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Can Muslims Attend the Funerals of Non Muslims?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Shafiifiqh.com


Assalaamu ‘alaykum. Alhamdulillah we see that people from different religions and cultures are entering islam, some of them still maintaining strong family ties with their non-muslim relatives inspite of it. Coming to the question, is it permissible to go to non-muslim families’ funerals? If so, what part can be played in the execution of the funeral? I think also that some of the main concerns of the reverts are that if they don’t attend the funeral, the family feels offended.


الحمد لله رب العالمين ، وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين، وبالله التوفيق

فرع في غسل الكافر: ذكرنا أن مذهبنا أن للمسلم غسله ودفنه واتباع جنازته المجموع: 5: 89

According to our madhhab, it is permissible for a muslim to perform the washing of the dead body, as well as burial and to join the funeral procession of a non-Muslim (al-Majmūʿ: 5: 89). However, it is not permissible for him to participate in prohibited actions such as cremating, to join in prayer that involves polytheistic phrases etc.

Though as best as one can, one should abstain from the actual proceedings of the funeral in order to protect ones Islamic beliefs and spirit. Many non-Muslim funeral have many un-Islamic actions within them that contradict the Divine law. Though it is permitted, as long as one does not cooperate in sin and transgression.

It is clear from the instructions of al-Qurʾan and al-Hadith that one should show kindness to parents and siblings who are non-Muslim. Allah, the majestic, says:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ  إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Allah does not forbid You to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against You on account of Religion and did not drive You out of Your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” [Surah al-Mumtahanah (60): 8]

In Sahih al-Bukhari we find the following hadith:

حدثنا عبيد بن إسماعيل حدثنا أبو أسامة عن هشام عن أبيه عن أسماء بنت أبي بكر رضي الله عنهما قالت قدمت علي أمي وهي مشركة في عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاستفتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قلت وهي راغبة أفأصل أمي قال نعم صلي أمك (صحيح البخاري: 2620

It is narrated by Sayyidatuna Asma bint Abu Bakr (radiya allahu ‘anha) that during the treaty of Hudaibiyah, her mother, who was then pagan, came to see her from Makkah. Sayyidatuna Asma informed Rasulullah sallaLlahu ‘alaihi wa alihi wa sallam of her arrival and also that she needed help. Rasulullah sallaLlahu ‘alaihi wa alihi wa sallam said: Be good to your mother!

(Sahih Bukhari: 2620)

والله تعالى أعلم

Allah Most High knows best.

Answered by:

Sidi Ml. Abdullah Muhammad al-Marbuqi al-Shafi‘i.

This answer was collected from Shafiifiqh.com which was a repository of Islamic answers as per the Shafi’i madhhab. The website no longer functions. At its peak, many ‘ulama were involved with the site including Shaykh Mawlana Taha Karaan, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah ibn Abdullah, and Shaykh AbdurRagman Khan.

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