Islam, the true religion of Allah, honors man, whether alive or dead. Therefore, Islam doesn’t sanction any form of disrespect or dishonor to humans. By the same token, Islam doesn’t allow digging up a grave after the burial except for justifiable reasons.
The late prominent Muslim scholar, Dr. Ahmad Ash-Sharbaasi, professor of `Aqeedah and Philosophy at Al-Azhar Univ., states: “According to the Muslim jurists, the grave in which a Muslim is buried becomes an endowment for him, and therefore it’s not Islamically allowed to dig it up except for justifiable reason such as washing or shrouding a dead buried without washing or shrouding.
Also, it’s permissible to transfer the dead to another grave when there’s a concern that a wild beast might tear up the corpse or it might be deluged by flood provided that this will not harm the corpse.”
Shedding more light on this issue, we’d cite the following:
“Digging up the grave is allowed in the following cases:
1. When the dead body has been buried in an usurped land and the owner of the land is not willing to let it remain there.
2. When the Kafan (shroud) of the dead body or any other thing buried with it had been usurped and the owner of the thing in question is not willing to let it remain in the grave.
3. When digging up the grave does not amount to disrespect of the dead person, and it appears that he was buried without Ghusl (washing) or Kafan, or the Ghusl was performed in an improper way, or he was not given Kafan according to religious rules or was not laid in the grave facing the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah).
4. When it is necessary to inspect the body of the dead person to establish a right which is more important than exhumation.
5. When the dead body of a Muslim has been buried at a place which is against sanctity, like, when it has been buried in the graveyard of non-Muslim or at a place of garbage.
6. When the grave is dug up for a legal purpose which is more important than exhumation. For example, when it is proposed to take out a living child from the womb of a buried woman.
7. When it is feared that a wild beast would tear up the corpse or it will be carried away by flood or exhumed by the enemy.
8. When the deceased has willed that his body be transferred to sacred places before burial, and it was intentionally or forgetfully buried elsewhere, then the body can be exhumed, provided that doing so does not result in any disrespect to the deceased.”