Question and Answers
Question: In some non-Muslim
countries, the corpse is placed in a coffin and then buried in the grave. What
is our duty in such a situation?
Answer: There is no problem in placing the corpse in
a coffin when burying him in the ground. However, the religious requirements
of burial must be fulfilled; and one of those requirements is that the corpse
be placed on its right side with the face towards the
Question: A Muslim died in a non-Muslim
city that has no Muslim graveyard; and although it is possible to transfer the
body to a Muslim country for burial but the cost of transportation is
exorbitant—is this a sufficient [reason] for burying the body in the graveyard
Answer: This is not a
Question: A Muslim dies in a non-Muslim
city that has no Muslim graveyard and the family of the deceased cannot
transfer the body to a Muslim country because it cannot afford the cost of
transportation. In such cases, is it obligatory upon the Islamic centers that
are responsible for Muslims’ affairs to provide the cost of transportation?
And is this obligatory upon the Muslims who reside in that
Answer: If burying the deceased
in an appropriate grave in that same city or other city (excluding non-Muslim
graveyards) depends on spending some money, and neither has he left any estate
that can pay for it nor are the heirs capable of providing for it—then it is
wajib kifa’i upon the Muslims to provide for it. And it is permissible
to count it from the religious or charitable dues applicable to
Question: When there is no heir for a
deceased Muslim person in the foreign land, who should take charge of his
Answer: If it is not possible
to contact his heir and ask his consent in handling the burial procedures, the
requirement of consent is lifted and it becomes obligatory, on basis of
wajib kifa’i, on the Muslims to handle the burial.
Question: From where should the expenses
of transportation to a Muslim country and burial come, if it is not possible
to bury a Muslim in the city in which he died because there is no Muslim
graveyard? Should these expenses come from the estate of the deceased before
dividing it amongst the heirs? Or from the one-third [of the estate] if he has
specified that? Or from other sources?
Answer: The expenses of burying a dead body in a
place appropriate for it comes from the estate [before its distribution among
the heirs] if he did not make a will specifying that it be taken from the
one-third. Otherwise [if he made a will regarding the one-third], it should
come out of it.
Question: The Muslim communities in
non-Muslim countries are increasing day by day. Knowing the fact that a
deceased Muslim will one day be buried in the graveyard of non-Muslims either
because of lack of funds available to the family to send the dead body to
Muslim countries for burial or because of negligence; so, is it obligatory, as
a matter of wajib kifa’i, upon the capable Muslims to buy a graveyard
for the Muslims?
Answer: Burying a
deceased Muslim in a place appropriate to his status (other than non-Muslim
graveyards) is an obligation of the heir just like other obligatory deeds
connected with the burial procedures. And if the deceased has no heir or the
heir is refusing to fulfill his duty or is not capable, it is obligatory, on
the basis of kifa’i, upon other Muslims [to bury the deceased in an
appropriate place]. And if fulfilling this wajib kifa’i duty depends on
acquiring a piece of land in advance by purchase or other means, it is
obligatory to try and acquire it in advance.
Question: What is preferable: burying a
dead Muslim in an Islamic cemetery in a non-Muslim city in which he died or
transferring the dead body to a Muslim city which entails exorbitant
Answer: It is preferable to
transfer the dead to any holy shrines or other recommended places if there is
a donor who can bear the expenses —from the heirs or others— or if the
one-third of his estate which he has endowed for religious charity, would
suffice for that purpose. And Allah knows the best.
Question: If transferring a deceased
Muslim to Muslim countries entails great difficulty, is it permissible to bury
the body in cemeteries of non-Muslims from among the followers of the revealed
religions [that is, Ahlul Kitab]?
Answer: It is not permissible to bury a Muslim in cemeteries of non-Muslims, except if that is the only choice because necessity knows no laws.