Seeking the assistance of the disbelievers in carrying and burying the deceased
Fatwa No: 25421

Question

Is it permissible for the disbelievers who are in charge of the graveyard to carry and bury the dead Muslims, taking into account that the Muslims wash the deceased and offer the funeral prayer for him, then the cemetery workers, who are non Muslims carry the deceased in a special car and bury him?

Answer

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.

 

There is nothing wrong with seeking the assistance of the disbelievers in digging the graves and carrying the dead Muslims if needed. However, we must not seek the assistance of the disbelievers in burying and placing the deceased in the grave, since there are certain matters to be done for the deceased which the disbeliever can not do as he is not authorized to offer the Islamic acts of worship.

In his book Al-Mughni, the Hanbali scholar Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Washing a dead Muslim by a disbeliever is not valid, since it is an act of worship which cannot be offered by a disbeliever.

Among the prescribed matters to be done for the deceased is directing him towards the Qiblah and then the one who places him in the grave should say: “In the name of Allaah and on the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah.‘Abd Allaah ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when placing the deceased in the grave used to say: “In the name of Allaah and on the religion of the Messenger of Allaah.” [Ahmad]

Hence, it is clear to the questioner that it is not permissible to use the help of disbelievers in any matter relevant to the deceased, except digging the grave and carrying the coffin, since this would entail missing many recommended acts of Sunnah.

Muslims should not even let the disbelievers carry the deceased or dig his grave. Rather, we should hire Muslims to perform this task as Muslims are more deserving than disbelievers. One dollar paid to a Muslim worker would buy bread for a Muslim family in need of food. The conditions of the poor Muslims are known to everyone as most  famines currently occur in Muslim countries.

Allaah Knows best.

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