Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to attend the funeral of a
non-Muslim even if it is a relative, because attending a funeral is a right
that one Muslim has over another and it is a kind of showing respect, honour
and friendship that it is not permissible to show to a kaafir.
Abu Taalib, the paternal uncle of the Prophet (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him) died, and he instructed ‘Ali to bury him, but
the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not attend his
funeral or his burial, even though Abu Taalib’s support and defence of the
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was well known, and even
though the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) felt a great
deal of compassion and mercy towards him. Nothing stopped him from doing
that except the fact that Abu Taalib died in a state of kufr. In fact the
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I shall certainly
pray for forgiveness for you so long as I am not forbidden to do so.” Then
the words were revealed (interpretation of the meaning): “It is not
(proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allaah’s forgiveness
for the Mushrikoon, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to
them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of
disbelief)” [al-Tawbah 9:113] and: “Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide
not whom you like,” [al-Qasas 28:56].
Abu Dawood (3214) and al-Nasaa’i (2006) narrated that ‘Ali
said: I said to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): Your
paternal uncle, the misguided old man, has died. He said: “Go and bury your
Although Islam promotes upholding ties of kinship and
treating relatives kindly, it forbids close friendship between the believer
and the disbeliever, so whatever is one of the forms of close friendship is
forbidden, but whatever is kindness that is less than close friendship is
Imam Maalik (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The Muslim
should not wash his father if his father died as a disbeliever, or attend
his funeral, or go down into his grave, unless he fears that he may be
neglected, in which case he may bury him. End quote from al-Mudawwanah,
It says in Sharh Muntaha al-Iraadaat (1/374): The
Muslim should not wash the kaafir because it is not allowed to form a strong
bond with the kuffaar, and because that implies respecting him and purifying
him; therefore it is not permissible, as is the case with offering the
funeral prayer for him: “Do not shroud him or pray for him or attend his
funeral,” because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Take not
as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allaah” [al-Mumtahanah
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (9/10): What
is the ruling on attending the funerals of disbelievers which has become a
political custom and a tradition that all agreed upon?
Answer: If there are some kuffaar present who can bury their
dead, then the Muslims should not bury them or join the kuffar or help them
with burying them, or seek to be kind to them by attending their funerals,
acting in accordance with political customs. Such matters are not known to
have been done by the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be
upon him) or by the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Rather Allah forbade His
Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to stand over the grave
of ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool, and the reason given was that he was a
disbeliever. Allah said (interpretation of the meaning): “And never (O
Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) pray
(funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his
grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allaah and His Messenger, and died
while they were Faasiqoon (rebellious, — disobedient to Allaah and His
Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم)”
[al-Tawbah 9:84]. But if there are none of them present who could bury
him, then the Muslims should bury him as the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) did with the slain of Badr and his paternal uncle Abu
Taalib when he died, and he said to ‘Ali: “Go and bury him.”
Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas
‘Abd-Allah ibn Qa‘ood, ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyaan, ‘Abd
al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allah ibn Baaz. End quote.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him)
issued a similar fatwa in Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb.
Attending the funeral of a kaafir in the church is much more
serious than merely following the funeral procession, because this
attendance implies listening to kufr and falsehood. This is something that
is ignored by those who say that it is permissible to attend and stipulate
that one should not participate in the rituals that take place there. Just
sitting and watching and listening to kufr and falsehood is a wrong action
that one should not do.
And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And it has already been revealed to you in the Book (this
Qur’aan) that when you hear the Verses of Allaah being denied and mocked at,
then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if
you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. Surely,
Allaah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell”
[Aal ‘Nisaa - 4:140].
Al-Jassaas said in Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (2/407): In this
verse there is evidence that it is obligatory to denounce the evildoer’s
action and that part of denouncing it is expressing disapproval, if it is
not possible to remove it, as well as leaving the gathering where it is
happening, until they stop doing that evil action. End quote.
Thus it is clear that attending the funeral rituals in the
church is a great evil because of what it involves of listening to kufr and
being present at innovation, whilst keeping quiet about it, in addition to
the fact that attending the funeral is a sign of honour and friendship as
We ask Allah to help us and you to be steadfast and to guide
us and help us all.
And Allah knows best.