Photograph: Omar Chatriwala

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have recently attended an Islamic funeral where the imam asked the congregation to turn away from the deceased before making dua.

Does this has any basis?

Answer:Wa alaykum salam

May Allah reward you for your question

I’ve attended a similar janazah procession where the Imam instructed the congregation to face the direction of Qiblah when making dua. I am not sure whether in your instances you were also asked to face Qiblah or just turn your back to the deceased.

Nonetheless, technically speaking, I am not aware of any narration from the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam or his companions where they instructed or suggested that one turns his back to the deceased while making du’a. If the reasoning is that du’a is an act of worship and it may appear as if we are performing acts of worship for the deceased, as you alluded to in your question, then this too has no basis. The funeral prayer is an act of worship and consists of dua. During the prayer, the entire congregation faces the deceased. No believer ever suggested or thought that we are worshiping for or to the deceased in the funeral prayer – may Allah continue to protect this Ummah from ascribing partners unto Him.

Either way, making du’a for the deceased after his burial is from the Sunnah of the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam. It was his practice sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam that after the burial he would announce to the companions, “Seek forgiveness for your brother and ask Allah to grant him firmness, for he will now be questioned.” [Abu Dawud]

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)