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Placing anything above the shroud

Question:

There was a funeral where a embroidered sheet and a piece of cover of Ka’ba were placed on top of the shroud. An Imam who was leading the prayer removed them both and pronounced it as a Bid’a (innovation) and the practice of the Rawafid. What is the correct position on this matter?

Answer:

To place an embroidered sheet on top of the shroud is permissible and in fact it is virtuous if done with a virtuous intention (to enhance the deceased person’s stature and dignity amongst people). This is just like laying flowers on the grave. Until they remain fresh they glorify the Lord and  are  pleasing  for  the  deceased. In Al-Fatawa  Al-Hindiya it states: ‘The laying of flowers on graves is a good thing.’

Similarly placing a small piece of the Ka’ba cloth for blessings is permissible. To pronounce this as a practice of the Shi’a is untrue. The following evidence for this practice is mentioned in Asad al-Ghaba:

‘When Amir Mu’awiya was dying, he instructed to be shrouded in the shirt that the Beloved Messenger ﷺ had given him. It was to be placed on his body. He also possessed some nail cuttings of the Beloved Messenger ﷺ and again instructed that they should be placed on his eyes and mouth. He then said: ‘Thereafter hand me over to the most gracious Lord.’

To pronounce such practices as forbidden or innovative is sheer ignorance.

And Allah ﷻ knows best

Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رحمة الله تعالى عليه

Translation by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari Translator of Majestic Quran, www.majesticquran.co.uk