Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 4, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.057.

Section : Sitting down, when one is following a funeral, before those carrying the coffin put it down.

Bukhari said: “A person accompanying a funeral procession should not sit down until the coffin is placed on the ground, and if he sits he should be asked to stand up.” He reports from Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Stand up when you see a funeral procession, and he who accompanies it should not sit down until the coffin is placed on the ground.” Bukhari also reports from Sa’id Al-Maqabari who narrated that his father said: “We were attending a funeral, and Abu Hurairah was holding Marwan’s hand, and they both sat down before the coffin was placed on the ground. At this Abu Sa’id approached them, and taking Marwan by his hand said to him: ‘Stand up! By Allah, this man (i.e., Abu Hurairah) knows that the Prophet, peace be upon him, has forbidden us (to sit).’ Upon hearing this Abu Hurairah said: ‘He is right.” This has also been reported by Al-Hakim, with the following addition: “When Abu Sa’id told Marwan to stand up, he stood up and then asked him: ‘Why have you made me stand up?’ At this Abu Sa’ id related this hadith to him. Then Marwan asked Abu Hurairah why he had not informed him about that hadith. Abu Hurairah replied: ‘You were walking ahead of me, so when you sat down I too sat down.” Most of the Companions, their successors, the Hanafi and Hanbali schools, Al-Awza’i and Ishaq hold this view.

The followers of Ash-Shafi’i, however, hold that a person walking in front of a funeral procession may sit down before the coffin is placed on the ground. There is agreement among scholars that for those walking ahead of the funeral precession there is no harm if they arrive early at the place of burial and sit down before its arrival.

Tirmizhi said: “It is related from some knowledgeable Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and others that they would walk ahead of a funeral procession, and would sit down if they reached the place of burial before the coffin. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi’i, who holds that, if a funeral arrives while one is seated, one need not stand upon its arrival. Ahmad said: “There is no harm whether one stands up or remains seated upon its arrival.”