Burning incense sticks near the deceased before his burial
Fatwa No: 124472


I have grown up with the practice of when a muslim dies incense sticks are burnt. I have seen this burning incense at the head of the deceased before the janazzah and whenever the family gathers to read Quraan incense is also burnt. Is this a Sunnah of our Holy Prophet peace be upon him?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.


Muslim jurists mentioned some practices which are recommended to be done when the person is dying or during the preparation for burial. These practices include perfuming the place or removing the bad odors because the angels attend the place. Ad-Dardeer, a Maaliki scholar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him talked about the things which should not be present when a person is dying due to the attendance of the angels of mercy, saying, "A dog, a statue, a musical instrument and everything the angels dislike (should not be present). It is recommended to perfume the place, bring his (the dying person’s) good relatives and friends, and that the attendees supplicate for him very frequently since it is an occasion at which supplication is most likely to be answered. There should be no weeping, and he (the dying person) should be pure." In Al-Majmoo‘, Imaam An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “It is recommended to bring a censer filled with incense in the place of the dead and keep it burning from the time they begin washing him until they finish.

Furthermore, perfuming the place with incense or the like when reading the Quran is, in principle, good.

However, there is no origin in Sharee‘ah for gathering to recite the Quran and gift the dead the reward of their recitation. However, if a Muslim recites the Quran individually and gifts the dead person the reward of the recitation, the dead person would benefit from that – Allaah Willing. For more benefit, refer to Fatwa 84122.

Allaah Knows best.

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