Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 4, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.059.

Section : Permit Women to Accompany a Funeral Procession.

Umm ‘Atiyah reported: “We were forbidden to accompany funeral processions, but this prohibition was not mandatory for us.” (Reported by Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim & Ibn Majah) Abdullah ibn ‘Amr reported: “Once while we were with the Prophet, peace be upon him, he saw a woman – whom we thought he did not recognize – so he waited until she reached him. It was Fatimah, his daughter. He asked her: ‘What caused you to leave your house?’ She said: ‘I came to visit the family living in this house in order to offer my condolences and to comfort them in their grief.’ He said: ‘Did you accompany them to the graveyard?’ She said: ‘God forbid! How could I do that, when I know what you have said in this respect.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘Had you accompanied the funeral procession to the graveyard, you would never have seen Paradise, not until your grandfather’s father had seen it! (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Hakim, Nasa’i, and Baihaqi. The scholars, however, question the validity of this hadith, claiming it is not a sound hadith, because among its narrators is Rabi’ah ibn Saif, who is not trustworthy)

Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiyyah reported that ‘Ali said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, went out and saw a group of women sitting outside. When he asked them why they were sitting there, they told him that they were waiting for the funeral procession. He asked them: ‘Are you going to wash the body?’ They said: ‘No.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked them: ‘Are you going to carry the coffin?’ They said: ‘No.’ He asked them: ‘Will you place the body in the grave?’ They said: ‘No.’ At this he said to them: ‘Then go back to your homes with your sins and without gaining any reward.” (Reported by Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim. But one of its narrators is Dinar ibn ‘Omar, who is not reliable. Abu Hatim says he is not well known, Azdi describes him as matruk (unacceptable), and Al-Khalili in his Al-Irshad calls him “a liar.”) Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Umar, Abu Amamah, ‘Aishah, Masruq, Al-Hasan, An-Nakh’i, Awza’i, Ishaq, and the Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools hold this view. They all disapprove the participation of women in funeral processions. According to Malik, it is not disliked for an old woman to leave her home to attend a funeral. In his opinion, a young woman afflicted by the death of a dear one may also accompany a funeral procession without any disapproval, provided she is well covered and her presence does not cause any temptation.

Ibn Hazm contends that the argument put forth by the majority of scholars is not sound, and that it is permissible for women to accompany funeral processions. He said: “We do not disapprove of women attending a funeral procession, nor do we prevent them from doing so. Among the traditions reported on this subject there is no authentic hadith. There are either mursal (Mursal: Report of a successor (tab’i) directly from the Prophet without mentioning the Companion who might have heard it directly) or majhul (unknown) or such as cannot be presented as an argument.” Then he mentions the hadith by Umm ‘Atiyyah and says: “Even if it were a sound hadith it does not prove prohibition, but merely shows that it is disliked. In fact the reverse is true if we take into account the hadith narrated by Shu’bah on the authority of Waki’, who in turn narrated it from Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, who heard it from Wahab ibn Kaysan, who heard it from Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Ata who reported it from Abu Hurairah that once when the Prophet, peace be upon him, attended a funeral, ‘Umar saw a woman there and yelled at her. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Leave her, O ‘Umar! Verily her eyes shed tears, the soul feels the pangs, and the promised hour is near.” (The chain of authorities of this hadith is sound) In a sound hadith it is reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that he did not regard it as a disliked act.