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Lesson 39 | Fiqh | The Washing and Shrouding of the Deceased

Saturday 7 Oct 2017

Chapter of Prayer: The Washing and Shrouding of the Deceased

  • Washing the deceased is mentioned in Multiple narrations and is obligatory for those acquainted with the rulings and conditions and aware of the death.
  • The Prophet ((صلى الله عليه وسلم)) washed the deceased and was washed himself upon his death
  • A deceased man should be washed by a man, and likewise a deceased woman should be washed by another woman. (NOTE: there are two exceptions which will be mentioned below)
  • The person who does the washing should be trustworthy and knowledgeable in this regard as this is a special act with rulings to it
  • Priority of who has the right to wash:
    • If a person specifies in his will that a person should carry out the washing, then this person has the foremost right provided that person is capable and knowledgeable in this regard. For example, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) stated in his will to be washed by Asmaa Bint Umays, his wife (may Allah be pleased with her). This also shows that Husband can wash the body of his wife, and likewise a Wife can wash the body of her husband. Another example of specifying a person is that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) specified in his will that he should be washed by Muhammad Ibn Sîrîn (may Allah be pleased with him)
    • After a person specified in will, then the father has the next most right to do the washing.
    • If it is not possible for the father to wash then it becomes the right of the Grandfather
    • if that is not possible then the next of kin/relatives.
    • If no family or next of kin can be found to do the washing, then someone outside of his family should do so.
    • The order above applies to women also, e.g. if a woman specifies a specific woman to do the washing then she will have priority, and after that it is the closest female relative etc
    • NOTE: one who is acquainted with the rulings should be given priority over one that does not have the required knowledge and ability to carry out the washing
  • In General, a deceased man is to be washed by a man and likewise for the women. An exception to this is the aforementioned where a Husband washes his wife or a wife washes her deceased husband. A further example of this is that Ali Ibn Abî Tâlib (may Allah be pleased with him) washed the body of his wife Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her)
  • If a small child under the age of 7 dies, then that child can be washed by either a man or a woman. For example, Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him) the baby son of the prophet was washed by women when he died.
  • If a child is 7 or older then that child should be washed by the correct gender (Males wash the males etc)

  • It is not permissible to wash the disbeliever, carry the coffin to the grave, shroud the body, perform the funeral prayer or to follow the procession [e.g. Quran 9:13 and 9:113]. The only exception to this is very close family, for example Ali Ibn Abi Abî Tâlib witnessed the funeral of his father Abû Tâlib who was non-Muslim. However a Muslim should not participate in any ritual that may be part of the non-Muslim
  • If a body is found of a non-Muslim, and no one (e.g. a fellow non-Muslim) can be found to take care of the burial then one should bury the body to prevent harm reaching the people. However, this should just be placing the body in the grave and nothing else.
  • Cool water should be used to wash the deceased, Warm water can be used if there is a necessity
  • The washing should be done in a concealed/sheltered place, i.e. not in the open
  • The body of the deceased should be covered from the Naval to the Knee. Then the whole body should be uncovered except this region (naval to knees).
  • The deceased should be placed on a washing Table/bed which should be on a slight angle towards the legs to allow the water to run off
  • The only people who should be present are the one actually carrying out the washing and whoever is assisting him/her. No onlookers should be there.
  • Process of washing:
    • The one carrying out the washing should raise the head of the deceased almost to a sitting position,
    • he should pass his hand on the deceased abdomen. He should press gently on the abdomen to help exit any contents. He should then get a cloth and wash the private area of that person. While doing this he should pour much water over the body to overflow any impurity/excrement that exits. The washer should then wrap his hand around a coarse cloth and clean any stool or urine that exits as well as the anus of the deceased with water
    • The washer should then declare his intention of washing the deceased. He should pronounce the Bismillaah (“in the name of Allah”) and carry out a full wudhu for the deceased. As for rinsing the mouth and nose, it is sufficient to wipe over the teeth and nostrils with two wet fingers. Water should not be allowed to enter the mouth or nostrils.
    • He should then wash the head and beard with sidr (extract of Lote tree leaves) or soap
    • then wash the right-hand side of his body (neck, hand and arm, shoulder, right half of chest, right thigh, leg and foot), turn the person over on his left and wash the posterior part of the right hand side under the body. Then likewise on the left.
    • During washing Sidr or Soap can be used, it is desirable to wrap hand with cloth
    • It is obligatory to do a minimum of one washing, 3 is desirable. If after 3 times there is any more impurity then one can wash up top 7 times. Beyond 7 times the body should not be washed further.
    • A perfume such as camphor should be used in the final washing as it makes the body stiff, fragrant and cool. Using it at the last wash ensures that its effect lasts insha Allah
  • The deceased should be dried, moustache trimmed, clips nails if they are long, armpits should be removed. Whatever is cut removed (e.g. hair, nails) should be placed alongside the deceased in the shroud. If the deceased is a woman, her hair should braided into 3 braids/plats falling dawn backwards
  • When to use Tayammum instead of washing with water:
    • If no water is available,
    • or you fear the body may be damaged by using water, e.g. if deceased had skin condition such as leprosy or was damaged by fire
    • or in a situation where a woman has died, her husband is not present, and no other women are present (or vice versa if a man died and his wife is not present and no other man can be found to wash him). In such a case it is not permissible for a man to wash that women and likewise not permissible for a woman to wash such a man.
  • The tayammum (=dry ablution with clean earth) is performed as follows:
    • Wipe over the deceased face with clean earth
    • Wipe over his/her two palms
    • NOTE: Use a cloth to hinder direct contact with the body of the deceased
  • If you cannot use water on only a part of the body, then do tayammum on that part
  • Should the one carrying out the washing of the deceased wash himself after wards with ghusl? (=Differed about. Shaykh Ibn Baaz says ###. Many other scholars say it is desriable to do so)
  • Shrouding of the deceased:
    • To be done after the washing and drying
    • The shrouding material should be white (preferred), clean. Maybe new (preferred) or not now
    • It should be large enough to cover the body
    • The deceased man should be shrouded 3 times
    • The deceased women should be shrouded with 5 separate cloths (a loincloth, a shirt, a veil, and 2 overall coverings)
    • A boy can be covered in 1 cloth, but 3 is permissible
    • A girl should have one shirt and two shrouds
    • Fragrance (rose water or the like and then censer) should be applied to the shroud.
    • EXAMPLE: The man is to be shrouded by spreading the three shrouds over each other, and then he is to be brought covered with a garment or the like as it is obligatory to be covered, and to be put lying with his face upwards in the 3 shrouds. Then a perfumed piece of cotton is to be out between the buttocks covering the anus of the deceased and fastened by tying a piece of cloth. Other similar perfumed cotton pieces are to be put on the eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears, the parts of prostration (forehead, nose, hands, knees, toes), under the armpits, inner parts of knees and on the naval. The washer should apply perfume between the shrouds and to the head. Then the washer wraps the left side of the upper shroud (on which the deceased is lying) over to the right side and its right side over to the left side. Then the same is done with the other shrouds beneath.
    • There should be more excess of cloth at the head than at the feet, and the excess cloth over the head should be wrapped around the head, and the excess at the feet should be wrapped around the feet.
    • Once the shrouding is complete, some sort of tightening should be applied to prevent the cloth from unwinding from the body
  • The prayer upon the deceased:
    • The funeral prayer is a Fard Kifaayah (i.e. it is a collective duty)
    • Conditions:
      • Intention
      • Face the qiblah,
      • Dress appropriately, conceal awrah
      • Both the one performing it and the deceased must have ritual purity
      • Avoid physical impurity
      • Both the one performing it and the deceased must be Muslim
      • Attending the funeral procession after the prayer if they are in the neighbourhood
    • Pillars (Integra Parts):
      • To stand upright
      • 4 Takbeeraat (this is common, although there are other opinions)
      • [First TAkbeer] Reading the Fatiha is a pillar
      • [Second Takbeer]Salutations upon the prophet is a pillar
      • [Third Takbeer]Making dua for the deceased is a pillar
      • [Fourth Takbeer] Give salaam
      • Following this order is a pillar
    • Sunnah acts:
      • Raising the hands
      • Seeking refuge with Allah from the accursed shaytan (devil)
      • Making dua (Invoking Allah) for yourself and the other muslims
      • To recite quietly
      • To have a small pause before giving the slaam
      • Placing right hand above left
      • To give salaam to the right
    • Q&A:
      • When would the deceased not require washing:
        • a martyr is not to be washed
        • if the body cannot be recovered
        • If a person died in a state of Ihraam

NEXT WEEK Insha Allah: The Funeral Prayer continued (going into yet more details)




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