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Cremation and Coronavirus

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

At times of calamity, like the current Corona Virus, is cremation allowed in Islam if the government of the country has a rule to cremate all victims of the virus?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The basis is that cremation is absolutely forbidden and Muslims should do whatever is legally in their power to prevent laws being passed that force cremating bodies.

The human being is endowed with dignity. The body is a gift from Allah; it cannot be disfigured, mutilated, harmed or desecrated. Allah said, “We have ennobled the children of Adam.” (17:70) The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “Breaking the bone of a dead person is similar in sin to breaking the bone of a living person.” (Abu Dawud)

Burial of the body is part of maintaining its dignity. In the case of Muslims, specific funerary rites, such as washing, shrouding, the funeral prayer, and burial, serves to both dignify and honour our brothers and sisters in faith who have passed on to the next world.

Alternatives to burial are not acceptable. If the government seeks to legislate cremation as a rule, Muslims should try their utmost to be exempted from these rules, while taking appropriate steps in their burial processes to address government concerns.

However, if the government does legislate it and there is no option for Muslims in that land to bury their deceased, this would constitute a necessity (darura) that is forced upon the community. In this case, they would be excused for letting the bodies of the deceased undergo cremation and should continue lobbying to have such legislation scrapped.

Finally, it should be noted that ultimately, whether one is buried or otherwise, the status of an individual does not change with Allah. Whether the deceased is washed or not, buried or not, etc., he or she will will suffer no ill effects from any shortfalls on the part of the community to ensure proper funerary rites.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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