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Is it permissible to dig graves for non-Muslims?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

I will work sometimes for a private landscaping company. Part of what they want me to do is dig graves. It is in USA so I assume that a large portion of the graves are for non-Muslims is there any problem with this? It isn’t what the company is designated for just a part of what the company hires out to do inshallah.

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The jurists (fuqaha) mention that a Muslim can bury a non-Muslim, although not in a way a Muslim would be buried.

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“If a non-Muslim (kafir) dies, his Muslim guardian (wali) will bathe, shroud and bury him. However, the Muslim will bathe him as he would wash impure cloth, place him in a piece of cloth, and dig a hole for him, without taking into consideration the Sunnah method of shrouding (kafn) and burying. Neither will he place the dead body into a proper Islamically dug grave; rather, the body will be thrown into the hole.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/160)

In light of the above and other texts, it becomes clear that there is nothing wrong in burying a non-Muslim in his grave, as long as one does not carry out the proceedings that would normally be carried out for a Muslim.

When burying a non-Muslim is permitted, then merely digging a grave in which a non-Muslim may be buried would also be permissible. Hence, I don’t see anything that would indicate otherwise.

Moreover, you state that your main job does not involve the digging of graves; rather it is only something that you may have to do at times. The company is not designed exclusively for burying graves of non-Muslims, thus looking from this angle also, your job would be permitted, and merely rendering service to the company cannot be considered unlawful.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

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