An absentee funeral prayer
Fatwa No: 87219


Can a person who is abroad pray an absentee Janazah prayer for a deceased relative in his home country?


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


The Muslim scholars have different opinions regarding the funeral prayer on the absentee.  The most preponderant opinion is that performing the funeral prayer is permissible on the dead Muslim if he/she happens to die in a place where there are no Muslims to pray on him.  As for the person who dies in a place where the funeral prayer was performed on him no other prayer should be prayed on him/her.  This is the opinion of a great number of eminent Muslim scholars including Al Khattaby and Al Rawiyani.   Abu Dawud in his Sunan entitled a chapter: “Chapter of performing funeral prayer on a dead Muslim who died in a land of disbelief”.

This opinion is also the choice of Ibn Taymiyah and his disciple Ibn Al-Qayyim.  The latter in Zad Al Mi’aad said: ‘Sheikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: ‘The right opinion is that the Muslim who died in a land where no funeral prayer was performed on him/her has the right to have absentee funeral prayer performed on him.  This is similar to what the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) did when he heard the death of Negus of Abyssinia who was Muslim and died in a land of Kufr and no Muslims performed funeral prayer on him.  But once the funeral prayer was performed it should not be prayed another time because the obligation of praying is dropped by the first prayer.

This opinion is also reported as a narration from Imam Ahmad.  This opinion is backed by the fact that many eminent Muslims died during the era of the Caliphs in remote lands and it is not reported that an absentee funeral prayer was performed on any of them.

Allah knows best.

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