

Does this has any basis?

Answer:Wa alaykum salam

May Allah reward you for your question

I’ve attended a similar janazah procession where the Imam instructed the congregation to face the direction of Qiblah when making dua. I am not sure whether in your instances you were also asked to face Qiblah or just turn your back to the deceased.

Nonetheless, technically speaking, I am not aware of any narration from the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam or his companions where they instructed or suggested that one turns his back to the deceased while making du’a. If the reasoning is that du’a is an act of worship and it may appear as if we are performing acts of worship for the deceased, as you alluded to in your question, then this too has no basis. The funeral prayer is an act of worship and consists of dua. During the prayer, the entire congregation faces the deceased. No believer ever suggested or thought that we are worshiping for or to the deceased in the funeral prayer – may Allah continue to protect this Ummah from ascribing partners unto Him.

Either way, making du’a for the deceased after his burial is from the Sunnah of the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam. It was his practice sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam that after the burial he would announce to the companions, “Seek forgiveness for your brother and ask Allah to grant him firmness, for he will now be questioned.” [Abu Dawud]

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar

How much do you know about the fiqh of burial? Do you know what is the first call to make when someone dies? What sort of preparation do you need to make? Is there a religious significance to washing the shroud in Zamzam water? What sort of instructions should you give to your relatives? Is it really true that we must encourage a dying person to recite the testimony of faith? And is organ donation permissible?

In this video, Imam Tahir Anwar discusses what we possibly consider the most difficult subject to think about: death and dying. However, it’s also one of the most important subjects, not to mention a situation that we are all absolutely guaranteed to face, sooner or later.

“Life has no guarantees. A person could pass away at any time.”

 Resources for Seekers

We are thankful to Al-Maqasid for this recording.

Can You Put a Turban on the Deceased?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalam aleykum,

Can you put a turban on the deceased and bury him with it?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The most correct opinion in the Hanafi madhab (al-qawl al-asahh) is that it is makruh (disliked) to place an ‘imamah (turban) on the deceased. This is reported in the following relied-upon texts of the madhab: Maraqi al-Falah, al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar (known in the subcontinent as al-Fatawa al-Shamiyyah), and Majma’ al-Anhur. The reason it has been deemed disliked is because it is contrary to the sunnah, which is as follows:

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كُفِّنَ فِي ثَلَاثَةِ أَثْوَابٍ يَمَانِيَةٍ بِيضٍ سَحُولِيَّةٍ مِنْ كُرْسُفٍ لَيْسَ فِيهِنَّ قَمِيصٌ وَلَا عِمَامَةٌ (متفق عليه)

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was shrouded in three Yemenite white Suhuliya (pieces of cloth) of cotton, and in them there was neither a shirt nor a turban [Bukhari and Muslim].



مراقي الفلاح

( وتكره العمامة في الأصح ) لأنها لم تكن في كفن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم واستحسنها بعضهم لما روي أن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما كان يعممه ويجعل العذبة على وجهه

حاشية الطحطاوي

قوله ( وتكره العمامة في الأصح ) كذا في المجتبى لأنها لم تكن في كفن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعللها في البدائع لأنها لو فعلت لصار الكفن شفعا والسنة أن يكون وترا

قوله ( واستحسنها بعضهم ) وهم المتأخرون وخصه في الظهيرية بالعلماء والإشراف دون الأوساط كما في النهر وغيره

مجمع الأنهر

( واستحسن بعض المتأخرين العمامة ) بالكسر لحديث ابن عمرو رضي الله تعالى عنهما أنه كان يعمم الميت ويجعل ذنب العمامة على وجهه هذا إذا كان عالما معروفا أو من الأشراف وأما من الأوساط فلا يعمم كما في المعراج وقيل : إذا لم يكن في الورثة صغار والأصح أنها تكره كما في المجتبى

الدر المختار

( وَيُسَنُّ فِي الْكَفَنِ لَهُ إزَارٌ وَقَمِيصٌ وَلِفَافَةٌ وَتُكْرَهُ الْعِمَامَةُ ) لِلْمَيِّتِ ( فِي الْأَصَحِّ ) مُجْتَبَى وَاسْتَحْسَنَهَا الْمُتَأَخِّرُونَ لِلْعُلَمَاءِ وَالْأَشْرَافِ وَلَا بَأْسَ بِالزِّيَادَةِ عَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ وَيُحَسَّنُ الْكَفَنُ لِحَدِيثِ ” { حَسِّنُوا أَكْفَانَ الْمَوْتَى فَإِنَّهُمْ يَتَزَاوَرُونَ فِيمَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَيَتَفَاخَرُونَ بِحُسْنِ أَكْفَانِهِمْ } ” ظَهِيرِيَّةٌ

رد المحتار

( قَوْلُهُ وَتُكْرَهُ الْعِمَامَةُ إلَخْ ) هِيَ بِالْكَسْرِ مَا يُلَفُّ عَلَى الرَّأْسِ قَامُوسٌ قَالَ ط : وَهِيَ مَحَلُّ الْخِلَافِ ، وَأَمَّا مَا يُفْعَلُ عَلَى الْخَشَبَةِ مِنْ الْعِمَامَةِ وَالزِّينَةِ بِبَعْضِ حُلِيٍّ فَهُوَ مِنْ الْمَكْرُوهِ بِلَا خِلَافٍ لِمَا تَقَدَّمَ أَنَّهُ يُكْرَهُ فِيهِ كُلُّ مَا كَانَ لِلزِّينَةِ . ا هـ .

( قَوْلُهُ فِي الْأَصَحِّ ) هُوَ أَحَدُ تَصْحِيحَيْنِ قَالَ الْقُهُسْتَانِيُّ : وَاسْتَحْسَنَ عَلَى الصَّحِيحِ الْعِمَامَةَ يُعَمَّمُ يَمِينًا وَيُذَنَّبُ وَيُلَفُّ ذَنَبُهُ عَلَى كُورَةٍ مِنْ قِبَلِ يَمِينِهِ ، وَقِيلَ يُذَنَّبُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ كَمَا فِي التُّمُرْتَاشِيِّ وَقِيلَ هَذَا إذَا كَانَ مِنْ الْأَشْرَافِ ، وَقِيلَ هَذَا إذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ فِي الْوَرَثَةِ صِغَارٌ ، وَقِيلَ لَا يُعَمَّمُ بِكُلِّ حَالٍ كَمَا فِي الْمُحِيطِ وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنَّهُ تُكْرَهُ الْعِمَامَةُ بِكُلِّ حَالٍ كَمَا فِي الزَّاهِدِيِّ . ا هـ .

( قَوْلُهُ : وَلَا بَأْسَ بِالزِّيَادَةِ عَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ ) كَذَا فِي النَّهْرِ عَنْ غَايَةِ الْبَيَانِ ، وَنَقْلُهُ قَبْلَهُ عَنْ الْمُجْتَبَى الْكَرَاهَةُ لَكِنْ قَالَ فِي الْحِلْيَةِ عَنْ الذَّخِيرَةِ مَعْزِيًّا إلَى عِصَامٍ : أَنَّهُ إلَى خَمْسَةٍ لَيْسَ بِمَكْرُوهٍ وَلَا بَأْسَ بِهِ . ا هـ .

ثُمَّ قَالَ : وَوُجِّهَ بِأَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ كَفَّنَ ابْنَهُ وَاقِدًا فِي خَمْسَةِ أَثْوَابٍ قَمِيصٍ وَعِمَامَةٍ وَثَلَاثِ لَفَائِفَ وَأَدَارَ الْعِمَامَةَ إلَى تَحْتِ حَنَكِهِ رَوَاهُ سَعِيدُ بْنُ مَنْصُورٍ (1). ا هـ .

قَالَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بَعْدَ نَقْلِ الْكَرَاهَةِ عَنْ الْمُجْتَبَى وَاسْتَثْنَى فِي رَوْضَةِ الزَّنْدَوَسْتِيِّ مَا إذَا وَصَّى بِأَنْ يُكَفَّنَ فِي أَرْبَعَةٍ أَوْ خَمْسَةٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَجُوزُ بِخِلَافِ مَا إذَا أَوْصَى أَنْ يُكَفَّنَ فِي ثَوْبَيْنِ فَإِنَّهُ يُكَفَّنُ فِي ثَلَاثَةٍ ، وَلَوْ أَوْصَى أَنْ يُكَفَّنَ بِأَلْفِ دِرْهَمٍ كُفِّنَ كَفَنًا وَسَطًا ا هـ .

قُلْت : الظَّاهِرُ أَنَّ الِاسْتِثْنَاءَ الَّذِي فِي الرَّوْضَةِ مُنْقَطِعٌ ؛ إذْ لَوْ كُرِهَ لَمْ تُنَفَّذْ وَصِيَّتُهُ كَمَا لَمْ تُنَفَّذْ بِالْأَقَلِّ تَأَمَّلْ

(1) التعليق من نسخة رد المحتار لدار الثقافة والتراث بتحقيق د. حسام الدين فرفور 227/5:

Imam Khalid Latif on “Losing Someone Close To You”

There is a narration that is found in the Islamic tradition in which a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, named Abdur Rahman ibn Awf speaks about visiting the Prophet’s infant son, Ibrahim. In this particular narration, he mentions that the Prophet kisses Ibrahim and takes him close, and then later begins to shed tears because Ibrahim is in his last breaths. Abdur Rahman asks about these tears to which the Prophet responds “Oh Ibn Awf, this is mercy.”

The Prophet then cries more and says: “The eyes are shedding tears, and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. Oh Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”

Losing someone close to us is always a hard situation to deal with. Just as hard is also knowing how to help and support someone who has lost someone close to their hearts. The pain of that separation causes even the hardest of hearts to tremble and puts us in a place where we at times don’t know what to do. The reality of this life being something that is finite comes as a secondary thought as we begin to deal with the aftermath of a heaviness placed upon our hearts. How do I cope or help someone to cope with this loss?

Primarily we want to understand that feeling grief at the loss of loved one is not somehow an absence of faith or a deficiency of it. Faith can actually become a potential source of making sense of the loss, and we lose out on it if we tell ourselves getting sad is somehow wrong. For the Muslims who are reading this, the Prophet Muhammad cried when his son died. None of us would say he is lacking in faith. We shouldn’t tell ourselves or each other that we somehow are lacking faith simply because we are responding the way most humans would respond.

There is no set amount of time that one has to reconcile the loss of a loved one. One can very subjectively make a determination as to how much time they need and telling yourself or someone else that because a certain number of days have passed they should now move forward doesn’t necessarily make sense. Although time is an important factor, reconciliation isn’t purely a product of time and making yourself or someone else feel as if they are doing something problematic by taking the time they need isn’t going to help the situation.

Moving on also does not entail completely forgetting. How we remember becomes key as does what we do through that remembrances. Our hearts will respond to things that remind them of what they hold as beloved. The Prophet Muhammad deeply loved his first wife Khadijah. The year in which she, as well as the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib, passes away becomes known as the “Year of Grief.” Khadijah definitely had a special place in the Prophet’s heart and his “moving on” did not entail forgetting her. On one instance after her passing, he is sitting with a group of his companions when someone brings to him a necklace. He holds the necklace and recognizes it as once belonging to his wife Khadijah and begins to cry as he remembers her.

He builds upon this remembrance through his action. After Khadijah’s passing, the Prophet would regularly send gifts to her family and friends. He would speak of her and mention how important she was to him. His moving on did not include forgetting entirely. Our moving on doesn’t have to either.

We can remember those that we have lost through actions undertaken through their remembrance; coming together to remember and doing good in their memory. Islam teaches its practitioner that even after a person has passed, those who remain in this world can bring benefit to them by performance of deeds on their behalf. I can give of myself with the sole intention that the person I have lost should be the benefactor of any reward from my actions and in the process I still maintain a relationship with the one I love while at the same time bringing their presence into the lives of others.

Losing someone close to you can definitely be tough. Whether it’s a parent, a child, a friend, or really anyone, that loss hurts. You don’t have to deny that pain and you can take your time to deal with it. But just keep in mind that although the person is not physically there, they can still be present in your life and the lives of many others, based off of how you remember them.

Imam Khalid LatifImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies.


Resources for Seekers:

The Loss of a Child: Seeking & Turning to Allah in Difficult Times
Basic Rulings and Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)
The Ruling on Women Visiting Graves and Etiquettes of Visiting
How Can I Deal with Several Pregnancy Losses?
How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?
How To Benefit from Remembering Death?
How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death
How To Overcome My Fear of Death?
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
Dealing With Anxiety About Death and Dying
Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners
How Do I Deal With Excessive Fear Of Death?

Can We Delay the Burial of Someone To Avoid Dispute?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: There is a situation in my family concerning my ill grandfather. In the event that he were to pass, I fear that there would be family discord if we were to bury him immediately without waiting for his son to arrive. Given his location, this would realistically require 2-3 days. What would you advise to do in such an event?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Delaying the burial rites is disliked and contrary to the prophetic stipulations. Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him) said, “Hasten the burial rites,” [Bukhari, Muslim] and Ibn `Umar narrated that he heard the Prophet (Allah bless him ) say, “If one of you die, hasten him to his grave.” [Tabarani, with an authentic chain as per Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari]

However, a slight delay is not disliked in order to have more people attend the funeral prayer and burial. Further, given that there are other factors at play in your particular situation, such as the potential for a family feud, there may be a case for delaying it slightly longer in order to let the son arrive.

However, this delay should not be excessive, and I would advise you to speak to the family members involved to ascertain whether delaying the burial would in fact lead to conflict and dispute.

Please see also: Burial Amongst Muslims, and a Directive for Proper Burial/Estate Division


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is it permissible to erect gravestones at graves for identification?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: The only Muslim cemetery where I live is  controlled by a mosque of a different islamic sensibility. We have been trying to get their leader to allow us to bury our dead with gravestones, but their shaykh says it is shirk. Could you clarify the Hanafi position on gravestones? Can you give me a hadith that shows  the permissibility of gravestones? 
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
It is permitted to erect a gravestone to identify the deceased. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar]
At the burial of `Uthman ibn Maz`un, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I am marking my brother’s grave with it [= a stone], and I shall bury beside him those of my family who die.” [Abu Dawud]
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Burying in Coffins or Caskets

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: According to local law here, a body cannot be wrapped only in a cloth and buried; it must be enclosed in a casket. Is it not improper to be buried in a fully enclosed container, according to Islamic law? What if the body is in a casket, but there is no lid (i.e., the earth is placed over the body and casket)?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

If the law of the land one lives in stipulates that the dead cannot be buried in shrouds alone, then it would not be disliked to bury using caskets. However, it would be recommended to place soil below the dead, as well as on their sides and above them.

There is general scholarly agreement, or even consensus (ijma’), that it is disliked to use caskets for burial without need [Nawawi, al-Majmu’, 5.252]. This reasoning is due to the fact that this practice is contrary to the specific burial practices taught by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and followed by the scholars and righteous of subsequent generations.

The Prophetic Way in Burial
The sunna of burial is simplicity, avoidance of wastefulness, and to allow the body to decompose. Given this, matters that entail extra expenditure or delay the process of decomposing are disliked [Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, 2.62; Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni, 2.190].

Many scholars even considered such practices to be disliked innovations (bid’a) [Haytami, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj Sharh al-Minhaj, 3.194].

The Use of Caskets When There is Need

However, the Hanafi scholars permitted the use of caskets and the like in lands where the soil is soft, due to need [Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, 2.62; Kasani, Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, 1.318; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya; Ibn Abidin/Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar]. Such cases were also excepted by the Shafi’i scholars and others [Haytami/Nawawi, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj Sharh al-Minhaj, 3.194; al-Mawsu’a al-Fiqhiyya].

Other cases of need were also mentioned by the Hanafis, such as when it is feared that unrelated men would touch a shrouded dead woman’s body, or when there is fear of animals or waterlogging [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Tatarkhaniyya].

Given the duty of a Muslim to obey the law of the land, it would not be disliked to bury in caskets; rather, one would be bound to obey such laws, as leading contemporary scholars affirm.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Burial Amongst Muslims, and a Directive for Proper Burial/Estate Division

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My question is about Islamic requirements for what to do after death.   I just told my mother that I’m Muslim after converting from Christianity four years ago. My sister does not even know yet.

My father died many years ago when I was young.  We all miss him very much.

Before my conversion, I wanted to be buried next to my father in the family grave.  Now, since I’m Muslim, I’m not sure whether that is appropriate.

This problem has caused me a lot of thinking. I don’t like that the last thing I do to my mum is making her sad … She has a very soft heart and always gave everything she could to care for us. Now I intend to write a provision for the case of my death, a kind of directive for my beloved ones and Muslim friends. I think I should define to them how my funeral should be since my family has no idea what a funeral for a Muslim would require. If I died today, I think they would simply bury my remains in a usual Catholic funeral because that’s what they know.

However, I am helpless about the grave problem. It could possibly be given that the position of our family grave is in direction of the city of Mecca. But even if that would be the case, would it be Islamically permitted to bury me there? There is a crucifix on the gravestone. Also, it is usual in our region to bury bodies in several levels inside one grave. Moreover, in Germany, burial is only permitted by placing the dead body inside a coffin.

Could you please provide me with some information about the most important aspects that I should define in my directive, and some guidance regarding the graveyard problem?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states. May Allah reward you for your concern and steadfastness, and ease this situation for you.

Regarding the burial site, you should place in your directive for you to be buried in the Muslim cemetery. I understand the sensitivity of your situation, and I can appreciate your concerns for your mother. However, being buried amongst Muslims is one of the important general symbols (sha`a’ir) of Islam: we have our own ways of burial, based primarily on simplicity. Moreover, the presence of a crucifix at your family’s burial site is a major concern, as that is a powerful emblem of polytheism.

Do this for Allah’s sake, and turn to Him with regards to your mother and her feelings. Allah alone is in control of circumstances and people’s hearts, and He alone is to be relied upon. Always treat your mother with gentleness, care, concern and love, but do not compromise your principles or the boundaries laid down by Allah Most High. No one ever sacrifices something for Allah except that He gives them much more in return, in this life and the next.

Regarding general guidelines for your directive, please see the following link for a nice template that can be used:

It might be prudent to consult an attorney in your vicinity so as to make any necessary adjustments in accordance with the local law of where you live.

Lastly, this website might prove helpful in calculation of your inheritance as well as general guidelines for your will/testament:

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani