one: Tahara -- Chapter three :Rules
Concerning the Dead
Rules Concerning the Dead
Should a Muslim die it shall become incumbent on other Muslims, to
cater for certain things, by way of wajibun kifa’ie (a
collective obligation imposed on the Muslim community( That is, since
burying a dead Muslim is one of these obligations, it suffices if only
one individual discharges the duty; the rest members of the ummah
are absolved of it.
104. Dying sets in when one’s term in this life is fast approaching.
It is the moment when the ghost is given up. May Allah give us
strength to face that moment. It is widely the view of jurists that
when the thores of death set in, the dying person should be laid on
their back, with their feet pointing to the qiblah; this view
is based on ihtiyat though. It is mustahab to take the
necessary steps to bury the dead person as soon as possible. However,
if there is any doubt that they are not dead yet, it is obligatory to
wait until they are pronounced dead.
The ulema, may Allah be pleased with them, have mentioned that
if the thores of death take a longer time, it is mustahab to
move the person to the place where they used to worship. It is also mustahab
to coach them in reciting the statement of faith, i.e. bearing witness
that there is no god but Allah, that Mohammad is His Messenger, and
the Imams are Mohammad’s successors. If the person passes away, it
is mustahab to close his eyes and mouth, stretch his legs and
arms, and cover his body; it is also mustahab to recite ayahs
from the Holy Qur’an, and inform fellow believers of the person’s
death so that they could take part in his funeral.
of the Dead
105. It is obligatory to
accord the dead body a proper ghusl before its burial. Should
it be buried without ghusl for any reason, it is wajib
to exhume it and give it the appropriate ghusl where possible,
i.e. barring any encroachment on the body’s sanctity and
precipitating discord or quarrel among the dead person’s relatives.
Otherwise, tayammum should be performed to the body, in a
manner that will be discussed.
106. Ghusl of the dead
makes up for obligatory ghusls of janabah or haydh.
should be accorded ghusl?
It is obligatory to perform ghusl
to a dead body if the following points were present:
107. a. The dead person must
be Muslim; Muslim children and the mentally ill are treated likewise;
a four-month fetus must as well undergo ghusl.
Shia and Sunni Muslims are alike, for the common denominator is Islam.
It is not obligatory to perform ghusl to the body of a
Should it become unfeasible to differentiate between two dead bodies,
i.e. one might belong to a Muslim and the other to a non-believer, it
is wajib to accord both bodies proper ghusl and funeral
108. b. The dead person
should not be a martyr, for it is not obligatory to perform ghusl
to a martyr’s body, in that they should be buried, after prayer has
been said for their soul, without ghusl, embalming, or
By "martyr", we mean the person who gets martyred in a
legitimate battle in the cause of Islam. That said, such a martyr
should have died before any other Muslim could manage to attend to him
while they still have even a breath of life in them. Should such a
person be found alive and then dies, it is obligatory to perform ghusl
to their body.
The place where a martyr
falls has no bearing on bestowing martyrdom on him, i.e. whether his
body is found in the battlefield or outside it.
The Law-giver has covered a group of people under the definition of
martyr, such as a woman in a state of nifas, a person dying
under the rubble, a drowned person, those who die defending their
property or family members. However, putting those people on a par
with martyrs works on the level of thawab per se; it does
therefore not extend to exempting their bodies from ghusl.
109. c. The dead person
should not have faced his death consequent to a punishment. That is,
no ghusl should be performed to the body of a person who was
lawfully killed for murder, nor him who was lawfully stoned to death
for committing adultery.
However, prior to dealing the
capital punishment to such people, they must be ordered to have ghusl
of the dead, camphor should be applied to their body, which should be
shrouded with the wrapper and the shirt, normally used to cover a dead
body. Once they give up the spirit, their body should be wrapped with
the third piece of the shroud used to cover the whole body. Prayer
should be said for their soul and they should be buried in Muslim
To sum up, all the dead should be accorded the appropriate ghusl,
apart from martyrs and those lawfully killed in punishment.
should carry out ghusl?
110. It is obligatory on
every adult who is capable of carrying out this religious obligation.
The type of obligation here is that of wajibun kifa’i.
However, if none, among Muslims come forward to discharge it, all
shall be deemed sinful.
Way Ghusl, or the Alternative Tayammum, Should be
111. Three different washes
should be carried out:
a. Once using water with
lotus (sidr) leaves.
b. The second using water with camphor.
c. The third using pure water.
When a person in a state of ihram
dies, while still barred from using perfume, it is not advisable
to add camphor to the water intended for washing his body, nor should
he be embalmed with it. You can neither apply perfume to his body nor
112. Just as it is obligatory
to observe the order of the three ghusls, so is it obligatory
to observe the order of washing the body parts. That is, you should
start with the head and neck first, then the right and left sides
respectively. There should be a niyyah of qurbah in each and
every one of the three ghusls.
Should more than one person
take part in performing ghusl of the dead, the niyyah of
the person who is taking overall charge of the process is what will
Getting paid for carrying out the task of ghusl is permissible,
provided that it does not run contrary to the niyyah of qurbah
and that the person carrying out the task would not treat what they
are paid as the price for the ghusl water, for example.
Remuneration received should be treated in the same way as the price
paid for the shroud, lotus, and camphor as well as that provided
Care must be taken not to use more camphor or lotus in ghusl
water than necessary, lest the water should turn into mixed (mudhaf),
neither less than necessary.
113. The dead body can be
accorded ghusl immediately after the soul departs and before
coldness creeps into it. It is permissible to perform ghusl to
the dead body with the clothes on. It is not permissible for the
person carrying out the ghusl to look at the dead person’s
private parts, neither is it permissible to touch them with their
hands during the process of ghusl. However, it is permissible
for a husband and wife to do so.
114. In the event of
non-availability either lotus or camphor or both, washing the body
three times with pure water should suffice; however, niyyah
should be made in lieu of the non-availability of each and every one
of lotus and camphor. Tayammum should, as a matter of ihtiyat
not wajib, be added to the three ghusls.
115. Where, for any reason,
it proves impossible to accord ghusl to the dead body, tayammum
should be performed once instead of the three ghusls. However
performing three tayammums should, as a matter of ihtiyat,
not be ruled out.
It suffices that the living
should apply tayammum to the dead using the living’s hand. It
is not obligatory to use the dead person’s hand in tayammum,
although it can be done as a matter of ihtiyat.
However, tayammum is not warranted, unless ghusl is
absolutely not feasible, in that should there be the slightest chance
that the cause for not performing ghusl might be lifted, it is
advisable to wait until it is no longer possible to do so for fear of
the body decomposing.
116. Should ghusl
become possible after tayammum, and before burial, the latter
shall be rendered batil; it should therefore follow that ghusl
becomes wajib (obligatory). If ghusl becomes possible
after burial, it is haraam (forbidden) to exhume the body for
this purpose, for what alternative option has been taken at the time
is in order. The same applies if lotus and camphor become available
117. The water used for
performing ghusl for the dead body should be free and tahir.
Lotus and camphor should as well be tahir. All materials should
be mubah. The body should be free from any substances that may
constitute a barrier to water reaching the skin.
118. Any najasah which
may be found on any part of the dead person’s body should be
removed. However, should any najasah come into contact with any
part of the body that has been washed, or after the entire ghusl
procedure, only that contaminated part should be rendered tahir,
i.e. there is no need for ghusl again. That is, so long as
burial has not taken place. If any secretion of either urine or semen
is detected, there shall be no need for renewing the ghusl,
even though this may happen before the body is carried to its resting
place; making the affected area tahir would suffice.
to be fulfilled by the person conducting the Ghusl
119. a. Adulthood; but if a discerning boy carries out ghusl,
it would be in order.
120. b . Sanity, in that the ghusl
conducted by an insane person would not be good enough.
121. c. Islam, in that ghusl
conducted by an unbeliever would not be good enough.
122. d. Parity of sex between
the dead person and the one who is conducting the ghusl, i.e. a
dead male/female should be washed by their counterpart. Husband and
wife are exempt from this ruling.
However, a male or female can perform ghusl to a dead
non-discerning child, be it male or female, even if the dead child is
over three years of age. What we mean by a non-discerning child is
that he who has not attained the age where they feel that they should
apply the standards of decorum.
Mahaarim, by way of blood relation, breast-feeding, or
marriage, can perform ghusl to one another, without looking at
the private parts of the dead.
123. e. The person conducting
the ghusl can be the next of kin of the dead one; in this case
they do not require a permission from any other quarter. Should the
person coming forward to do the ghusl not be the next of kin,
they should seek the permission of the next of kin.
The rules of inheritance should be applied to determine who among the
next of kin should be given precedence over the other. In such a
pegging order the husband, in relation to the wife, comes first; then
the first category of relatives, the second, the third and so on.
However, in each category, the adults take precedence over non-adults.
Should the next of kin not
come forward to perform the ghusl, or drag their feet by not
permitting the others to do it, or because they are absent and cannot
be contacted, the marji’, then the just among the faithful,
should have the say in the matter.
124. Should the dead person
have directed in their will that a particular person cater for their
funeral, is it obligatory on such a person to carry out what he has
been charged with? And if they respond, do they have to ask for the
permission of next of kin?
A. No, they are free to
refuse the task. Should they accept the task, they are not required to
ask for the permission of next of kin, although seeking permission is,
as a matter of ihtiyat, advisable. Should this be the case, the
next of kin is not allowed to compete with them to execute the will..
Should someone ask, in their will, that a particular person oversee
the procedure of their funeral, it is permissible for them to decline
so long as the person is still alive. Once they die, the appointed
person cannot retract. Should they take charge of the task, they are
not required to seek the permission of next of kin. Moreover, it is
within their right to prevent the next of kin or the others from
embarking on the funeral procedure without the appointee’s
permission. This means that the appointee has precedence over the next
of kin in this regard.
125. Embalming is the process of applying camphor with the palm to the
seven spots in the human body normally used during prostration. These
are the forehead, the two hands, the two knees, and the two feet toes.
It is makrouh to apply any camphor to the eyes, nose, ears, or
face. It is not obligatory to observe any order in applying the
camphor to the seven parts of the body. Apparently, any amount of
camphor would do. However, it is preferable that the amount used
should weigh seven mithqal sayrafi (32.257 grams).
Applying camphor is
obligatory to the dead body that warrants ghusl, i.e. apart
from those who die while in a state of ihram for hajj or
umrah (see para. 111). Embalming comes after ghusl; if
the dead body be accorded tayammum instead, embalming should
come after tayammum.
It is not obligatory to
observe an order of which should come first, i.e. shrouding embalming.
Embalming can be implemented during shrouding or after it; it can be
done before that; however, it is advisable that it should be done
The camphor has to be tahir,
mubah, powdery, and having smell.
In taking charge of this process, niyyah is not obligatory. Any
adult person, irrespective of their faith, can do it; it can also be
accepted from a non-adult if they were up to the job.
126. After ghusl and
embalming have been performed, the dead body should be wrapped in
three pieces. This is so, regardless of whether it was male, female,
transsexual, sane or insane, young or old. The same goes for the dead
fetus of four months; if it is less than that, it should be wrapped in
any way possible and buried.
The first of these pieces of cloth is called the wrapper (mi’zer),
which wraps that part of the dead body between the belly button and
knees, the shirt (qamis), which is used to cover the area from the top
of the shoulders to the middle of the shin, and the overall sheet
(izar) which is used to cover the entire body from the summit of the
head to the tip toes.
It is necessary though that each of these three pieces should be
capable of covering the piece that lies under it.
127. Niyyah as well as
seeking permission of the next of kin are not required in taking
charge of the shrouding procedure.
Shrouding shall be good enough, regardless of who has done it, be they
young or grown ups, provided that they know what they are doing.
Should circumstance prevent the procurement of three pieces, the next
best thing is using one piece that is sufficient to cover the entire
body; if not, that which can cover most parts of the body, if not,
that which can cover the genitals
of the Shroud
128. It is obligatory that
each of the three pieces of shroud, intended for a dead male or
female, should be tahir, even from the sort of najasah
which may be excusable in prayer, as a matter of compulsory ihtiyat
It should be mubah, not made of linen - as a matter of ihtiyat,
not made with gold, nor of the hide, hair or fur of an animal whose
meat is not halal for human consumption, and not made from the hide of
an animal whose meat is halal; yet there is no harm in using a shroud
made of the hair or fur of such animal.
However, all these
constraints should disappear when circumstances are not favorable.
However, shrouding cannot be done away with, only when it proves
impossible to have it done. Accordingly, if there is no other way but
to use a shroud that is najis, or made of linen, or the use of
which is prohibited, where choice can be an option, it has to be used
in shrouding the dead. That said, it is not at all permissible to use
a shroud that is maghsoub, because its existence or otherwise is the
There is no harm in a shroud made of a blend of linen and some other
material, provided that the non-linen material is predominant. Should
this be the case, both man and woman can be shrouded with it. Should
it be made of synthetic linen, there is also no harm in using it.
Should the shroud become najis,
it is obligatory to remove it and clean the place. This is so, even if
after the dead body has been laid to rest. As for the process of
rendering the shroud clean, it is left to the discretion of the mukallaf,
but with due attention to preserving the sanctity of the dead body; it
could be done by either using water, where possible, or cutting out
the najis spot, or any other way without losing sight of the
fact that one should eventually leave the shroud virtually intact; if
need be, it can even be replaced altogether.
doubt creep in as to the propriety of the shrouding procedure, one
must resolve the matter by assuming that it is in order.
the Soul of the Dead
129. After the dead body has been washed, embalmed,
and shrouded, it is obligatory, as a matter of wajib kifa’ie,
to say prayer for the departed soul. All dead Muslims are equal in
this treatment, be they Shia or Sunni, pious or not, male or female,
sane or insane, old or the six-year old –or even younger if
he had learned the meaning of prayer before this age.
Prayer for the dead is an act of worship; thus it is
not good enough without the niyyah of qurbah. The
requirements the person conducting such a prayer should fulfill are
the same for the person conducting the ghusl of the dead,
discussed in para. (119) and the ensuing ones, except for the
homogeneity of the sexes.
for the Prayer
130. For the prayer to be said and made good enough
a number of conditions has to be fulfilled.
The corpse should be found and made available for prayer, because
there is no such a thing as praying for a non-existent corpse.
The dead body should be laid on its back, with its
private parts covered either with the shroud or any other cover, in
the event of non-availability of a shroud.
The person conducting the prayer should face the qiblah, close
to the body; the dead person’s body should be to the right hand side
of the person conducting the prayer, provided that there is no barrier
between the two. The prayer should be conducted in a standing, not a
sitting, position, unless there is a good reason for choosing the
Taharah is not a condition for the validity
of the prayer for the dead. It shall be in order, if it is performed
without wudhu, by a person in a state of janabah, or by a
person whose body is najis or wearing a garment that is najis.
Neither the clothes worn during the prayer nor the place where the
prayer is performed have to be mubah.
How to go
131. After making the niyyah of qurbah,
the person conducting the prayer should utter "Allahu Akbar -
Allah is Greater" five times, i.e. the number of daily prayers.
After the first one they should bear witness that there is no god but
Allah and that Mohammad is His Messenger; after the second, they
should invoke peace and benediction for the Prophet and his pure
progeny; after the third, they can pray for the welfare of the
believers; after the fourth, they can invoke Allah’s grace to be
merciful on the soul of the dead person; with the utterance of the
fifth one, the prayer comes to an end.
Keeping unbroken chain of all the utterances, invocations and
supplications is essential. While those taking part in the prayer are
involved in it, there should be no talking or actions not related to
the prayer in order to preserve its sanctity.
Concerning the Prayer
132. If the dead person used to hold a lofty
religious position, it is possible that prayer for his soul is
repeated, even after his burial, provided that it should not exceed
the first day and night after the burial. Performing prayer for any
longer period is makrouh.
133. Should there be more than one body at a time,
is it possible to hold one prayer for all of them?
A. Yes, it is possible; this can be achieved in one of two ways.
a. The corpses should be laid before the person conducting the prayer
one in front of the other in a way similar to the formation of ranks
in a congregational prayer.
b. The corpses can be laid in a gradation formation, in that one body
is laid first, the second is placed with its middle aligned with the
head of the first corpse and so on. The position of the person leading
the prayer (imam) should be in the middle.
The imam should use the dual pronoun if there were two corpses and the
plural pronoun, if there were more than two corpses.
134. This prayer can be said individually and in a
congregation. Those who are led in prayer should recite the five
takbirs (Allahu Akbar); they should also recite the invocations. The
imam does not need to be just.
Should a person join in the prayer, they should start their prayer
from the beginning, i.e. do five takbirs and all the other
supplications. If the imam finishes before them, they should finish
what is left of prayer with or without the supplications where
135. If doubt during the prayer, or reluctance to
say it, may set in one must not let it take over, in that they must
say the prayer properly. Should there still be doubt about saying it
properly after one has finished it, there will be no need to repeat
it. However, if the person knew that it was not properly performed, it
should be started again.
136. The body could have been buried without prayer
or with one that is batil, for a reason or another , prayer
should be held over the grave, if it has already not turned to dust
of Prayer for the Dead
137. We give below the form of this prayer.
(Ashhadu alla ilah illal lah, Wahdahu la sharika lah); Ilahan wahidan fardan samadan hayyan qayuman da’iman
Lam yettakhith sahibatan wala walada, (Wa ashhadu anna Mohammadan
abduhu wa rasuluh); Ja’a bil huda wa dinil haqi liyudhirahu alad
dini kulihi walau karihal mushrikoon.
2. Allahu Akbar
(Allahuma salli ala Mohammadin wa aali Mohammad);
Wa barik ala Mohammadin wa aali Mohammad; Wa tarahham ala Mohammadin
wa aali Mohammad; Ka afdhala ma sallayta wa barakta wa tarahhamta ala
Ibrahima wa aala Ibrahima; Innaka Hamidun Majeed.
3. Allahu Akbar
(Allahumma ighfir lil mo’mineena wal
mo’minaat); wal Muslimeena wal Muslimaat, al ahya’ minhum wal
amwaat, wa tabi’ baynana wa baynahum bil khayrat; Innaka ala kulli
4. Allahu Akbar
(Allahum ighfir lihathal mayyit; Allahumma inna
hathal mussajja quddamana abduka wabnu abdik, wabnu amatik; Waqad
nazala Bika wa Anta khayru Manzool; Waqad ihtaja ila Rahmatika wa
Antal Ghaniyyu an iqabih; Allahumma inna la na’lamu minhu illa
khayra, wa Anta a’alamu bihi minna; Fa’in kana muhsinan fazid fi
ihsanih, wa in kana musi’an fatajawaz anh, wahshurhu ma’a khayrati
ibaadikas saliheen, wa hasuna ’ulala’ika rafiqa.)
5. Allahu Akbar
With this fifth takbir the prayer concludes.
The phrases between brackets, after each takbir, would suffice, i.e.
there shall be no need to recite the remainder of du’a
Should the dead body be that of a woman, you have to
say, after the fourth takbir, (Allahumma ighfir lihathihil mayyita).
That is using the feminine pronoun for this main phrase and the
remainder of the du’a.
138. Burying a dead Muslim, male or female, is
obligatory, by way of wajibun kifa’i. This obligation also
extends to Muslim children, including a dead fetus of less than four
months. Should any part of the dead body fall off, such as nail,
tooth, hair, it should be buried, preferably with the body, as a
matter of voluntary ihtiyat.
burial be carried out?
After the body has been washed, embalmed, shrouded,
and the special prayer performed for the soul of the dead person, it
has to be buried in a pit in the ground. This is so as to prevent
vultures and animals from devouring it; it is also necessary to
insulate the living from the dangers and smell which could be posed by
a decomposing body. The body should be laid to rest on its right side
with the face and the front pointing towards the qiblah. Thus,
the face should be to the right and the feet to the left in relation
to the qiblah. Should the direction of the qiblah not be
determined due to lack of knowledge, the body should be laid to face
any direction the qiblah believed to be in. If this is not
feasible too, any direction would do.
A seafarer or traveler dying at sea can be buried
there. The body could be placed in a solid water-proof container and
thrown overboard into the see, after it has been accorded the required
funeral rites. This should however be as a last resort, especially if
it is not feasible to preserve the body from decomposing and/or bury
it in the mainland.
139. Burial should take place in the ground.
However, placing the body in a coffin and burying it would be in
order. That said, lawful burial would not materialize by depositing
the body above the ground and
building over it; this cannot be allowed, even on a temporary basis in
the hope that the remains may sometime in the future be moved
somewhere else, such as the holy places, for a final burial. Should
this be resorted to, it would constitute postponing the religious
duty, which calls for a swift and proper burial of the dead. So, there
is no alternative to burying in the ground.
The plot of land where the body would finally rest
should satisfy the following:
a. The land should be lawfully mubah.
Accordingly, it is not permissible to use for burial a land owned by
others without their permission, neither can a land which is waqf
(ovenanted) for purposes other than burial be used for burial.
b. It is not permissible to bury a dead Muslim in a
place that is detested, such as rubbish dump
c. It is not permissible to bury a dead Muslim in
the graveyards dedicated to the unbelievers, neither is it permitted
to bury a dead unbeliever in Muslim cemeteries.
Should a non-Muslim woman get lawfully pregnant by a
Muslim, the baby is treated in the same way as its father. If she dies
after the spirit enters the fetus causing the baby to die as well, she
must be buried in the graveyards of Muslims. However, she must be laid
to rest on her left side with her back to the qiblah, so that
the fetus should face the qiblah.
That said, it is advisable, as a matter of ihtiyat
mustahab, that the fetus
right cheek be pointed towards the ground and its left cheek upward;
this positioning requires placing the woman’s body on its right
It is highly recommended and more meritorious if the
dead is buried in the Muslim country they happened to be living in.
However, it is mustahab to transport the dead body for burial
in the holy places, such as Najaf and Kerbala.
140. Digging out the grave with a view to exhuming
the body is haraam, unless one is absolutely sure that it has
turned into dust. However, the following cases are exempt:
a. Exhuming the body is in the interest of the dead
person. Among such cases could be that the place where it is buried
may be a cause for denigrating its sanctity, such as the place being a
rubbish dump or a sewer;
fear for the body from the animals or being washed away by flooding;
exhuming could be in execution to an instruction contained in the dead
person’s will, such as his wish to be buried in another place. In
other words, the overriding purpose behind the exhumation should be
striking the right balance between the interest of the dead and that
of the public or particular people.
b. Exhuming the body should be allowed to forestall
any potential dispute, such as examining the body to determine the
cause of death and subsequent evidence and rights.
c. Exhuming is allowed, should there be a case for
making good any shortcomings, barring prayer, as has already been
discussed. In this case, one must not lose sight of the fact that
preserving the dignity and sanctity of the body should be paramount.
d. Should there be a substantial amount of money
buried with the body that belongs to someone else who insists on
retrieving their money, exhuming the body can be permitted.
Digging a grave in order to bury another body in its place cannot be
Rules Concerning the Dead and their Funeral
Providing for the funeral of the dead could involve the following:
141. a. Whoever, other than the next of kin, comes
forward to take part in any action concerning the funeral of a dead
person should seek the permission of the next of kin as has already
been discussed in paras.(125-126).
142. b. All reasonable funeral expenses should be
taken from the estate of the deceased. What reasonable expenses mean
is all that which is lawfully required for burial, taking into account
the sanctity of the dead person. Such expenses take precedence over
debt, inheritance, and the requirements of the will.
Whatever extra expenses, over and above the minimum
reasonable expenses, such as money spent to buy a better quality
shroud or a better plot of land for burial, and expenditure on
mourning assemblies and feeding the guests, should not be defrayed
from the estate.
Should the heirs and next of kin of the deceased
keep the funeral expanses to the reasonable minimum, they can pay for
it from the estate, regardless of the existence of the young and
minors among the heirs.
Should the adults among the heirs choose to spend
more than the reasonable minimum amount, they should meet the extra
expenditure from their share of inheritance. If there are any young or
minor heirs, they should not be made to contribute towards the excess
If people other than the heir take it upon
themselves to spend more than the required reasonable funeral
expenses, they should not ask the heirs to meet the extra spending,
unless what they have done was with the heir’s implicit or explicit
If the deceased has directed in his will to spend more on his funeral,
all such expenses should be defrayed from his bequeathal one-third of
143. c. What has been discussed in the preceding
paragraph does not cover the wife who dies and leaves a husband, in
that all expenses arising from her funeral should be borne by the
husband. This is so, irrespective of whether she was rich, young, sane
or insane, their marriage did not consummate, the marriage contract
was a temporary one (as a matter of ihtiyat), or she was
revocably divorced and died while observing the waiting period
Furthermore, the responsibility of the husband in
catering for the funeral of his wife does not stop at a certain limit,
in that he remains liable, regardless of whether he is young or old,
sane or insane, rich or poor, financially able or resort to borrowing
for that purpose, provided that he does not put himself in an
untenable situation - when borrowing.
Should husband and wife die at the same time, her
funeral expenses should be met from her estate, not her husband’s.
If she has instructed, in her will, that her funeral expenses be met
from her own money and that such a will found its way to execution, it
is not obligatory that anything of the expenses should be charged to
144. d. If the person dies without leaving any
estate, his immediate relatives, who had used to pay for his living
and other expenses at his life time, should meet the expenses arising
from his funeral. If this is not feasible, Muslims should, as a matter
of ihtiyat, do that. Funeral expenses can, in such a case, be
met from zakat money, if it is available; whoever comes forward
to pay for the cost of burial can, if they so wish, deem the payment zakat.
145. e. If there was doubt as any Muslim has come
forward to cater for the burial, it is obligatory that this be
addressed. Should it be known that lawful funeral provisions were not
properly catered for, this has to be put right.
However, should the mukallaf doubt the propriety of providing
for the funeral, they have to assume that it was properly implemented.
146. f. There is no harm in getting paid for funeral
services, provided it does not run contrary to the niyyah of qurbah.
147. g. All funeral provisions normally accorded to
the dead with a complete body, should be accorded to the body with
missing part/s. That is, a body without limbs, a skeleton without
flesh, or a body with part breast or the latter in full should, as a
matter of ihtiyat mustahab, all be accorded ghusl
and shrouding; camphor should be rubbed in the those parts of the body
where the procedure calls for. Prayer has to be performed for the
Should there be a piece of bone, of the dead body,
with flesh on it, it should be wrapped in a piece of material and
buried; prayer here is not obligatory. If pieces of boneless flesh
were found, they should be wrapped in a piece of material and buried
As for any parts of a living person’s body that
get amputated, nothing of the aforesaid procedures should apply to
them. They have to be wrapped in a piece of cloth and buried.
148. h. It is not permissible to mutilate or apply
dissection to a dead body of a Muslim. Any action which may entail
denigrating the integrity of Muslim, living or dead, is not
That said, there are cases for autopsy and the like where certain
situations necessitate waiving the conditions, among which are the
a. A dead fetus could pose a threat to a pregnant
woman. Extra care must be taken to safeguard the well-being of the
mother, even if extricating the fetus leads to its own mutilation.
Should the surgery call for the expertise of a specialist not related
to the woman, there is no objection to them carrying it out, provided
that the procedure is confined to that part of the woman’s body that
If the situation is reversed, every step should be taken to save the
living fetus, even if this leads to operating on the woman by way of a
b. Should the medical profession call for training
in autopsy on a Muslim’s dead body, this could be allowed, provided
that there was still the need for more doctors. The criterion by which
the number of doctors needed for this sort of work should be judged by
the death of ill people due to the non-availability of a doctor.
149. i. It is not permissible to pluck out locks of
hair or nails of the dead body, either before, during, or after ghusl.
Should this be the case, any removed parts should be buried with the
body, for it is, as a matter of ihtiyat, more meritorious and mustahab
to do so.
for Touching the Dead
150. There shall be no ghusl required from a
person touching a dead body while the body is still warm. However,
that part of the body which comes into contact with the dead one
becomes najis, should there be moistness and that this
moistness crept into the part of the body of the living. In this case,
only that part should be made tahir.
There shall be no ghusl too for a person
coming into contact with a dead body after ghusl has been
performed on it, irrespective of the presence or otherwise of dampness
Should a person come into contact with a dead body, after the body has
cooled and before ghusl has been performed, he has to render
the part of their body that made the contact tahir as well as
have ghusl for touching a dead body.
151. Irrelevant to the consequences of touching is
whether the dead body is that of a male or female, sane or insane, old
or young (including a dead fetus after the spirit has entered it).
Irrelevant too is whether the touching is made with the hands or any
other part of the body which has feeling, barring hair for example. If
this was the case, ghusl becomes obligatory.
Of no effect on the ghusl being obligatory is
whether the touching is done on purpose and with intent or
inadvertently. All parts of the body involved in the touching or being
touched are treated the same, be they exposed or hidden, such as the
tongue, teeth, and nail, except hair.
152. Should there be scattered parts of the dead
body, i.e. containing bone, they must be washed, if they were touched.
For the ghusl to be obligatory, it is not a condition that the
entire dead body, or a larger chunk of it, should be there. However,
it is not obligatory to have ghusl for touching only flesh or
bone. That said, there is, as a matter of ihtiyat, no harm in
having ghusl for touching the bone of a dead person.
In the event of any part of a living person getting
removed, it is obligatory to have ghusl after having come into
contact with it. That is, if the severed part is boned flesh.
You should be led by the general guidelines discussed in paras. (7)
and those that followed it for conducting ghusl of touching a
153. It is permissible for a person who has become
liable to ghusl of touching a dead body to enter the mosques
and holy shrines and stay there as long as it takes. They should be
governed by the same rules concerning those who have done something
which warrants ghusl; these rules have already been discussed
in paraa.(3) and(4).
154. Voluntary ghusls are numerous. Whoever
caters for them should expect a reward. Those who choose not to shall
not be considered sinful. Right at the top of the list is the Juma’ ghusl.
It is possible to have this ghusl during the period from dawn
till the end of the day. However, having it before noon is more
superior to delaying it until after midday. In the event of not
finding water on the day, one can postpone the ghusl to the
next day and perform it by way of qadha’.
155. Among other voluntary ghusls are the
a. Ghusls for the inaugural days of both Eidul
Fitr and Eidul Adhha.
b. Ghusl for the eighth and ninth (Arafat)
days of the month of Thil
c. Ghusl for the first, the seventeenth, the
nineteenth, the twenty first, the twenty third, and the twenty fourth
nights of the month of
d. Ghusl for wearing ihraam.
e. Ghusls for entering: the Haram, Makkah,
Madinah, and al-Masjidil Haraam.
f. Ghusl for seeking repentance.
g. Ghusl for the visitation of the shrine of
Imam Hussain (a.s.); this is confined to actually paying respect to
his tomb, i.e. not paying tribute from afar…
h. Ghusl for taking istikharah (The
process of asking Allah for proper guidance in certain matters you are
unable to decide on, through, for example, consulting the verses of
the Holy Qur’an).
i. Ghusl for istisqa’ (prayer for
156. It is to be noted though that the aforesaid ghusls
fall into three categories. The first requires the ghusl at a
certain time, such as the ghusl for the first day of the Eid,
the second for entering into a place, such as entering Makkah, the
third for commissioning a certain action, such as the ghusl for
wearing ihraam. So, the said ghusls have to be had with
due attention to the time, place, and action (devotion).
Should anything that breaches the ghusl
happen before commissioning the action, in the same way wudhu may
be breached, one has to renew the ghusl.
The worshipper should be led be the general guidelines of ghusl
discussed in paras. (7) and those that followed it for conducting
those mustahab ghusls. All such ghusls make up
for wudhu as has already been discussed in para.(5)