Muslims and Non-Muslims at Each Other’s Funerals

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America states:

“When a Muslim dies he/she should be buried in an Islamic way. This means washing the body according to Islamic rules, putting on the shroud, offering theJanazah(funeral) prayers and then placing the body in the grave according to the Sunnah. All these are acts of`Ibadah(worship) and only Muslims can perform them. Thus, the general principle about burying the dead is that Muslims should bury Muslims. However, there is no prohibition if non-Muslim relatives and friends want to attend the funeral of a Muslim as long as Muslims bury the Muslim according to Islamic rules. There is also no prohibition if a non-Muslim drives the dead body of a Muslim to the mosque forJanazahprayer or to the cemetery for burial. There is no prohibition according to Islam if a non-Muslim funeral director supervises the burial or non-Muslim cemetery workers dig the grave or close it. Such services are very common in America and they should be acceptable to Muslims without any reservations.

Muslims are also allowed to attend the funeral of their non-Muslim relatives or friends without participating in the funeral prayers of non-Muslims. Muslims only pray in the Islamic way. There is no non-Islamic way of prayer permissible for Muslims.

Since we are living in a non-Islamic society the question also comes whether it is permissible for Muslims to be employed in non-Muslim cemeteries and supervise or help in the burial of non-Muslims in non-Islamic ways. I cannot say that it is forbidden (Haram) but in my opinion it is better for Muslims to avoid such jobs. It is indeedMakruh(non-recommended) if notHaram.”

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