Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 004, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.039A.

Section : Reciting "Al-Fatihah" and Salutations to the Prophet.

(Abu Hanifah and Malik regard these as two essential requisites of funeral prayer)

Ash-Shafi'i has in his Musnad narrated from Abu Umamah ibn Sahl that one of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) told him that when offering a (funeral) prayer it is sunnah for the imam to say aloud Allahu Akbar (first opening takbir), then to recite al-Fatihah silently in his heart, and then send salutations to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and then pray for forgiveness of the deceased. Nothing else is to be recited in between takbirs. Finally, he should end his prayer with salutations in his heart. (According to the majority of scholars, reciting al-fatihah, sending blessings upon the Prophet, supplicating for the deceased, and salutations are sunnah. In the case of the imam, however, it is sunnah to utter the takbir and salutations aloud in order to communicate with those praying with him) The author of Al-Fath says: "The chain of narrators of this hadith is sound."

Bukhari reported from Talha ibn Abdullah that he said: "I offered a funeral prayer that was led by Ibn Abbas. He recited Al-Fatihah and said: 'This is a sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him."' Tirmizhi also reported this and remarked that this has been the practice of some of the learned among the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them). Others prefer to recite Al-Fatihah after the first takbir. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq. Some others hold that Al-Fatihah is not to be recited in a funeral prayer. The funeral prayer should consist of praise for Allah (thana), blessings (salawat) upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, and a prayer (du'a) for forgiveness of the deceased. This is the opinion of Al-Thawri and other scholars of Kufah. Those who hold the recitation of al-Fatihah in a funeral prayer obligatory argue that the Prophet, peace be upon him, called it a prayer (salat) when he said: "Offer prayer (sallu) for your deceased friend." And as no prayer can be complete without al-Fatihah, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, also told us "no prayer is valid unless al-Fatihall is recited in it."