Is it permissible to dig graves for non-Muslims?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

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.

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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