Written by: Cool Breeze
It failed for the second time. Yet it didn't lose hope. It tried again to lift its mate's body --- dead body. And ... it was successful. Standing out against the off-white floor, the little black ant was trying to lift the dead body of another ant. I was looking with utmost interest. The body of the dead ant fell from its hold twice but the third time, it got hold of it properly and went towards his destination --- maybe its anthill, only Allah knows better. The little ant's tiny legs carried it swiftly out of my sight. I marveled at the scene.
It came to my mind instantly that how a small and seemingly insignificant creature of Allah Almighty and yet so disciplined and well mannered that it knew what to do if one of its species died. It had the brain that led him to carry out this task. Surely, Allah not only gives guidance to His sinful men through His pious people but sometimes through little creatures that we neglect easily. That act of the ant gave me the lesson of what we should do if any one of our fellow human beings dies. I'm not speaking of one of our relatives rather about those whom we do not know. Do we even attend his janazah? All of us are well-aware that attending a Muslim's funeral is a Fardh-e-kifaya, that is to say that if some of the Muslims attend it, the obligation is absolved from the rest.
Ask yourselves, did you ever give ghusl to the mayyat of your deceased fellow Muslim whom you had never met? Did you ever help out in the funeral preparations of your Muslim brother who isn't your blood relative? Did you ever shoulder the janazah of a stranger? Did you ever?
I am a hundred and twenty percent confident that the answers are in the negative. WHY?
Because, the Crown of Creation is far too busy killing his fellow beings just for the Crown. Furthermore, we Muslims are far too occupied with our personal day-to-day activities to pay a second thought to these trivial matters. We forget completely that one day we have to die too. And that day we will wish that our Muslim brothers who didn't even know us attend our funeral.
Hazrat Ayesha, •, relates that Rasulullah • said: If as many as a hundred Muslims join in the funeral prayer for a person, and all of them pray to Allah for his salvation, their recommendation would be granted. (Muslim)
* Hazrat Ibn Abbaas, •, says that he heard Rasulullah • say: 'If a Muslim dies and forty people; who do not associate anything with Allah, join in the funeral prayers for him, Allah accepts their prayers for him.' (Muslim)
* Hazrat Marthad bin Abdullah al-Yazaani, • relates that Hazrat Malik bin Hurayrah, • while leading a funeral prayer noticed that the number of participants was less. He divided them into three rows, explaining that Rasulullah • had said: 'If three rows of supplicants pray for the deliverance of a deceased person, he would be admitted to Paradise.' (Abu Dawood and al-Tirmithi, said it is of good chain).
The Interpretation (of the Hadith):
An-Nawawi - Rahimahullah - said in the chapter "Desirability of large congregation in funeral prayers and formation of three or more lines of those who pray," than he mentions three Hadeeths: The Hadeeths which were narrated by Hazrat Aisha, Abdullah bin Abbaas, and Malik bin Hubayrah, • indicate that the more people attend the funeral prayer, the better it is for the intercession of the deceased. For in the Hadith of Hazrat Aisha •, it is said, if one hundred people attend the funeral prayer, seeking intercession for him, Allah will forgive him through their intercession. It is very important that the people praying ask Allah to forgive the dead person. In fact making dua and asking Allah to forgive the deceased one is one of the pillars of the Funeral prayer. Thus, the Salah will be invalid if the praying person doesn't make dua for the dead one.
The second Hadith states that if the number of people praying reaches forty, Allah will forgive the dead person. However, the people who are praying must be free from shirk, i.e. associating any partner or partners with Allah the most high.
As for the hadith of Malik's bin Hurayrah: It states that Rasulullah • said: 'Anyone who has three rows of people praying for him, he will be sent to Jannah.'
And all three Hadiths indicate that the more people praying the Janazah prayer, the better. And that is why we find that if a Funeral prayer is performed at one mosque, the people of the surrounding mosques inform those at that mosque to attend the funeral prayer until the people at the Funeral Prayer is abundant in number.
Therefore if the Imam sees the (other) people coming to attend the Funeral Prayer and that they have missed any part of the (current) obligatory prayer, he should not be hasty in beginning the Funeral Prayer until those who are finishing their (obligatory) prayer have completed it, so that they may join those that are present for the Funeral Prayer so that the number of people praying for the deceased increases. Perhaps the Dua of one of these people i.e. the new-comers, is the one that is heard.
Taken from: The Interpretation of Riyadh us-Saliheen, By Shiekh Saalih ibn Uthymeen.