We all know quite well that death is a compulsory destination that every one of us must reach when the journey has come to an end, and despite this glaring fact, it’s a strange behavior recently to see a handful number of people mocking a dead person or saying hurtful words about him or her, when this is a forbidden act in Islam, and also a morally denigrating action in all aspects. As the Apostle of Allah ﷺ said:
“Don’t abuse the dead, because they have reached the result of what they forwarded.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1329)
Even if the said dead person died a shameful date i.e in a brothel with prostitutes, or while drinking alcohol, or while known with major sins and so on, it’s still not permitted to give foul utterances about the dead.
Also, it’s worthy of note that the Holy Prophet ﷺ respected the funeral processions of the non-Muslims. This conduct, now and again, was an indication of the honor that the best of mankind (ﷺ) has for the dead which we should all learn from.
Regardless of what religion one practices, if he has left this world, we need to respect the dead and his family. This can be done by praying for his or her family and asking Allah to guide their hearts to Islam (in situations where they are not Muslims).
Below are some pieces of evidence from the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) and his companions on how they were vast in revering the dead, we can all take lessons from it and adopt therewith:
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: A funeral procession passed in front of us and the Prophetﷺ stood up and we too stood up. We said, ‘O Allah’s Messengerﷺ! This is the funeral procession of a Jew.” He said, “Whenever you see a funeral procession, you should stand up.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1311, Book 23, Hadith 71)
Sahl bin Hunaif and Qais bin Sa`d were sitting in the city of Al-Qadisiya. A funeral procession passed in front of them and they stood up. They were told that the funeral procession was of one of the inhabitants of the land i.e. of a non-believer, under the protection of Muslims. They said, “A funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet ﷺ and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, “Is it not a living being (soul)?” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1312, 1313 – Book 23, Hadith 71)
Lastly, we should know that respecting the dead that is non-Muslims has limits and one of them is that it’s not permitted for Muslims to pray for the soul of the Kaafir who died as an unbeliever as that it is haraam (to pray for forgiveness for them), as Allaah says in the Qur’an:
“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allaah’s forgiveness for the Mushrikoon, even though they be of kin after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief)” [al-Tawbah 9:113]
Al-Qurtubi said in al-Ahkaam (8/173): “Allaah did not allow the believers to pray for forgiveness for the mushrikeen. Seeking forgiveness for a mushrik is something that is not permitted.”
Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (916) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I asked my Lord for permission to pray for forgiveness for my mother, and He did not permit me. I asked Him for permission to visit her grave, and He permitted me.”
And we ask Allah to take our souls as Muslims and make it easy for us to perform the deeds of the inhabitants of Jannah. Aameen.