The Ash-Shafi’i school considers it unlawful to transfer the body of a deceased from one country or town to another unless it is to Makkah, Madinah or Jerusalem. It is permissible to remove the body to one of these cities because of their special significance and position. If someone leaves instructions in his or her will that he or she be buried in a place other than these three cities, the will may not be executed, because it could delay the burial and cause the body to deteriorate. Likewise transferring the body from one grave to another is prohibited unless there is a valid reason for doing so, for example, if the deceased was buried without a proper wash, or was buried without turning the deceased’s face toward the qiblah, or the grave was damaged by flood or dampness.
It is stated in Al-Minhaj that digging up a grave after burial either for removing the body or for any other reason is prohibited unless there is genuine reason for it. such as when a deceased person is buried without a wash or is buried in a usurped cloth or land or something of value is left in the grave or the deceased was buried without facing the qiblah.
The Maliki school holds it permissible to remove the body from one place to another, before or after the burial, for a genuine reason, for example, when it is feared that the body of a deceased may be drowned in the sea or eaten up by wild animals, or when relatives want to bury the deceased nearby so that they may visit it more easily, or in order to seek the blessings of the place to which the body is removed. In all such cases, transferring of the body from one place to another is permissible provided its sanctity is not affected, e.g., it does not bloat, does not decompose or its bones do not break.
The Hanafi school considers the removal of a body from one place to another undesirable, and holds it preferable to bury a person at the place of death. The body may be taken for a mile or two for burial, for that is the usual distance to a cemetery. After the burial removing the body without a genuine reason is not permissible as mentioned above. If a woman’s son dies and he is buried in her absence in another town, and she was impatient and wanted to remove his body to her own town, her request may not be heeded.
The Hanbali school considers it desirable to bury a martyr at the place where he or she is killed. Ahmad said, “As to those who are slain, a hadith reported by Jabir from the Prophet, peace be upon him, says: ‘Bury the martyrs wherever they are killed’.” Ibn Majah reported: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered that the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud be returned and buried at the places where they had fallen.” As for the others, they are not to be removed from one town to another without a valid cause. This is the opinion of AlAwza’i and Ibn al-Munzhir. Abdallah ibn Malikah said: “Abd-ur Rahman ibn Abu Bakr died in Abyssinia and his body was carried to Makkah where he was buried. When ‘Aishah visited his grave she said: ‘By Allah! Had I been there when you died, I would not have allowed you to be buried anywhere except at the place where you had died. And had I seen you there, I would not have visited you’.” Burying the deceased at the place of death is easier and more secure against deterioration of the physical remains. It is permissible, however, to remove the body from one place to another in case there is a valid reason.
Ahmad said: “I do not know of any harm in transferring the deceased from one town to another.” When Az-Zuhri was asked about that, he said, “The bodies of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and Sa’id ibn Zaid were removed from al-‘Aqiq to Madinah.”