#61: Adhan During the Funeral

Question:

Assalamualaikum. What is the ruling of calling the adhan when the deceased is placed in the grave to be buried?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Scholars have agreed that calling out the adhan is one of the eminences of Islam that is sanctioned by Allah SWT when the five obligatory times started. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:

إِذَا حَضَرَتْ الصَّلاةُ فَلْيُؤَذِّنْ لَكُمْ أَحَدُكُمْ وَلْيَؤُمَّكُمْ أَكْبَرُكُمْ

“When the stated time for the prayer becomes due, then one of you should pronounce its call (i.e. the Adhan), and the eldest of you should lead you in prayer.” [1]

The Grave and Its Measurements

Scholars discussed the size of the grave of a person to be buried in. Basically, the size of the grave should be deep enough to cover the smell of the deceased and protect it from getting eaten by wild animals. While the proper depth is as deep as a moderate adult with both hands held up.

This is as stated by Syeikh al-Nawawi al-Bantani who said: “The grave must be able to cover the smell of the deceased and protect it from wild animals. The proper grave should be as deep as a person with both hands outstretched upwards, then some soil is placed at the cheeks of the deceased and face it to the qibla.” [2]

In Hasyiah al-Bujairimi, it is explained that ‘قامة وبسطة’ is four and a half hasta (the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger). There is also an opinion which states that it is 3 and a half hasta and the final is four and a half hasta. [3]

The Ruling of Calling Out the Adhan When Placing a Deceased in the Grave

In answering this question, we cite here the opinions of scholars regarding this issue:

First: Not Sunnah

Madhhab Hanafi

Ibn ‘Abidin who is a scholar of madhhab Hanafi said: “It isn’t encouraged to call out the adhan when placing the deceased body in the grave as what is usually done nowadays. Furthermore, Ibn Hajar emphasized in his collection of fatwas that it is bid’ah.” [4]

Madhhab Maliki

Ibn ‘Abd al-Bar who is madhhab Maliki’s scholar said: “There is no adhan other than for the five obligatory prayers. It is also impermissible to call the adhan for sunnah prayers as well as the five obligatory prayers that have passed and are going to be qadha’ (replaced), not at the designated times.” [5]

Al-Hattab al-Ru’aini said: “In al-Asbahi’s fatwas, there is a question regarding news (hadith) in the issue of adhan and iqamah when placing the body of the deceased into the grave? Answer: I don’t know of a hadith or athar in this matter except what is told by some muta’akhir scholars (recently). Probably, it is analogically deduced with the encouragement of adhan and iqamah at the ears of a baby who is just born, for birth is the beginning in this world and this (death) is the beginning of leaving this world, however, there is weakness in this matter. For cases such as this (adhan when burying the deceased), cannot be believed if there isn’t sahih evidence for it.” [6]

Madhhab Syafi’i

Imam Ibnu Hajar al-Haitami who is a scholar of madhhab Syafi’i has given an explanation in this issue. When he is asked, “What is the ruling of adhan and iqamat when covering the grave?” Ibn Hajar al-Haitami answered: “It is bid’ah. Whoever is certain of the matter as sunnah when placing the body of the deceased into the grave, for ti is analogically deduced with the encouragement of adhan and iqamah for a baby who is just born, equalizing the ending of a person’s life as when he is firstborn is a wrong belief. Can these two situations be considered the same? Just with the excuse of one is the beginning of life and the other is its end, this doesn’t show there are similarities between the two.” [7]

He also explained in another book. “Yes, sometimes adhan is sunnah to be called out for other than prayers, such as when a baby is born, a person in need, fall unconscious, angry, in a terrible behaviour regardless of humans or animals, during battle or fire. It is also said that when placing the deceased in the grave by analogically deducing it with the first time he is born in this world. However, I reject this opinion as written in the book Syarah al-‘Ubub. It is also sunnah to call out the adhan when a there is a person being possessed according to a sahih hadith, as well as adhan and iqamah when one is going on a journey.” [8]

Syeikh Abu Bakr bin Muhammad Syatha al-Dimyati said: “You should know that indeed, it isn’t sunnah to call the adhan when (the deceased) is placed in the grave. This is different from the opinion which states that it is sunnah by analogically deducing that a person from this world (die) with a person entering this world (born).” [9]

Syeikh Sulaiman al-Jamal said: “It is not sunnah to call the adhan when burying a deceased, appropriate with the opinion of al-Asbahi and different from some scholars. Cited from Syeikh al-Barmawi.” [10]

Madhhab Hanbali

Ibnu Qudama a scholar from madhhab Hanbali stated: “The Muslim ummah has agreed that adhan and iqamah are sanctioned for the five obligatory prayers and second it isn’t sanctioned for other than the five prayers for its meaning is to inform (the beginning) of the obligatory prayers to everyone. And there are no others.” [11]

Second: Sunnah

As cited from Hasyiah al-Jamal states that there are scholars who are of the opinion that it is sunnah to call out the adhan when placing the deceased in the grave, however, the names of the scholars cannot be ascertained except al-Hafiz Syamsuddin al-Hamawi who said it is sunnah although this opinion is weak and rejected by the majority of the imams from madhhab Syafi’i.

Syeikh al-Muhibbi said: “Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Yusuf bin Ahmad bin Muhammad who is called Syamsuddin al-Hamawi, who originates from al-Dimasyqi, born in al-Midani, al-Syafi’i, is a scholar in Syria, a hadith scholar as well as an al-hafiz who has great memorization. He died in Qoulanj during the Dhuha time on Monday 13th Zulhijjah 1033 H. His funeral prayer was performed before Asar and he is buried in ‘Bab al-Saghir’ graveyard near his father’s grave. When his body was placed in the grave, the muezzin performed the bid’ah that they have been performing for several years in Damascus, in line with what he delivered (Syeikh Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Yusuf) to them which is adhan during a funeral is sunnah. This is a weak opinion chosen by some recent scholars.

This opinion is rejected by Ibnu Hajar al-Haitami in the book al-‘Ubab and others, hence they call the adhan at his grave.” [12]

Conclusion

We would like to emphasize after analyzing the various opinions, it is not sunnah to call the adhan when placing the deceased in the grave. Furthermore, according to Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami in al-Fatawa al-Kubra, it is ruled as bid’ah. This opinion is in line with the fatwa issued by the state government of Kedah. (See Himpunan Fatwa Negeri Kedah Darul Aman, 2/14)

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] Narrated by al-Bukhari (6705) and Muslim (1567)

[2] See Kasyifah al-Saja, pg. 106-107

[3] See Hasyiah al-Bujairimi ‘ala Syarh Manhaj al-Tullab, 1/635

[4] See Radd al-Mukhtar ‘ala al-Dur al-Mukhtar, 2/235

[5] See al-Kafi fi Fiqh Ahl al-Madinah, pg. 37

[6] See Mawahib al-Jalil fi Syarh Mukhtasar al-Syaikh Khalil, 2/85

[7] See al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra, 2/371

[8] See Tuhfatu al-Muhtaj bi Syarh al-Minhaj, 1/330

[9] See I’anatu al-Talibin, 1/230

[10] See Hasyiyah al-Jamal, 4/17

[11] See al-Syarh al-Kabir, 1/388

[12] See Khulasah al-Athar, 3/32

 

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