#131: Absentee Funeral Prayer if One Lives Near


Assalamualaikum ustaz. I usually hear that the absentee funeral prayer is performed when the deceased is far away or in another country. What about if the deceased is near, such as the deceased is in Malaysia, but the person cannot attend the funeral prayer because of certain reasons?


Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Absentee funeral prayer means a prayer performed in another state which is far from his state of origin. [1]

The evidence for the sanctioning of absentee prayer is a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, he said:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَعَى النَّجَاشِىَّ فِى الْيَوْمِ الَّذِى مَاتَ فِيهِ، خَرَجَ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى، فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ وَكَبَّرَ أَرْبَعًا

“The Prophet gave the people news of the death of the Negus on the day on which he died, took them out to the place of prayer, drew them up in rows and said “God is most great” four times.” [2]

Syeikh al-Mubarakfuri said: In this hadith illustrates the sign of prophecy for the Prophet PBUH for he delivers the news of the death of Nagus on the day of his death even when the distance of Medina and Ethiopia is far. Furthermore, the hadith also shows the sanctioning of absentee funeral prayer and this is as stated by al-Syafie, Ahmad and the jumhur of the salaf. [3]

According to al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, absentee funeral prayer can be performed as soon as news of death reaches him and continues for three days. The reason is three days is the known duration of offering condolences in fiqh books. However, the final opinion states that it is permissible to perform the absentee funeral prayer no matter how long the time has passed as long as the deceased is a person who has reached puberty when he dies. [4]

Basically, among the conditions of absentee funeral prayer are:

  • Performed in a different state of the deceased
  • Performed after the deceased is bathed [5]

Imam al-Nawawi said: “Our madhhab ruled it permissible to perform the absentee funeral prayer for those who are far from a state while Abu Hanifah restricts it. The evidence we use is the sahih hadith about Negus.” [6]

According to the above question, we state that it is permissible to perform absentee funeral prayer even when it is not overseas, or even if the deceased is close to us. But we are unable to attend due to certain debility. Thus, it is permissible to perform the absentee funeral prayer for our family and friends who passed away.

Here, we state the opinion of Syeikhul Islam Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari, who said: “It is permissible to perform the absentee funeral prayer for a state that is less than two marhalah.” [7]

Furthermore, Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili also stated: In madhhab al-Syafie, if the deceased is not in the place where the prayer is performed, then it is permissible to perform it. And the distance is not an issue, whether it is far or near. [8]

We close our discussion with a supplication for those who have passed away from amongst us:

رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

 “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” [9]

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 385

[2] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1188) and Muslim (951)

[3] See Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 4/115

[4] See al-Tanbih pg. 38, al-Umm, 1/244 and Mughni al-Muhtaj,1/346

[5] See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg 385 and al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 1/600

[6] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 5/211

[7] See Asna al-Matalib, 1/322

[8] See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’i, 1/625

[9] Surah al-Hasyr (10)