How is salat-ul janazah (funeral prayer) performed?

The Details of the Question
How is Janazah prayer performed?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Accordding to Hanafi madhhab (sect), the funeral prayer is performed as follows:

Funeral prayer is performed with niyyah (intention) and four takbeers (saying Allahuakbar). If the prayer is performed without niyyah or less than four takbeers, it will not be valid. In fact, niyyah is made in the heart; it is sunnah to utter it. It is stated in the niyyah whether the dead person is a man, woman or child. The imam utters the niyyah as, "I intend to perform funeral prayer and utter prayers for the dead person for the sake of Allah” and starts the prayer. There is no need for uttering the niyyah for being an imam. The congregation utters the intention similarly and adds the words, “I will follow the imam”. It is necessary to say only, “I will follow the imam”.  The arkan (pillars) of the funeral prayer are qiyam (standing) and takbeers. There is no reciting from the Quran, ruku (bending down) and sajdah (prostration). The prayer is performed as follows: The takbeer of iftitah (beginning) is uttered and the right hand is placed over the left hand and fastened. The prayer of subhanaka is recited. While reciting subhanaka, after saying    وَتَعالى جَدُّكَ  "wa taala jadduk" (Your majesty is exalted), وَجَلَّ ثَناؤُكَ  "Wa jalla thanauk" (Thy praise is glorified) is added. Then, the second takbeer is uttered without making a sign with the head or eyes and the prayers of “Allahumma salli wa barik”. Then, the third takbeer is uttered and a prayer is recited for the dead person and all Muslims. There is not a definite prayer here. The following prayer: "Allahumma`ghfirli wa li`l-mayyiti wa li-sairi`l-mu`minina wa`l-mu`minat...(O Allah! Forgive me, this dead person, and other believing women and men, …" or:    رَبَّنَا اتِنَا فِى الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى اْلاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّار بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا اَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمينَ   "Rabbana atina fi`d-dunya hasanatan wa fi`l-akhirati hasanatan wa qina adhaba`n-nar birahmatika ya arhama`r-rahimin (Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the fire We seek Thy blessings, Thou art the most Merciful)" can be recited. Or, some other prayers can be recited. Those who do not know those prayers can recite the Chapter al-Fatiha with the intention of prayer. It is sunnah to recite the following prayer:    اَللّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِحَيِّنَا وَمَيِّتِنَا وَشَاهِدِنَا وَغَائِبِنَا وَذَكَرِنَا وَاُنْثَانَا وَصَغِيرنَا وَكَبِيرنَا   اَللَّهُمَّ مَنْ اَحْيَيْتَهُ مِنَّا فَاَحْيهِ عَلَى اْلاِسْلاَمِ وَمَنْ تَوَفَّيْتَهُ مِنَّا فَتَوَفَّهُ عَلَى اْلايمَانِ وَخُصَّ هذَا الْمَيَّتَ بِالرَّوْحِ وَالرَّاحَةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ وَالرِّضْوَانِ    اَللّهُمَّ اِنْ كَانَ مُحْسِنًا فَزِدْ فِى اِحْسَانِه وَاِنْ كَانَ مُسيئًا فَتَجاوَزْ عَنْهُ وَلَقِّهِ اْلاَمْنَ وَالْبُشْرى وَالْكَرَامَةَ وَالزُّلْفى بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا اَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمينَ   "Allahumma`ghfir li-hayyina wa mayyitina wa shahidina wa ghaibina wa dhakarina wa unthana wa saghirina wa kabirina... Allahumma, man ahyaytahu minna fa-ahyihi ala`l-islam wa man tawaffaytahu minna fa-tawaffahu ala`l-iman ve khussa hadha`l-mayyita bir-rawhi wa`r-rahati wa`l-maghfirati ve`r-ridwan... Allahumma in kana muhsinan fa-zid fi ihsanihi wa in kana musian fa-tajawaz anhu wa laqqihi`l-amna wa`l-bushra wa`l-karamata wa`z-zulfa bi-rahmatika ya arhama`r-rahimin...(O Allah! grant forgiveness to our living and to our dead, and to those who are present and to those who are absent, and to our young and our old folk, and to our males and females. O Allah! whomsoever you grant to live, from among us, help him to live in Islam, and whom of us you cause to die, help him to die in faith. Grant especially this dead person your ease, rest, forgiveness and consent  O Allah, if he acted well, then increase for him his good action, and if he acted wrongly, then overlook his wrong actions. Grant him security, glad tidings, generosity and closeness to you. We seek Thy blessings, Thou art the most Merciful " (*). " If the dead person is a male child the following prayer is uttered after the sentence “wa man tawaffaytahu minna fa-tawaffahu ala`l-iman”:  اَللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهُ لَنَا فَرَطًا اَللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهُ لَنَا اَجْرًا وَذُخْرًا اَللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهُ لَنَا شَافِعًا وَمُشَفَّعًا

 Allahumma`j`alhu lana faratan, Allahumma`j`alhu lana ajran wa zuhra... Allahumma`j`alhu lana shafian mushaffaa... (Oh Allah! Cause him to become a means of salvation for us, and cause his loss to become a means of reward and recompense for us (in the Hereafter), and make him for us an intercessor whose intercession be granted by Thee. (*). Then, the fourth takbeer is uttered, the Imam and then the congregation turn their faces to the right and then to the left, saying “as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah”. Since the prayer is completed after the fourth takbeer, the hands are released. The prayers other than the takbeers are read silently. It is not permissible to recite from the Quran in the funeral prayer. However, some verses can be read with the intention of prayer. A person who misses the takbeer of iftitah waits for the next takbeer and starts the prayer with it. He should complete the four takbeers before the janazah is removed from the musalla (prayer place). It is makrooh (abominable to perform the funeral prayer inside the mosque unless there is a necessity. If the weather is rainy and if there is not a suitable place, there is no drawback to performing the funeral prayer in the mosque. It is wajib to recite salam at the end of the funeral prayer. The prayers that are recited are sunnah. It is mandoob (recommended) to form three ranks during the funeral. The funeral prayer is performed only once before the dead body. It is makrooh to perform the funeral prayer again. It is better to perform one prayer each when there are several janazahs. It is permissible to perform one funeral prayer for all of them. It is said that it is hoped the dead person will attain the forgiveness of Allah if some holy words expressing that he was a believer when he died are written on the forehead, bandage or shroud of the dead person. However, it is possible that those words, for instance the word of tawheed, will stay in the grave and later be stepped on or they will get dirty due to the liquids that will flow from the dead body. Therefore, there are some drawbacks to writing them. It is deemed more suitable to write bismillah (in the name of Allah) on the forehead and la ilaha illallah (there is no god but Allah) on the chest of the dead body not in ink but with the index finger after the dead body is washed but before it is wrapped in shroud.

Mehmet Dikmen

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