The Janaazah (Funeral) Prayer According To The Sunnah (Brief)
Abu Abdillaah Muhammad Al-Jibaaly
Source: Funerals Regulations & Exhortations p182-199 (2nd edition)
Al-Kitaab & as-Sunnah Publishing
One must perform the janaazah prayer standing up, because this is the only manner reported from Allaah’s Messenger. Unlike the regular prayers, the janaazah prayer does not involve any rukoo’ (bowings) or sujood (prostrations). This is because, as the body is laid in front of the praying people, rukoo’ or sujood actions would appear to be performed for it, resembling praying among the graves, which is prohibited.
Number Of Takbeers (Saying: ‘Allaahu Akbar’)
One should make four or more – up to nine – takbeers. It is better to vary the number of takbeers, making four one time, five another, six another, and so on – while giving more weight to the four, because they are reported more frequently in the Sunnah. As for reports claiming that towards the end of his life, Allaah’s Messenger did not make more than four takbeers, none of them are
Raising The Hands
The scholars agree that the hands should be raised with the first takbeer, but they differ in regard to the other takbeers. The hadith of Ibn Abbaas preventing the raising of the hands is weak, and there are authentic reports that some of the sahaabah raised their hands. If one believes that they learned this from the Prophet, one should raise his hands in all of the takbeers.
Position Of The Hands
Between the takbeers, one should place the palm of his right hand over the back of his left palm, wrist, and arm, and hold both hands tight against his chest.
After the first Takbeer, one should recite Suratul-Faatihah and another short surah. One may not precede them with an opening supplication, because there are no reports supporting that. The recitation, supplication, and takbeer (except for the imaam), should be done silently.
Salaah Upon The Prophet
After the second takbeer of the janaazah prayer, one should say the salaah upon the Prophet. There are no authentic reports for its wording in the janaazah prayer, so one should use one of the forms for the regular prayers recorded in the Sunnah, such as:
Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa-‘ala aali Muhammad, kamaa sallayta ‘ala Ibraaheema wa- ‘ala aali Ibraaheema innaka hameedum majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa-‘ala aali Muhammad, kamaa baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheema wa-‘ala aali Ibraaheema innaka hameedum majeed –
[O Allaah! Pray upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have prayed upon Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem; verily, You are praiseworthy and Honourable. O Allaah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem; Verily you are Praiseworthy and Honourable.]
In the janaazah prayer, one should supplicate for the deceased after each of the takbeers following the first two, sincerely and truthfully, such as:
Allaahummagfir lahu warhamhu, wa’aafihi wa’fu ‘anh, wa-akrim nuzulahu wa-wassi’ mudkhalahu, waghsilhu bil-maa’i wath-thalji walbaradi, wa-naqqihi minal khataayaa kama naqqaytath-thawbal-abyada minad-danas. Wa-abdilhu daaran khayran min daarihi, wa-ahlan khayran min ahlili, wa-zawjan khayran min zawjihi. Wa-adkhilhuljannata, wa-a’idhhu min ‘adhaabil-qabri wa ‘adhaabin-naar
[O Allaah! Pardon him and have mercy on him, give him well-being and forgive him, honour his arrival, widen his entry, wash him with water and ice and hail, cleanse him from his sins as a white dress would be cleansed from dirt, replace for him a house better than his, a family better than his, and a spouse better than his, admit him into Jannah, and shelter him from the punishment of the grave and the punishment of the Fire.]
Another authentic supplication is:
Allaahummaghfir lihayyinaa wa-mayyitinaa, wa-shaahidinaa waghaa’ibinaa, wa-saghireena wa-kabireenaa, wa-dhakirinaa waunthaanaa . Allaahumma man ahyaytahu minnaa fa-ahyihi alalislaami, waman tawaffaytahu minnaa fatawaffahu ‘alal-eemaani. Allaahumma laa tahrimnaa ajraahu, walaa tudillanaa ba’dahu –
[O Allaah! Forgive our living and dead, our present and absent, our young and old, and our males and females. O’Allaah! Whoever you keep alive, keep him alive upon Islam, and whoever you take away, take him in a state of imaan. O Allaah! Do not deny us the reward of (being afflicted with) him, and do not misguide us after him.]
If the deceased is a child, one may add to the above supplications the following
“Allaahum aj’alhu lana salafan wa-faratan wa-ajran,
[O Allaah, make him for us an advanced and secured reward.]”
The janaazah prayer is concluded with two tasleems, which is saying one of the following three forms:
2) Peace be on you, and Allaah’s Mercy (As-salamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmat ul- Lah)
3) Peace be on you, and Allaah’s Mercy and his blessings (As-salamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmat ul-Lahi wa-barakatuh)
Similar to regular prayers, the tasleems are made by turning the face to the right and left. It is also permissible to conclude the janaazah prayers with only one tasleem. It is recommended for the imaam to make the tasleem for the janaazah silently or in a very low voice.
Coming Late To The Janaazah Prayer
The general instruction regarding the regular prayers should be applied, which is to pray with the imaam and, after he finishes, make up whatever was missed. Therefore, after one makes takbeer to join the prayer, he reads al-Faatihah, and then follows the above sequence for the other takbeers until the imaam makes tasleem. If the tasleem is made before the late person had completed four takbeers, he should complete them alone and then make the tasleem. And as for those who completely miss prayer over the janaazah, they may pray over it in the graveyard before the burial if possible, or over the grave if they arrive after the burial.