Miscellaneous Topics

Mourning The Dead

Mourning The Dead 1

Mourning over the dead is allowed in Islam, but there is a great difference between what is allowed Islamically and the practice of some Muslims at the present time.

Grief at the death of a beloved person is normal, and weeping for the dead is allowed in Islam. What is prohibited is to express grief by wailing (Bewailing refers to mourning in a loud voice), shrieking, beating the chest and cheeks, tearing hair or clothes, breaking things or scratching faces or saying phrases that makes a Muslim lose faith.

All of this is totally prohibited, and the deceased may feel pain by these actions, Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, said: «The deceased suffers when someone bewails loudly» (Reported by Bukhari & Muslim).


Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, said: «Two things in people are Kufr (Ignorance), one is to ridicule someone on his family genealogy, and the other is bewailing loudly the dead» (Reported by Muslim).

Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, also said: «I detest a woman who cries out very loudly, or shaves her hair, or tears her clothes when a beloved one dies»   (Reported by Bukhari & Muslim).

Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, said: «He is not of us who beats his face, tears his clothes and bewails loudly when misfortune happens to him as was done before during the days of ignorance» (Reported by Bukhari & Muslim).


Some people let their beard grow to show their sadness, then after several days they shave it. Others wear black clothes, or black ties. All of this has no basis in Islam.

It is a Muslim’s duty to advise gently those who do these things to stop doing so, since it is totally prohibited. No loss, however great, should lead a Muslim to sour his faith. They should however bear patiently and accept Allah’s destiny.

There is no objection to quiet weeping as Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, did when his son died and said: «It is a mercy that Allah made in the hearts of his servants» (Reported by Bukhari).


Relatives of a deceased Muslim may mourn him for three days only, but a widow may mourn her husband four months and ten days.

This is due to Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, who said: «It is prohibited for a woman who believes in Allah and the day of judgment to mourn any dead person more than three days except her husband four months and ten days» (Reported by Bukhari).

This period is called the Edda (Waiting period) which is prescribed by Allah in the Qur’an:

{وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَعَشْرًا ۖ فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ}

‘Translation’ {And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do.} [Surah Al-Baqarah: 234].