AsSalam aleikum wa Rahmotullahi Wa Barakatuh. Please, is it proper for a father to lead prayer on his deceased son’s body? Shukran wa Jazakumllahu Khayran
All praises are due to Allah, the lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (SAW) his household, companions and faithful till the last day.
Regarding your question, there is nothing that prohibits a father from leading the janazah prayer of his son, except where he could not control himself due to the shock.
Leading such prayer by the father does not mean any evil or bad omen.
The father has the right to lead the prayer, the same way he would be his waliyy (guardian) in marriage, except where the son has left his wasiyyah (will) specifying a person other than his father,
Scholars only express difference of opinion on the issue of who is more deserving to lead the janazah among the following: The Amir, The Waliyy (Guardian of the deceased) and the Imam of the Area.
The summary is this:
Ibn Qudaamah says in Al-Mughniy: Majority of scholars favour the Amir over the family members in janazah prayer. Imam Shafi’iy favours the Waliyy (in this case the father or any of the heirs of the deceased) comparing this with the role of the father in nikaah.
When Hassan bn Ali died, his brother Hussain forwarded Sa’d bn Al-‘As, who was the Amir of Madinah then to lead the funeral prayer saying: “If not that it is the sunnah, I wouldn’t have put you forward.”
The hadith where the prophet (SAW) also said: -None should lead a man within his jurisdiction- have been used to justify the superiority of the right of the Amir to this task, because the entire community falls under the jurisdiction of the Amir or overall leader of the Muslims.
Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen was asked: “Who is most appropriate to lead a janazah prayer, the Imam or the aliy (father or other kinsmen)? He replied: “If the prayer is held in the mosque, the Imam is more appropriate (Imam of that mosque), based on the hadith: “None should lead a man within his jurisdiction”. The Imam is the authority of his mosque. But if the prayer is observed at a place other than the mosque, then the most appropriate person as recommended in the wasiyyah (will) of the deceased. However, if there is no mention of that in the will, then, the closest of his heir takes over. If anyone among the congregation also leads the prayer, there is no harm in that. (Majmu’u Fataawa Wa Rasail, Ibn Uthaimeen)
Allah knows best.
Imam Sherifdeen Ibraheem
Na’ibul Amir, Cultural Affair (NACA)
TMC National Headquarters