Assalamualaikum ustaz, I want to ask whether it is a condition for the janazah prayer to be performed at a mosque? Or can it be performed at other places? Hope for an explanation.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Janazah prayer is one of the fardhu kifayah upon a Muslim towards his brother when he died. There are numerous evidences that state the sanctioning of janazah prayer. Among them is a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَا مِنْ رَجُلٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَمُوتُ فَيَقُومُ عَلَى جَنَازَتِهِ أَرْبَعُونَ رَجُلاً لاَ يُشْرِكُونَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا إِلاَّ شَفَّعَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِيهِ
"If a Muslim man dies and a group of forty people, who do not associate any one with Allah, pray for him, Allah will accept their intercession for him (by way of their du’a for him.”
Sahih Muslim (948)
Coming back to the above presented question, we would like to state that the issue of where the janazah prayer should be performed at has been discussed by previous scholars. The following, we include several opinions of jurists on this issue:
First: Some jurists of al-Syafi’iyyah scholars hold the opinion that it is mustahab (sunnah) to perform janazah prayer at the mosque. This is as stated by Imam al-Nawawi in his statement:
الصَّلَاةُ عَلَى الْمَيِّتِ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ صَحِيحَةٌ جَائِزَةٌ لَا كَرَاهَةَ فِيهَا بَلْ هِيَ مُسْتَحَبَّةٌ
“Janazah prayer at the mosque is valid and permissible. It is not makruh (undesirable) for this and it is even mustahab (sunnah).” Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarah Al-Muhazzab, Al-Nawawi (5/213).
This opinion is built according to a hadith narrated by Abu Salamah bin Abd al-Rahman, where he said:
أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ لَمَّا تُوُفِّيَ سَعْدُ بْنُ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ قَالَتِ ادْخُلُوا بِهِ الْمَسْجِدَ حَتَّى أُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ فَأُنْكِرَ ذَلِكَ عَلَيْهَا فَقَالَتْ وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَى ابْنَىْ بَيْضَاءَ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ سُهَيْلٍ وَأَخِيهِ
“When Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas died Aisyah said: Bring it (the bier) into the mosque so that I offer prayer for him. But, this act of hers was disapproved. She said: By Allah, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) offered prayer in the mosque for the two sons of Baida', viz, for Suhail and his brother.”
Sahih Muslim (973)
Second: Whereas some other scholars ruled it makruh to perform the janazah prayer in a mosque. Among the scholars who hold this opinion are the al-Hanafiyyah and al-Malikiyyah scholars. Among the arguments used is a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَى جَنَازَةٍ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَلاَ شَىْءَ
“If anyone prays over the dead in the mosque, there is nothing on him.”
Sunan Abu Daud (3191)
Although this argument is criticized by the first group who hold the opinion that it is mustahab to perform janazah prayer in a mosque. Imam al-Nawawi stated several arguments responding to this as the following:
- The hadith is dhaif (weak) as stated by Imam Ahmad, Imam Ibn al-Munzir, Imam al-Baihaqi and other scholars.
- In all recognized copy of Sunan Abu Daud, he stated this narration with the phrase فَلَا شئ عَلَيْهِ (there is nothing on him). While a narration which states فلا شئ لَهُ (he receives nothing), aside from the narration is dhaif, it is also a gharib Even if it is sahih, it is wajib to place the meaning of فَلَا شئ عَلَيْهِ to assemble or harmonize between various narrations. Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarah Al-Muhazzab, Al-Nawawi (5/214).
- We would also like to add, when we are referring to the recognized copy of Sunan Abu Daud, we found that the phrase in the hadith is فَلَا شئ عَلَيْهِ. In terms of its meaning, we can understand that whoever performs the janazah prayer in a mosque, there is no sin upon him, which means he is not sinful if he performs janazah prayer in a mosque.
Thus, according to the above opinions, it is clear to us that that it is sunnah to perform janazah prayer in a mosque. This means, performing janazah prayer in a mosque is not a condition where if a person performs it at another place then it is considered as invalid. Consequently, janazah prayer is valid even if it is not performed in a mosque.
Among the narrations which strengthened this opinion is a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, he said:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى النَّجَاشِيَّ فِي الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي مَاتَ فِيهِ، خَرَجَ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى، فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ وَكَبَّرَ أَرْبَعًا
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) informed the people about the death of Negus the day he died. He took them out to the place of prayer, to offer the funeral prayer for him. He arranged them in rows, and made Takbir four times.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1245)
The guidance from the above hadith is the Prophet PBUH went out to the place of prayer (musolla) and as we know, there is a difference between a mosque and musolla in several angles as stated by jurists. Thus, the word musolla in the hadith means open land, where prayers are sometimes performed at for certain reasons such as for prayers such as Istisqa’, al-Kusufain (lunar or solar eclipse) and others.
Besides, among the arguments which prove the permissibility of performing janazah prayer outside of prayer is according to a hadith narrated by Jabir bin Abdillah RA, where he said the Prophet PBUH said:
جُعِلَتْ لِيَ الأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا أَيْنَمَا أَدْرَكَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي الصَّلاَةَ صَلَّى
“The earth has been made for me a place of prostration and a means of purification, so wherever a man of my Ummah is when the time for prayer comes, let him pray.”
Sunan al-Nasa’ie (736)
To conclude, we end our statement by stating that it is not a condition for janazah prayer to be performed in a mosque. Thus, it is permissible to be performed anywhere of which it is clean and free from najis. Still, performing janazah prayer in a mosque is sunnah and prioritized considering that it is a blessed place and it is easier to assemble more people.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give us all the correct understanding in religion. Amin.