FAQ About Death
The following is a series of Q&A which was done by Jaffari News of ISIJ of Toronto, Canada with Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi.
At the funeral procession, it is recommended to first carry the right front corner of the casket on your left shoulder then gradually move to the end corner, and then carry the left front corner on the right shoulder and then gradually move to the end corner. Is this not inconvenient for those who are carrying the casket on the right and left corners? Instead, is it not better if four family members are available that they carry the casket?.
In a muslim funeral,there is no concept of four individuals or family members carrying the casket at the corners. People line up on two sides and the casket is moved on the shoulders of the people on both sides.
I have observed sometimes that a family member carries the casket on the back of his shoulders right in the front. There is no recommendation for such a thing, rather it hinders the people who have lined up on both sides to carry the coffin.
The way it is normally done in the east is that when the body is placed inside the grave without a coffin, it is customary based on religious recommendation to make a sort of pillow of earth for the head of the deceased.
In Canada, depending on civil/provincial regulations, we can’t bury a body without a coffin. In such places, people place some earth inside the coffin and underneath the cheek as a way of fulfilling the religious recommendation mentioned above.
Similarly, after the body has been placed inside the grave it is recommended to put a handful portion of earth inside the grave by pushing it by the outer side of one's hand. This recommendation for putting some earth inside the grave is not for the close family members;for them it is makruh(disliked) to put the earth inside the grave of their dear deceased kin. Why is the dirt swept in with the back of the hand only and why are family members not supposed to sweep dirt into grave?
However, for the closest family members–the blood relatives–it is not recommended – this would save him from further emotional distress.
After placing the body in the grave and before closing the grave, it is recommended that the 'wali'(next of kin) or someone who has been allowed by him to recite Talqin. The person reciting the 'Talqin' should hold the right shoulder of the dead body with his right hand and should place his left hand tightly on the left shoulder and draw his face close to the ear of the deceased. Then, shaking shoulders of the deceased,he should say thrice:'Isma' ifham ya...(Listen and understand,O')....mentioning the name of the deceased as the son/daughter of his/her father, then recite the'Talqin'. This act of holding the shoulders in a diagonal state could risk dropping the body and be disrespectful as a result. Would it be okay to hold the right shoulder of the dead body with the left hand and the left shoulder with the right hand, draw the face close to the ear of the dead body, shake the body,then recite 'Talqin'?
In muslim countries, the graves are dug in such a way that right at the bottom there are two levels: one is the actual grave (lahad) and one is a raised platform on which those who will place the body will stand. This makes it easy for the person to hold the shoulders of the deceased diagonally and there is no issue of dropping the body or being disrespectful.
Here in Canada,the graves are not dug that way. And so normally the coffin is placed on the ground besides the grave or on the straps over the grave, then a person sits besides the coffin to hold the shoulders of the deceased and the talqin is recited. I don’t see any risk of dropping the body or being disrespectful.
Why is it recommended? I haven’t seen any explanation in the hadith; probably, it helps in the settling down of the earth that has been put back onto the grave.
Prophet(s.a.w) once said that the most difficult night for a dead person is the night of his burial, therefore have mercy on your dead people by giving charity in their name. If you cannot give charity in their name,then one person should recite two rak'at namaz(referring to Namaz-e Wahshat). Does this mean that this namaaz is to be recited only once by the wali of the deceased or someone who has been assigned by the wali to do this namaaz? Instead, is it not preferable for the entire congregation to recite'Namaaz-e-Washaat'on the night of the burial, especially since it is the most difficult night for a dead person instead of'Namaaz-e-Hadya-e Mayyit'?
One of the disciplines of visiting the cemetery states that, 'Worldly talks, jokes and laughs should be avoided'. During the summer months when majlis' are held at the cemetery, socialization does occur as friends and family meet each otheer and tabarruk is served. Should this be avoided or is it okay?
-For increasing the thawab of those who are buried there when visitors recite fateha.
-For making the visitors realize the eventuality of death and prepare themselves for the journey to the hereafter.
Keeping that purpose in mind, we should not be joking and laughing in the cemetery.
-close the eyelids of the dead person.
-close the mouth of the dead person.
-Tie the two jaws so that the mouth does not open.
-straighten his/her arms and place them on the two sides of his body.
-straighten his/her legs.
-cover the dead body.
-switch on the light in the room where the dead body is kept.
-Arrange the funeral as soon as possible.
-Inform the mu’umeen to attend the funeral.
What is the position regarding burial of a person who dies in a foreign country where there are no family members of the deceased. Our community is often divided in such cases, since family members prefer that all burial ceremonies be attended by the kith and kin of the deceased. This naturally delays burial by a few days. Also, in some places like Toronto, burials devastated by the loss of their loved one. What should be done to alleviate this grief, with are not possible during week ends due to public cemetery restrictions thereby causing delays..
The declaration of faith is that in which you confirm your belief in Allah(SWT), Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w), the twelve Imams(a.s), the holy Qur’an and the day of judgement. The translation of the dua is as follows:
I have accepted Allah (SWT)as the lord, Muhammad(s.a.w)as the Prophet, Islam as the Religion, the Quran as the book of God, the Kabah as the Qiblah.
And I accept ‘Ali as the waliu of Allah and my Iman; and Hasan, Husayan, Ali ibn Husayn, Muhammad ibn Ali, Ja’far ibn Muhammad, Musa ibn Ja’far, Ali ibn Musa, Muhammad ibn Ali, Hasan Ibn Ali and al-hujjat ibn al-Hasan(a.s) as Imams, leaders and guides – I declare my disassociation with their enemies.
And I believe that surely the hour of Doom will come in which there is no doubt,and that Allah (SWT) will resurrect all those who are in their graves. And I believe that the reckoning of our deeds is the truth; the Paradise is the truth; and that the Hell is the truth.
The translation of the statement of Faraj is as follows:
There is no God but Allah, the Gentle, the kind; There is no God but Allah, the High, the Great. All praise be to Allah, the lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the seven earths, and whatever is in them and whatever is above them and whatever is below them; And he is the lord of the Great Throne. And all praise be to Allah, the lord of the universe.
It is also recommended to recite two surahs, Yasin and as-Safat near the dying person, this will relieve the pangs of death.