Itihaf ul-Basim Fi Tahqiq Muwatta al-Imam Malik [Talkhis al-Qabisi] Riwayah Abdur Rahman ibn al-Qasim
Tahqiq, Takhrij, Sharh
Muhadith Zubair Ali Zai
Translated Abu Ubaydah
Translated, Checked & Additional Notes
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari
How to Perform the Funeral Prayer
 And with the same chain of narration that the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) announced the death of an-Najashi to everyone on the day that he died, and went out with them to the place of prayer, and then formed them into rows and said “Allah is the greatest” four times.
[GRADING] – [SAHIH]
Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri clarified hearing (this hadith from Sa’id Ibn Musayab) in Bukhari (no.3880, no.3881)
[REFERENCES] – [AGREED UPON]
Al-Muwatta (Yahya’s narration (1/226,227 hadith no.533, book 16, chapter 5, hadith no.14) at-Tamhid (6/324) and al-Istidhkar (no.490)
Transmitted by Bukhari (no.1245) and Muslim (no.951) from the hadith of Malik.
[UNDERSTANDING FROM THE HADITH]
1) It is allowed to inform the people when someone dies. Fath ul-Bari (3/116).
It is narrated from Ibn Umar (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) that he instructed the people to inform others of the death of Rafi’ Ibn Khadij (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) in the surrounding areas of Madinah. (al-Mu’jam al-Kabir of Tabarani ((4/239) hadith (no.4242) as-Sunan al-Kubra of Bayhaqi (4/74) and its chain is authentic)
2) Another narration prohibits informing the people about someones death (Sunan at-Tirmidhi: (no.986) and he said: this hadith is [Hasan] good) however this narration is weak because it is not established that Bilal Ibn Yahya met with Hudhayfa Ibn al-Yaman (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) [TN: Refer to Kitab al-Janaiz, Bulugh al-Maram]
Even if this narration was authentic then its meaning would be that it is prohibited to go around the and publicly announce the death of someone in public places just like the people of ignorance used to do. See the magazine al-Hadeeth (11/20) and the book of funerals of Mubarakpuri (pg.18) [TN: The prohibition here is the public announcing in the market places etc as this resemblance the practice of the people of ignorance.]
3) It is better to say 4 takbirs in the funeral prayer however saying 5 takbirs is also permissible just as it is established from Sahih Muslim (72/ 957) [no.2216]) [TN: Although it is permissible the kayfiyyah of doing the 5th takbir is not detailed in the Sunnah as to when it is to be done]
4) To pray the funeral prayer outside the Masjid is better whilst praying in the Masjid is also allowed.
5) Allah the Blessed and most High informed His beloved (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) about affairs far afield through revelation.
6) If there is a valid legislated reason in the Shari’ah then praying the absentia (when the person involved is not present when it happens) funeral prayer is allowed. [TN there is contention of this issue, some of the scholars opine the person of absentia must be well known i.e. famous and or no one at his location prayed his funeral prayer. Some also use as evidence the hadith of the female companion who would clean the Masjid, thereafter the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) went and prayed her funeral prayer.]
7) It is not a condition to have even or odd rows in the funeral prayer. The noble Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) lead the funeral prayer and there were 2 rows behind him. (Sahih Muslim: (no.952), Dar us-Salam (numbering): (no.2209) [TN: this is another foreign practice no doubt introduced by some ardent madhabists of the subcontinent]