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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Funeral Prayer /Janazah over criminals

This issue was brought to my attention and when I answered the question, it reminded me that there was something wrong. Therefore, I wanted to put something into writing that is topical and very important.

First, let us look at a few hadith.

رواه سمرة رضي الله عنه أَنَّ رَجُلًا قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بِمَشَاقِصَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : أَمَّا أَنَا فَلَا أُصَلِّي عَلَيْه رواه النسائي 1964

Sumarah (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that a man killed himself with an arrow. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "I will not pray over him." Nisa'i

روى الشيخان و أصحاب السنن عَنْ سَلَمَةَ بْنِ الأَكْوَعِ رضى الله عنه قَالَ كُنَّا جُلُوساً عِنْدَ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذْ أُتِىَ بِجَنَازَةٍ فَقَالُوا صَلِّ عَلَيْهَا فَقَالَ هَلْ عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ ؟ قَالُوا لاَ قَالَ هَلْ تَرَكَ شَيْئاً ؟ قَالُوا  لاَ  فَصَلَّى عَلَيْه ثُمَّ أُتِىَ بِجَنَازَةٍ أُخْرَى فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلِّ عَلَيْهَا قَالَ هَلْ عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ ؟ قِيلَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَهَلْ تَرَكَ شَيْئاً ؟ قَالُوا ثَلاَثَةَ دَنَانِيرَ  فَصَلَّى عَلَيْهَا ثُمَّ أُتِىَ بِالثَّالِثَةِ ،‏ فَقَالُوا صَلِّ عَلَيْهَا قَالَ هَلْ تَرَك شَيْئاً ؟ قَالُوا لاَ ، قَالَ  فَهَلْ عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ ؟ قَالُوا ثَلاَثَةُ دَنَانِيرَ قَالَ صَلُّوا عَلَى صَاحِبِكُمْ.‏ قَالَ أَبُو قَتَادَةَ صَلِّ عَلَيْهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَعَلَىَّ دَيْنُهُ فَصَلَّى عَلَيْهِ

The two scholars [Muslim and Bukhari] and the compiler of the hadith report that Salamah bin Al-Akuwa' (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "We were sat with the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) when the funeral came and they asked, "Pray for them." He asked, "Does he have any debts?" They said, "No." He asked, "Has he left anything?" They said, "No." Then he would prayer over it [the deceased]. Then another funeral would come and they would ask, "O Messenger of Allah pray for them." He asked, "Does he have a debt?" Someone said, "Yes." He asked, "Has he left anything?" They said, "Three silver coins." [Most likely, this money was used to pay the debt] Then he prayed over him. Then a third funeral came and they asked, "Pray for it." He asked, "Has he left anything?" They said, "No." He asked, "Does he have any debts?" They said, "Three silver coins." He replied, "Pray over your companion." Abu Qatadah said, "I will pay his debt." Then he prayed over him."

عن أبي قتادة - رضي الله عنه - قال: " كان رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - إذا دعي لجنازة سأل عنها " فإن أثني عليها خيرا " قام فصلى عليها " وإن أثني عليها غير ذلك " قال لأهلها: شأنكم بها ولم يصل عليها

أبن حبان و حاكم

When he was called to a funeral prayer, he would ask [about the deceased], if the person was praised, he would arise and perform the prayer. Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reports, "the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would say to the family, "They are your concern." When the words about them was other [badness] and did not pray over them." Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim.

In terms of debts of companions one of the following occurred,
1. His debts were paid by the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)
2. By one of the companions
3. Inheritance was made to pay debts
4. Someone else paid the debts. 

وقال صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( والذي نفسي بيده لو أن رجلاً قتل في سبيل الله ثم أحيي ثم قتل ثم أحيي ثم قتل وعليه دين ما دخل الجنة حتى يقضى عنه دينه)رواه الإمام أحمد وهو حديث صحيح

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "I take oath by the possessor of my soul if a man is killed in the path of Allah, brought back to life then killed, then brought back to life and killed but he owes a debt. He will not enter paradise until the debt is paid." Imam Ahmed

There are more hadiths than the above but we will suffice with these.

In the books of the Hanafi's

Imam Al-Haskafi in Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar on Imam Al-Mosuli's Ikhtiyar in the book of prayer p.119, "It is an [collective] obligation that every deceased Muslim [to be prayed over] except.."

Then he mentions four categories of people who are the exceptions from the above.  

Imam Abu Laith Al-Samarqandi said in Khazanta Al-Fiqh/ Treasure of Jurisprudence,

أربعة لا يصلي عليهم الخناق والباغي والخوارج إذا قتلوا و ماتوا قبل التوبة و قاطع الطريق إذا قتل بعدما أخذ المال وقيل الذين كابروهم فقتلهم لايصلى عليهم

"Four [categories] are not to [perform the funeral] prayer over: the strangler, the rebel, the Khawarij who died before repentance, the highway robber when killed stealing money and it was said the vile transgressor of them are killed and not prayed over." p.69

Imam Zayn Al-Deen Al-Razi said in Tufhat Al-Muluk,

لا يصلى على باغ ولا قاطع طريق

"The rebel and the highway robber are not [funeral] prayed over."p.114

Imam Al-Tahtawi said Hashiyah Al-Tahtawiyyah on Maraqi Al-Falah on Nur Al-Idah p.601/2, "The rebel is not prayed over (by agreement, even if Muslim) and not (highway robber) when one of them is killed in a battle. They are not wasted because Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) did not [instruct] the rebels to be washed. They are washed before a leader is affirmed and they are prayed over. The murderer by strangulation/assassination, he deceives, takes him to a place and kills him, the general meaning is like the strangler who takes his victim and causes corruption in the land. Not [to pray over] the haughty of a city who take arms in the night and are killed in this state. The slain of the nationalist/tribalism to humiliate him and warn others. They are washed according to one of the opinions and prayed over, if washed. A person who killed themselves on purpose for severe pain is washed and prayed over, according to Abu Hanifah and Muhammad and this is most authentic opinion because he is a sinful believer. Abu Yusuf said, "They are not prayed over." The judge, the Imam, Ali Al-Saghdi said, "The correct opinion to me they are not prayed over, even if it was an error, if it was for a pain then they prayed over by agreement. Killing oneself is a greater crime and sin than killing someone else. He who kills one of his parents is not prayed over because of oppression and to lower him."

Here, Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Muhammad's position is reliable, that a person who kills themselves because of an illness is prayed over but not someone who kills others whilst killing himself.

Nur Al-Idah is one of the most popular books of Fiqh in the Indo pak world. So it makes it even more bizarre that no one has noticed.

Similar is mentioned in Al-Fatawa Al-Tatarhaniyah by Sheikh Alim ibn Al-Alaa' Al-Indaryti in the section of those who are prayed for and those not prayed for p.607/8.

Similar is also confirmed by Imam Al-Haskafi in Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar on Imam Al-Mosuli's Ikhtiyar in the book of prayer p.119/2.

In Imam Al-Mosuli's own commentary on Ikhtiyar, he said, "The killed for the Had or Qasas is washed and prayed over because they were not killed performing oppression and are not in the meaning of martyrs of Uhud. He said, "The rebel and highway robber are not prayed over because they spread corruption on the earth. The Exalted said, "This is their disgrace in the world." (Quran 5:33). [Funeral] Prayer is intercession that they are not worthy of. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) did not pray over rebels and he is the exemplar, to be followed, in this chapter. This was seen by the companions and they did not reject and it became consensus." P.105.

Someone who has been killed because of the penal system has been recompensed their sin because of a court order. Therefore, they can be washed and buried but those who have committed sins which cause corruption in the land deserve more severe punishment from the government.  

Are they martyrs?

People are resurrected upon their intentions but if your attention was to get away from the police then one thing is clear. You have died committing a criminal act and because of reckless driving.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Who do you reckon to be martyr among you?” They replied, “The one who is killed in the way of Allah.” He said, “In that case the martyrs among my people would be few!” They asked, “Messenger of Allah! Then who are the martyrs?” He replied, “He who is killed in the way of Allah is a martyr; he who dies naturally in the cause of Allah is a martyr; he who dies of plague is a martyr; he who dies of a stomach disease is a martyr; and he who is drowned is a martyr.” Muslim

A martyr is someone who was killed in battle by someone else, drown, house collapses on them, plague, defending their property, woman dying giving birth, abdominal disease, etc. Therefore, it is clear that gangsters who die committing evil acts are not martyrs.

Sheikh Gibril Haddad gives more details of the classifications of martyrs.

Imam's role in society and conclusion

He is the person who guides people to Allah by adherence to the sacred law. If he himself has no regard for it then how can he affect people? Alternatively, is that he fears for his job? The masjid committees have a lot to answer for. Praying over those who are known to be criminals should not be done by the Imam. The Imam should find out about the person they are praying over and if they are a criminal then he should refuse. The hadiths also give us a way for someone other than the Imam to pray over them but if we follow the fiqh strictly then no one should pray over them.

It shocked me that Imams do not seem to lose any sleep praying over gangsters and their ilk. If someone is driving at illegal speeds then crashes their car killing all those onboard, they have committed a criminal act. 

Criminals such as drug traffickers/gangsters and their ilk should be chastised in the community and not lauded. They should be expelled from a community and people should refuse to do business with them. Their families should not be left alone though, we cannot have the law of jungle practiced. 

Unfortunately, they find validation from their parents who brought up monsters whose harm reaches everyone they come into contact. Parents who defend the wrong actions of their children cause increase in their disobedience. These children become monsters because they have never heard the word 'no.' He is a bad person if he is harming the community by his presence. So many parents have failed to inculcate the correct manners into their children. We are then left with communities whose roads are treated like racetracks and unrighteous activity is over looked. When it should not be tolerated. 

All Imams need to heed this call and not pray over anyone who died in a wretched state of criminal activity. This will send shock waves and it might make some people wake up. However, it is clear that part of the sacred law is not being followed here and if you are an Imam then you should not make excuses. Because your sin is greater because it encourages others to commit such sins. Excuses are not going to wash on the day of judgement for anyone.