Funeral Prayer, its Legal Status:
There is a consensus among all the great Muslim jurists that a funeral prayer for a deceased person is a collective obligation or fard kifayah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded the Muslims to offer it, and they have been doing so ever since they received this commandment.
Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was informed of the death of a person, he used to ask: Does he owe anything to anyone?' If the answer was in the affirmative, he would then ask: 'Has he (the deceased) left anything to settle his debt?' If he had left something to settle his debt, he would offer the funeral prayer for him. Otherwise, he would say to the Muslims: 'Offer a (funeral) prayer for your brother"' (Bukhari and Muslim).
Reward for Offering Funeral Prayer:
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever follows a funeral procession and offers the prayer for the deceased, will get one kerat 68 of reward. And whoever follows it and remains with it until the body is buried, will get two kerats of reward, the least of which is equal in weight to 'Mount Uhud' or he said 'one of them is like Uhud.' The narrator is not certain as to the exact words used by the Prophet, peace be upon him. This is reported by the group.
Khabbab reported that he asked "O 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar! Did you hear what Abu Hurairah says? He says that he heard Allah's Messenger, saying. 'Whoever leaves his house to attend a funeral prayer, offers funeral prayer, and then follows the funeral procession until the body is buried will receive two kerats of reward, each of which is like the mountain of Uhud. And whoever offers the funeral prayer and then leaves for home (This proves that a person does not need permission of the family of the deceased to leave after attending the funeral) will get a reward like the mountain of Uhud" (Muslim). Ibn 'Umar sent Khabbab to 'Aishah asking her about the statement of Abu Hurairah. She said, "Abu Hurairah has told the truth." When Ibn ' Umar was informed about this he said, "We have indeed lost many a kerat."
Requisite Conditions for Funeral Prayer:
The prerequisites for a funeral prayer are the same as for the obligatory prayers. Anyone intending to offer funeral prayer must be in a state of purity, be free from all minor and major impurities, must cover his or her "awrah," and stand facing the direction of the Ka'bah.
Malik reported from Nafi' that Abdullah Ibn 'Umar used to say: "One should not offer a funeral prayer unless he is in a state of purity."
The funeral prayer differs from the prescribed prayers in that there is no fixed time for offering it. It may be offered at any time, including the times when regular prayers may not be offered. This is the opinion of the Hanafi and Shafi'i schools. Ahmad, Ibn Al-Mubarak, and Ishaq dislike offering a funeral prayer at sunrise, at noon when the sun is at its zenith, and at dusk when the sun is about to set, except in cases when it is feared that if delayed, the body might decompose.
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