[As usual my notes will be indented written in gray text. However due to the length of this topic I will devide it into three segments]
Chapter 9: The Funeral Prayer [Part 1 of 3]
Chapter 9a: Funeral Prayer, its Legal Status
There is a consensus among all the great Muslim jurists that a funeral prayer for a deceased person (1) is a collective obligation or fard kifayah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded the Muslims to offer it, and they have been doing so ever since they received this commandment.
(1) … in congregation…
And it is waajib to do so (in congregation) because the Prophet (saw) said, “Pray as you have seen me praying.” [Bukhaaree]
If the janaazah prayer is done individually it would suffice and the obligation (of offering the janaazah prayer) would be fulfiled but they would sin for leaving off the jamaa’ah (congregation).
As An-Nawawee said, “There is no difference that it is permissible to pray janaazah individually. But the sunnah is to pray in jamaa’ah (congregation.” [Al-Majmoo’ 5/314]
The minimum people to establish a congregation is three, if there are two people than one stands behind the other, not next to him (this will be discussed later inshaaAllaah).
Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was informed of the death of a person, he used to ask: ‘Does he owe anything to anyone?‘ If the answer was in the affirmative, he would then ask: ‘Has he (the deceased) left anything to settle his debt?‘ If he had left something to settle his debt, he would offer the funeral prayer for him. Otherwise, he would say to the Muslims: ‘Offer a (funeral) prayer for your brother‘ (Bukhari 5371 and Muslim 1691).
With regards to paying off the debt, that has been discussed in the previous chapter “What to do when someone dies“.
Chapter 9b: Reward for Offering Funeral Prayer
The following hadeeth can be divided into two parts. Part 1: