Certain requirements must be met for a valid funeral prayer, and failure to meet any of these may invalidate the prayer. These requirements are given below:
The real intention is what is in the heart, and its verbal utterance is not legally required. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in (faith).” Qur’an 98.5 And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Verily, all deeds (of a person) will be judged in the light of the intentions behind them, and every person will attain what he intends.”
2. Standing Prayer
The majority of scholars regard it as an essential condition for a valid funeral prayer to stand while praying if one is physically able to do so. A funeral prayer offered while sitting or riding, without any valid excuse, is not valid.
It is reported in Al-Mughni “It is not permissible for one to offer a funeral prayer while riding, as in this case an essential condition – standing while praying – would be missing.” This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Ash-Shafi’i, and Abu Thaur. There is no difference on this point. It is preferable to put one’s hands together, placing the right on the left, as is done in the prescribed regular prayer. Some disagree, but in our view it is better and preferable.
3. Loud Recitation of Four Takbirs
This is based on a report transmitted by both Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Jabir who said: “Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, offered funeral prayers for Najashi (Negus) and said four takbirs. (That is, he said Allahu akbar four times)
Tirmizhi said: Most of the learned Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) and others followed and acted in accordance with the above example of the Prophet. They hold that four takbirs should be said in a funeral prayer. Among these scholars are Sufyan, Malik, Ibn Al-Mubarak, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad, and Ishaq.