Salat Al-Janazah is a right of the Muslim upon the muslim. It is a way of us to bid farewell to our loved ones and to remind ourselves that we too will follow the same path one day.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ ذَآئِقَةُ ٱلْمَوْتِ ۗ
"Every soul will taste Death" 21:35
The Funeral Prayer in Islam is Fard Kafayah (communal obligation), which basically means if one prays the prayer than all are Bareeuz Zimma [free of the responsiblity]. Otherwise, all those who received news of the death and did not attend the funeral would be considered sinners.
It was narrated that 'Imran bin Husain said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Your brother has died, so get up and pray for him." (Sunan an-Nasa'i 1946)
There is also a great reward for attending the funeral prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us the rewards are equal to two huge mountains. So attending the funeral prayer is a time to get easy reward for your own reckoning.
Narrated Abu Huraira: That Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) 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
How to pray Salat al-Janazah?
The prayer over the deceased person takes the following form:
- Make sure you have made Wu’du and face the qiblah just like any other prayer.
- The Janazah prayer has neither Adhaan nor lqamah.
- The body of the deceased should already be washed and shrouded and placed in front of the congregation.
- The deceased is laid down on the ground with the face directed towards the Ka’ba.
- Where the deceased is a male, the Imam would stand facing towards the head of the dead body.
- If the deceased is a woman, the Imam would stand facing the middle part of the dead body. Meanwhile, the congregation would be standing behind him in rows.
- The Janazah prayer is performed with one standing only and has neither bows (Rukuus) nor prostration (Sujuuds).
- Stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet to the person either side of you as prescribed in the sunnah.
Steps To Be Followed:
There are four Takbeer in salat Al-Janazah.
Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle informed (the people) about the death of An-Najashi on the very day he died. He went towards the Musalla (praying place) and the people stood behind him in rows. He said Four Takbirs (i.e. offered the Funeral prayer). Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 337
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) explained how to pray salat al-Janazah (funeral prayer). It is done as follows:
1. The First Takbeer:-
The Imam leading the Janazah prayer will say the first takbir out loud (i.e. Allahu Akbar).
Follow the Imam and raise your hands up to the ears or shoulders and then fold them. Placing the right hand over the left just like you would do in the normal five daily prayers.
Allāhu akbar Allah is Greater (than all else).
Before reciting the Qur’an first seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan (Satan) the accursed.
Recite this silently.
أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطٰانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
a’ūdhu billāhi minash-shaytānir-rajīm I seek refuge in Allah from the Satan the outcast
Recite the first chapter of the Qur’an – The Opener (Surah Al-Fatiha)
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ
Bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm. Al ḥamdu lillāhi rabbi l-’ālamīn. Ar raḥmāni r-raḥīm. Māliki yawmi d-dīn. Iyyāka na’budu wa iyyāka nasta’īn. Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm. Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an’amta ‘alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi ‘alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn
In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. (All) praise is (due) to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray.
2. The Second Takbeer:-
The Imam leading the Janazah prayer will say the second takbir out loud (i.e. Allahu Akbar).
It is Sunnah to raise your hands to the level of the shoulders with every takbir in the five daily prayers. From this the scholars say it is preferable to raise your hands with every takbir in the Janazah prayer too.
The Hanafi school of thought in general does not raise their hands after the first takbir. This is a difference of opinion among the scholars.
You can either choose to raise your hands again up to your earlobes or leave them as is. Both are permissible.
After saying Allahu Akbar, send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as one does at the end of the prayer ( Durood E Ibrahim)
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكَ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ
Allāhumma ṣalli ʿalá Muḥammad wa ʿalá āli Muḥammad, kamā ṣallayta ʿalá Ibrāhīm wa ʿalá āli Ibrāhīm, innaka Ḥamīdun Majīd. Allāhumma bārik ʿalá Muḥammadin wa ʿalá āli Muḥammad, kamā bārakta ʿalá Ibrāhīm, wa ʿalá āli Ibrāhīm, innaka Ḥamīdun Majīd
O Allah, send prayers upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You sent prayers upon Abraham and the family of Abraham. You are indeed worthy of praise, full of glory. And send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon Abraham and the family of Abraham. You are indeed worthy of praise, full of glory.
3. The Third Takbeer:-
The Imam leading the Janazah prayer will say the third takbir out loud. After saying the Takbeer, Supplicate (Du’a) for the deceased.
Below are some duas from the Sunnah which the Prophet (peace be upon him) would pray for the deceased.
Dua #1 –
اللهُـمِّ اغْفِـرْ لَهُ وَارْحَمْـه ، وَعافِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنْـه ، وَأَكْـرِمْ نُزُلَـه ، وَوَسِّـعْ مُدْخَـلَه ، وَاغْسِلْـهُ بِالْمـاءِ وَالثَّـلْجِ وَالْبَـرَدْ ، وَنَقِّـهِ مِنَ الْخطـايا كَما نَـقّيْتَ الـثَّوْبُ الأَبْيَـضُ مِنَ الدَّنَـسْ ، وَأَبْـدِلْهُ داراً خَـيْراً مِنْ دارِه ، وَأَهْلاً خَـيْراً مِنْ أَهْلِـه ، وَزَوْجَـاً خَـيْراً مِنْ زَوْجِه، وَأَدْخِـلْهُ الْجَـنَّة ، وَأَعِـذْهُ مِنْ عَذابِ القَـبْر وَعَذابِ النّـار
Allaahum-maghfir lahu warhamhu, wa 'aafihi, wa'fu 'anhu, wa 'akrim nuzulahu, wa wassi' mudkhalahu, waghsilhu bilmaa'i waththalji walbaradi, wa naqqihi minal-khataayaa kamaa naqqaytath-thawbal-'abyadha minad-danasi, wa 'abdilhu daaran khayran min daarihi, wa 'ahlan khayran min 'ahlihi, wa zawjan khayran min zawjihi, wa 'adkhilhul-jannata, wa. 'a'ithhu min 'athaabil-qabri[wa 'athaabin-naar]
O Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him and give him strength and pardon him. Be generous to him and cause his entrance to be wide and wash him with water and snow and hail. Cleanse him of his transgressions as white cloth is cleansed of stains. Give him an abode better than his home, and a family better than his family and a wife better than his wife. Take him into Paradise and protect him from the punishment of the grave [and from the punishment of Hell-fire]. (Sahih Muslim: 963)
اللهُـمِّ اغْفِـرْ لِحَيِّـنا وَمَيِّتِـنا وَشـاهِدِنا ، وَغائِبِـنا ، وَصَغيـرِنا وَكَبيـرِنا ، وَذَكَـرِنا وَأُنْثـانا . اللهُـمِّ مَنْ أَحْيَيْـتَهُ مِنّا فَأَحْيِـهِ عَلى الإِسْلام ،وَمَنْ تَوَفَّـيْتََهُ مِنّا فَتَوَفَّـهُ عَلى الإِيـمان ، اللهُـمِّ لا تَحْـرِمْنـا أَجْـرَه ، وَلا تُضِـلَّنا بَعْـدَهُ
Allaahum-maghfir lihayyinaa, wa mayyitinaa, wa shaahidinaa, wa ghaa'ibinaa, wa sagheerinaa wa kabeerinaa, wa thakarinaa wa 'unthaanaa. Allaahumma man 'ahyaytahu minnaa fa'ahyihi 'alal-'Islaami, wa man tawaffaytahu minnaa fatawaffahu 'alal-'eemaani, Allaahumma laa tahrimnaa 'ajrahu wa laa tudhillanaa ba'dahu
O Allah forgive our living and our dead, those who are with us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our menfolk and our womenfolk. O Allah, whomever you give life from among us give him life in Islam, and whomever you take way from us take him away in Faith. O Allah, do not forbid us their reward and do not send us astray after them. (Abu Dawood: 3201, At-Tirmidhi: 1024)
4. The Fourth Takbeer
The Imam leading the Janazah prayer will say the fourth and final takbir out loud.
After saying the Takbeer, You may continue to seek forgiveness and supplicate for the deceased if the Imam is silent for a while. Usually the Imam will proceed to conclude the Janazah prayer after a short pause. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to hasten the burial.
The Imam will conclude the Janazah prayer by turning his head to the right and saying the Taslim. Follow the imam and turn your head to the right and say “As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh”. Doing it on both sides as in regular prayer is also ok.
Rules Of Janazah
- Some people pray while wearing shoes and many people pray Janazah while standing on the shoes. If one prays while wearing the shoes then it is necessary that the shoes and the earth underneath be pure and if one stands on the shoes then it is necessary that the shoes be pure.
- There is more ihtiyat (care) that one does not pray while standing on the shoes. Stand on the earth, if you want you can stand upon your handkerchief.
- It is necessary for the body of the deceased to be present; the Janazah of the absent is not permissible.
- It is mustahabb that the Imam stands in front of the chest of the deceased.
The Purpose Of The Janazah Prayer
The purpose of the funeral prayer is it is a time to seek forgiveness for your Muslim brother or sister who has just passed away.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) attached great relevance to the number of believers attending a funeral prayer. The significance of it being that if a person did much good to his community then more people would want to attend his funeral.
‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet PBUH said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying. “If any Muslim dies and forty men who associate nothing with Allah stand over his prayer (i.e. they offer prayer over him). Allah will accept them as intercessors for him. [Sahih Muslim • Book 11, Hadith 77 • Graded Authentic]
Attending the funeral of a believer is also one of the rights of a Muslim upon us. The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized to follow the funeral procession is the right of your Muslim brother.
It would not make sense to follow the procession and then not pray the Janazah prayer. So follow the funeral procession includes attending the Janazah prayer afterwards.
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "The rights of a Muslim on the Muslims are five: to respond to the salaam, visiting the sick, to follow the funeral processions, to accept an invitation, and to reply to those who sneeze. Sahih al-Bukhari 1240
Virtues Of Attending The Janazah Prayer
The virtues of the funeral prayer are many. Besides seeking forgiveness for the deceased the funeral prayer is also a time for self reflection. Attending the funeral prayer and graves of the deceased softens the heart and humbles you.
It is a reminder that you will also die one day and stand in front of your Lord. So make sure to use this time to re-analyze your own life and deeds. And what you will take to the grave with you.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said “Visit the graves, for that makes you mindful of death”. Sahih Muslim 976
It was narrated that Al-Bara’ said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) at a funeral, and he sat at the edge of the grave weeping, until the ground became wet. Then he said: ‘O my brothers, prepare yourselves for something like this.’” Sunan Ibn Majah 4195
Death is the inevitable reality. It is the only thing that is certain for everyone. Regardless if you’re a man or woman, young or old, dark skin or fair skin, rich or poor. One day we all will die.
It is also likely that in our lifetime we all will know someone who dies and we’ll have to attend their Janazah prayer (Funeral Prayer). Therefore it is important for every Muslim to know how to pray the Janazah prayer according to the Sunnah.
If you’ve benefited from this guide then please share it with others.
And Allah The Most Knowledgeable knows best.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
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