Excellence of Participation in Funeral Prayers in Large Numbers and Formation of Three Rows or More
`Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "If a group of Muslims numbering a hundred perform funeral prayer over a dead person, and all of them ask Allah's forgiveness for him, their prayer for him will be accepted.''
Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "If a Muslim dies and forty people, who do not associate anything with Allah in worship, participate in the funeral prayer over him, Allah will accept their intercession for him.''
Marthad bin `Abdullah Al-Yazni reported: When Malik bin Hubairah (May Allah be pleased with him) offered a funeral prayer and found a small number of participants, he would divide them into three rows and would say that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "If three rows of men offer funeral prayer over anyone, his entry into Jannah will become certain.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
These Ahadith reveal to us that the maximum participation of people in a funeral prayer is a welcome sign. But the condition is that they should be righteous people, well-rooted in Faith and monotheistic belief. But heretics and those who associate partners with Allah in worship have no value to Allah. If the participants are small in number, they should be divided in three rows. Different Ahadith speak of different numbers, all of which convey the sense of abundance. And this abundance is not to be taken in the unqualified sense, rather it means the abundance of sincere and pious believers and monotheists. May Allah multiply their number!