Can a Muslim attend Non Muslim funerals?

 

Question:

 

As-Salaamu Alaikum, I have a lot of family relatives who are not Muslims. Can we attend their funerals?

Answer:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In Islam, the importance of maintaining and preserving family relations is greatly emphasized. Allah ﷻ mentions in the beginning of Surah an-Nisaa:

واتقوا الله الذي تساءلون به والأرحام

Fear Allah through Whom you ask (for things and take promises) from each other and (fear breaking) family ties. Surely, Allah is Ever an All­ Watcher over you.

He ﷻ also mentions in another verse in Surah an-Nisaa: {Ayah: 36}

واعبدوا الله ولا تشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين إحسانا وبذي القربى……

Worship Allah, ascribe none as partner to him and show kindness to parents relatives……

Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih on the authority Abu Hurayrah (r.a) that when the verse;

 وَأَنْذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ and warn (Oh Muhammad),your closest kindred” was revealed the Prophet ﷺ, He called all the clans of Quraish and warned them, in his warning  he said;

فَإِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ شَيْئًا، غَيْرَ أَنَّ لَكُمْ رَحِمًا سَأَبُلُّهَا بِبَلَالِهَا

I cannot avail you anything before Allah, but I will uphold the ties of kinship with you.[1]

In another Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Asmaa (r.a), the daughter of Abu Bakr (r.a) said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ;

يا رسول الله  إن أمي قدمت علي وهي راغبة أفأصلها ؟ قال نعم! صليها

Oh Messenger of Allah! My mother came to me while she was still a polytheist, so I asked the Prophet ﷺ, “Should I treat her kindly? He replied, Yes! Threat her kindly.

The aforementioned clearly shows the importance of maintaining family relations irrespective to whether they are Muslims or not. We are instructed to be kind, merciful, affectionate and caring towards them.

There are great rewards and merits in strengthening and maintaining family ties, consider the following Ahaadith;

  • Imam al-Bukhari reports on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r.a) that the Prophet ﷺ said;

ومن كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليصل رحمه

And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.

  • Imam al-Bukhari reports on the authority of Anas (r.a) that the Prophet ﷺ said;

من أحب أن يبسط له في رزقه ، وينسأ له في أثره ، فليصل رحمه

Whoever loves that he would be granted more sustenance and that his life span would be prolonged, then he should unite his ties of kinship.

  • Imam Muslim reports on the authority of Aishah (r.a) that the Prophet ﷺ said;

الرحم متعلقة بالعرش تقول  من وصلني وصله الله ، ومن قطعني قطعه الله

The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me Allah would unite him and he who severs me Allah would sever him

  • Imam at-Tirmidhi reports on the authority of Abdullah bin Salaam (r.a) that from the first speeches I heard from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was;

يأيها الناس أفشوا السلام أطعموا الطعام وصلوا الأرحام وصلوا بالليل والناس نيام ، تدخلوا الجنة بسلام

O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu ‘Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace.”

Regarding your question, it is not permissible for you to attend their funerals, places of worship, to pray for their forgiveness and mercy and to seek their entrance into Jannah as this is strictly prohibited. The reason being is that, they died upon disbelief.

Allah, the All Mighty ﷻ clearly instructs us in the Quran;

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُواْ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُواْ أُوْلِي قُرْبَى مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).

Allah ﷻ mentions in another verse of the Quran:

ولا تصل على أحد منهم مات أبدا ولا تقم على قبره إنهم كفروا بالله ورسوله وماتوا وهم فاسقون

And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad], over any of them who has died – ever – or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were defiantly disobedient.

As for offering condolences to your Non-Muslim relatives and expressing your sympathy, the Islamic Jurists have stated that it is permissible with the condition that you do not utter any statement with is tantamount Kufr.

It is stated in Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq and Tabyin al-Haqa’iq:

If a Non-Muslim dies, one may say to the relative of the deceased;

May the All Mighty recompense you with something better and honour you with Islam.[2]

In conclusion, it is not permissible for a Muslim to partake in funeral processions of the disbelievers as it is associated with their rituals and worship. Even though Islam strongly emphasizes the importance of maintaining and strengthening family relations, it has also set limits and bounds that must not be violated.

NB: Constantly show gratitude and thanks to Allah ﷻ for guiding you towards Islam. Furthermore, show your relatives the beauty of Islam and invite them towards it then ask Allah ﷻ for their guidance.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Kaleem Muhammad

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom

Trinidad, West Indies

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

[1] صحيح مسلم (1/ 192)

348 – (204) حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، وَزُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، قَالَا: حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ بْنِ عُمَيْرٍ، عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ طَلْحَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: لَمَّا أُنْزِلَتْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ {وَأَنْذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ} [الشعراء: 214]، دَعَا رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قُرَيْشًا، فَاجْتَمَعُوا فَعَمَّ وَخَصَّ، فَقَالَ: «يَا بَنِي كَعْبِ بْنِ لُؤَيٍّ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا بَنِي مُرَّةَ بنِ كَعْبٍ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ شَمْسٍ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا بَنِي هَاشِمٍ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ، يَا فَاطِمَةُ، أَنْقِذِي نَفْسَكِ مِنَ النَّارِ، فَإِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ شَيْئًا، غَيْرَ أَنَّ لَكُمْ رَحِمًا سَأَبُلُّهَا بِبَلَالِهَا»،

[2] البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (8/ 232)

وإذا مات الكافر قيل لوالده أو لقريبه في تعزيته ” أخلف الله عليك خيرا منه، وأصلحك ورزقك ولدا مسلما

 

تبيين الحقائق شرح كنز الدقائق وحاشية الشلبي (6/ 30)

وإذا مات الكافر قال لوالده أو قريبه في تعزيته أخلف الله عليك خيرا منه، وأصلحك أي أصلحك بالإسلام ورزقك ولدا مسلما؛ لأن الخيرية به تظهر