the living, at least as much as they were intended for the dead, to warn and console at the same time: Our ˜Shå· companions say: a man should sit by the grave at the head of the deceased and say: O So and So, or, O Servant of God son of the Maid of God, remember the faith by which you are leaving this world, the testimony that there is no god but God alone, he has no partner, and Muªammad is his servant and messenger. Heaven is real, and Hell is real, and the resurrection of the dead is real, without doubt, and God shall revive the dwellers of the graves. You have accepted God as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muªammad as your prophet, the Qurån as your guide (imåm), the kaba as your direction of prayer (qibla) and the faithful as your brothers. Put your trust in God, before whom there is no other. He is the Lord of the great regal throne.32
In a ritual that expresses the combined religious and social signicance of the funeral, takbr (Allåh is the greatest) is recited four times at the head of the bier in the case of a man, at its foot at the case of a woman—either at the mosque, or in front of the dead mans house. After the rst—the fåtiªa is recited, after the second—the prayer for the Prophet, after the third—supplication (duå) for the dead, and after the fourth—for those present.33 Thus, the community does its best for the deceased, and scores Gods mercy and reward for the living. Ulamå criticized various customs they encountered in funerals. Ab¨ Shåma complains of several digressions from religious stipulations, writing that: There are many unwarranted innovations (bida) in the conduct of funerals nowadays, that are contrary to the sunna. The obligation to perform the burial as soon and as quickly as possible is disregarded, people raise their voices, indulge in melodic recitation of the Qurån (qiråa bi-l-alªån), express pride in the attendants ˜their number and social status, most likely·, do not contemplate death and afterlife, chat, amuse themselves, and talk about the property and the progeny that the deceased left behind him.34 Al-Nawaw voiced reservations on the repetition of the prayer for the dead during a funeral, but he admits that there are three dierent scholarly opinions regarding this matter. He acknowledges that the larger the assembly, the better the chances of the deceased to benet
32 33 34
Al-Nawaw, Fatåwå, 46–48. Ibn Qudåma, al-Mughn, 3:410–423; Padwick, Muslim Devotions, 34–35. Ab¨ Shåma, al-Båith, 271–278.