Can Women Offer The Funeral Prayer?

Question

What is status of women offering the funeral prayer? Are they allowed to so? If no, why and if yes then can you give examples from the Prophet's life for this? If possible, please also let me know the view of the Hanafite jurists.


Answer

Yes, women can offer the funeral prayer. They have not been stopped form doing so. A woman, like a man, may offer a funeral prayer, singly or in a congregation.

It is reported that once when Umm 'Abdallah offered the funeral prayer for 'Utbah, 'Umar waited until she finished. ' (indicating that women could offer this prayer individually). A'ishah (rta) ordered the body of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas to be brought to her so that she could offer a funeral prayer for him.

An-Nawawi is reported to have said: Women may offer (funeral) prayer in congregation just as they are permitted to perform other sunnah prayers. Al-Hasan ibn Saleh, Sufiyan Al-Thawri, Ahmad, and the Hanafi school also hold the same view. Malik, however, is of the opinion that women should offer the funeral prayer individually.

Since funeral prayer is not obligatory for all; so if only some of the believers of a locality offer funeral prayer for the deceased, all the Muslims are rendered free of obligation. Thus the women, who generally do not attend supererogatory congregational prayers, are not obliged to participate in it. They however, may do so if they will. (see for detail Fiq ul Sunnah: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/law/fiqhussunnah/fus4_62.html )

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