Burial Expenses

This is the first item of expenditure related to the mayyits estate. The burial expenses will be taken from the estate. However, waste and unnecessary expense are not permissible. Only the amount required for the masnoon kafan and necessary attendant expenses such as bricks/timber to be used in the qabr (grave), the transport cost if a vehicle has to be hired to transport the mayyit to the qabrustan (graveyard), paying the ghaasil (the one who bathes the mayyit) if no one else is prepared to render this service, price of the grave, etc.

It is not permissible to spend anything from the mayyit’s estate for any function whatsoever. In fact, it is not permissible to organize any function such as the innovations in vogue. Care should be taken to spend only what is necessary for the burial.

If an heir utilizes the funds of the estate for an unnecessary expense, he is liable for the misappropriation and is obligated to pay into the estate the amount spent unnecessarily.

The cost for transporting the mayyit to another town for burial is an unnecessary expenditure which may not be taken from the mayyit’s estate. Since it is not permissible to transport the mayyit unnecessarily to another city or town for burial, the expenses incurred for such transport are wasteful and expended sinfully.

The prohibition of spending unnecessarily from the funds of the mayyit’s estate is so severe that if the estate is insolvent (i.e. the liabilities exceed the assets), then the creditors are entitled to authorize only two sheets for the male mayyit’s kafan instead of the masnoon three sheets. Since the assets in an insolvent estate belong to the creditors, they have the right to prohibit any excess expenditure.

Burial expense is a prior and an incumbent claim on the mayyit’s estate whether solvent or insolvent. Thus, if someone offers to pay these expenses, it is not obligatory on the heirs to accept even if the estate is heavily in debt. The creditors cannot compel the heirs to accept such aid nor can they debar the heirs from taking the necessary burial expenses from the funds of the estate. However, it is permissible for the heirs to accept outside aid.

If some of the heirs are naabaaligh (minors), acceptance of outside aid will be incumbent. But, if the baaligh (adult) heirs agree not to take anything from the shares of the minors for the burial expenses, it will be permissible for them to refuse the aid offered.

The burial expense of a female mayyit is the responsibility of her husband. Only if she has no husband may the expenses be taken from her estate.

If the mayyit is a pauper, leaving behind no estate whatsoever, the responsibility of providing the burial expenses devolves firstly on his heirs in proportion to their respective right of inheritance, e.g. if he leaves behind three sons, a daughter and a wife, these heirs will bear expenses in the following proportions:

His wife will contribute one eighth, each son two eighths and the daughter one eighth. It is permissible for any one or more of them to provide the full burial expenses.

In the absence of relatives, the burial expense of the pauper will be the responsibility of the people of the neighborhood.


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