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Office of the Mufti

Part 5 - Advisory on Performing Funeral Prayers during COVID-19 (English)

IRSYAD (RELIGIOUS GUIDANCE)

ON PERFORMING FUNERAL PRAYERS DURING COVID-19

1. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced more stringent measures in an effort to control the transmission of COVID-19. These preventive measures are (1) to ensure physical distancing of at least one meter is maintained between individuals; (2) all gatherings (outside of work and school) should be limited to 10 people only.[1]

2. Therefore, funeral prayers can be conducted with some adaptations, to prevent a cluster of infection from taking place as per the guidelines stipulated above. Allah s.w.t says in surah al-Taghabun, verse 16:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

Meaning: “..be concious of Allah to the best of your capabilities...

3. In general, we advise that the following measures be adhered to:  

a)         Funeral prayers are to be conducted at homes as long as there is ample space to do so.

b)         Avoid conducting funeral prayers at void decks of housing estates to prevent the mixing of congregants with other civilians.

c)         To maintain physical distancing of 1 meter in performing the jenazah prayers, between prayer congregants and prayer rows.  

d)         The funeral prayer should be limited to 10 individuals only.

e)         The funeral prayers can be conducted in several sessions if there are more than 10 funeral attendees. The prayers can be led by one imam or different imams for each session.[2]

f)            Individuals waiting for their prayer sessions should maintain a safe physical distance between themselves.

g)         Those who do not live nearby or unwell are advised to not attend the burial rites or funeral prayers. They can still perform the funeral prayers, without the body being present (Ṣolāh al-Ghayb)[3] at their respective places or homes.[4] It is narrated by Abu Hurairah r.a.:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى النَّجَاشِيَّ فِي الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي مَاتَ فِيهِ، خَرَجَ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى، فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ وَكَبَّرَ أَرْبَعًا

Meaning: “Allah's Messenger s.a.w informed (the people) about the death of An-Najashi on the very day he died. He went towards the praying place and the people stood behind him in rows. He said four Takbirs (i.e. offered the Funeral prayer).”[5]

h)         Those managing the burial of the deceased at the cemetery should be limited to 10 people only. This is to ensure that safe physical distance can be maintained between individuals and to prevent congestion at the burial ground.

i)             If the deceased’s family would like to conduct a tahlil session after the burial, the family has to ensure that attendees are limited to 10 people only, and to maintain physical distancing between individuals.

4. All these measures are necessary and must be taken seriously to safeguard the well-being of everyone, and to contain this outbreak. At this moment, we are all encouraged to increase in our private supplications for the good of the deceased.

27 March 2020

The Office of the Mufti
Islamic Religious Council of Singapore



 

[1] https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/tighter-measures-to-minimise-further-spread-of-covid-19

[2] According to the Shafi’e mazhab, there are different opinions with regard to an individual performing funeral prayers several times by participating in other prayer sessions. Some Shafi’I jurists permit this, while others is of a different opinion. Please see: Al-Nawawī, Al-Majmū’, vol 5, p 246.

[3] How to perform Solah Al-Ghayb?
On performing a funeral prayer without the deceased being present (Ṣolāh al-Ghayb) is the same as a normal funeral prayer. The only difference is the intention of someone performing the prayer, as the body of the deceased is not present in front of him. A Muslim who would like to perform a Ṣolāh al-Ghayb should 1) face the qiblah, 2) have the intention that he/she will be performing Ṣolāh al-Ghayb, 3) start the prayer by raising the hands and reciting the takbir, as per the normal funeral prayer.

[4]. Al-Nawawī, Al-Majmū’, vol 5, pp. 250-253.

[5] Al-Bukhārī, Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, hadith no.: 1245.