The Man who Ordered His Children to Cremate His Corpse

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ قَالَ رَجُلٌ لَمْ يَعْمَلْ حَسَنَةً قَطُّ لأَهْلِهِ إِذَا مَاتَ فَحَرِّقُوهُ ثُمَّ اذْرُوا نِصْفَهُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَنِصْفَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَوَاللَّهِ لَئِنْ قَدَرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ لَيُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا لاَ يُعَذِّبُهُ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ فَلَمَّا مَاتَ الرَّجُلُ فَعَلُوا مَا أَمَرَهُمْ فَأَمَرَ اللَّهُ الْبَرَّ فَجَمَعَ مَا فِيهِ وَأَمَرَ الْبَحْرَ فَجَمَعَ مَا فِيهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ لِمَ فَعَلْتَ هَذَا قَالَ مِنْ خَشْيَتِكَ يَا رَبِّ وَأَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ ‏.‏ فَغَفَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Huraira (radi Allahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: That a man who had never done any good deed asked the members of his family to burn his dead body when he died and to scatter half of its ashes over the land, and the other half in the ocean. I swear by Allah, that if Allah finds him in His grip, He would torment him with a punishment unlike He did with anyone else in the world; and so when the person died, it was done to him as he had commanded (his family). Allah commanded the land to collect (the ashes scattered on it) and He commanded the ocean and that collected (ashes) contained in it. Allah questioned him why he had done. that He said: My Lord, it is out of fear that I have done it and You are well aware of it, and then Allah forgave him.[1]

This story is about a man who Allah blessed in this world with a lot of money and a lot of children; however, he was not grateful to Allah for the blessings that He gave him. Instead, he was in engulfed in sin and in disobedience throughout his entire life, so when he got sick and the time of death approached him, he remembered his Lord and how he disobeyed Him. Thus, he was very afraid and in awe of the Highest.

          This man knew that when he met his Lord that He would punish him with a severe punishment. Therefore, he prepared himself to a way to flee from the punishment of Allah; as he believed that by doing what he did he would be able to escape from that chastisement. Consequently, he told his children to come to him and he reminded them of how he was good to them and how he took good care of them. The father said to his children: “Was I a good father to you?”  His children responded: “ Yes! You are the best father anyone could have.”

       Hence he told them what was on his mind and stressing him out. He told his children about the life of disobedience and sins he lived. What’s more, He informed that if Allah had the ability, He would punish him with a severe punishment unlike He punished anyone ever before. For that reason, he asked them to burn his body and to scatter his ashes in the air in order to flee and escape the punishment of Allah. This man believed that if he did that that Allah would not have the ability to gather his body and bring him back to life

Following this he laid out the method how they should take care of his remains after his death.  First, they should gather the firewood together and then make a big fire and leave him on top of this fire until he becomes like charcoal. Following this, they should gather all of his remains and crush them until he becomes ashes. Next, they were to wait for a hot sunny day in which there was a strong wind. Then, take half of his ashes and throw them in the sea, and the other half scatter them on land. The man believed that by doing that that Allah would not have the ability to bring him back to life

This poor soul was heedless of Allah’s the ability to do everything; and that He will resurrect His servants on the day of judgement. Some of those resurrected will be those who sharks have eaten, or those that the predatory birds have eaten, or the prairie beast have eaten. Moreover, included in those whom will be resurrected are going to be those who have turned into dirt and have become fertilizer for the trees. In the spite of that, the way those people died and were consumed, Allah has the ability to resurrect them, and give them life,  put them back together from the stomachs of the fish, from the intestines of the birds, and from the stomachs of the prairie beasts.

The man requested from his children to give him an oath and vow that they would  follow his orders. He threatened them that if they did not make this promise then he would not allow them to inherit his wealth, and that it would go to someone else. For that reason, they gave him their oath and they promised that they would fulfil his wishes and they swore to him to that would take care of it as he planned.

In the end, they did what he what their father requested of them to do after his death.  Nonetheless, the Earth and this sea gathered his ashes and it was said be such and such; and when he was standing his Lord asked him why did you request your children to do this to you, and of course Allah knows why. The man replied out out of fear and awe of you. Consequently, he was forgiven for his sins due to the fear that he had and he was pardoned for his ignorance believing that Allah did not have the ability to bring him back together.[2]

Benefits for this Hadith:

1. Having fear of Allah is the highest status of the pious. Having fear and awe of Allah can erase a large number of sins and allow one to be forgiven.  This man was forgiven for his great number of sins; as his heart he had the fear of his Lord.

2. At times Allah pardons an individual due to the things he does while he is ignorant. This man believed that Allah did not have the ability to bring him back together after his ashes were scattered.

3. Allah has the ability to resurrect people and give them life; as he ordered the sea and earth to collect this man’s body then he ordered his ashes to return to that man to reshape him. This is similar to how life will be given to those creations on the day of resurrection after they have existed for long periods of times with their bones broken and scattered into the dirt.

4. It is not permissible to declare a servant a non-Muslim due to his sins. A believer with sins that does not repent then his affair is with his Lord; if He wills He can punish him, and if He wills He can forgive him. This belief of |Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jama. Unlike the belief of the Khawarij and Murjia’. This doctrine  is established in our sharia as it was established with the people of the book before us . The proof is Allah forgave this man who in lived a life of sin

5. A man in immersed in his sin can still be good to his children and have a great diligence for their upbringing, by placing their well-being first and foremost. The children acknowledged, that their father was like that with them , since they claimed he was the best father anyone could.

6. It was obligatory for his children do not obey their father there is no obedience to creation in this obedience to the creator their fathers command was a sin.[3]

Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah Battle

Doha, Qatar ©


[1] Al-Bukhari (3452), Muslim( 2111)

[2] Al-Bukhari : 514,466,312,2110,467,515, Muslim: 2112,2111,110, 514,2109

[3] Taken from Sahih Qisas of the Prophet, By Dr. Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar (رحمه الله) pg 229-235

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.