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Wailing over the dead

Q 2: Is it permissible to lament a dead person by bewailing him or slapping the cheeks or tearing clothes. Does this wailing affect the dead person?

A: It is prohibited if crying over the dead person is accompanied by lamenting and wailing or rending apart one's clothing and the like. It is authentically narrated in the two books of Sahih (authentic books of Hadith compiled by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He is not of us: the one who strikes the cheeks, rends the garments and wails in the manner of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic Days of Ignorance).” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is authentically reported to have cursed the wailing woman and women who sit and listen to her wailing. It is also authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: The deceased is tortured in his grave for the wailing done over him. According to another version: The dead is punished because of his family's weeping over him. Here weeping means lamenting and wailing. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong in shedding tears in grief for the dead person as this is a natural human instinct which can not be curbed. When the Prophet's son Ibrahim died, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim! (Part No. 9; Page No. 161) Indeed we are grieved by your departure. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: Allah does not punish for the tears that the eye sheds or the grief the heart feels, but He punishes for this (pointing to his tongue), or He may show mercy. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.