Etiquettes of Attending the Deceased Person’s Home and Ta’ziyat (Consoling Family Members of the Deceased)

ISLÂHUL -MUÂSHARAT (CORRECTION OF SOCIAL ETIQUETTES)

1.) Women should not go to the house of the deceased, unless they are close family members. They should rather recite some Quran and convey the rewards to the deceased. Later on, they can go to the house to console the bereaved.

2.) When a woman goes to the house for condolence, she should ensure that she wears the dullest of outer cloaks. A loose-fitting simple unadorned burqah over the cloak will be most appropriate.

3.) It is totally prohibited for men to see the face of a ghair-mahram (strange) female; as well as for women to look at the face of strange men. It is forbidden for members of one sex to view the face of their neighbour, cousin, brother/sister-in-law of the opposite sex, spouses nephews/nieces, etc.

4.) Many men sit outside the house and discuss worldly matters. This is the time of remembering death and preparation for the hereafter. All should engage in dhikr, tilawat or keep quiet. Worse is when people discuss worldly matters at the graveyard. This can cause great hurt to close members of the deceased, as it shows that one is completely insensitive. It is also against etiquette to chat on the mobile or answer text messages at the graveyard.

5.) Those living nearby should not partake of meals. Remember that it is not permissible to utilize the items of the deceased person, as these are now the property of his heirs, more-so when the heirs are not mature. Only if food is arranged by others, and not from the estate will it be permissible to partake of the meals.

6.) Nowadays it has become customary for people to serve khîr/ badâm milk at janâzah homes. This is a baseless custom.

7.) At funeral homes, it is noticed that the table containing Yâsin booklets as well as the individual Qurân paras are strewn about. At times, keys, tasbîhs and even boards are placed on them. This is total disrespect.

A few etiquettes regarding ta’ziyat are as follows:

1.) Ta’ziyat consists of two acts: To console the bereaved and to send reward for the deceased. Everything else is baseless.

2.) When going for ta’ziyat, do not enquire about the details of the deceased’s illness and circumstances of his death.

3.) When going for ta’ziyat, console the family members. Do not do or say anything to increase their sorrow. Nowadays, instead of comforting the relatives of the deceased, people increase their grief by joining them in crying and wailing. On arrival, they sit down to cry. This is actually causing difficulty to others and not ta’ziyat. They utter statements such as, “I am grieved to hear the news. You must be shattered. His death is a great loss,” etc. This applies more to women. Their statements on such occasions are poisonous. They are harmful to one’s health and religion as well.

4.) When consoling the bereaved, say statements such as, “Whatever has happened has happened by the will of Allâh Ta’aala. Act in the interests and benefit of the deceased. Recite the Qurân Sharîf, perform nafl and make dhikr so that the reward reaches the deceased. Supplicate for forgiveness on behalf of the deceased. Have hope that he is entering Jannah where the comfort is greater. After a time we too shall depart and will meet up with the deceased.”

5.) The practice of visitors coming from far off, fixing of the seventh day, tenth day and forty day customs are all baseless.

6.) Ta’ziyat is permissible up to three days for those living in the same town. After three days, they should not go. The aim of ta’ziyat is to console, not to revive the grief and sorrow. As for those who are not nearby residents, ta’ziyat is permissible after three days as well.

7.) It is not correct for males to directly console non-mahram females and vice versa. Completely prohibited is the practice of hugging non mahrams in the name of consoling.