Is dead punished because of wailing of relatives?
By: khurshid Imam
Sadiq was disturbed by a hadees told by his friend. As per this hadees if relatives wail / weep / lament for a dead person then dead person is punished because of this act. He thought - "why dead should be punished if his relatives wail"? He found this theory very absurd, but he lacked the courage to come in open and discuss genuine of this hadees with any one. He was burning inside but did not dare to go ahead and confront the world.
Suddenly - one fine day Sadiq came across the quranic ayah:
"Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another's burden. .." Quran 17:15
He jumped from his bed reading this ayah because this ayah confirmed his belief. How can someone be punished because of wrong doings of his relatives? He cheered, ran in joy and told himself -"I have got proof for my understanding. Earlier it was common sense and rationality that made me believe that dead should NOT be punished because of wailing of his relatives; but now even Quranic Ayah is supporting my view".
So he went to his friend and told that Quran contradicts the message conveyed through that hadees. We need to follow Quranic principle of 17:15 that dead can NOT get punishment for wailing of his relatives.
His friend screamed - "Hadees Rejector!! You are Ahle Quran!! You are ahlul-rai!! You are not from Ahle Sunnah, you have deviated from deen. How dare you tell that hadees conveys incorrect information!!
Sadiq was bewildered!! He was thinking that his friend would be happy to know about Quranic instruction on this topic, but ......
He ran away, cried, wept.... his self confidence shattered, his belief in Quran UNKNOWN!!
B. The human error
'Abdullah b. 'Umar reported that Hafsa wept for 'Umar (when he was about to due). He ('Umar) said: Be quiet, my daughter. Don't you know that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) had said:" The dead is punished because of his family's weeping over it"? Sahih Muslim, Chapter: the dead body is punished for the lamentation of his family, No. 2015
As per Sahih Muslim, Chapter: The dead body is punished for the lamentation of his family; hadees no 2016-2019, 2021
Hadees No 2015 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2016 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2017 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2018 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2019 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2021 - Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
Hadees No 2026 - Hazrat Ibn Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family. This hadees gives the complete picture. When this information reached to Hazrat Ayesha then she said that:
- Ibn Umar could not have remembered well what Prophet had said.
- When a jew died and his family members were wailing then prophet told that he is being punished (because of his kufr and not because of wailing)
2026- Hisham b. 'Urwa narrated on the authority of his father that the saying of Ibn 'Umar, viz." The dead would be punished because of the lamentation of his family over him" was mentioned to 'A'isha. Upon this she said: May Allaah have mercy upon Abu 'Abd al-Rahman (the kunya of Ibn 'Umar) that he heard something but could not retain it (well). (The fact is) that the bier of a Jew passed before the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and (the members of his family) were waiting over him. Upon this he said: You are wailing and he is being punished.
Hence in this example we see that due to human error people misunderstood what prophet had said.
C. Quran and other hadees correct this mistake
Hadees No 2020 - Hazrat Umar told hat dead is punished because of weeping of his family. When Abu Musa made a mention of it to Musa b. Talha, and he said that 'A'isha told that it concerned the Jews (only).
Hadees No 2022 and Hadees no 2023 - These hadees gives the complete picture. This is very long hadees. Hazrat Umar told that dead is punished because of weeping of his family. When this information reached to Hazrat Ayesha then she said that:
- Prophet NEVER meant that dead is punished because of weeping of his family.
- Prophet meant that due to KUFR of the dead person he (dead) will get punishment and wailing of relatives is of no use.
- She immediately Quoted the ayah of Quran "No bearer of a burden will bear another's burden" 6:164 and proves that the said statement -that dead is punished because of weeping of his family- contradicts with the Quran.
- She told that Hazrat Umar would have misheard this hadees. He did not lie. It would have been human error.
1. Its a popular misunderstanding among muslims that when relatives lament for the dead then due to this dead is punished.
2. This erroneous understanding is because of some hadees.
3. Actually it was human error in transmission of this hadees that lead to this belief. However when this information reached Hazrat Ayesha then she presented the correct understanding. Actually Prophet had spoken of punishment to a person because of his own sins. Wailing of relatives does not result in punishment of dead.
4. Other hadees and Quran makes clear that no bearer of burden will bear burden of others.
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