Can Women Follow Janazah?

Can women follow a dead body to the grave?

I’m sure you’re talking about the Janazah. At the time of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), the women had a very bad habit, and women in some countries that I’ve visited still do this today.

When somebody dies, they scream and holler and wail, tear out their hair, rip off their Hijab, they go crazy! And some of the times, in one country I’ve visited, they pay women to go do that for them. Some people do stuff like this, but it’s totally wrong in Islam and here’s why, please understand the Hikmah (wisdom) behind this.

During the time of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), these women did that and he said that, the man in the grave is being punished for these women who are doing this. Now, in Islam we know nobody is ever punished for what other people do. So, that will be a contradiction unless you understood the meaning. Nobody is punished for what other people do, isn’t that true? Especially a dead person. But, he said it and it’s a good Hadith. The meaning was that he had not stopped them from doing such things while he was alive and so because of this, in others words, he was one of those who said, “Yeah they can go and wail and do all that” and he never stopped them and they didn’t learn. So, it’s his fault and that’s why he’ll get punished. The wailing and the screaming at the death of a person indicates a very bad opinion of Allah, it means you don’t accept Allah’s Qadar (decree).

The correct thing to say at the death of a person is, “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un.” That’s in the Quran. From Allah we came and to Allah is the return. All of us will die, Allah said in the Quran "that every soul shall taste death." Are you trying to escape that? No, and when somebody dies, that’s it. That’s the end of the game and you must help them. They can’t help themselves any more. You have to clean their body, you have to wrap their body, carry them to the grave, put the fragrance on them, and put them in the grave the right away. It’s up to you to be strong now and patient, working together and being tolerant of each other. Do your best and pray for that person. Is that true or false? Crying is OK by the way.

Even the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) cried at the death of his son. He cried, his son, Ibrahim, was only 16 months and he died in his arms or something like this. So, crying is not the problem. It’s not that kind of crying, it’s the crying out, the wailing, the disparity of losing your husband or your baby or whatever. It’s not Islam. It’s a form of shirk and that’s why it’s disgusting and that’s why the women don’t go. But, if the woman is going to be in control and they want to go for whatever reason, you shouldn’t stop them. But if you know by letting her go you are going to have all the other women go and wail, then you should tell her, “You know, maybe it’d be better for you to just stay in the car” because otherwise, we are going to have a big problem. The community starts fighting over it, you divide the people up and that’s even worse than anything.

It’s very important for us to work together as Muslims. Some of you are here from Arab countries, some are from Asia, some are from Turkey and different places. Me, some of us are from right here. But, all of us are Muslims and we’re here for the duration. This is our country; this is where we need to be. So, I don’t need to tell you what I use to do when I was a Christian in Texas and you don’t need to tell me what you use to do in Pakistan or in Arabia or something. What we need to do is find out, what did Islam actually say and how could we make that work where we are now. Does that make sense or not? And especially what we can do that can hold us together. I make mistakes and I know that, and I’m asking you please, before I begin, to forgive me. But I’m sure I’ll do something right. I mean I do so much stuff; something has got to be good, at least one thing, I hope. So look for the good, at least don’t look for the bad in each other.

Sheikh Yusuf Estes