Salah al-Janazah is the funeral prayer before the burial but after the shrouding of the body. The prayer is performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims. The Salah al-Janazah is a collective obligation upon Muslims (Fard Kifayah).
There is no fixed time for offering the prayer.
It is the right of a Muslim that when he passes away other Muslims should pray Janazah prayer for him. Janazah prayer is supererogatory prayer. If no one from the whole of the Muslim Community prayed the Janazah prayer; then the whole community would be considered sinful in the sight of Allah. If some of the people prayed the Janazah prayer then the whole community is saved from the anger of Allah even though the reward will only be given to the participants only.
Sequence Of Janazah Prayer
- It is better that those praying divide themselves into three rows facing the qibla with the Imam in front.
- Put the body (or bodies) in front of the Imam.
- The Imam should stand by the middle of the body if the deceased is a man and by the shoulder if she is a woman.
- If there is more than one body, then they should be put one in front of the other, those of the men nearest to the Imam and those of the women furthest from him.
- Having the appropriate neeyat in your heart, raise your hands in the usual manner and say, Allahu Akbar.
- Then fold and hold your hands on your breast in the usual manner, the right hand on the left.
- Read al Fatiha quietly.
- Say AIlahu Akbar without raising the hands.
- Pray for the Prophet in the same way as you do in tashahud.
- Say Allahu Akbar (don’t raise your hands).
- Make du’a for the deceased.
- Say Allahu Akbar (don’t raise your hands).
- Make du’a for the Muslims.
- Say Assalaamu ‘Alaikum, thus finishing the prayer.
It is clear from this description that all this prayer is done while one is standing – there is no ruku or sujud in it.
Spoken part of the prayer
The spoken part of the prayer involves quietly reading Al-Fatiha, praying for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and saying two supplications. This is done with an Imam present and facing qibla; in the direction of Mecca.
The Prophet and his companions explained how the funeral prayer is to be done. It is done as follows:
- You say the first Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”)
- Then you seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan (Aoodhoo-billa)
- Then you say Bismillah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem and recite al-Faatihah followed by a short soorah or some aayahs.
- Then you say Takbeer and send blessings upon the Prophet as one does at the end of the prayer.
- Then you say a third Takbeer and make du’aa’ for the deceased. The best is to say:
“Allaahumma ighfir lihaayina wa mayitina wa shaahidina wa ghaa’ibina wa sagheerina wa kabeerina wa dhakarina wa unthaana. Allaahumma man ahyaytahu minna fa ahyihi ‘ala’l-Islam wa man tawaffaytahu minna fa tawiffahu ‘ala’l-eemaan. Allaahumma ighfir lahu warhamhu wa ‘aafihi wa a’fu ‘anhu, wa akrim nuzulahu wa wassi’ madkhalahu waghsilhu bi’l-maa’ wa’l-thalj wa’l-barad, wa naqqihi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa’ al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas. Allaahumma abdilhu daaran khayra min daarihi wa ahlan khayra min ahlihi. Allaahumma adkhilhu al-jannah wa a’idhhu min ‘adhaab il-qabri wa min ‘adhaab il-naar wa afsah lahu fi qabrihi wa nawwir lahu fihi. Allaahumma laa tahrimna ajrahu wa la tadillanaa ba’dahu.
(O Allaah, forgive our living and our dead, those who are present among us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our males and our females. O Allaah, whoever You keep alive, keep him alive in Islam, and whoever You cause to die, cause him to die with faith. O Allaah, forgive him and have mercy on him, keep him safe and sound and forgive him, honour the place where he settles and make his entrance wide; wash him with water and snow and hail, and cleanse him of sin as a white garment is cleansed of dirt. O Allaah, give him a house better than his house and a family better than his family. O Allaah, admit him to Paradise and protect him from the torment of the grave and the torment of Hell-fire; make his grave spacious and fill it with light. O Allaah, do not deprive us of the reward and do not cause us to go astray after this).”
- All of this was narrated from the Prophet. If you want to you can make du’aa’ with other words, for example, you could say:
“Allaahumma in kaana muhsinan fa zid fi ihsaanihi wa in kaana musee’an fa tajaawaz ‘an sayi’aatihi. Allaahumma ighfir lahu wa thabbit-hu bi’l-qawl il-thaabit”
(O Allaah, if he was a doer of good, then increase his good deeds, and if he was a wrongdoer, then overlook his bad deeds. O Allaah, forgive him and give him the strength to say the right thing).”
- Then you say a fourth Takbeer and pause for a little while, then you say one Tasleem to the right, saying “Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaah.”
Sunnah Online has a great article with more detail