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153. The Ruling of crying and wailing over a Dead Person

Chapter 153

The Ruling of crying and wailing over a Dead Person



Wailing is unanimously forbidden (Haram) as will be mentioned later on. There are some Ahadith which forbid us from crying over somebody’s death, and which inform us that the dead will be tormented in their graves as a result of their relatives crying over their death. This prohibition applies only to those cases where crying is accompanied with lamenting and wailing. Weeping without these two is, permissible; and the Ahadith in support of this are many, including the following:


  1. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) visited Sa`d bin `Ubadah during his illness. He was accompanied by `Abdur-Rahman bin `Auf, Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas and `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with them). The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) began to weep. When his Companions saw this, their tears also started flowing. He (PBUH) said, “Do you not hear, Allah does not punish for the shedding of tears or the grief of the heart, but punishes or bestows mercy for the utterances of this (and he pointed to his tongue).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


Commentary: Under the stress of grief, man becomes heavy-hearted and tears flow out from his eyes. This is something natural and beyond human control. Rather the outflow of tears results from Divine compassion. This is neither forbidden nor subject to accountability. It is only wailing which is Haram, and is punishable. Yet, man is blessed with Divine mercy if he gives expression to patience and gratefulness by his tongue. Moreover, to mention the merits and excellence of a departed soul is in itself a good thing because others may be stimulated to adopt them. But to recount them by way of wailing is disliked. A Hadith says that a dead person is tormented because of the weeping of his household. Here weeping means lamenting and wailing. Otherwise, to weep is human instinct and no curbs can be put over it. Besides, this warning is meant for such a person who might have been accustomed to wailing during his lifetime. Or he might have left a will to his family for wailing over his death. May be he consciously avoided giving a predeath warning to his kith and kin against wailing. In all the three situations, he will be equally held accountable with his soul being tormented for the wailing of his relatives. In case, he is uninvolved in any of the situations, he will remain free from hellish torments. Instead the wailers will have to bear the brunt of their sin. As the Qur’an says, “No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden.’‘ (17:15).

  1. Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A grandson (child of the daughter) of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was presented to him while the child was at his last breath. Tears began to flow from the eyes of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Sa`d said to him: “What is this, O Messenger of Allah?” He (PBUH) said, “It is mercy which Allah has placed in the hearts of his salves. Allah bestows His Mercy on the merciful among His slaves.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

  1. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came to his son Ibrahim (May Allah be pleased with him) when he was breathing his last. The eyes of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) began shedding tears. `Abdur-Rahman bin `Auf (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “O Messenger of Allah, you too weep?” He (PBUH) said, “O Ibn `Auf! It is mercy.” Then he began to weep and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Rubb. O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your departure.”


Commentary: The death of the Prophet’s son, Ibrahim, born of Miriyah (May Allah be pleased with her) had occurred in the tenth year of Hijra. The Ahadith clearly prove that weeping over a loved one’s death is permissible. But it should be void of wailing.



Riyadh ul Saliheen



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