130 Imaams Refused To Lead The Funeral Prayers For The Deceased Terrorists in U.K

Writer: Umar Shariff
President, Discover Islam Education Trust

After the terror attack at the London Bridge, the Muslims leaders and Imaams - scholars of U.K have expressed their solidarity with their fellow Brits in a very powerful way that they have denounced the terrorist attacks, and have declared not to lead the funeral prayers for those three deceased terrorists. Although it is a religious obligation for Muslims to pray for the dead Muslims, the scholars have a strong and valid stand in this case.

In my understanding and view, this is a much needed step by the local Muslims who have taken the right decision to clear the minds of the general pluralistic masses, by sending a strong message that they hate the terrorists. And that they don't share their ideologies. This will bring in good-will among the people of various communities. Moreover, they do have Islamic foundations to take such a stand.

My approach to explain this decision shall be based on the references from the sources of Islam - Qur'an and the Hadeeths in'shaa'Allah.

The Qur'an says: Examine the people when they say they are Muslims.

Quran 60:10
‎يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا جَاءَكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ مُهَاجِرَاتٍ فَامْتَحِنُوهُنَّ ۖ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِهِنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ عَلِمْتُمُوهُنَّ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ فَلَا تَرْجِعُوهُنَّ إِلَى الْكُفَّارِ ۖ لَا هُنَّ حِلٌّ لَّهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحِلُّونَ لَهُنَّ ۖ وَآتُوهُم مَّا أَنفَقُوا ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ ۚ وَلَا تُمْسِكُوا بِعِصَمِ الْكَوَافِرِ وَاسْأَلُوا مَا أَنفَقْتُمْ وَلْيَسْأَلُوا مَا أَنفَقُوا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ حُكْمُ اللَّهِ ۖ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them. But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

The interesting point to be stressed from the above verse is, the Qur'an says: Examine them. Examine those who claim to be Muslims before considering them to be Muslims.

If we were to relate this issue, based on the above verse, if the three terrorists who died are said to be Muslims, who is testifying to their faith? Who knows their religion, their practices, their ideologies? Were they Qaadiyaanis or were they from any other group that believes in a prophet after the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam)? Who will testify to the faith of the unknown dead bodies with Muslim names? When a person is unknown, and when his character is unknown, then on what basis should anyone pray for such people? That's the first point in such cases.

The Prophet was asked to not pray for the Munaafiqs (hypocrites).

Qur'an, Soorah At-Tawba, 9:84 says:

“Nor do thou ever pray for any of them that dies, nor stand at his grave: for they rejected God and His Messenger and died in a state of perverse rebellion.”

This verse was revealed to the Prophet, soon after he prayed the funeral prayer for Abdullah Bin Ubai, the leader of hypocrites. Umar Bin Al Khattab (radhiyAllaahu 'anhu) even discouraged the Prophet from praying for the dead Abdullah bin Ubai. But the Prophet prayed while evaluating the conditions around Madina. He prayed so that a 1000 people can become strong believers. After the Prophet prayed for him, Abdullah bin Ubai's followers became ardent followers of Prophet after seeing the gracious gesture of Prophet Muhammad.

But after the above verse was revealed, the Prophet did not lead the janazah (funeral) prayer of any munafiq (hypocrite), and did not go to their graves.
(Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 4, p. 197; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, ibid, Vol. 1, p. 16.)

The Prophet did not lead the prayers for the member who committed suicide.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had committed suicide, as a punishment to him and so as to deter others from doing what he had done. But he gave the people permission to offer the funeral prayer for him, so it is Sunnah for the people of knowledge and virtue not to offer the funeral prayer for one who has committed suicide, following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn Samurah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: A man who had killed himself with a broad arrow-head was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he did not offer the funeral prayer for him. Narrated by Muslim, 978.

The Prophet did not lead the funeral prayers for the man who didn't pay the debt.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) refrained from offering the funeral prayer for one who had died owing two dinars, until Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) promised to pay it off for him. When he saw him the following day and said, I have paid it off, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Now his skin has become cool for him.” Musnad Ahmad (3/629); classed as hasan by al-Nawawi in al-Khalaasah(2/931) and by Ibn Muflih in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (1/104).

Based on the above proofs let's reason to understand the issue. Why did the Prophet didn't pray the funeral prayers of so many such cases? He did that to discourage the Muslims from committing such acts. So to discourage an obnoxious and detested act, the Prophet and the learned members would refrain from leading the funeral prayers of the dead Muslims who had committed a sin that is highly abominable. The act of terrorism is more detested than taking loans and not paying or committing suicide. So the scholars in U.K have made ijtihaad (deduction) to refuse to pray for the dead terrorists - since if they were Munaafiqs (hypocrites), we are not allowed to pray, and if they are terrorists who had weak faith, then also we must discourage anyone from doing such ghastly acts; hence they didn't pray for the funeral.

So this is a matter of Ijtihaad. The local people there know what they had to do, in the larger interest of the safety and well being of the people there.

According to the sayings of the Prophet, if 100 monotheist Muslims pray the funeral prayer for the dead, then Allah would forgive the sins of the deceased. In this case, why should the Imaams pray for the ones who died doing a great crime. And on what basis should we consider these killers as martyrs? If by any chance the Imaams had prayed for the dead terrorists, what message are we giving to the world? The common man would think that the Imaams endorse what the terrorists believe in. And there's no scope for explaining those who don't perceive what they say. Actions speak a louder than words. And this is it. The killers of human life without rights are not martyrs. Let's not bring shame to the word martyr.

Praying for the dead Muslims is Fard Kifaaya - its an obligation on the community; if few fulfil the role, then the others are exempted from it. It's not a duty on all. So, if the Imaams didn't pray, those who want to pray can still pray and bury the dead; just as the Prophet didn't stop the common people from praying the funeral for those whom he and the learned ones refrained from praying.

So in my understanding, I find the Muslims in U.K to have done the right thing. Whoever sympathises with the dead terrorists must know that they didn't bring any good to anyone - even to the Muslims anywhere by doing such an act. And Allah knows best.