From which side is the dead body placed into the grave?

The Details of the Question

From which side should the dead body be placed into the grave? What is the fiqh decree regarding the issue? Is there a hadith? I have found some information stating that it is placed from the qiblah direction and some other information stating that it is placed from the direction of the feet. Which one is true? What is the source of that information?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In Arabic, the word janaza/jinaza is used both for “dead person” and “coffin”.

In Islamic literature, the person who is about to die is called muhtadar; the general preparations for the dead are called tajhiz; the washing of the dead body is called ghasl; the enshrouding of the dead body after washing is called takfin; carrying it to the place where the prayer will be performed after being placed in the coffin and then to the grave is called tashyi, and the burial is call dafn.

There are narrations stating that the dead bodies were placed into the grave from the qiblah direction. (Ibn Majah, Janaiz, 38; Tirmidhi, Janaiz, 62)

Hanafis base their views on those narrations.

However, there are also practices in which dead bodies were placed into the grave from the direction of the feet. (Abu Dawud, Janaiz, 67)

Some scholars base their views on that narration.

In fact, the disagreement on the issue is in terms of virtue. It is not about whether it is permissible to place the dead body into grave from this or that direction. The dead body can be placed into the grave from any direction; there is no sin in it.

In conclusion, we can say that it is permissible to place the dead body into grave from the direction of the feet or from the direction of the qibla.

While Hanafis regard placing the dead body into grave from the qiblah direction as more virtuous according to those narrations, other scholars regard placing the dead body into grave from the direction of the feet as more virtuous according to that narration.

When the dead is placed into the grave, the following prayer is said:
بسم االله و باالله و علي ملة رسول االله
بسم االله و باالله و علي سنة رسول االله 
In the name of Allah and in accordance with the ummah of the Messenger of Allah;
In the name of Allah and in accordance with the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah
. (Tirmidhi, Janaiz 54)

Or the following can be said briefly: “In the name of Allah and in accordance with the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah”. (see Ebu Dawud, Janaiz, 69)

When the Prophet (pbuh) placed his daughter Umm Kulthum into the grave, he recited the following verse of the Quran: “We created you from the ground, we will return you there. We will get you out of there again” (Taha 20/55) verses. (ash-Shami, Subulul-Huda, 8/507)

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