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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

April 12, 1996

Muslim Journal

Janazah for Sis. Viola Karriem at Masjid Ar-Rahman in Chicago, Ill - Part 2

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

This is what Prophet Muhammed (PPBUH) has taught us.

The steps of the Janazah:

We begin the prayer by standing in straight lines, or what we call Qiam, standing erect. Then we will form the lines for the Janazah. The sisters can be in the rear if you like. But the brothers should be in the lines separate from the sisters.

We begin with glorification, saying Allah is the Greatest or Allah is Greater or Allah is Bigger. This word means a lot. It comes from the word meaning bigger. That is exactly what it means literally, bigger. That Allah is bigger. This is a good way to teach your children, teach your children that Allah is bigger. Tell them what He is bigger than. Say that He is bigger than the earth. He is bigger than the sun. Tell them that He is bigger than all of up there. Tell them that because He is, He is bigger than everything. Allah is bigger.

But it actually means Allah is more important; bigger means more important in this sense. Bigger means more important; Allah is more important. Allah is more significant. He has more wisdom, more beauty and more under-'standing that can benefit us in the study of Allah and His role in creation than it is in anything else. That's why when we get to know Allah we have the greatest of knowledge because Allah is responsible for everything else.

So if you know Allah, then you know something about what He is responsible for. You will have a better understanding of the things that you have to deal with everyday, each other and your worldly obligations. All of this becomes clearer to you and less a burden on you when you understand that Allah is the One behind it all. He started it all and He can close it all, whether we know it or not. Even things that are completely out of our control are not out of Allah's control. This is the greatest of knowledge, the understanding of Allah, that He is bigger and more important, more significant than anything else. Allah is the Greatest.

We will say that, "Allahu Akbar," and as soon as we hear that it begins the Janazah prayer. After we say "Allahu Akbar," place your hands right at the belt where it is comfortable. The sisters higher, at the breast line, comfortable, where it is comfortable for you to hold your arms in that area. If it is not comfortable, then adjust it to where it is comfortable for you individually. And the same for the brothers; usually it is comfortable for a brother to rest his hands at the belt line. Once I saw a brother with a large belly, so he just rested his hands right on his stomach. So place them where it is comfortable for you. And always the right hand goes over the left, gripping the left wrist.

In that position we will say silently the prayer of glorification, which begins: "Glory to Thee, O' Allah, glory be to You, Blessed is Your Name and Exalted is Your Majesty, and there is none to be worshipped other than You." And we finish it and then Al-Fatiha. We all know Al-Fatiha, I'm sure. We say it to the end and then we raise our hands for a second glorification. We say Salatul Ibrahimeyah to the end.

This was no strange dua to Sister Viola Karriem. She learned that back in the 1930s, as did many who are here now. In fact, this prayer here I used to hear my father say it often: "Glory be to You, O' Allah, Blessed is Your Name, Exalted is Your Majesty, and I bear witness that there is none deserving worship but You..." I remember him saying also dua referring to Prophet Ibrahimeyah: "Oh Allah, make Muhammed successful..." That was our dearest prayer, and that is the most important of prayers for our future. If we want to have a future, then we want Allah to fulfill His blessings He has promised on the Muslims: "...for Muhammed as He did for Abraham."

Janazah prayer begins with takbir, then the Glorification, and Al-Fatiha, the second takbir followed by the prayer of Abraham, then the third takbir: "Oh Allah, forgive her (or if it is a male, forgive him and have mercy on him). Forgive her and have mercy on her." At that time, if there is anything that you would like to say from your own heart, you say it at that time. After that is the fourth takbir, and we say: "Oh Allah, forgive our living ones, our dead ones, those present and those absent." Now, sometimes this is said after the second takbir: "Oh Allah, forgive our living ones and our dead ones, those present among us and those absent, our males and our females. Oh Allah, whosoever is kept alive among us, cause him to live in Islam. And whosoever You cause to die from among us, cause him to die in the Faith. And do not prevent us his/ her reward."

Those who die, they leave behind sometimes wealth or property or things of value. If we start to get greedy, Allah will cut us out of that person's reward. That person has also left us some goodness of their lives. They have touched us with some goodness. Allah will take all of that away. So, this is a caution to Muslims; don't let greed and selfishness spoil that relationship that you had with that deceased person.

God has promised us a reward in the hereafter. For those who were close to each other, the reward is that they will be joined again. They will be in the company of each other again in the hereafter sharing the rewards and the good blessings. Such ugly behavior would be a real serious disrespect to the deceased and to relatives and friends. What they want behind them is that we behave decently by each other and be kind to each other and that we be loving and caring and want to share with each other rather than rob each other.

That is what the good people would want, the faithful ones, and Sister Viola Karriem was definitely a star among them. In fact, if her death could be dramatized by me, I would say that there is a nebula, a new star group bursting forth and forming somewhere beyond. If you noticed, I am very serious, there was a lot of heavy fog after her death. I have noticed, when certain people have died, the elements themselves appear to be weeping their passing.

Now, when I pass, if you don't see any fog, don't give any explanation. Ill give you the explanation right now: Nothing was weeping. There was no weeping, that's all. Praise be to Allah. Isn't it wonderful to be together? That is, what all faiths say. It is wonderful for the brothers, the sisters too, to be together. Even on an occasion like this, it is wonderful for us to be together.

Isn't there mercy in death? It brings us together, brings members of the same family, who have become strangers over the years. But when death comes, they come together and sometimes they meet for the first time: "Oh, I didn't know you were my relative." So there is a lot of good that comes with the death, and if we weren't hurrying it on then it is not a bad thing; it is a mercy.

Do not prevent us her reward and do not make us subject to trial after her/him. Trial may be temptation. Some youngsters, when the parent is gone, they are relieved of the discipline that was over their lives and they might say: "Well, I'm on my own now, I can live my life. I can do what I want or what I please now." That would be a trial for them.

The same for us. We might say, "Well I don't have to go out, I can do anything I want." And while they were living, you didn't let them know that you have a girl friend. But now that they are dead, you will just go out and party with the young woman. Do not make us subject to trial after him or after her.

With this, I conclude the comments on the Janazah, and we can now form the lines. After the fourth takbir, we will turn our heads to the right and say "As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa-Rah-matullah."