What should family members and friends do immediately after the death of their loved one?

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They should consult with a doctor or experienced people to make sure that the person has truly died and is not in a coma.

They should also supplicate and say “Inna Lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Raje’oon.” (To Allah we belong, and to Him we will all head back.) Allah (S.W.T.) says what can be translated as, “…Who, when afflicted with calamity, say:’ To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.’ They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord, and mercy. And they are the ones who receive guidance.” [surat Al-Baqarah, verses (156,157)]

Um-Salama heard the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) say: “Whomsoever is inflicted by a misfortune and then says: ‘Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi Raje’oon, and then says, O’ Allah, reward me because of my misfortune, and bestow on me a better substitute,’ then Allah will reward him because of his misfortune and will bestow on him a better substitute.” Um-Salamah said: ‘When my husband, Abu-Salama died, I said what the messenger of Allah ordered me, so Allah bestowed on me a better substitute, the messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).” [Reported by Imams Muslim and Ahmad]

Those near the deceased should also close the dead person’s eyelids. The messenger of Allah went to see Abu-Salama after he died; he found his eyes open, so the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) closed them and said: “When the soul is retrieved, the sight follows it.” [Reported by Imam Muslim]

They should also cover the dead. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) upon his death was wrapped with a piece of striped cloth.” [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim] According to all scholars, it is permissible to kiss the dead and to cry for him, because the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) kissed Othman Bin Math’oon and cried for him until the tears wet his two cheeks when he died.” [Reported by Imams At-Tirmthi and Ibn Majah]

Also, Abu-Bakr (R.A.) kissed the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) between his eyes after his death and said: “O’ Prophet, O’ Dear Friend”

They should also hasten in preparation for the Islamic burial. They must contact the Cemetery and Burial Committee members of the Islamic Center of Raleigh (919 834-9572 ext 336 and follow the recorded instructions for emergencies/death in the community).

The family or friends of the deceased should pay off the debts of the dead person from the wealth that he has left, or by donations to pay off his debt if there is no wealth left. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “The believer’s soul is attached to his debt until it is paid,” [Reported by Imams Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmithi] meaning that the dead person’s soul will not rest until his debt is paid.

They should also notify the relatives and friends of the deceased about the death: that the prophet (S.A.W.) announced the death of Al-Najashi (the ruler of Ethiopia) on the same day of his death to the people. He also gathered people in the mosque, lined them up, and made four Takbeerat, (meaning: they prayed the Janazah prayer which consists of saying “Allah Akbar” four times). [Reported by Imams, Bukhari, Muslim and others] the prophet (S.A.W.) announced the death of Zaid, J’afar, and Ibn-Rawaha (R.A.) before he received news of their death from the people. [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Ahmad]

It is permissible to cry up to three days after the death, but not permissible to yell or weep: The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “Allah does not punish a person as a result of tears, or of the sorrow of the heart, but Allah punishes or bestows His mercy as a result of this.” And the, prophet pointed to his tongue. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) cried because of the death of his son, Ibrahim, and said:” The eye tears and the heart grieves, and we say nothing except what pleases our Lord, and we grieve as a result of your departure, Ibrahim.” [Reported by Imams, Bukhari and Muslim] “When the prophet went to visit the family of Jafar (R.A.) after his death he gave them three days to cry over Jafar’s death, then he told them, after today do not cry anymore for my brethren.” [Reported by Imam An’ Nasai’ and Abu Dawood]

It is forbidden to weep: Weeping means to yell or cry out loudly. Um-Atia (R.A.) said: “We took an oath before the messenger of Allah not to weep.” [Reported by Imams, Bukhari and Muslim]

Also, the dead suffers from and dislikes his family’s weeping. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “Whosoever is wept upon will suffer as a result of this weeping.” (This is because the dead person can hear the crying). [Reported by Imams, Bukhari and Muslim]

It is permissible for the woman to mourn the death of her relative for three days: (Mourning includes giving up perfume, jewelry, Kuhl, etc.); it is forbidden for her to mourn for more than three days except if it was her husband in which case she has to mourn, at home, throughout the “Eddah” waiting period, which is four months and ten days. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: “The woman must not mourn for more than three days except for her husband where she must mourn for four months and ten days.” [Reported by Imams Bukhari, Muslim and the six Imams except At-Tirmithi]

It is recommended that food be prepared for the deceased’s family. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said when J’afar (R.A.) died: “Prepare food for the family of J’afar, for they have been inflicted by a matter that occupied them.” [Reported by Imams Abu Dawood, Ibn-Majah, and At-Tirmithi] The scholars have agreed that it is disliked for the family of the dead to prepare food and gather people to eat it since this will keep them busy at a time of calamity, and since people before Islam (Jahilyah) also used to do so.

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