Some excerpts taken from Abu Ameenah's book "Funeral rites in islam'.
Reading it, i realised that there are alot of misconceptions that are practiced amongst muslims. There are some rituals that take place that have no link to the sunnah of the Prohet Muhammed PBUH.
InshÁllah i hope this post proves to be a guidance and a source of knowledge. May Allah guide us to become better muslims.
Some people read Surah Yasin at funerals. People and well wishers come in groups to sit and read the Quran and chapters of the Quran thinking that it will benefit the person who has died. Yet ponder for a moment - do we not know that only a few things will benefit a person who's soul has been taken?
Any good deed that a Muslim starts during his lifetime, and that is of renewed benefit and ongoing use for the Muslims, will continue to benefit him and augment his record of good deeds, even after his departure - as long as its benefits continue to reach others. Allaah subhanahu wa ta'ala says - "We record that (deeds) which they have put forward and their traces (that which they have left behind)." (Yaa-Seen 36:12)
Abu Hurayrah rahimahullaah reported that Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah, a knowledge (of Islaam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du'aa for him." (Muslim and others).
Abu Qataadah rahimahullaah reported that Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Among the good deeds that continue to benefit a believer after death are: a knowledge that he taught and disseminated, a righteous child who lived after him, a Qur'aan book that he left as inheritance a masjid that he built, a house that he built for the two wayfarers, a stream that he ran, or a charity that he gave from his wealth during his healthy lifetime so that it would reach him (in rewards) after death." (Ibn Maajah and others. Verified hasan by al-Mundhiri and al-Albaanee). Commenting on this, al-Mundhiri rahimahullaah said: "Some scholars say that the deeds of a human being end with his death. However, since he had caused these things (which are mentioned in the above hadiths), such as the earning of a child, disseminating the knowledge among those who take it from him, compiling a book that remains after him, or establishing a sadaqah, the rewards of these things continue to reach him as long as they continue to exist." ('Awn al-Ma'bud, 8:86) http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/aqeedah/0035.htm
Thus there is no evidence that people coming and reading the Quran will benefit the person who has died. Thus reading specific chapters has no basis either. To specify that Surah Yasin should be read for the dying and to believe that doing so has special value is considered bidah - a sinful innovation in religion since neither the Prophet PBUH nor his companions did it or recommended that it be done.
Based on the hadith of Umm Salamah:
Umm Salamah said "Allah's Messenger PBUH came in and found Abu Salamash eyes wide open. He closed them and said "Indeed when the soul is snatched the eyes follow it."Some people from his family began to scream so he siad " Only pray for good for yourselves, for verily the angels say Amin [so be it].'to whatever you say ." He then prayed saying,
"Allahummagh-fir li Abi Salamah warfa'darajatahu fil-mahdiyin
O Allah, forgive Abu salamah and raise his level among the rightly guided
wakhlufhu fi áqibihi filghabirin
and let his remianing offspring be like him
waghfir laná walahú yá Rabbal- Álamin
Forgive us and forgive him O Lord of the worlds
wafsah lahu fi qabrihi wa nawwir lahu fih
and expand his grave and illuminate it for him
Facing the Qiblah [ before burial]
Turning the body of one who is dying so that he or she faces the qiblah [makkah] has no foundation in the practice of the Prophet and his Companions.The body should be turned to face Makkah when it is placed in the grave, according to the Prophet's instructions. However, at the time of dying , there were no such instructions [ i.e before burial - it was not a practice of the Prophet PBUH for the dead to be placed facing the Qiblah].Turning the body became a custom after the time of the Prophets Companions, but was objected to by the scholars of the time.
The Prophet PBUH strictly forbade wailing and screaming and the hiring of mourners.Furthermore, he identfied such practices as acts of kufr [disbelief], because they indicate displeasure with what Allah has decreed. Emaan [ faith] includes the belief that Allah is the source of all good and that all of His actions are wise .
Preparing food by the family of the deceased
The obligation placed on the family of the dead prson to prepare food for gatherings is incorrect and so is organising gatherings at the home of the deceased family.Mourning for family and relatives in only for three days. For a widow it is four month and 10 days. Besides this there is no relevance of meeting after 40 days after the death of the person, as is practiced in amongst some people. Those presenr and the relatives of the deceased are allowed to cry for a maximum period of three days.
Ábdullah ibn Ja'far narrated that the Prophet delayed coming to visit Ja'fars family for three days after his death, then hecame to them and said , " Do not cry fo rmy brother after today."
[Sunan Abu Dawud]
Imam ash'Shafi said "I dislike gatherings, even if there is no wailing or crying. For it only renews the [familys feeling of] sorrow and puts burdens on their food supplies" Imam Nawawi related that the leading scholars prohibited organized gatherings, based on its being and innovation.
Furthermore the Prophet PBUH explicitly instructed to relatives, friends and neighbours to send food to the bereaved famly.
This conludes this port for now inshÁllah will continue with some more issues involving funeral rites. May Allah guide us all to the straight path.Ameen