This salat service is called as the salat al-mayyit or the salat for the janaza which is performed to ritually send a person who passed away into another realm. Basically this is our funeral rites and a responsibility for family members, friends and the parish members of the dead person's in the neighborhood or vicinity. This topic is very important though some people never experience death in their house. I experienced this at home twice and I visited other Muslims who passed away as well.
Conditions for a Valid Salat
1. The congregation members should be clean from any impurity and occurrences.
2. Facing quibla direction.
3. Covering 'awrat for both males and females. In our country females may perform prayer service at home or behind the curtain in the mosque or musalla as we have a special closed area for ladies to perform prayer service together with men.
4. The dead is ready with ritual cleaning and shrouding.
5. The dead will be placed in front of congregational members who are facing the quibla.
6. The salat for the dead who passed away in other places can also be performed where there is no dead body in the prayer service.
Pillars of the Salat Service
1. Intention which means...
I am performing the salat service for the specific dead person with four takbirs as a follower of the imam which is a responsibility as a sacrifice for the God.
2. Standing straight for those who are capable.
3. Four takbirs including the takbiraat al-ihraam.
4. Recite the mother of the scripture, al-Fateha for the first takbir.
5. Recite the salawat for prophet Muhammad s.a.w with the full salawat where it also includes our patriarch, father Abraham a.s.
6. Recite supplication dedicated for the dead person at the third takbir.
For the follower behind of the imam we can recite the supplication by mental in whatever language that we speak but not by oral as it will invalidate the service... The imam would recite it in Arabic maybe loudly as for congregation member to hear and to pray together...
A suggestion might be.... Dear the Lord please forgive this person and have mercy upon him or her and grants him or her with safety and salvation. And honorable be his or her place of burial and make it as wide as possible. And please shower him or her with the water from snow and dew. Sanctify him or her from sins like a white cloth being washed clean from dirt. And replace for him or her with a better residence, so does his family members, wife, husband and everything better and blessed than he or she has before. Please enter him or her into the paradise. Protect him from the torments of the underworld and from the bitterness of the hell.
A suggestion for a dead child to be prayed upon with the prayers....
Dear the Lord make this child a preparation for his or her parents, a lesson, an investment and savior for the parents. Help the parents of this particular child to get their scale of deeds heavier at the charity and chastity one. Fill their heart with patience and please do not test them after this child's death. Please do not close for them the effects of the meritorious deeds done by this child, amin!
7. The fourth takbir is optional but recommended... After the takbir say the prayer for e.g....
Dear the Lord please do not prohibit us from sharing the meritorious deeds of this person and please do not test us after his death. Forgive us and forgive him and please forgive and have mercy to our brothers and sisters who had long gone before us too. Please do not make our heart filled with envy and jealousy toward those who have faith to You. Dear the Lord, You are indeed the most Merciful the most Compassionate.
8. Peace greeting as a conclusion.
For peace greeting, perhaps those who follow the Hanbali jurisprudence would say that those who do this twice as wrong. There are actually few ways to perform this service as according to those teachers of jurisprudence. By simply saying that it is wrong to others' we are showing the lack of knowledge or showing that we are some "Salafi" wannabes who wanted to be seen as different from others or trying to show off.
Those who conclude their salat service with two salams or peace greetings like in other salat services among the Shafi'ie and Hanafi jurisprudence are not wrong either! They performed another angle of sunnah as they have got the report from Abdullah bin Awfaa r.a. The reference is in the Sunan al-Kubra by Imam al-Baihaqi and the Litanies of Imam al-Nawawi.
Abdullah bin 'Awfa r.a reported that the salam in this prayer service is similar to other salat services. Some scholars mentioned that the second salam is uttered not as loud as the first one and this is why some companions of prophet Muhammad s.a.w conclude it with only one salaam whether in other prayer services or in this prayer service.
This simply means that the first salam is the main salam and it is uttered loudly in the conclusion of the salat service while the second one is the follow-up salam. It is uttered not as loud as the first one. For Hanbali school which is also followed by some "wannabes" without they realize it, the preferred way is only one salam on the right side. However, those who conclude the prayer service with two salams are not wrong either.
For Maliki school of jurisprudence, they are also the same like us in term of concluding the prayer service with only one salam on the right side during funeral service. For this small matters, one may check the Jurisprudence of the Four Schools by Imam Abd al-Rahman al-Jaziri.
9. After the peace greeting, maybe recite the supplication for e.g....
Dear the Lord, You are his Lord and You are his Creator and You are the One who Guides him toward Islam. You are the One who took away his soul and You know every secret that he has. And we come to You to ask for Your salvation for this person. Thus please forgive us and for him with Your mercy. O, You are the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate. And please be in contact with our prophet Muhammad s.a.w and also with his family members and peace to all. And praises only due for the God the Lord of the universe, amin!
Location while Performing Service
For this particular service, there are differences as to indicate the gender of the deceased person so the congregation members will know what prayers they should say for the deceased person.
For male deceased person, the location of imam is that he stands a step in the opposite of the body's head. For the female deceased person, the imam stands a step in the opposite of the deceased person's lower back. For the congregation members, they stand closer to each other as there is no prostration or bowing. At least forming three lines.
This service may be performed in musalla, in the house of the deceased person or in the mosque. Usually in our country, member of the parish who always perform daily prayer services at the mosque or musalla are well-known by other members though they never talk with each other. People may notice his or her face and will notice his absence if he is not there. This will make them trying to trace other member as to check whether the person is well or not. This is just a normal reaction of members in the parish. I am also feeling like that if I notice that a brother is not there and will feel sad if I cannot see him praying together.
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!