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It is Impermissible to Move the Deceased from one Country to another

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
A lady died in a non-Muslim country, and she had no Mahram(unmarriageable kin) there. Should she be buried in that country, or should she be sent back home so that she could be buried by one of her relatives, and in this case her burial procedures will be delayed ?

All praise be to Allah, peace and blessings be upon His Messenger:

Allah has honored Man, and He said in this regard: “We have honored the sons of Adam.”{Al-Isra`/70}. This honor is constant whether man was alive, or dead, and hastening his/her burial is honoring him/her, thus moving the deceased from one country to another is impermissible if not for a sound reason. However, if there was a need for doing so, then it is permissible provided that the body doesn`t decay, or its sanctity gets violated.

In the book: “Bushra Al-Kareem(1/474)”: “It is forbidden to move the deceased to another place even if he had asked for that, and it was made sure that the body wouldn`t decay. However, it is permissible to move the deceased if it was a custom for his family members to be buried in a place other than where they had died. It is also permissible to move the deceased to a cemetery closer to the place of his/her death ….but it is impermissible to move him/her before washing, shrouding, and performing funeral prayer on him/her.

Accordingly, if there was someone to wash, shroud, and perform funeral prayer on that lady within the provisions of the Islamic Sharia then, it is impermissible to move her, rather, she should be buried in that country after a Muslim woman washes her, and it isn`t a condition that the latter should be a relative of hers since there is no harm that foreign Muslim women take care of that. It is also permissible for foreign Muslim men to perform the funeral prayer and the burial.

Al-Shirbini(May Allah have mercy on him) said; “Men, if there were any, are to place the deceased in the grave even if it was a female.”{Moghni Al-Mohtajj}.

Al-Bukhari narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) asked Aba Talhah to go down in the grave of the Prophet`s daughter Um-Kolthoom. In “Al-Fatih”, Al-Hafiz Ibn Hijr (3/159)says: “ It is permissible for men to place the deceased woman in the grave since they are stronger than women.”i.e. it is permissible for the strange righteous man(non-Mahram) to place the deceased woman into the grave in case none of her relatives was there, and Allah knows the best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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