Your Funeral Prayer (5)

By Ideal Muslimah.

janazahThis day had seemed so far away. In fact, you had never quite come to terms with the idea of being a corpse, nor of the fact that you would be prayed over. Neither had you come to terms with the fact that a day will come when you will be entirely covered in white sheets by your own beloved ones.

Now it has come to light. As they carry you towards your funeral prayer, indeed this world was a transient exam that has now ended and bids you farewell… your futile pursuits were a waste and the small good deeds you had presented are now a treasure that you are unwilling to give up - even for the whole world and all it contains.

Four people carefully place your coffin upon their shoulders as they carefully escort it towards the car. The winds bid you farewell, blowing your way for the last time as the ground awaits your arrival. This is to be your very last ride to the masjid, after which they will take you to the cemetery in order to fulfil their duty of placing you in the grave which has already been dug; it awaits your presence to fill its dark and empty home...

They gently place you into the extraordinary car that has been hired. You’re unable to get yourself up and look outside the car window for the last time, so as to see your home, your street and the familiar surroundings you had become so accustomed to since childhood...

Death came and snatched you away so unexpectedly, little did you know that you will be seized from this world so soon. Your youthful appearance, your healthy lifestyle, your ambitions, aspirations and dreams all deceived you into believing your death wasn’t going to be any time soon.

How wrong you were.

***

Indeed, the greatest calamity we face is that the Noble Messenger is no longer amongst us, just as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: 'If one of you is afflicted with a calamity, then let him remember his calamity by me (i.e., by my death); for indeed, it is the greatest of calamities.'{footnote}Related by Ibn Sa'd, al-Darimi, and others; through other narrations that attested to it, it is authentic, as mentioned in al-Sahihah (106): 2.{/footnote} Today the Noble Messenger is no longer alive to pray over you as he had prayed over the woman who used to clean the masjid.

But there is one question, which I earnestly ask you to ponder over: If the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had been amongst us, would he have prayed over you?

For, in the time of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), one man had stolen from the war booty and another had killed himself with an arrow – both of whom the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) did not pray the funeral prayer for and rather, ordered the Companions to pray over them.{footnote} Abu Dawood (2710), al-Nasaa’i (1959) and Ibn Maajah (2848).{/footnote} In fact, the great Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) would not offer the funeral prayer over the one that had died openly committing sins. Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) said: al-Majd (i.e. Majd al-Deen ibn Taymiyah, the grandfather of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah) said that ‘The funeral prayer should not be offered for anyone who had died openly committing sin without having repented…’{footnote}Al-Insaaf (2/535){/footnote}

***

Today, you realize how the directive commands and incentives of the Prophet [saw] are a great blessing for the believers. For it is because of the following command of the Prophet [saw] that people attend your funeral:  “Whoever attends the funeral until the prayer has been offered will have one qiraat (of reward) and whoever attends until the deceased has been buried will have two qiraats.” It was said, “What are the two qiraats?” He said: “Like two great mountains.”{footnote}Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1325; Muslim, 945.{/footnote}

Many times you were reminded that the first question on the Day of Judgment will be regarding your prayer. Now the time is up; you are unable to join the believers in their prayers… you are unable to prostrate to the Almighty... you are no longer able to exalt, praise your Lord, you are unable to whisper words of forgiveness… your forehead can no longer prostrate, it merely faces upwards – it is only to face the Lord of the worlds and all that exists within them.

Your beloved friends and dear ones pick you up and place you in front of the Imaam, who is to lead the prayer. The believers come together in three rows behind the Imaam and they are all facing the Qiblah [direction to prayer]. The Imaam stands in front of the congregation, beside your shoulder. In one standing and within only a few minutes, they complete the prayer – without any sujood [prostration] or rukoo’ [bowing].

Within this short, yet precious prayer they whisper the du’aa [supplication] taught by Muhammad, al Mustafa [saw]. This du’aa [supplication] for you is one of the greatest gifts you can be given at this stage, as they whisper in Arabic:

“O Allah, forgive our living and our dead… O Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him, keep him safe and sound and forgive him, honor the place where he settles and make his entrance wide; wash him with water and snow and hail, and cleanse him of sin as a white garment is cleansed of dirt. O Allah, give him a house better than his house and a family better than his family. O Allah, admit him to Paradise and protect him from the torment of the grave and the torment of Hell-fire; make his grave spacious and fill it with light. O Allah, do not deprive us of the reward and do not cause us to go astray after this.”

Although the prayer was rather short, it holds immense value for you as you are in need of as many supplications as possible before a time comes when you will become as years pass apart of the earth and people forget your mention.

Now has come the time you had once dreaded – they gather round and lift you up… and each step they place on the earth, takes you closer to a home unlike any other…a small, murky excavation in the ground. The words of Uthmaan, the third Caliph of Islam, depicts a fact echoed silently by your lifeless body: ‘"If I were between Paradise and the Fire, unsure where I will be sent, I would choose to be turned into ash before finding out where I was bound."’{footnote}Abu Nu`aym, Hilya al-Awliya’ 1:92-100 #3; Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 1/2: 566-614 #4.{/footnote}

You can’t hear the crying of your loved ones or the final gentle whispers of the womenfolk of your household or friends, as the men get ready to place you into the car and drive you away to none other than the cemetery.

The moment is soon approaching when they are going to unload you into your new home, something they desire to do as soon as possible and without hesitation.

Yes: the depths of the earth… Your grave.


*Download the complete PDF (Preparing The Muslimah For The Grave (PDF)) by following the link.


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