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Miscellaneous

‘Umar made a prohibition against crying for the dead

Some people say that ‘Umar ibn Khattab forbade crying for the dead. They say that ‘Umar’s verdict is proof that it is not permissible to cry for the dead.

Response

Firstly, ‘Umar’s prohibition is opposed to explicit tenets or statements that prove not only the permissibility, but the preference for crying.

Secondly, ‘Umar’s way of life is not credible when it is opposed to the words and actions [sunnah] of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S).

Thirdly, he was opposed by the Holy Prophet (S) when he disallowed crying, as has already been mentioned.

Fourthly, how is it possible that ‘Umar made crying for the dead unlawful when he himself cried for Nu‘man ibn Muqran,6 Zayd ibn Khattab7 and Khalid ibn Walid8. He even ordered other people to cry for Khalid ibn Walid.9
The Torah forbade crying for the dead

If one ponders the Tawrat (Torah or the Old Testament), he understands that the prohibition for crying for the dead has roots in this book. ‘Umar was known to have good relations with the People of the Book [ahl al-kitab], especially the Jews, and he read their books. Therefore, it can be surmised that he may have applied this Jewish law in Islam.

In the Jewish books, we read, “O child! I will get the desire of your two eyes with one stroke. Therefore, do not weep and cry, and do not shed your tears. Keep cool and quiet, and do not weep or wail for the dead.”10

Notes:

6. Al-Musannaf, vol. 3, p. 344.

7. Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 191.

8. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 15, p. 731.

9. Al-Musannaf, vol. 7, p. 175.

10. Sifar Hazqiyal, ishah 24, faqarah 16-18.

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"