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Overseas Burial

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Many people transport the body of deceased relatives abroad for burial. It is against the Sunnah to delay the burial of the deceased and to move the body of the deceased unneccessarily to another place. In the case of transporting bodies abroad, the bodies are required to go through a process called Embalming. The following is information regarding the process. It is hoped that the information will insha Allah prevent people from practicing on this tradition of overseas burial.


Embalming is a process to preserve bodies from the time of death until they can be buried or cremated.
Embalming is required when a body is taken out of the country.
A certificate is usually provided by the embalmer.

The Embalming Process

•The body is placed on stainless steel or porcelain table, then washed with a germicide-insecticide-olfactant. The insides of the nose and mouth are swabbed with the solution

•Rigor mortis (stiffness) is relieved by massage. (Rarely but sometimes, tendons and muscles are cut in order to place the body in a more natural pose if limbs are distorted by disease, e.g., arthritis.)

•Facial features are set by putting cotton in the nose, eye caps below the eyelids, a mouth former in the mouth (cotton or gauze in the throat to absorb purging fluids). The mouth is then tied shut with wire or sutures.

•Arterial embalming is begun by injecting embalming fluid into an artery while the blood is drained from a nearby vein or from the heart. The two gallons or so needed is usually a mixture of formaldehyde or other chemical and water. In the case of certain cancers, some diabetic conditions, or because of the drugs used prior to death (where body deterioration has already begun), a stronger or "waterless" solution is likely to be used for better body preservation.

Chemicals are also injected by syringe into other areas of the body.
•The second part of the embalming process is called cavity embalming. A trocar — a long, pointed, metal tube attached to a suction hose — is inserted close to the navel. The embalmer uses it to puncture the stomach, bladder, large intestines, and lungs. Gas and fluids are withdrawn before "cavity fluid" (a stronger mix of formaldehyde) is injected into the torso.
•The anus and vagina may be packed with cotton or gauze to prevent seepage if necessary. (A close-fitting plastic garment may also be used.)
•Incisions and holes made in the body are sewn closed or filled with trocar "buttons." The body is washed again and dried.
The body is shrouded and placed in the casket.

Chemicals Used

•Typical embalming fluid contains a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, and other solvents. The formaldehyde content generally ranges from 5 to 35 percent and the ethanol content may range from 9 to 56 percent.
•Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless, slightly toxic chemical compound, and is best known as the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.
• An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethan


Q/A from Darul 'uloom Deoband:


Q1-When someone passes away, is it permissible to transfer the body from one country to another like Ameer Jamaat Hazratjee Maulana Yusuf R.A his body was transfered from Pakistan to India?

Q2-Was any Sahabah's body transfered from one place to another?

Q3-A person passes away in a country where he has no relatives,if the country where his relatives live is close then is it permissible to transfer the body to that country?

Answer: 7862

Nov 22,2008

(Fatwa: 1611/1528=D/1429)

قال في البزازية نقل الميت من بلد الى بلد قبل الدفن لا يكره وبعده يحرم، قال السرخسي وقبله يكره أيضا الا قدر ميل او ميلين (شامى 305:5 و 663:1)

It means that transferring the death body from one place to another is Makrooh (undesirable) though some Islamic jurists permit it but the preferred ruling is that it is undesirable, so one should avoid it if there is no severe need.

(2)Hadhrat Abdur Rahman (رضي الله عنه) was not buried where he passed away but he was taken to another place and buried there, but Hadhrat Aesha (رضي الله عنها) did object to it. Once in a journey, when she passed by his grave, she said: Had I power I would have not allowed you to be buried here, rather you should have been buried in the place where you breathed the last.

(3) It is allowable to take it to one or two miles, but it is Makrooh tahrimi (undesirable to an extent of haram) to take it from one country to another:

يندب دفنه في جهة موته اي في مقابر أهل المكان الذي مات فيه أو قتل (شامي 1:602)

Allah (Subhana Wa Ta'ala) knows Best

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband


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Embalming the dead and not burying the dead within 3 days

Hanafi Fiqh > Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas


What is the fiqh ruling on embalming the dead body so it can be sent to another state or country? Also, from my understanding, Muslims need to bury the dead within three days. What happens if they do not do this? Is it a big sin? Aside from decaying, does the dead body suffer in any other way if it is not buried on time?



salamu `alaykum
I pray you are well.

There are three issues here:

[1] Transferring the dead body to another state or country,

[2] Embalming it, and

[3] Delaying it’s burial.

As for transferring a dead body to another land is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) as stated by Imam Shurunbulali in his Nur al Idah, Ibn `Abidin in his Hashiya, Tahtawi in his, and others. Imam Tahtawi states, “(tranferring [the dead body] from one land to another) it is prohibitively disliked because transferring a mile or two is out of need and there is no such need in transferring to another land (s: or city).” This is the relied-upon position within the school.

Further, embalming the dead would not be permitted mainly because it involves procedures that the law clearly prohibits or considers disliked, such as the usage of impure substances on the body, incissions, and so forth.

As far as delaying the burial is concerned, it is disliked and contrary to the prophetic stipulations of hastening to bury the dead. Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Hasten the burial rites” (Bukhari and Muslim) and elsewhere “Make haste with your dead…” as narrated by Ibn `Umar and others. In the Fath al Qadir it states, “It is recommended to hurry the [funeral] preparations when one dies.” (kitab al salat, bab al janaza; Bahr al Ra’iq; Radd al Muhtar) Delaying the burial and other funeral rites could be sinful if the delay is excessive. However, it has no effect on the dead in terms of suffering or reward.

And Allah Knows Best


Approved by Faraz Rabbani


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Transferring a Dead Body to Another Country

Hanafi Fiqh > Askmufti.co.za

Q: I have  a cousin who has been told by doctors he will soon die from cancer. He has said he wants to be buried in here in England. However his wife is in Pakistan and cannot travel to UK. Therefore should he be buried in UK or Pakistan?  I’m of the view that his wife has a right to see his dead body one last time and to be buried next to him when she dies. Furthermore does the wife have a right over the dead body of her husband??

A. It is recorded in the books of Fiqh that it is Makrooh Tahreemi to move the body from one city to another. (Raddul Muhtaar V6 P388). Moving it from one country to another is even worse. It is totally unnecessary and costly. To spend so much money on an arrangement that is un-Islamic is a sin on its own.

The cost of this procedure is paid for in one of two ways: (1) the money is taken from the estate of the deceased. The assets of the deceased belong to the heirs after his death and it will not be permissible to take out this unnecessary expense from the estate, especially when there are also minors among the heirs. (2) Someone else pays for it. It will be more beneficial for that money to be given as charity on behalf of the deceased so that the deceased may benefit from it in the hereafter. Therefore, regardless who pays for the transporting of the body, it still involves waste of funds.

This person should be buried in the UK. It will not be permissible to transfer him elsewhere after death. Family members should try their best to let the wife travel from Pakistan to the UK to be with her husband in his final moments. This is financially and spiritually the better option.

After the death the wife has no right over the husband’s body. The Wali of the deceased has to take care of the Janaazah etc, but even he may not do anything contrary to Shari’ah. The law of Shari’ah takes precedence over our emotions and feelings, even the feelings of the dead man’s wife.

Allah Ta’aala knows best.

Moulana Yusuf Laher

Checked by: Mufti Siraj Desai


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Making a bequest to take the deceased back to his homeland


Q1. Is it compulsory to bury the dead as soon as possible or can you comply with the deceased WILL to be buried abroad.
Q2. What should be done to the money the deceased left for the arrangement to send the body abroad, if it is not sent abroad?


In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.



There are differences of opinions regarding the distance allowed to take the deceased from one place to another.  One view is 48 miles whilst another is one or two miles.  Anything above that is Makruh Tahrimi.   (Raddul Muhtar p.146 v.3)


It is not permissible for a dying person to make a bequest of transporting his body to another country; therefore, it would not be permissible to carry out such an order.


One should bury the deceased as soon as possible. Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, "Speed up the funeral; if it is one of a good person, you are only taking that person to a good prospect. If otherwise, then he is no more than an evil you are putting off your shoulders." (Sahih Bukhari)


Saaiduna Abdullah ibn Umar Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, "I heard Allah's Messenger say: When anyone of you dies, do not keep his body. Be speedy when taking him to his grave." (Tabraani)


The money which was left should then be distributed amongst the heirs of the deceased.


Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham


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Embalming And Moving A Body After Death   

Hanafi Fiqh > Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera


My grandmother is very ill and we’re considering options for her burial. She wants to be buried in New York (her plot is there), but she’s currently in another state that’s far away from there. In order to get her back to NY, in the case of her death she has to be embalmed by law. What is the ruling on this situation?




Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah the Inspirer of truth


There are a number of problems linked with burying a person so far away. Firstly it is considered extremely disliked (makruh tahrimi) to transfer a deceased person from one area to another for burial unless it is just a mile or two (Radd al-Muhtar 1:602, 5:275) [AR. or further to the closest Muslim graveyard]. This is the opinion related from Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani and highlighted by Ibn Nujaym, Ibn ‘Abidin, Tahtawi, and others. Second, transferring the body causes unnecessary delay in the burial process which has been advised against in the hadiths.


Thereafter, the process of embalming is problematic in Islam for a number of reasons. One is that it requires some incisions to be made on the body of the deceased (which is considered disrespectful) and the removal of the blood from it, replacing it with a formaldehyde based fluid. The embalming fluid is traditionally made from formaldehyde (5 to 29 percent), methanol, ethanol (9 to 56) and other solvents. Hence, the fluid is made up of impure substances which go with the deceased into the grave. Islamic law instructs us to purify the deceased by bathing it, perfuming it, and shrouding it in white, etc.


To conclude, it is severely disliked to transport her over a mile or two and the embalming is unlawful. However, if she is in a condition to travel then there would be no problem with having her transferred to New York while she is alive.


And Allah knows best.


Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf


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