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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.

 

Question:

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.

 

Answer:

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.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Has Attending a Catholic Funeral Made Me a Disbeliever?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I attended a Catholic funeral of my husband’s family once and there was a priest who read stories, qoutes and prayers from the Bible. I read some prayers and qoutes from the Bible with them. I’m not sure why I did that but most likely because I was being nice and was scared they would find out we were Muslims and didn’t want them to say we were being rude by not talking or reading along. I do not believe what Catholics believe about Jesus at all.

Does this make me a non muslim?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

You are still a Muslim. Imam Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi clearly mentions is his widely accepted creed that ‘Nothing removes a slave [of Allah] from belief except the denial of that which actually brought him into it in the first place.’ Having said this, it may have been improper conduct – especially if the words said were not reflective of our understanding of Allah – so it is best to ask Allah for forgiveness and avoid getting into the same situation again.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

On Death and Dying, by Ustadh Salman Younas

With the current year drawing to a close, social media has come alight repeatedly with news of the passing of yet another celebrity. Ustadh Salman Younas shares some personal thoughts on an inevitable journey all of us will embark upon: death.

I have seen many people in my wider circle of friends/acquaintances express how death has seemed so much closer to us this year than previous ones. We have witnessed the passing of many a parent, teacher, sibling, friend, and child. Some of us directly suffered these losses; others suffered through seeing these losses endured by people they knew, such as friends; yet, other losses were so global and impactful that all of us were effected by them.
I was never particularly fearful of death until my daughter was born. After her birth, the fear kicked in. It was in most ways a worldly fear. I wanted to see my little one take her first steps, speak her first words, start school, become a rebellious teenager, go to college, and have a family. I wanted to live to see my child grow.
This all changed after my father passed away. I remember standing with some of my close friends after a Quran recital telling them about how the birth of my daughter led to an increased fear of death on my part. But my attitude had changed now. I knew my father had moved into another room that was out of my sight. But I was no longer afraid to have the door to that room opened for me because I knew that he would be there. It was the first time in a long time that I was not afraid to leave the room my daughter was in for the room my father had gone too.
[cwa id=’cta’]

The Fear Factor

This taught me an important lesson. We often understand death in negative terms: we will be questioned, there is a thing called Hell, God will take us to account for everything, and so forth. The motivating factor in death for many is the fear factor. This is important, of course. Yet, the passing of my father taught me that it is also a motivator because of a love factor, a love and desire for reunion.
This was the perspective of Fatima (God be well-pleased with her). When the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in his final illness “he said something secretly to Fatima and she wept. Then he said something secretly to her and she laughed.” [Bukhari] When asked later why she wept, she said it was because the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was moving to the next life. But when asked what made her smile, it was because she was told that she would join him in Paradise.
This was the perspective of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In one of his final sermons, he mentioned how “God had given a slave the choice between immortality in this world or meeting his Lord, and he had chosen to meet his Lord.” He was speaking about himself. His last words according to A’isha were, “to the highest Companion!” He had chosen to move on and unite with God. [Bukhari]

A Beautiful Union

To all of my brothers and sisters who have lost someone, to those saddened by separation, and to those still grieving, do not forget the union that death brings. A union with a merciful and compassionate Lord. A union with a most beautiful and perfect Prophet who will not cease pleading to God until each and every one of his followers is in Paradise with him.
Remember that your loved ones from this community wait for you, and that you have the opportunity to be with them in a place where time has ceased, where there will be no separation, nor grief, nor sadness, nor pain. It is a place where all of you can be together in utter bliss, love, and happiness.
This is the hope and trust we place in our Lord. This is why we worship and engage in righteousness: so we can reunite with those whom we love – God, His Prophet, our parents, children, siblings, friends, and others. So, do not despair, do not lose sight of the bigger picture, and make your life a road to reunion.
We ask God to renuite us in the eternal garden with those we love in the company of our Prophet (blessings upon him) and all the righteous.

Is There Any Reason a Dead Person’s Eyes are Wide Open?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I recently attended a funeral. As soon as the person died we closed the eyes and mouth. We then sent the body to the mosque and when we returned to it 4/5 hours later we found the eyes were wide open which we found to be really strange.

What could this signify or mean?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. Innaa li’l Llahi wa inna ilayhi raji‘un (We are indeed Allah’s, and to Him is our return)

Don’t worry about this: it is something natural.

As Muslims, we don’t take “bad signs” from things. Rather, the sunna is to think well of the deceased, to remember their good deeds, and to ask Allah Most High for His Mercy and forgiveness for them.

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

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and translator of several Arabic works to the English language. After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersGuidance to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner.

Photo: Rusty Clark

How To Talk To Children About Death, by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

How do we prepare children for the death of someone close to them, and indeed, the concept of our own mortality? Shaykh Walead Mosaad gives some advice on the SeekersHub podcast.

 

 

Preparing to Go Like Muhammad Ali (Without The Selfies), by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this first Friday khutba of Ramadan, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani reflects on the passing of the late Muhammad Ali and his funeral. In this great moment of truth, people were snapping selfies standing at or near the front of the janaza. The immediate and fleeting seems much more real than the ultimate – our own mortality.

Shaykh Faraz brings to the forefront the reality of death and being prepared for it the way Muhammad Ali was, having set in place the specifics of his funeral over ten years ago.

Shaykh Faraz gives practical steps on how to prepare for death and embrace that inevitable reality. He also explains that one should not wish for death, as the Prophet ﷺ‎ taught us that it is best to have a long life full with good actions. However, one should be prepared for it, both spiritually and materially.

 

Photo: Worshipers and well-wishers take photographs as the casket with the body of the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali is brought for his jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Imam Khalid Latif on “Losing Someone Close To You”

grave-coffinThere 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?

What Is the Proper Conduct of a Muslim Woman During the Entire Funeral Process?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What should be the conduct of a woman in attending the entire funeral process?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

In general, it is disliked for women to attend and follow the funeral rites and procession with the men. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

However, if proper arrangements can be made with respect to participation and attendance, then it would be permitted for them to attend.

As for attending the ritual bathing (ghusl), this is problematic because it is possible that some of the nakedness may become uncovered. Moreover, we strive to maintain the dignity of the deceased as much as reasonably possible, and allowing others to watch without need or benefit would negate this.

What would be superior would be to supplicate and recite Qur’an for them. [see: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer]

See also: Standing for a Funeral Procession

And Allah alone knows best.

في حاشية الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح: قوله : ويكره اتباع النساء الجنائز أي تحريما كما في الدر اهـ.
وفي رد المحتار: قوله: (ويكره خروجهن تحريما) لقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام: ارجعن مأزورات غيرة مأجورات رواه ابن ماجه بسند ضعيف، لكن يعضده المعنى الحادث باختلاف الزمان الذي أشارت إليه عائشة بقولها: لو أن رسول الله (ص) رأى ما أحدث النساء بعده لمنعهن كما منعت نساء بني إسرائيل، وهذا في نساء زمانها، فما ظنك بنساء زماننا. وأما ما في الصحيحين عن أم عطية: نهينا عن اتباع الجنائز ولم يعزم علينا أي أنه نهي تنزيه فينبغي أن يختص بذلك الزمن حيث كان يباح لهن الخروج للمساجد والاعياد، وتمامه في شرح المنية. اهـ.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani