She accepted Islam in secret but then died and was buried in the Christian graveyard
Fatwa No: 166099

  • Fatwa Date:20-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 19, 1435
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A woman passed away, may Allaah have mercy on her, and she was a Muslim in secret, but her family was comprised of fanatical Christians, so she hid her Islam from everyone and especially from her father. When she presented the idea of her accepting Islam to him, he threatened that he would disown her and leave her in an orphanage. For that reason, she hid her Islam. She then died, may Allaah have mercy on her, in France due to an illness while she was with her father. She was buried in an Arab-Christian graveyard there. What is the ruling in such a situation? Thank you.


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.

If she indeed accepted Islam, then the obligation is that the Muslims present in that land assist one another to establish the rights of this Muslim woman and to do what must be done of washing her body, shrouding her, praying over her, and burying her in a Muslim graveyard.

But if they were unable, then we hope that there is no sin upon them for that. Also, if this happened recently and it is possible to remove her from her grave before her body decays, so that she can be buried in a Muslim graveyard after being washed, shrouded, and prayed over, without any problems in doing so, then this must be done. It is like ‘Ulaysh the Maaliki said regarding the issue of rectifying the burial of a Muslim in the graveyard of the disbelievers: "It is rectified by exhuming him from the grave and burying him in the graveyard of the believers, as long as it is not feared that he already started to decay, whether in certainty or by one's best guess; but if it is feared that his decay occurred, then nothing is done.

If that is not possible then the prayer is established over her grave and the obligation of washing and shrouding is waived. It is said in Kashshaaf Al-Qinaa' (by Al-Buhooti the Hanbali): "Such is the likeness of the one who drowned or something similar, like a prisoner of war, so he is prayed over for up to a month, and the condition of being present is waived by necessity, as is washing him, due to this valid excuse. It is comparable to the living person who was unable to perform Ghusl (full-body wash) and Tayammum (cleansing with pure earth).

If her grave's exact location is not known, then prayer is made facing the graveyard but in the direction of the Qiblah (i.e. the Ka‘bah in Makkah) with the intention of praying over her. The Permanent Committee was asked the following question:

My infant of six months died, so I took him to the graveyard and buried him therein, but I forgot to pray over him. Moreover, I do not know the exact location of his grave, so is there some charity I can give to compensate for the prayer or any other act I can do for this mistake?

The Committee answered:

There is no act that compensates for the Janaazah (funeral) prayer, whether for infants or adults, neither charity nor otherwise that can be done of dutiful deeds. Instead, you must go to the graveyard in which you buried him in one of its graves, making the graveyard between yourself and the Qiblah. Then pray the Janaazah prayer in a state of purity while fulfilling all the conditions of prayer. This is sufficient for you since you do not know the exact grave in which he was buried. Allaah The Exalted said (what means): {Allaah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity} [Quran 2:286], and He said (what means): {So fear Allaah as much as you are able} [Quran 64:16], and the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "If I have commanded you with a command, then do of it what you are able, and if I have forbade you from something, then avoid it," and Allaah is The Giver of Success.

Allaah Knows best.

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