Question # 411: Assalaamu ‘alay kum, We know it is allowed for someone who missed the janaazah prayer to go to the cemetery and offer it, even though the deceased has already been prayed over, like the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did for the lady who used to clean the masjid. Is there a time limit for this? For example, if a close family member who missed the prayer returns after six months, can he still offer the prayer over the deceased?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The scholars have stated that if the deceased has been buried and the prayer has not been offered for him, it should be offered after the burial, even if it is, after several years. However, if someone fails to join the funeral prayer with other Muslims, he may go to his/her grave and offer the funeral prayer until one month after the burial. But after that period, one should not offer the funeral prayer, according to the majority of Muslim scholars.
Long Answer: It was narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that a black person – a man or a woman – who used to clean the mosque died, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not know of the death. He mentioned him (or her) one day and he asked, “What happened to that person?” They said “He (or she) died, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Why did you not tell me?” They said … (as if they thought the matter was not important enough to tell the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about). He said, “Show me where his (or her) grave is,” and he went to the grave and offered the funeral prayer. This indicates that it is permissible to offer the funeral prayer for the deceased after the burial.
…The scholars have stated that if the deceased has been buried and the prayer has not been offered for him, it should be offered after the burial. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: If the funeral prayer has not been offered for him, we should offer it even if that is several years later. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
[However, if someone] did not offer the funeral prayer… with the people, [he] may go to his grave and offer the funeral prayer for him within one month or less, if it is one month or less since he died. But if a long time has passed, one should not offer the funeral prayer, according to a number of scholars. [Ibn Qudamah wrote in his book ‘al-Mughni’: If one misses offering funeral prayer on a Janazah he may perform the prayer as long as the body is not buried. If it is buried he may even offer the prayer until one month after the burial (But after that period no prayer is to be performed on the grave). This is the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars… This rule is deduced from the mursal hadith that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) performed funeral prayer on a grave of a woman one month after her death as reported from Sayeed Ibn al-Musayyab that ‘Saad Bin Ubadh’s mother died while the Prophet was absent. When he came to Madinah one month later, he offered the funeral prayer on her grave’. (Tirmidhi) (Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)]
In explanation to the above hadith, it is reported in Jami At-Tirmidhi: If a deceased is buried before the performance of the funeral prayer or if there are some people who missed the funeral prayer, it is allowed to perform the funeral prayer on the grave, but the Imam for the funeral prayer should be a person who has not performed the funeral prayer before for the deceased. This issue is clear and proved from various Sahih narrations. (See for explanation Ahkam Al-Jana’iz)
The Standing Committee was asked the following question: “A child of mine died at the age of six months, and he was taken to the graveyard and buried without me offering the funeral prayer for him because I forgot. I do not know where the grave is in which the child was buried. Is there any act of charity that will make up for the prayer, or any other act that will make up for the prayer?
The Committee answered: “There is no other act that will make up for the funeral prayer for the deceased, whether he was a child or an adult, whether an act of charity or any other righteous deed. You have to go to the graveyard where he is buried, and stand with the graveyard between you and the qiblah, then offer the funeral prayer for this child, in a state of purity (i.e., with wudu’) and fulfilling all the conditions of prayer. That will be sufficient, since you do not know exactly where the child’s grave is… (Fataawa Islamiyyah)
(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, unless stated otherwise)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.
 Mursal is defined as a hadith, in which a Successor (tabi’i) has directly attributed to the Prophet without mentioning the last link, namely the Companion who might have narrated it from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).