GHUSAL, KAFN, JANAZAH SALAH & BURIAL
MERITS OF ATTENDING THE LAST RITES OF A MUSLIM
Islam advocates the fulfillment of obligations to Allah Ta'ala and obligations to the creation. Fulfillment of rights to the creation are of two types. The first type are rights which are specific to individuals, e.g. the rights of parents, family, neighbours, etc. The second type relate to all Muslims in general. Regarding this category, one right that every Muslim has over the other is, to attend his Janazah.
REWARD FOR BATHING AND SHROUDING THE DECEASED
Islam has placed emphasis on a Muslim participating in the last rites of his fellow Muslim. To encourage this virtue, tremendous reward is recorded for one who fulfils this responsibility. Bear in mind, this duty is not only the responsibility of burial societies. Muslims in general should participate, especially when there are few people available.
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “One who gives ghusl to (bathes) a deceased and conceals his defects, will be forgiven forty times. Whoever shrouds a deceased person, Allah will clothe him with the fine silk of Jannah…” (Mustadrak Hakim)
Those involved in the bathing of the deceased should not to disclose any defect of the deceased. The person who conceals the defects of his fellow Muslim, Allah Ta'ala will conceal his defects on the day of Qiyamah.
ATTENDING THE JANAZAH SALAH IS THE RIGHT OF A BELIEVER
Hazrat Ali (R) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “A Muslim has six rights over his Muslim brother. When he meets him, he should greet him (with Salam); when he is invited, he should accept his invitation; when he sneezes (and says Alhamdulillah), he should reply to his sneeze by saying 'Yarhamukallah'; when he falls sick, he should visit him; when he passes away, he should attend his Janazah; and he should love for him what he loves for himself.” (Tirmizi)
Attending the Janazah Salah is 'Fardh Kifayah' upon all who have knowledge of the funeral. If a group of Muslims perform the Janazah Salah, then all will be absolved of the obligation. If no one performs the Janazah Salah then all will be sinful.
METHOD OF CARRYING THE JANAZAH
It is Sunnat to carry the Janazah on the shoulder by carrying each (of the four) ends, starting from the right shoulder end of the deceased, then the right foot side of the deceased, then the left head side and completing with the left foot side. Walk ten paces whilst carrying at each end.
It is narrated in a hadith that whoever carries a Janazah for forty footsteps, forty major sins shall be forgiven'. (Kitab Al Athar as mentioned in Bada'i As Sana'I)
VIRTUE OF ATTENDING THE JANAZAH SALAH & BURIAL
Another responsibility of the community is to bury the deceased with dignity and respect. Great rewards are recorded for the one who accompanies the Janazah to the graveyard and participates in the burial.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R) reports that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “One who accompanies the Janazah of a Muslim with faith and hope of earning reward, and remains with it until the burial is complete, shall return (home) with two qirat (great) rewards. Each reward is equal to Mount Uhud, and the person who performs the Janazah Salah only, and returns before the burial, will return with one qirat (great) reward.” (Bukhari)
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “…Whoever follows a Janazah until its burial is completed, Allah will record for him three 'qirat' reward” …” (Al Mu'jamul Awsat)
Commentators explain that a 'qirat' is equivalent to the reward of Mount Uhud, a huge mountain in Madinah Munawwarah.
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Verily the first reward that will be granted to the slave after his death is that all those who followed his Janazah will be forgiven.” (Musnad Bazzar)
Hazrat Malik bin Hubairah (R) narrates, “I heard Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying, 'Any Muslim who dies and his Janazah Salah is performed by 3 rows of Muslims, (Jannah) will be Wajib for him.'” Hazrat Malik t used to place people in 3 rows for Janazah Salah by virtue of this Hadith. (Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whosever accompanies the Janazah of a Muslim with faith and hope of earning reward, and remains with it until the burial is complete, shall return (home) with two qirat (great) rewards.” (Bukhari)
Following the Janazah to the grave and assisting in the burial is greatly rewarding. As per the Hadith the reward for attending the Janazah Salah is the reward of Mount Uhud. The reward for remaining with the Janazah, accompanying and assisting in carrying the Janazah to the burial place and to assist burial gives a person double reward.
SPEAK GOOD ABOUT THE DECEASED
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) “When you attend a funeral (or visit the sick), then speak good (about the person) for the Angels say Aameen to your du'a.” (Muslim)
REMEMBER OUR DECEASED
The deceased has left the realm of this life and moved on to another life. The deceased are kept informed of the actions of their family members. The deceased enjoy the benefits of the rewards of optional actions conveyed to them by the living. We should make a routine of sending Isale Sawab to our deceased and do good acts for them in the form of charity, Sadaqah, Nafil Salah, Zikr, Durood, Nafil Umrah, Nafil Hajj and other good works.