Muslim scholars are agreed that weeping for the dead is permissible, whereas crying and wailing are not. It is reported in a sound hadith that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah does not punish a person for shedding tears or feeling pain in his heart. But He does punish, though he may show mercy, because of (what he utters with) this,” and then he pointed to his tongue.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, wept on the death of his son, Ibrahim, and said: “The eyes shed tears and the heart feels pain, but we utter only what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim! We are aggrieved at your demise.” He also wept when his grand daughter, Umaymah, daughter of Zainab, died. At this Sa’ad ibn ‘Ubadah said: “O Messenger of Allah! Are you weeping? Did you not forbid Zainab from weeping?” The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: “This (weeping) is the mercy that Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants. And surely Allah bestows mercy upon those who are merciful among His servants.” A report is transmitted by At-Tabarani on the authority of Abdullah ibn Zaid to the effect that weeping without wailing is permitted.
Weeping aloud and wailing cause pain and suffering to the dead person. It is reported from Ibn ‘Umar that when ‘Umar was stabbed and he became unconscious the people around him began crying loudly. When he regained consciousness he said to them: “Don’t you know that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘A dead person is tormented by the wailing of the living’.”
Abu Musa reports that when ‘Umar was wounded Suhaib cried: “O my dear brother!” At this ‘Umar said: “O Suhaib! Don’t you know that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘A dead person is tormented by the wailing of the living people’.”
Al-Mughirah ibn Sh’ubah reports that he heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: “The one who is wailed for is tortured on account of it.” The above hadith are reported by Bukhari and Muslim.
These hadith mean that a dead person feels pain and displeasure when his family wails over him, for he hears their wailing and their deeds are shown to him. This does not mean that the dead are actually punished and tormented because of the wailing of their families for them, because the Qur’an says that a person is not accountable for the actions of others.
Ibn Jarir reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: “Your deeds are shown to your dead relatives. So if these are good, they are pleased, and if these are bad, they despise them.”
Ahmad and Tirmizhi reported on the authority of Anas that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Your deeds are shown to your dead relatives and kinsfolk. So if these are good they are pleased, and if these are bad they say: ‘O Allah! Let them not die until You have guided them to the right path as You guided us before’.”
An-N’uman ibn Bashir reports: “Abdullah ibn Rawahah fainted and his sister, ‘Amrah, started wailing: ‘O my monumental loss!’ ‘O, my this and that!’ When he regained consciousness, he said to her: ‘Every time you said something (about me) I was asked, “Are you really what she said?”‘.” This is narrated by Bukhari.