Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
I am a new muslim and my parents and
relatives are muslim. One of my relative has dies
recently and i was very close to her. I like to know
if i can attend her funeral in church? I wont say any
words during prayer just sit there.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to attend the
funeral of a non-Muslim even if it is a relative,
because attending a funeral is a right that one Muslim
has over another and it is a kind of showing respect,
honour and friendship that it is not permissible to
show to a kaafir.
Abu Taalib, the paternal uncle of the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) died, and
he instructed ‘Ali to bury him, but the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not
attend his funeral or his burial, even though Abu
Taalib's support and defence of the Prophet (blessings
and peace of Allah be upon him) was well known, and
even though the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah
be upon him) felt a great deal of compassion and mercy
towards him. Nothing stopped him from doing that
except the fact that Abu Taalib died in a state of
kufr. In fact the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) said: "I shall certainly pray for
forgiveness for you so long as I am not forbidden to
do so." Then the words were revealed (interpretation
of the meaning): "It is not (proper) for the Prophet
and those who believe to ask Allaah's forgiveness for
the Mushrikoon, even though they be of kin, after it
has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of
the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief)"
[al-Tawbah 9:113] and: "Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide
not whom you like," [al-Qasas 28:56].
Abu Dawood (3214) and al-Nasaa'i (2006) narrated that
‘Ali said: I said to the Prophet (blessings and peace
of Allah be upon him): Your paternal uncle, the
misguided old man, has died. He said: "Go and bury
Although Islam promotes upholding ties of kinship and
treating relatives kindly, it forbids close friendship
between the believer and the disbeliever, so whatever
is one of the forms of close friendship is forbidden,
but whatever is kindness that is less than close
friendship is permitted.
Imam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "The
Muslim should not wash his father if his father died
as a disbeliever, or attend his funeral, or go down
into his grave, unless he fears that he may be
neglected, in which case he may bury him. End quote
from al-Mudawwanah, 1/261
It says in Sharh Muntaha al-Iraadaat (1/374): The
Muslim should not wash the kaafir because it is not
allowed to form a strong bond with the kuffaar, and
because that implies respecting him and purifying him;
therefore it is not permissible, as is the case with
offering the funeral prayer for him: "Do not shroud
him or pray for him or attend his funeral," because
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "Take not
as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allaah"
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah (9/10): What
is the ruling on attending the funerals of
disbelievers which has become a political custom and a
tradition that all agreed upon?
Answer: If there are some kuffaar present who can bury
their dead, then the Muslims should not bury them or
join the kuffar or help them with burying them, or
seek to be kind to them by attending their funerals,
acting in accordance with political customs. Such
matters are not known to have been done by the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) or by the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Rather
Allah forbade His Messenger (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) to stand over the grave of
‘Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool, and the reason given
was that he was a disbeliever. Allah said
(interpretation of the meaning): "And never (O
Muhammad s.a.w.) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them
(hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave.
Certainly they disbelieved in Allaah and His
Messenger, and died while they were Faasiqoon
(rebellious, — disobedient to Allaah and His Messenger
s.a.w.)" [al-Tawbah 9:84]. But if there are none of
them present who could bury him, then the Muslims
should bury him as the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) did with the slain of Badr and his
paternal uncle Abu Taalib when he died, and he said to
‘Ali: "Go and bury him."
Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing
‘Abd-Allah ibn Qa‘ood, ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyaan, ‘Abd
al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allah ibn
Baaz. End quote.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy
on him) issued a similar fatwa in Fataawa Noor ‘ala
Attending the funeral of a kaafir in the church is
much more serious than merely following the funeral
procession, because this attendance implies listening
to kufr and falsehood. This is something that is
ignored by those who say that it is permissible to
attend and stipulate that one should not participate
in the rituals that take place there. Just sitting and
watching and listening to kufr and falsehood is a
wrong action that one should not do.
And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And it has already been revealed to you in the Book
(this Qur'aan) that when you hear the Verses of Allaah
being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them,
until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if
you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would
be like them. Surely, Allaah will collect the
hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell"
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:140].
Al-Jassaas said in Ahkaam al-Qur'aan (2/407): In this
verse there is evidence that it is obligatory to
denounce the evildoer's action and that part of
denouncing it is expressing disapproval, if it is not
possible to remove it, as well as leaving the
gathering where it is happening, until they stop doing
that evil action. End quote.
Thus it is clear that attending the funeral rituals in
the church is a great evil because of what it involves
of listening to kufr and being present at innovation,
whilst keeping quiet about it, in addition to the fact
that attending the funeral is a sign of honour and
friendship as mentioned above.
We ask Allah to help us and you to be steadfast and to
guide us and help us all.
And Allah knows best.