Praise be to God! There is no other god except God. If you are watching this video, because a believer whom you know has died and you wish to know how to do the Funeral Contact Prayer for him or her, first of all let me express my condolences to you, and to the persons’ family. However, because this is a prayer which happens rarely, it is supposed to be known and lead only by Congregation Directors, and if you don’t have an Authorized Local Congregation Director to lead you in the Funeral Contact Prayer, feel free to skip to the video in the end of this article where you will be lead in the Funeral Prayer.
But let me explain this prayer for the purposes of general understanding anyway. The Funeral Contact Prayer is a prayer which is mentioned in the Quran in verse 9:84, and it should be done as it was traditionally done by the Muslims, although a few parts of it change according to the circumstances.
So, now let’s imagine that a person named John Doe died. If he was not part of our congregation, which means that he did not mobilize or organize with us, then we do not observe the funeral contact prayer for him, according to verses 9:71 through 9:84. We should only organize Funeral Contact Prayers for submitters and dependent submitters of our congregation. If he was a family member of one of us, but he was not a submitter or a dependent of one of us, you as the family member may talk to God about him to express your emotions, pray to God to potentially forgive him, or you can pray to God with a conditional prayer, something like “if he was a believer, please God forgive him”, or things like that, but we do not organize an official Funeral Contact Prayer for that person. He belonged to another congregation, whichever it was and let that congregation deal with it. You may express your condolences to the family members when a person from another religious community dies, but again we do not organize Funeral Contact Prayers for people who do not belong in our congregation.
Jesus said in the Bible, “Let the dead bury their own dead.”
Now, let’s imagine that the person named John Doe is part our congregation, either a submitter or a dependent of a submitter. The person in our congregation who hears about it first informs the Congregation Director. Then the Congregation Director informs everyone in the congregation by sending an official email to everyone, and if the congregation is one of the 12 online congregations, he sends them this video to lead them in that prayer, and each member in that congregation does the Funeral Prayer after they receive the email. Each of them does it separately, because it is not practical for an online congregation to get together in the same location. Each of them performs ablution and does the Funeral Contact Prayer. The whole community of submitters does not need to do it. Only the people who are in the same online congregation as the deceased person.
Now, if Jon Doe was part of non-online local congregation, then again the local Congregation Directors is informed. He informs everyone in the congregation, and then he also informs them at what time and place the burial will be held, and then tells them whether the Funeral Contact Prayer will be done at the burial place, or whether it will be done beforehand at another location, where the casket is waiting, like at the yard of the mosque, or maybe there is some kind of institution which deals with these issues, but not inside the mosque. Then the people gather at that time and place, and the Congregation Director leads the Funeral Contact Prayer.
Now, here is how the Funeral Contact Prayer is done:
Unlike the other Contact Prayers, during the whole Funeral Contact Prayer, there are no bowings and prostrations. The whole Funeral Contact Prayer is done standing up. So, let’s say that John Doe has died. There are 10 steps which we need to follow:
- We performed ablution at our homes
- Then, at the prayer location, we face the Qiblah, and we make the intention: “We intend to do the funeral contact prayer for John Doe.”
- We say, “Allahu Akbar”
- The first Surah of the Quran is recited by the prayer leader.
- We say, “Allahu Akbar” again
- We ask God to bless the close ones of John Doe.
- We say, “Allahu Akbar” again
- We ask God to forgive John Doe.
- We say, “Allahu Akbar” again
- We say “As-Salamu Alaykum” while turning our head to the right side, and then again “As-salamu Alaykum” while turning our heads to the left.
And that’s it, the official Funeral Contact Prayer for John Doe is done.
So, the whole prayer consists of saying “Allahu Akbar” four times, and after each time we say something. After the first time, the prayer leader recites the first Sura of the Quran. After the second one we seek God’s blessings for the loved ones of the deceased. After the third one, we ask God to forgive the deceased. And after the fourth one, we say the Salams.
Now, “Allahu Akbar”, Sura 1, and the Salams are said aloud in Arabic, while everything else is said silently in your own language, and in your own words, the way you feel at that moment, not preplanned.
Now, the question is, “How do we know that this is the correct way to do the Funeral Contact Prayer?” Well, given that the Quran in the Arabic calls this a Contact Prayer, and given that all Contact Prayers are guaranteed to be preserved by God in the Abrahamic Tradition, then this, as a contact prayer was preserved as an Abrahamic Tradition, and therefore it reached us without being lost. Someone might say, does this mean that every tradition, which exists among Muslims is true? Well, no, because the Quran gives us this guarantee only about the Contact Prayers, Zakat, Fasting, and Hajj, but not about the other traditions. And, because the Quran calls the Funeral Contact Prayer, a Contact Prayer, then it must be within that protected tradition. The people may choose to call other things Contact Prayers, but if the Quran does not call it a Contact Prayer, then it is not within the Abrahamic Tradition. So, because the Quran calls it a Contact Prayer in Arabic, it puts it within the preserved Abrahamic Tradition, and therefore we can know how to do it from the tradition of Abraham’s descendants. Now, of course, God allows things to be added to these traditions, but he guarantees that nothing will be lost. So, this is the tradition, and we know for sure that nothing was lost, but how can we know that nothing was added, because that guarantee does not exist in the Quran? Keeping something preserved means that nothing was lost, but it does not mean that nothing was added on top of it. Well, if something was added, it will contradict the Quran, because the Quran completely covers everything we need to know about religion. So, let’s just check them one by one, and see if any of these points contradicts the Quran.
So, point 1, does not contradict the Quran. It is actually found in the Quran, in verse 5:6, which tells us to perform ablution before the Contact Prayer, and the Funeral Contact Prayer, is called a Contact Prayer in the Arabic Quran, so it also applies to it.
Points 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10, also exist in the regular Contact Prayer, which we already know that these points are not against the Quran.
The only different points from the regular Contact Prayer are point 6, and 8. So, are these points against the Quran? Let’s start with point 6, asking God to bless the close ones of the deceased. God willing, this is explained in a video clarification titled “The flow of blessings”, where among others it is explained how when a believer dies, and is blessed in Heaven, that blessing is proportional to the increase in blessings of the close ones of that person who are left in this world. And this is in most cases reflected in the inheritance. When a father dies for example, the children (among the closest ones), are blessed with more wealth because of the inheritance which they receive, but this flow of blessings is true even in cases when it is not reflected in the inheritance. So, this is true, no matter what, and inheritance is just one example of it. Verse 3:171 tells us that when the believers die, they have good news about the other organized believers here on earth about God’s blessings and grace. And knowing this, it is a perfect opportunity to pray for it beforehand, because God says that the prayers of the believers are answered, and by praying for it beforehand, we make sure that we deserve those blessings. And the close people of the deceased can be anyone, especially those whom the deceased respected due to religious reasons. And when the submitters during Muhammad’s time, when Muhammad was alive in this world, implemented this principle, they would pray for God to bless Muhammad first, because the Quran says in verse 33:6 that the prophet was closer to the believers than they are to each other. So, Muhammad was the closest person to any believer who died during his time, and because we have to pray to God to bless the closest of the deceased, that would mean that they had to pray to God to bless Muhammad, and to this day, this is how the Muslims implement this part of the prayer. However, they are forgetting that the verse 33:6 says “the prophet”, and anywhere in the Quran whenever Muhammad is referred to as the prophet, it is always during his lifetime, and not after his death. This is already known. So, it was perfectly correct to ask God to bless Muhammad during the Funeral Contact Prayer of any believer during Muhammad’s time, because we are supposed to pray to God to bless the closest people of the deceased, and the closest person (or the most beloved) to any believer during the time of Muhammad was Muhammad himself, but they had live meaningful interactions with him, which is why they felt close to him. They weren’t respecting him as some kind of mystical figure whom they never met, like they do it today. They really felt close to him. While today, the true believers should feel as close to Muhammad as to any other prophet of the past, because we did not meet any of them, including Muhammad, and they are equally beloved to us, and if we distinguish Muhammad in the prayer, when clearly all the other prophets have the same merits as prophets, then we are making a distinction between God’s messengers, and this is prohibited in the Quran. So, if the believers feel emotionally closer to a messenger compared to the other messengers, that can only happen when that messenger is with them alive. So, today it would ironically be correct during a funeral contact prayer to ask God to bless Alban, and also the other close believers, but only if you met Alban. This part of the prayer should be done silently anyway, and everyone does it in his own words, and people should not discuss with each other how to do it, or how they did it. They just internally ask God to bless the closest people of the deceased, silently, and whether they mentioned Alban while he was alive, that should never be known, and which other close ones of the deceased person they mentioned, that is their own choice, and a momentary internal expression of emotions and thoughts. However, if they mention Alban in a person’s funeral prayer when he never met Alban, that would be indirect idol-worship. But anyway, the rule in points 6 here is to pray to God to bless the closest people of the deceased person, and how that is expressed in words in different times changes depending on the circumstances, depending on who the people think were the closest people to the deceased person.
Now, let’s talk about point 8 here, asking God to forgive the deceased person. According to verse 47:19, we should ask God to forgive the believers. So, point 8 also is not against the Quran, and actually it is implied from verse 9:80, that asking God to forgive the deceased believers is part of the Funeral Contact Prayer, because within the same discussion, the Funeral Contact Prayer is mentioned a few verses later.
So, this is how the Funeral Contact Prayer should be done, and if a submitter in your online congregation has died, you are obliged to do the Funeral Contact Prayer for him or her, and if you do not a have an officially appointed local Congregation Director, which was appointed through Alban, then you may use the portion of the video below to be led by Alban as your Online Congregation Director.
After performing ablution, face the Qiblah, turn the following portion of the video on, and just repeat after Alban. The parts which should be spoken loudly are spoken loudly in the video, and the parts which should be said silently are written in the video, and you can just fill in the blanks in your mind with people’s names.