As-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh
Reactions to Bereavement
Weeping over or for the dead: Ahmad and Abu
Hanifah considered weeping over or for the dead
permissible before and after death. Abu ls-haq Ash-Shirazi
had the same opinion, whereas Ash-Shafi'i and many of his
companions disliked weeping after death, and preferred it
to be at the time before the soul has left the body. As
evidence, they quoted the Hadith narrated on the authority
of Jabir Ibn 'Atik,that when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)
went to visit 'Abdullah Ibn Thabit, he found that he had
become disabled. Then the Prophet (pbuh) called out to
him but he did not answer. Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh)
said: "To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return." Then
he said: "0 AburRabi'! (1.) (Your death is about to)
(1.) Transmitted by Abu Dawud (2774) At-Tirmidhi (1578), and
Ibn Majah.( 1394) on the authority of Abu Bakrah. AtTirmidhi
said it is a Hasan Gharib Hadith.
You may refer to Musnad Ahmad (1/191) and Sunan Abu
Dawud (2775) for more Hadiths on this point. (Translator)
overcome us." (Having heard this), women wept. Ibn 'Atik
tried to keep them silent, but the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Let
them (weep), but when it comes, let no woman weep."
They asked: "0 Messenger of Allah! What is it (that will
come)?" He said: "Death." (1)
In Sahih Muslim and Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is reported
on the authority of Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah
"Verily, the dead person is tormented by the
weeping of his people over him." (2)
This obviously applies for weeping after death, for
the person is not to be called ""dead" before death.
Ibn 'Umar narrated that when the Messenger of Allah
(pbuh) came back from the battle of Uhud, he heard the
women of Banu 'Abdil-Ashhal weeping for their dead.
Then he said: "But there is no one weeping for Hamzah."
(the Prophet's uncle) Women from Al-Ansar came and
(I) Abu Dawud (311), and An-Nasa'i (4/ 13).)
(2) AI-Al-Bukhari (1286), and Muslim (928).
wept for Hamzah at the Prophet's house, to the extent that
they awoke him. Thereupon he said:
"Woe be to them, have they come to weep here
until this moment! Order them to go back,
and let them not weep for any dead person
from now on." (1)
(1) Musnad Ahmad (2/84), and Ibn Majah (1541)
This Hadith explicitly abrogates the permissibility
The difference between weeping before death and
weeping after it, is that people wish for more time for the
dying person, so weeping then may convey their intention.
But when he dies, hope is of no use; weeping does not
The jurists who allowed weeping in general reported
that Jabir Ibn 'Abdillah said: "In the battle of Uhud, my
father was fatally injured. I wept for him, but people tried
to prevent me, while the Prophet (pbuh) did not. My aunt,
Fatimah, started weeping too. Thereupon the Prophet
"Whether you (Fatimah) wept or not, the
Angels kept overshadowing him with their
wings until they raised him up (i.e. to the
Al-Bukhari and Muslim also narrated that Ibn
'Umar said: "Sa' d Ibn 'Ubadah fell ill. So the Prophet
(pbuh) went to visit him accompanied by 'AbdurRahman
Ibn 'Awf, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas and 'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud.
When the Prophet entered to see him, he found him
unconscious, then he asked: "Is he dead"? They said, "No,
0 Messenger of Allah." The Prophet started weeping.
When they saw that, they started weeping too. Thereupon
the Prophet said:
"Should you not listen? Certainly, Allah does
not torment because of weeping or grieving;
He however torments or pities because of this
(and pointed to his own tongue)". (2)
(1) Al-Bukhari (1244), and Muslim (2472).
(2) Al-Bukhari (1304), and Muslim (924)
Also, they quoted a part of the Hadith narrated by
Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Usamah Ibn
Zayd. It reads: "When a son of one of the Prophet's
daughters was dying, he quickly went to her. When he
raised the boy up, he found his soul rattling, so that the
Prophet's eyes streamed with tears. (Having observed his
weeping), Sa'd said: "0 Messenger of Allah! What is this?"
The Prophet said: "'This is (out of) mercy that Allah puts in
the hearts of His servants. Surely, Allah bestows His mercy
on His merciful servants." (1)
In addition, this is a part of a Hadith narrated in
Musnad Ahmad on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas. It reads:
"When Ruqayyah, the daughter of the Prophet died,
women started weeping over her. 'Umar lashed them with
his whip, but the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"0 'Umar! Let them weep, but let none of you
croak like the Devil." Then he said:
"Whatever the eye or the heart may produce is
from Allah and out of mercy, but whatever
the hand or the tongue may produce is from
the Devil." (2)
(1) As mentioned before.
(2) Musnad Ahniad (1 /237, 238, 335).
Also in Musnad Ahmad, 'Aishah (may Allah be
pleased with her) reported that "When Sa'd lbn Mu'adh
died, the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Bakr and 'Umar were there.
She said: "By Him in whose hand my soul is, I recognized
Abu Bakr's weeping from that of 'Umar from my room. "(1)
Also in the Musnad, Abu Hurayrah reported: "A
funeral procession passed by the Prophet (pbuh), and I and
'Umar Ibnul-Khattab were with him. Women were
weeping, and when 'Umar scolded them, the Prophet
"0 Ibnul-Khattab! Let them (weep), for the
soul is grieved, the eyes are full of tears, and
the event (i.e. death) is so close.'' (2)
In Jami' At-At-Tirmidhi, Jabir Ibn 'Abdillah reported:
"The Prophet (pbuh) took 'Abdur-Rahman Ibn 'Awf
and went quickly to see the latter's son, Ibraheem. They
found him dying. Then the Prophet (pbuh) took the boy,
put him on his lap, and started weeping 'Abdur-Rahman
said: "Are you weeping?" Did you not forbid weeping?"
The Prophet said:
"No but I forbade two foolish and wicked
voices, one of which is the voice at (the time
of) bereavement, scratches the face and
cleaves the (outer) garment, and the other is
the croaking of the Devil." (3)
(1) Musnad Ahmad (6/142).
(2) Musnad Ahmad (2/110), An-Nasa'i (4/19), and Ibn Majah
(3) Sunan At-At-Tirmidhi (1005.) At-At-Tirmidhi said it is a
It is authenticated that the Prophet (pbuh) once
visited his mother's grave and wept there so that his weeping
caused his fellows to weep too. (1)
It is also authenticated that the Prophet (pbuh) kissed
'Uthman Ibn Maz'un until tears streamed over his face. (2)
In addition, it is authenticated that the Prophet
(pbuh) announced the death of Ja'far and those who were
martyred with him, while his eyes were shedding tears. (3)
Finally, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) is
authenticated to have said that he kissed the Prophet
(pbuh) after his death and shed tears for him 4)
These are twelve proofs which indicate that weeping
is not reprehensible. So the Hadiths preventing weeping
should be considered to be connected with that kind of
weeping which is accompanied with loud mourning and
screaming. We read in the Hadith narrated on the authority
of 'Umar: "The dead person is tormented because of the
weeping of some of his people over him." And we read in
another narration: is tormented because of the wailing
(1) Muslim (976), as narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah.
(2) Abu Dawud (3163), At-Tirmidhi (989), and Ibn Majah
(1456), as narrated on the authority of 'Aishah (may Allah be
pleased with her).
(3) Al-Bukhari (3757), as narrated on the authority of Anas.
(4) Al-Bukhari (1241), as narrated on the authority of
And, Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih that
'Umar said: "Let them weep over Abu Sulayman (i.e.
Khalid Ibn ul Walid) so long as there is no dust pouring (on
themselves) or screaming." (1)
Regarding the claim of abrogation in the Hadith of
Hamzah, it has no proof, for it particularly referred to
preventing those women from weeping any longer over the
martyrs of Uhud. This is indicated by the fact that most
texts that prevent weeping preceded the battle of Uhud.
Among these Hadiths is one narrated, by Abu Hurayrah
whose adoption of Islam and companionship with the
Prophet took place in the seventh year after Hijrah.
Another Hadith spoke of the weeping for Ja 'far and those
who were martyred with hlm and this was in the eighth
year. Also, we have, the Hadith concerning weeping over
Zaynab's death, which was in the eighth year as well.
The Hadith regarding weeping over Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh
was in the fifth year. This section of Hadiths includes also
the Hadith which spoke of the Prophet's weeping at the
grave of his mother, and this was in the eighth year; the
year when Mekka was conquered.
(1) Al-Bukhari, the Book of Funeral, the chapter on Wailing over
the Dead. look Fat-hul-Bari (3/160).
In reply to the saying that weeping is allowed before
death, as a translation of a hopeful outlook, and as a ruling
different from weeping after death, it may be said that
weeping before death usually comes from grief, so as
grieving after death is more difficult, the permission to
weep is more recommended than in the case of hoping for
a longer lifetime for the dying person. In this context, the
"The eye may shed tears and the heart may
grieve, but we do not say (words) which enrage
the Lord. 0 Ibraheem! We are certainly
grieved by your (death)." (1)
Ahmad held that mourning and wailing are
prohibited. It is narrated that he considered wailing to be a
sin. The followers of Ash-Shafi'i and others said: "Wailing
is prohibited." Ibn 'Abdul-Bar said: "Jurists are in
consensus that wailing is not allowed neither for men nor
for women." Additionally, some later followers of Imam
Ahmad said: "It is counted as reprehensible for securing
uprightness" These are the words cited by Abul-Khattab in
"Al-Hidayah" (Guidance) AbulKhattab added: "Mourning,
wailing, scratching the face, cleaving the outer garment and
walking barefooted (to express one's grieving) are all
Prohibition is more virtuous here, since there is a
Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim narrated on
the authority of Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud that the Prophet
"Whoever beats the cheeks (i.e. slaps himself),
cleaves the (outer) garment and cries out in
the manner of Jahiliyyah (i.e. Pre-Islamic
Period) is not one of us." (2)
(1) Narrated by Al-Bukhari (1303), and Muslim (2315) on the
authority of Anas.
(2) Al-Bukhari (1298), am Muslim (103).
Abu Burdah reported that when Abu Musa was ill,
he fainted while his head rested in the lap of one of the
women (1) of his family. Another one of those women called
out to him but he said nothing. When he awoke he said: "I
am free from that which the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)
was free, for the Messenger of Allah said that he is free
from the woman who cries out, the woman who gets her
hair cut, and the woman who cleaves her garment (at the
time of bereavement)." (2)
Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu 'bah reported that he heard the
Prophet (pbuh) as saying:
"He who is wailed for gets tormented due to
that wailing. (3)
Ummu- 'Atiyyah reported: "When the Messenger of
Allah (pbuh) took our allegiance, a part of it was that we
had not to wail (for a dead person), but only five women
fulfilled the promise." (4)
Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"The dead person is tormented in his grave
because of the wailing done for him." (5)
(1) AI-Bukhari (1298), and Muslim (103).
(2) Al-Bukhari (1296), and Muslim (104)
(3)Al-Bukhari (1291), and Muslim (933).
(4)Al-Bukhari (1305), and Muslim (936).
(5) AI-Bukhari (1292)
Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari reported that the Prophet
"There are four deeds of Jahiliyyah, which my
nation are not going to desert: Feeling proud
of noble origins, vilifying lineage, asking for
rain by (the mediation of) the stars, and
wailing (for the dead)."