Chapter 11: On the Dead and anything related (to Death)

1. In al-Makarim: Whenever the Holy Prophet (S) saw a pustule on his body, he would seek refuge with Allah and submit him self and cry out to Him in supplication. He would be asked: “O Prophet of Allah! What is the cause of your distress?” He would reply: “If Allah (SwT) willed a small (matter) to become a big one, it would become big and if He willed a big matter to become small, it would become small.”1

2. In the book al-Tamhis: From Abi Sa’id al-Khudri (who said) that he placed his hand on the Noble Prophet (S) and he (found that he) had a fever, and he noticed this (while his hand was) above the blanket, so he said: “How intensely has it (the fever) effected you O Prophet of Allah?!” He (S) said: “This is how we are made to undergo intense trials and our reward is (thereby) doubled.”2

3. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Jabir from Abi Ja’far (as) who said: The sunnah is that the bier should be carried by its four sides and anything in addition to this is voluntary.3

4. Also: Narrated from al-Fad’l ibn Yunus from Musa ibn Ja’far (as): The (method of) carrying the bier with the dead body, according to the practiced sunnah, was to start by (lifting) the side of the right hand (of the dead body), then the right leg, then the left leg and finally the left hand, until it was raised from all sides.4

5. From ‘Abdillah ibn Ja’far in Qurb al-Isnad: From al-Hasan ibn Dharif from al-Husayn ibn ‘Alwan from Ja’far from his father (as): al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (as) was sitting with his companions when a funeral procession passed by, so some of the people stood up but al-Hasan (as) did not stand up, and when the procession had passed, some of them said: “Why did you not stand up – may Allah grant you well-being – when the Holy Prophet (S) used to stand for the bier when it was carried past?” al-Hasan (as) said: “The Holy Prophet (S) only stood up once and this was when the bier of a Jew was being carried and the place was narrow, so the Prophet stood up because he disliked that the bier should pass over his head.”5

6. From al-Qutb in his Da’awat: When the Noble Prophet (S) followed a funeral procession, he would be overcome by grief and would contemplate more and talk less.6

7. In al-Ja’fariyat: In his narration from Ja’far ibn Muhammad from his fathers from ‘Ali (as): The Holy Prophet (S) used to throw three handfuls of dust on the grave (of a believer).7

8. al-Kafi: Narrated from Zurarah from Abi Ja’far (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) would perform something special when someone from Bani Hashim passed away; something which he never performed for any other Muslim. After he prayed salat al-mayyit for the Hashimi and sprinkled water on his grave, the Noble Prophet (S) placed his hand on the grave until his fingers were seen to be in the soil, and when a person would return (home from a journey) or a traveler from Madinah (would come), he would see a new grave with the Holy Prophet’s (S) hand-print and say: “Who has died from the family of Muhammad (as)?”8

9. Also: Narrated from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi ‘Abdillah who said: I asked him about the placing of one’s hand on the grave – what is it and why is it done? He replied: The Holy Prophet (S) performed it on (the grave of) his son after sprinkling the water (on his grave). I asked him: How should I place my hand on the graves of the Muslims? He showed me by placing his hand on the ground and then raised it (and this was) while he was facing the Qiblah.9

10. From Shahid al-Thani in Musakkin al-Fu’ad: From ‘Ali (as): When the Noble Prophet (S) gave condolence he would say:

آجَرَكُمُ اللٌّهُ وَرَحِمَكُمْ.

“May Allah recompense you and have mercy on you”

And when he congratulated someone he would say:

بَارَكَ اللٌّهُ لَكُمْ وَ بَارَكَ َاللٌّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ

“May Allah bless you and keep you blessed.”10

11. From al-Qutb in his Da’awat: Zayn al-’Abidin (as) said: There was never a time when Amir al-Mu’minin (as) was faced with an affliction but that he would pray a thousand rak’ahs on that day, give alms to sixty beggars and fast for three days. He (as) said to his children: “When an affliction befalls you do as I do, for I saw the Holy Prophet (S) doing this, so follow in the footsteps of your Prophet and do not contravene it for Allah (will thereby) be against you. Allah (SwT) has said:

“As for him who endures patiently and forgives, that is indeed the steadiest of courses.(Surat al-Shura (42): 43)

Zayn al-’Abidin (as) said: I still perform this action of Amir al-Mu’minin (as).11

Addendum to this Chapter

1. In al-Makarim: From Anas ibn Malik who said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to visit the sick and attend the funeral processions.12

2. In al-Majalis of Shaykh al-Tusi: In his narration from al-Harith from ‘Ali (as) who said: When the Noble Prophet (S) visited a sick person he would say:

أَذْهِبِ الْبَأْسَ رَبَّ الْبَأْسِ وَاشْفِ أَنْتَ الشَّافِي لاَ شَافِيَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ.

“Remove the affliction O Lord of affliction, and cure him for You are the Healer, there is no other Healer but You.”13

Note: A similar narration is mentioned by al-Tabarsi in al-Makarim.14

3. In Tibb al-A’immah: From Jabir from al-Baqir (as) who said: When the Holy Prophet (S) or someone from his family or (close) companions was afflicted with inflammation in the eyes, he would recite the following supplication:

أَللٌّهُمَّ مَتِّعْنِي بِسَمْعِي وَ بَصَرِي وَ اجْعَلْهُمَا الْوَارِثَـيْنِ مِنِّي وَانْصُرْنِي عَلـى مَنْ ظَلَمَنِي وَ أَرِنِي فِيهِ ثَأْرِي.

“O Allah! Cause me to enjoy my hearing and my sight and make them continue with me until the day I die, and help me (to gain victory) over the one who oppresses me and take my vengeance from him.”15

4. In al-Makarim: From Ibn ‘Abbas who said: The Holy Prophet (S) would teach us (to recite this) for all types of pains, fever and headache:

بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الْكَبِيرِ. أَعُوذُ بِاللٌّهِ الْعَظِيمِ مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ عِرْقٍ نَعَّارٍ وَ مِنْ شَرِّ حَرِّ النَّارِ.

“In the name of Allah the Great. I seek refuge with Allah the Almighty from the evil of all that gushes in the veins and from the evil of the heat of the Hellfire.”16

5. In Majmu’at Warram: Whenever the Noble Prophet (S) was saddened by something, he would take recourse in fasting and prayer.17

6. al-Shahid al-Thani in Musakkin al-Fu’ad: Whenever an affliction befell the Holy Prophet (S), he would stand, perform ablution, and pray two rak’ahs and say:

أَللٌّهُمَّ قَدْ فَعَلْتُ مَا أَمَرْتَنَا فَأَنْجِزْلَنَا مَا وَعَدْتَنَا.

O Allah! I have done as you commanded, so fulfill for us what you have promised us.18

7. In al-Kafi: From ‘Ala’ ibn Kamil who said: I was sitting in the company of Abi ‘Abdillah (as) when (suddenly) a woman’s scream was heard from the house, so Abu ‘Abdillah (as) stood up then he sat down and regained his composure and returned to his talk until he had completed it, then he said: “We (the Ahl al-Bayt) like the well-being of our selves, our children and our possessions but when there is a divine ordinance, it is not for us to like something which Allah does not like for us.”19

Note: al-Kulayni has narrated two other ahadith with similar a meaning and al-Saduq has also narrated this in al-Faqih and Ikmal al-Din.20

8. In al-Kafi: From ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim from his father, from (the Imam (as)) who said: The sunnah with regards to ‘Hunut’ (camphor used in the embalmment of the dead) is (to use) the equivalent of (the weight of) thirteen and one third dirhams. Then he (as) said: Jibra’il descended on the Holy Prophet (S) with ‘Hunut’ weighing the equivalent of forty dirhams, so the Noble Prophet (S) divided it into three (equal) portions, a portion for himself, a portion for ‘Ali (as) and a portion for Fatimah (as).21

Note: This has also been narrated by Shaykh Tusi in al-Tahdhib and by al-Saduq in al-’Ilal, al-Faqih, Fiqh al-Rid’a and al-Hidayah.22

9. Also: In his narration from Zurarah and Muhammad ibn Muslim who said: We said to Abi Ja’far (as): “Is the turban of the dead body a part of the shroud?” He said: “No. The obligatory shroud is made up of three pieces of cloth or in the very least, (if these cannot be procured) one complete cloth that shrouds the entire body. Anything more than this is sunnah until it reaches five cloths, and anything more than that is an innovation and the turban is sunnah.”23

10. In al-Tahdhib: Using the ‘Jarid’ (palm branches - stripped of the leaves - which are buried along with the dead body) is also from the sunnah.24

11. Shaykh Tusi in his book ‘Ghaybah’: From Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-’Alawi and others in a long hadith from Musa ibn Ja’far (as) who said: We the Ahl al-Bayt - the dower of our women, the pilgrimage of those from among us who have not been for pilgrimage, and the shrouds of our dead are (all) from our purest wealth; and I have my shroud with me ...25

12. In Ja’fariyat: In his narration from ‘Ali (as): When the Holy Prophet (S) prayed over a dead body, if it was a man, he would stand next to his chest and if it was a woman, he would stand next to her head.26

Note: This has also been narrated in al-Da’aim, and in al-Tahdhib from Jabir from Abi Ja’far (as).27

13. In ‘Awali al-La’ali: From Abi Sa’id al-Khudri: He (S) never rode a mount on (the day of) ‘eid or (while attending) a funeral – ever.28

14. In al-Kafi: In his narration from al-Sakuni from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Amir al-Mu’minin (as) said: It became the sunnah from the Holy Prophet (S) that none should enter the grave of a woman except those who (were allowed to) see her in her lifetime.29

15. Also: In his narration from ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin who said: I heard Aba al-Hasan (as) saying: Do not go down into the grave wearing a turban, cap, scarf or shoes and undo your buttons (before going in) as this was the sunnah of the Noble Prophet (S); and seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaitan and recite Fatihatal Kitab (Surah al-Hamd): ‘al-Mu’awwadhatayn’ (Surah al-Nas Surah al-Falaq): ‘Qul huwAllahu Ahad’ and Ayat al-Kursi.30

Note: This has also been narrated by al-Saduq in al-’Ilal and al-Shaykh al-Tusi in al-Tahdhib.31

16. Also: In his narration from ‘Umar ibn Udhaynah who said: I saw Aba ‘Abdillah (as) throw dust over the dead body (in the grave). He held the dust in his hand for some time and then threw it and he never threw more than three handfuls. So I asked him about this. He replied: “O ‘Umar! I was saying:

}إِيْمَانًا وَ تَصْدِيقاً بِبَعْثِكَ هٌذَا مَا وَعَدَ اللٌّهُ وَرَسُولَهُ وَ صَدَقَ اللٌّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ وَ مَا زَادَهُمْ إِلاَّ إِيـمَاناً وَ تَسْلِيماً.{

“(O Allah!) I believe and confirm that you will resurrect (all human beings); ‘ ... this is what Allah and his Prophet promised and Allah and His promised spoke the truth - and it only increased them in faith and submission.” (Surat al-Ahzab (33): 22)

This is what the Holy Prophet (S) used to do and it thus became the sunnah.”32

17. In Qurb al-Isnad: From ‘Ali (as): It is (from) the sunnah to sprinkle some water on the grave.33

18. In al-Tahdhib: In his narration from Musa ibn Ikil al-Numayri from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The sunnah with regards to sprinkling water on the grave is that one should face the Qiblah and start sprinkling water from the side of the head to the side of the legs, then go round the grave to the other side, then sprinkle water on the middle of the grave; and this is the sunnah.34

19. In Fiqh al-Rid’a: The sunnah is for the grave to be raised (to the height of) four opened fingers from the ground, and if it is (raised) more than this there is no problem; and the grave should be leveled and not rounded.35

20. In al-Kafi: In his narration from Hashim ibn Salim from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: When Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (as) was martyred, the Holy Prophet (S) told Fatimah (as) to take food to Asma’ bint ‘Umays for three days and to come to her with her womenfolk and stay with her for three days, thus it became the sunnah to provide food to the grieving family for three days.36

Note: A similar narration is mentioned by al-Barqi in al-Mahasin and by al-Saduq in al-Faqih and Fiqh al-Rid’a, and by al-Shaykh al-Tusi in al-Amali.37

21. Also: In his narration from Hariz or someone else who said: Abu Ja’far (as) bequeathed eight hundred dirhams for his obsequies and he considered this to be from the sunnah because the Noble Prophet (S) said: “Take food for the family of Ja’far (ibn Abi Talib) for they are preoccupied (in mourning).”38

22. In al-Faqih: al-Sadiq (as) said: Eating at the house of the grieving (family) is a practice from the age of ignorance and the sunnah is (only) to send the food to them.39

  • 1. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 357
  • 2. al-Tamhis: 34, Bihar al-Anwar 16:275
  • 3. al-Kafi 3:168, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:453
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Qurb al-Isnad: 42, al-Tahdhib 1:456 (with another chain of narrators mentioning it from al-Husain )
  • 6. al-Da`awat: 256
  • 7. al-Ja’fariyat: 202
  • 8. al-Kafi 3:200, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:460
  • 9. al-Kafi 3:200
  • 10. Musakkin al-Fu`ad: 108
  • 11. al-Da’awat: Mustadrak al-Da’awat: 287
  • 12. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 15, al-Manaqib 1:146
  • 13. Amali al-Tusi 2:252
  • 14. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 392
  • 15. Tibb al-A`immah: 83
  • 16. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 401
  • 17. Majmu’at Warram: 255
  • 18. Musakkin al-Fu’ad: 56
  • 19. al-Kafi 3:226
  • 20. al-Kafi 3:225-226, al-Faqih 1:187, Kamal al-Din wa Tamam al-Ni’mah 1:73
  • 21. al-Kafi 3:151
  • 22. Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:290, ‘Ilal al-Shara’i: 302, Fiqh al-Imam al-Rid’a: 168, al-Faqih 1:149
  • 23. al-Kafi 3:144, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:292
  • 24. Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:326, al-Muqni’: 18, al-Faqih 1:144
  • 25. al-Ghaybah: 23, al-Mustadrak 2:231, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 412
  • 26. al-Ja’fariyat: 210
  • 27. Da`aim al-Islam 1:235, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 3:190
  • 28. ‘Awali al-La`ali 2:220, al-Mustadrak 2:300
  • 29. al-Kafi 3:194, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:325, al-Ja’fariyat: 203
  • 30. al-Kafi 3:192
  • 31. ‘Ilal al-Sharai’: 305, Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:313
  • 32. al-Kafi 3: 198
  • 33. Qurb al-Isnad: 72, al-Ja’fariyat: 203
  • 34. Tahdhib al-Ahkam 1:320
  • 35. al-Fiqh al-Mansub li al-Imam al-Rid’a: 175, al-Mustadrak 2:335
  • 36. al-Kafi 3:217
  • 37. al-Mahasin: 419, al-Faqih 1:182, Fiqh al-Imam al-Rid’a: 172, Amali al-Tusi 2:272
  • 38. al-Kafi 3:217
  • 39. al-Faqih 1:182