Re-Burial by Government Authorities
A Sunni Muslim passed away in Portugal more than twenty years ago. In those days there was no Muslim cemetery, so he was buried in a public cemetery. Now after all these years, the family who live in Zimbabwe have been informed by the Portuguese authorities, that the law of Portugal is that, due to shortage of burial space, the bodies are exhumed after a certain amount of years. The remains of this particular person have already been removed, placed in a box, and kept by the Portuguese authorities in a hole in a wall, which is covered by a door and then locked. The keys to this are then sent to his family. The family in Harare has tried through various sources to have the body re-buried in Portugal, but the Portuguese authorities will not allow this. They have also tried to fly the remains to Zimbabwe for re-burial, but the Zimbabwean authorities rejected even this, as the deceased was a Pakistani citizen.
Huzoor! The family wishes to query the Islamic verdict on what should be done in this very delicate matter. The family does not wish to transgress the Shari'ah in any way, but have no way of convincing the authorities to allow them to do as the Shari'ah commands. Please inform us of the Islamic ruling in the above case and options that can be used?
Moulana Muhammed Afthab Cassim
24 July 2000
The matter is quite unavoidable. In this case there are not liable for the sin, which has been done by others, and they are not obliged to do anything as they are quite compelled.
[Mufti] Mohammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qadiri Azhari
31 July 2000