|Embalming the dead and not burying the dead within 3 days
By Sidi Salman Younas
Q) What is the fiqh ruling on embalming the dead body so it can be sent
to another state or country? Also, from my understanding, Muslims need to bury
the dead within three days. What happens if they do not do this? Is it a big
sin? Aside from decaying, does the dead body suffer in any other way if it is
not buried on time?
A) salamu `alaykum
I pray you are well.
There are three issues here:
 Transferring the dead body to another state or country,
 Embalming it, and
 Delaying it's burial.
As for transferring a dead body to another land is prohibitively disliked (makruh
tahriman) as stated by Imam Shurunbulali in his Nur al Idah, Ibn `Abidin in his
Hashiya, Tahtawi in his, and others. Imam Tahtawi states, "(tranferring [the
dead body] from one land to another) it is prohibitively disliked because
transferring a mile or two is out of need and there is no such need in
transferring to another land (s: or city)." This is the relied-upon position
within the school.
Further, embalming the dead would not be permitted mainly because it involves
procedures that the law clearly prohibits or considers disliked, such as the
usage of impure substances on the body, incissions, and so forth.
As far as delaying the burial is concerned, it is disliked and contrary to the
prophetic stipulations of hastening to bury the dead. Abu Hurayra narrates that
the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Hasten the burial
rites" (Bukhari and Muslim) and elsewhere "Make haste with your dead..." as
narrated by Ibn `Umar and others. In the Fath al Qadir it states, "It is
recommended to hurry the [funeral] preparations when one dies." (kitab al salat,
bab al janaza; Bahr al Ra'iq; Radd al Muhtar) Delaying the burial and other
funeral rites could be sinful if the delay is excessive. However, it has no
effect on the dead in terms of suffering or reward.
And Allah Knows Best
Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Article taken (with Thanks) from Sunnipath.com