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Burying the Deceased Quickly

Compiled, Translated & Annotated
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ حَفِظْنَاهُ مِنَ الزُّهْرِيِّ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ أَسْرِعُوا بِالْجِنَازَةِ، فَإِنْ تَكُ صَالِحَةً فَخَيْرٌ تُقَدِّمُونَهَا ‏{‏إِلَيْهِ‏}‏، وَإِنْ يَكُ سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَشَرٌّ تَضَعُونَهُ عَنْ رِقَابِكُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllahu Anhu) The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Hurry up when carrying a janazah, for if it was righteous, you are sending it onto the good; and if it was otherwise, then you are putting down an evil thing your necks.” (Bukhari no.1315, Muslim no.944, Abu Dawud no.3181)

Imam Bukhari brings this hadith under the following chapter heading

باب السُّرْعَةِ بِالْجِنَازَةِ  Chapter: Hastening with the coffin (for burial)

This hadith is is explained by the following hadith directly after it under the chapter, باب قَوْلِ الْمَيِّتِ وَهُوَ عَلَى الْجِنَازَةِ قَدِّمُونِي

Chapter: The saying of the deceased while he is being carried on the bier, “Take me quickly.”

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدٌ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَبَا سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيَّ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ إِذَا وُضِعَتِ الْجِنَازَةُ فَاحْتَمَلَهَا الرِّجَالُ عَلَى أَعْنَاقِهِمْ، فَإِنْ كَانَتْ صَالِحَةً قَالَتْ قَدِّمُونِي‏.‏ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ غَيْرَ صَالِحَةٍ قَالَتْ لأَهْلِهَا يَا وَيْلَهَا أَيْنَ يَذْهَبُونَ بِهَا يَسْمَعُ صَوْتَهَا كُلُّ شَىْءٍ إِلاَّ الإِنْسَانَ، وَلَوْ سَمِعَ الإِنْسَانُ لَصَعِقَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (RadhiAllahu Anhu) the The Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “When a funeral is ready and the men carry the deceased on their necks (shoulders), if it was pious then it will say, ‘Present me quickly’, and if it was not pious, then it will say, ‘Woe to it (me), where are they taking me?’ And its voice is heard by everything except mankind and if they heard it, they would fall unconscious.” (Bukhari no.1316

Hafiz Ibn Hajr (Fath al-Bari (3:539) and Imam Nawawi generally say putting down an evil thing from your necks means to let the deceased reach its stage of punishment without delaying what is waiting for it. The second hadith of Abu Sa’id (RadhiAllahu Anhu) shows the deceased will be in severe torment whilst it is being taken and it will scream, so powerful that they would fall unconscious. They, here refers to mankind and the jinn.  Another explanation is, the deceased if good the hastening will benefit it and if evil the people will just be lowering a body down from their necks. Some of the scholars of hadith also use this hadith as evidence to deduce not to be in the company or association with evil people or sinners.

There are other ahadith in this regard which all allude to being quick with the burial. There is a hadith from Ibn Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) which mentions when one of you dies to not take your time except hasten and be quick in taking it to the grave, (Tabarani Kabir (12:444), Imam San’ani declared the hadith to be Hasan (Subl al-Salam (2:285).

The hadith of Abu Bakra (RadhiAllahu Anhu) who said we would run with the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) (with the janazah) (Abu Dawud no.3182), Shaikh al-Albani graded it Sahih in Sahih Abu Dawud (no.2725)

Here the running is a quick pace quicker than the normal pace but not actual fast running. (Fath al-Bari (3:539)

The Scholars are generally of the view to hasten the burial and to walk with a quick pace and this is recommended where as other scholars have opined it is obligatory. (Refer to Rawdah al-Nadiyyah 1:428, Fath al-Bari 3:539, Subl al-Salam 2:284, Tuhfah al-Ahwadi 4:75, al-Muhalla 5:154)

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