I was recently looking into the issue of praying the funeral prayer in a masjid.
I looked up the various opinions of the madhahib:
1) Hanafi: not to be prayed in a masjid (Hidayah and Muwatta Imam Muhammad)
2) Maliki: can be performed in the masjid (Muwatta)
3) Shafi’i: recommended to be in a masjid (Reliance)
Ibn Rushd’s Bidayat al-mujtahid states the ikhtilaf and gives the relevant hadith on both sides (which replicates what I’ve mentioned above). With regards to the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be well pleased with him) in this matter – which is the basis for the Hanafi position – Ibn Rushd says that it is ‘not established’ (ghair thabit), unlike the narration of A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with him). The Hadith states, “Whoever prayers the funeral prayer in the Masjid has nothing.” [Meaning has no reward/or his rewards is less].
I therefore looked into this hadith, and found Shaykh Albani including Abu Hurayrah’s hadith in his al-Silsila as-sahiha (2351). This then made me surprised at Ibn Rushd’s comment. I wonder if Ibn Rushd’s opinion on Abu Hurayrah was a strictly Maliki position. Any thoughts?
Wa ‘alaykum al’salam wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,
Ibn Abi Zaid al-Qayrawani [the smaller Malik] wrote in his famous text:
“None of the Companions of the Messenger should be mentioned except in the best way and silence should be maintained concerning any disagreements that broke out between them. They are the people who are most worthy of being considered in the best light possible and the people whose opinions should be most respected.”
This statement of Abi Zaid expresses the belief of the people of the Sunna irregardless of legal school. The Prophet [May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him] referred to the Companions as “The best generation” and there are a number of authentic narrations that make cursing or insulting the Companions [May Allah be pleased with them] a major sin.
Therefore, Ibn Rushd‘s contention was not based on Abu Hurairah be [May Allah pleased with him], but one of the narrators of the hadith itself: Salih Muwla al-Tawamah.
Imam Ahmed said about him: “He is weak.” Ibn Abdul Barr said about this hadith, “A large number of scholars have contentions with it.” [this is based on Salih being in the chain]. Imam al-Nawawi states that the majority of the scholars answered the other side’s contention by stating that this hadith is “Weak” and “Not acceptable for proof.”
Al-Shawkani‘s conclusion: “With this in mind, this hadith is not acceptable.” See Nayl al-Autar vol. 2 pg. 494 the Maktabatul al-Thiqafa al-Diniyah print.
This would explain the reason behind Ibn Rushd’s contention and his statement. This was not due to the presence of the great companion Abu Hurairah [May Allah's be pleased with him and all of the scholars mentioned above].
Allah knows best.