Cremation in Islam
Fatwa No: 84963


Is cremation, instead of burial, of a dead person allowed, when there is a shortage of land?


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Cremation is definitely Haram in Islam whether a dead person is a Muslim or non-Muslim, since such an action constitutes a form of insult and aggression.
Ayisha (Radiya Allahu Anha) said that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "Breaking a dead person's bone is as breaking it in his life" [ Abu Dawood ]. It is reported that when Ali Ibn Abu Talib (Radiya Allahu Anhu) burnt al-Sabaeyah (a group of people who claimed godhood of Ali ) depending on his interpretive judgment, Ibn Abbas (Radiya Allahu Anhu) censured such an action and told Ali : 'If I were in your position I would have killed them, not burnt them due to the Prophetic disapproval of such an action in his saying do not torture with fire since it is a Divine way of torture, and I would have killed them for the Prophetic saying "Whoever changes his religion (renegade) you have to kill him" .
Abu Dawood reported from Hamza al-Aslami that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) appointed him as an emir of a detachment of army and the Messenger told him "If you find so and so (and named a person) you have to burn him" . Then, when I came out, the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) called for me and I returned and he (the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam)) said: "If you find so and so kill him, do not burn him since only Allah, The Lord of the Fire, has the right to torture with it" .
Thus, it is a duty to bury a dead Muslim in the cemetery of Muslims and to bury the non-Muslim in the cemetery of non-Muslims.
Allah knows best.

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