Considering cremation as a kind of divine punishment
Fatwa No: 295642

Question

Allaah has mentioned his punishment in the Holy Quran. He will roast one’s skin again and again according to their sins. Some of the non-muslims cremate the remains of the dead ones. Can we also consider this Allah’s punishment?

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Burning the skin of the disbelievers is confirmed as Allaah informed us that their skin will be burnt and that it will be replaced by other skin, Allaah says (what means): {Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses - We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allaah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise.} [Quran 4:56]

What is meant by this fire is the fire of Hell. Allaah says (what means): {Do they not know that whoever opposes Allaah and His Messenger - that for him is the fire of Hell, wherein he will abide eternally? That is the great disgrace.} [Quran 9:63]

Allaah also says (what means): {Allaah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allaah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment.} [Quran 9:68]

In another verse, Allaah says (what means): {And for those who disbelieve will be the fire of Hell. [Death] is not decreed for them so they may die, nor will its torment be lightened for them. Thus do we recompense every ungrateful one. And they will cry out therein, "Our Lord, remove us; we will do righteousness - other than what we were doing!"} [Quran 35:36-37]

As regards some non-Muslims cremating the bodies of their deceased based on false and forbidden beliefs and rituals, then this may be a kind of punishment because the dead feels pain because of it. Some scholars have indicates this meaning when explaining the hadeeth of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) that reads, “Breaking the bones of a deceased is like breaking them when he is alive,” (Ibn Maajah, Abu Daawood and Ibn Hibbaan). For instance, the commentary on Ibn Maajah by as-Suyooti, reads:

…'is like breaking it when he is alive' means (equal) in sin. At-Teebi said, 'It is an indication that the deceased should not be disgraced in the same manner that the live person should not be disgraced.' Ibn Abdil-Barr said, 'The benefit that could be deduced from this hadeeth is that the dead suffers from all the pain that a live person suffers; this also implies that he enjoys that which a live person enjoys. Allaah knows best.'

Also, Mubaarak Poori mentioned the same as he said in Mir'aat al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh: “....And it is probable that the dead feels pain exactly in the same manner a live person feels it.

For more benefit, please refer to fataawa 84867and 84963.

Allaah knows best.

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