Transferring a Dead Body to Another Country

Q: I have  a cousin who has been told by doctors he will soon die from cancer. He has said he wants to be buried in here in England. However his wife is in Pakistan and cannot travel to UK. Therefore should he be buried in UK or Pakistan?  I’m of the view that his wife has a right to see his dead body one last time and to be buried next to him when she dies. Furthermore does the wife have a right over the dead body of her husband??

A. It is recorded in the books of Fiqh that it is Makrooh Tahreemi to move the body from one city to another. (Raddul Muhtaar V6 P388). Moving it from one country to another is even worse. It is totally unnecessary and costly. To spend so much money on an arrangement that is un-Islamic is a sin on its own.

The cost of this procedure is paid for in one of two ways: (1) the money is taken from the estate of the deceased. The assets of the deceased belong to the heirs after his death and it will not be permissible to take out this unnecessary expense from the estate, especially when there are also minors among the heirs. (2) Someone else pays for it. It will be more beneficial for that money to be given as charity on behalf of the deceased so that the deceased may benefit from it in the hereafter. Therefore, regardless who pays for the transporting of the body, it still involves waste of funds.

This person should be buried in the UK. It will not be permissible to transfer him elsewhere after death. Family members should try their best to let the wife travel from Pakistan to the UK to be with her husband in his final moments. This is financially and spiritually the better option.

After the death the wife has no right over the husband’s body. The Wali of the deceased has to take care of the Janaazah etc, but even he may not do anything contrary to Shari’ah. The law of Shari’ah takes precedence over our emotions and feelings, even the feelings of the dead man’s wife.

Allah Ta’aala knows best.

Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked by: Mufti Siraj Desai