Crossing the Bridge of Death

Every soul shall taste of death. (Surah Aal-e-Imraan 185)

Death is an inevitable event which no man can escape. As such, the reality of death is something which is accepted by both the believer and disbeliever. As far as a disbeliever is concerned, he views death as a terminating point which brings an abrupt end to his existence. As for a believer, he does not consider death to be the end of life. Instead, he considers it to be the beginning of the second phase of the journey towards his ultimate abode – the Hereafter.

Death, in reality, is a gift for a believer as it is the means of uniting the lover with his beloved. With death, the lover reaches his ultimate goal for which he strove throughout his life and he is now released from the imprisonment of this earthly abode. Allah Ta`ala states:Surah_fajar_27

O contented soul! Return to your Rabb while you are pleased (with Him) and He is pleased with you. Enter amongst My bondsmen and enter My gardens of Paradise. (Surah Fajr 27)

Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam has mentioned:

تحفة المؤمن الموت

Death is a gift for the believer. (Mustadrak Haakim #7900)

This booklet is a compilation of various laws pertaining to the dying person before and after death, the masaa’il of ghusal, kafn, janaazah etc. Every Muslim must equip himself with these relevant laws and masaa’il in order that the correct procedure could be adopted upon the demise of any person. Often, due to us lacking in the knowledge of these aspects, we tend to put the dying person as well as the family under unnecessary difficulty and trouble. May Allah Ta`ala accept this humble effort and allow it to be a means of benefit to one and all.

Contents


The Final Moments

When a person is on his deathbed and his breathing becomes difficult, the limbs of his body become loose, he is unable to stand, his nose becomes slightly bent and his temples begin to sink in, one should realise that the time of death has approached. In Shari’ah, such a person is known as a ‘muhtadhar’.  [1]

We have been advised in the Mubaarak Ahaadith to recite Surah Yaaseen or Surah Baqarah near the dying person as it has been experienced that through the recitation of these Surahs, the pangs of death are lightened. If one is unable to recite it himself then he should ask someone else to recite it near the dying person. [2]

This is indeed a very crucial moment for the dying person. Hence, those seated around him should not speak of anything that will divert the attention of the dying person away from Allah Ta’ala towards the material things of the world. This is the time when the dying person is about to leave the worldly abode and present himself in the court of Allah Ta’ala. [3]

 

Posture of the Muhtadhar

When a person begins to experience the pangs of death (sakaraatul maut), it is sunnah that he be made to lie on his right side facing the qiblah. If this is difficult, he should be made to lie flat on his back with his feet facing towards the qiblah. His head will be slightly raised so that his face could also be towards the qiblah. If even this is difficult then he should be left in whichever position he is in. [4]

 

Talqeen at the time of death

It is mustahab for those seated around the dying person to begin reciting the Kalimah aloud so that this will be an encouragement for him to also recite the Kalimah. This is called talqeen of the Shahaadatain to the dying person. Those around the dying person should not instruct him to recite the Kalimah as this is a very crucial and difficult time and one does not know how the dying person will respond. However, they should prompt the dying person to recite the Shahaadatain by reciting it in an audible manner. [5]

Once he recites the Kalimah, it is not necessary for those around him to prompt him to recite it again as the purpose has been achieved i.e. the last words uttered by the dying person should be the Kalimah or any zikr of Allah Ta’ala. However, if the dying person speaks of any worldly affair after having recited the Kalimah, then those around him should once again commence reciting the Kalimah in order to encourage him to repeat it. [6]

 

Unknowingly uttering words of kufr at the time of death

While experiencing the pangs of death, if words of kufr were uttered by the dying person, then neither should any attention be paid towards it nor should it be publicised. Instead, it should be felt that the dying person, on account of the difficulty of death, was not in his normal state of mind and had thus unrealizingly uttered such words. It is well known that the person who utters words of kufr while he is not in his senses will be forgiven. Dua should continuously be made for the assistance and salvation of the dying person.[7]

 

What Should be Done Immediately After Death?

Once the person passes away, his eyes should be closed and his limbs should be straightened. His hands should be placed at his sides while his fingers and joints should be loosened. His mouth should be closed by tying a cloth from below the chin around both sides of his head. The cloth should be knotted so that the mouth does not open. The Fuqahaa explain that this should be done in order for the ghusal to take place correctly. At times, after the person’s demise, the body becomes stiff and while giving ghusal, water does not reach all parts of the body. Therefore, straightening the limbs of the deceased upon his demise will ensure that at the time of ghusal, the water will reach the entire body easily.[8]

The following dua will be recited when closing the mouth and eyes of a male deceased:

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِفلان وَارْفَعْ دَرَجَتَهُ فِى الْمَهْدِيِّينَ وَاخْلُفْهُ فِى عَقِبِهِ فِى الْغَابِرِينَ وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلَهُ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ اللَّهُمَّ افْسَحْ لَهُ فِى قَبْرِهِ وَنَوِّرْ لَهُ فِيهِ

O Allah, forgive (so and so) and raise his rank among the rightly guided, and You be his guardian in seeing to the affairs of those he has left behind (his family). Forgive our sins and forgive the sins of the deceased O Rabb of the worlds. O Allah, expand his grave and illuminate it for him (through your mercy). (Saheeh Muslim #920)

The following dua will be recited when closing the mouth and eyes of a female deceased:

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِفلان وَارْفَعْ دَرَجَتَهَا فِى الْمَهْدِيِّينَ وَاخْلُفْهَا فِى عَقِبِهَا فِى الْغَابِرِينَ وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلَهَا يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ اللَّهُمَّ افْسَحْ لَهَا فِى قَبْرِهَا وَنَوِّرْ لَهَا فِيهِ

The following duas may also be recited at the time of closing the eyes of the mayyit:     

بِسْمِ اللهِ وَعَلى مِلَّةِ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ

I begin in the name of Allah Ta’ala and upon the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) (Bayhaqi #6609)

بِسْمِ اللهِ وَعَلى مِلَّةِ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ اللّهُمَّ يَسِّرْ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرَهُ وَسَهِّلْ عَلَيْهِ مَا بَعْدَهُ

وَأَسْعِدْهُ بِلِقَائِكَ وَاجْعَلْ مَا خَرَجَ إِلَيْهِ خَيْرًا مِمَّا خَرَجَ عَنْهُ

I begin in the name of Allah Ta’ala and upon the Deen of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). O Allah! Grant him ease in his current condition and make the stages that follow easy for him. Favour him and bless him with the honour of meeting You, and make the abode of the Aakhirah better than the world.

Around the mayyit

• If possible, some incense should be burnt near the deceased. The reason for burning incense near the deceased is to remove any bad odour that may come out from the body of the deceased at the time of his demise or after his demise. [9]

• Women in the state of nifaas or haidh, people in the state of janaabat and disbelievers should not sit around the deceased.[10]

• It is makrooh to recite the Quraan Majeed near or around the deceased before he is given ghusal.[11] However, engaging in zikr is permissible.[12]

Ghusal of the deceased

Preparation for the Ghusal

  1. Once the necessary requirements for the ghusal and kafan are found, the deceased will be placed on a stretcher or bier and taken for the ghusal. If possible, incense sticks should be burnt one, three, five or seven times. The reason for burning incense near the deceased is to remove any bad odour that may come out from the body of the deceased.[1]
  2. When the deceased is brought to the ghusal khana, his body will be laid on the place prepared for the ghusal. It is permissible to place the body in whichever position is easy.[2] His clothing will thereafter be removed. However, before removing his clothing, the area between his navel and knees will be covered with a thick, non-tranparent cloth so that his satar will not be exposed.
  3. One should ensure that the place in which the deceased is being given ghusal has a water outlet to allow the water to easily flow out.[3]

Method of Bathing the Deceased

The following is the method of bathing the deceased:

Istinja

One will commence the ghusal by making istinja (washing the private parts) for the deceased. While making the istinja, one should wear gloves. The private parts of the deceased should not be touched with one’s bare hands. The istinja will be carried out by inserting the hands beneath the cloth which was placed over the satar. This will be done so that the satar of the mayyit does not get exposed. The satar of a male is the area from the naval to below the knees. The satar of a female before females is the same as the satar of a male. It is not permissible for the one carrying out the istinja or giving ghusal to a male or female to look at the private parts and satar area of the deceased. [4]

Wudhu

Wudhu will thereafter be made for the deceased. When carrying out the wudhu, one will begin by washing the face followed by washing the hands up to the elbows, then masah of the head will be made and lastly, the feet will be washed. The wudhu will be carried out in accordance to the normal method of wudhu, observing all the sunnats of the wudhu (e.g. khilaal of the beard, fingers and toes, masah of the ears, etc.). However, the only difference when making wudhu for the deceased is that the following three actions will not be carried out in the beginning of the wudhu; one will not commence the wudhu by washing the hands of the deceased till the wrists, gargling his mouth and putting water into his nostrils as is done by a living person. Rather, one will commence the wudhu by washing the face of the deceased.[5]

Note:

  • Some Fuqahaa have stated that it is permissible to wet some cotton wool and use it to clean the teeth and nostrils of the mayyit.[6]
  • If the deceased was in the state of janaabat (impurity) or a woman was in the state of haidh or nifaas, then according to some Fuqahaa, it is better (though not obligatory) to put water in the mouth and nostrils. In this case water will be inserted into the mouth and nostrils by wetting some cotton wool and rubbing it in the mouth and nostrils.

 

Ghusal

After completing the wudhu, the ghusal of the mayyit will be carried out in the following manner:

  1. The water used to wash the mayyit will be heated to a moderate temperature with lotus leaves or any other cleansing agent. In the absence of lotus leaves or any other cleansing agent, one may suffice on ordinary warm water.[7]
  2. One will commence by washing the head and beard of the deceased. Soap or any other cleansing agent will be applied to the head and beard of the deceased when washing them.[8]
  3. The mayyit will thereafter be made to lie on his left side so that his right side will be washed first.[9]
  4. Water will be poured three times on the entire right side, from the top to the bottom i.e. starting from the shoulder till the feet in such a manner that the water reaches the left side.[10]
  5. The mayyit will then be turned onto his right side after which the left side of his body will be washed thrice.[11]
  6. The mayyit will then be made to sit up while leaning back slightly and his stomach will be rubbed gently. If any stool or urine comes out of the body, it will be washed off and the istinja will be made for the second time. The coming out of the urine or stool will not affect the wudhu or ghusal in any way. Hence, there will be no need to repeat the entire wudhu or recommence the ghusal.[12]
  7. Finally, the mayyit will be made to lie on his left side once more and water mixed with camphor will be poured thrice on the entire right side from the head to the feet in such a manner that the water reaches the other side of the body. In this final washing, the mayyit will not be turned onto his right side and washed again.[13]
  8. Thereafter, the mayyit will be dried with a cloth or towel before he is made to wear the kafan.[14]
  9. Itr will be applied to the head and beard. Camphor will be applied to the places of sajdah i.e. forehead, nose, both palms and knees and the toes of the feet. In the absence of camphor, itr could be applied to these places. [15]

Note:

  • The water used to wash the deceased will be heated to a moderate temperature. Extremely hot water should not be used to bath the deceased.[16]
  • The above mentioned method of ghusal is the sunnah method (i.e washing the deceased three times). However, if the body is only washed once, the ghusal will be valid, since washing the body once is fardh. If there is a need to wash the body more than three times, it will be permissible. However, if there is no need to do so, it will be makrooh.[17]

Enshrouding the deceased

Method of Laying Out the Kafan and Enshrouding the Male Deceased

  1. It is sunnah to enshroud a man in three cloths i.e. a qamees (kurta), an izaar (loincloth), and a lifaafah (sheet).[1]
  2. The izaar (loincloth) will be from the head to the toe. The lifaafah (sheet) should be slightly longer than that. The qamees (kurta) will be from the neck until the feet.[2]
  3. Since the qamees will be worn by the deceased like a kurta, unlike the izaar and lifaafah which will be wrapped around him, it is important to note how the qamees will be prepared. The sheet that will be used as the qamees will be folded in half. The length of the folded sheet will equal the length from the shoulders to the feet of the deceased. An opening will then be cut into the sheet at the fold. It is through this opening that the head of the deceased will be inserted. When the mayyit is made to wear the qamees, half the sheet will cover the front of his body until the feet and the other half will cover the back of his body until the feet. The qamees (kurta) should not have any sleeves or pockets.[3]
  4. If three cloths are not available or cannot be afforded, then sufficing on two cloths (izaar and lifaafah) will be permissible.[4]
  5. Enshrouding the mayyit in two cloths is better than enshrouding him in one cloth. However, if this is not affordable then under dire circumstances, enshrouding the mayyit in one cloth will be permissible.[5]

Note: The kafan should first be scented with some incense an odd number of times if possible before enshrouding the deceased.[6]

 

The Kafan of Hazrat Mus’ab bin Umair (radhiyallahu anhu) and Hazrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu anhu)

عن سعد عن أبيه قال أتي عبد الرحمن بن عوف رضي الله عنه يوما بطعامه فقال قتل مصعب بن عمير وكان خيرا مني فلم يوجد له ما يكفن فيه إلا بردة وقتل حمزة أو رجل آخر خير مني فلم يوجد له ما يكفن فيه إلا بردة لقد خشيت أن يكون قد عجلت لنا طيباتنا في حياتنا الدنيا ثم جعل يبكي (صحيح البخارى رقم 1274)

Hazrat Abdur Rahmaan bin Auf (radhiyallahu anhu) was once served with meals. Upon receiving the food, he said, “Hazrat Mus’ab bin Umair (radhiyallahu anhu) was martyred and he was better than me. At the time of his burial, there was no cloth besides a shawl that was found to be used as his kafan. Hazrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu anhu) (or another Sahaabi (radhiyallahu anhu)) was also martyred, and he was better than me. At the time of his burial, there was no cloth besides a shawl that could be found to be used as his kafan. I fear that the rewards of our good deeds have been granted to us in our worldly life. (On account of being blessed with wealth)” He then began to weep.

 

Laying out the male’s kafan:

1. The lifaafa (sheet) will be spread out.

2. The izaar (loincloth) will be placed upon it (lifaafa).

3. The qamees (kurta) will be placed upon the izaar.[7]

 

Enshrouding the male deceased:

1. Lay down the deceased and put on the qamees (kurta).

2. Wrap the izaar (loincloth) around him.

3. The lifaafah (sheet) will be wrapped around him.

When enshrouding the deceased, one will first place the left side of the cloth (izaar and lifaafah) before the right side so that after folding, the right side of the cloth will be on top of the left side.[8]

After the mayyit is enshrouded in the kafan, a strip of cloth will be tied at the head side and another strip at the feet side to ensure that the kafan does not open. A third strip of cloth may also be tied around the stomach so that the kafan may not get loose whilst the mayyit is being carried.[9]

 

Method Of Laying Out The Kafan And Enshrouding The Female Deceased

  1. It is sunnah to enshroud a woman in five cloths i.e. a qamees (kurta), an izaar (loincloth), an aurni (headband), a lifaafah (sheet) and a seenah-band (chest band).[10]
  2. The izaar (loincloth) will be from the head to the toe. The lifaafah (sheet) should be slightly longer than that. The qamees (kurta) will be from the neck until the feet. However, it should not have any sleeves.[11]
  3. The seenah-band (chest band) will be from the chest till around the knees in length. However, if it reaches up to the navel then it will suffice.[12]
  4. If five cloths are not available or are not affordable, then sufficing on three cloths will be permissible i.e. the izaar (loincloth), lifaafah (sheet) and the aurni (headband).[13]
  5. It is makrooh to use less than three pieces of cloth except under dire circumstances.[14]

Note: The kafan should first be scented with some incense an odd number of times if possible before enshrouding the deceased.[15]

Laying out the female’s kafan:

1. The lifaafah (sheet) will be spread out.

2. The seenah-band (chest band) will be placed on the lifaafah.

3. The izaar (loincloth) will be placed upon it (seenah-band).

4. The qamees (kurta) will be placed upon the izaar.

 

Enshrouding the female deceased:

1. Lay down the deceased and put on the qamees (kurta).

2. The hair will be parted into two and then placed on the chest above the qamees (kurta). One part of the hair will be placed on the right side and the other part on the left side.

3. Place the aurni (headband) over the head and hair. It should not be tied nor wrapped.

4. Wrap the izaar (loincloth) around the qamees.

5. Then the seenah-band (chest band) will be wrapped around the izaar.

6. Lastly, the lifaafah (sheet) will be wrapped around the seenah-band (chest band).

Note: It is also permissible to tie the seenahband (chest band) after the aurni (headband), before the izaar (loincloth). Similarly, if the seenahband is tied at the end, after the lifaafah, it will be permissible.[16]

 

Important points to consider regarding the kafan of males and females

  1. When folding the izaar and lifaafah, it is mustahab for one to fold the right side over the left side.[17]
  2. After the mayyit is enshrouded in the kafan, a strip of cloth will be tied at the head side and another strip at the feet side to ensure that the kafan does not open. A third strip of cloth may also be tied around the stomach so that the kafan may not get loose whilst the mayyit is being carried.[18]
  3. If a person passes away and does not leave behind any wealth through which the kafan could be purchased and the burial expenses be paid (i.e. transporting the body to the graveyard and the cost of the grave), then it is the Shar’ee obligation of the family (those who will inherit from him) to provide him with a kafan and to cover his burial expenses.
  4. In the situation where the person does not have any family members or he is in a foreign land and his family is not known, then the obligation of providing him with a kafan and burying him rests upon the shoulders of the Ummah at large i.e. it is fardh-e-kifaayah upon all those who have knowledge of this person’s condition to enshroud him in a kafan and bury him. If some fulfil this obligation, then the others will be absolved. If the mayyit is abandoned and his body is left to decay without enshrouding and burying him, then all those who had knowledge of his condition will be sinful in the court of Allah Ta’ala.[19]
  5. It is permissible for one to prepare his kafan in advance.[20]

 

Responsibility of the Funeral Expenses

The funeral expenses refer to the cost incurred for ghusal, kafan, transporting the deceased and purchasing the grave which are all carried out in the prescribed Shar’ee manner. Any expenses incurred which are customary or contrary to Shari’ah will not be regarded as the “funeral expenses”.[21]

  1. If the deceased left sufficient wealth to cover the funeral expenses then it will be paid out from his wealth.
  2. It is permissible for a person, whether he is an heir or not, to voluntarily pay for the funeral expenses of the deceased provided he is sane and mature.
  3. If a person passes away and does not leave any wealth through which the funeral expenses could be paid, then it is the Shar’ee obligation of his family (those who will inherit from him) to cover his funeral expenses.
  4. If a person’s wife passes away then the funeral expenses will be borne by the husband, irrespective of whether the wife left some wealth or not.

 

Common Mistakes Regarding Enshrouding the Deceased

  1. Immersing a piece of cotton wool in perfume and placing it in the ears of the deceased is an unfounded practice and should be omitted.
  2. Combing the hair and beard of the deceased and clipping the nails is impermissible. If the nails are clipped, they will have to be buried with the deceased.[22]
  3. Some people apply a thick paste (sandal) to the forehead of the deceased. This is incorrect as it spoils and disfigures the face. However, if it is rubbed on the face lightly and is not placed as a thick paste, it will be permissible.[23]
  4. It is impermissible to place a Quraan Majeed or verses of the Quraan Majeed in the kafan. Similarly, it is impermissible to write verses of the Quraan Majeed on the kafan.[24]
  5. Applying surmah to the deceased is an unfounded practice and hence should be omitted.[25]

 

Masaa’il Pertaining to Giving Ghusal and Enshrouding Deceased Children

  1. A boy and girl who are close to the age of puberty will be enshrouded in the same manner that a baaligh male and female are enshrouded.[1]
  2. As far as minors who are not close to the age of puberty are concerned, it is best to enshroud a minor boy in three cloths and a minor girl in five cloths, just as baaligh males and females are enshrouded. Enshrouding the boy in two cloths and the girl in three cloths is also permissible. The minimum number of cloths that a non-baaligh boy can be enshrouded in is one cloth, and the minimum number of cloths that a non-baaligh girl can be enshrouded in is two cloths.[2]
  3. An infant child who passes away immediately after birth or a while later will be given an Islamic name, ghusal will be given and he will be enshrouded in a kafan. One cloth can be used for the kafan. The Janaazah Salaah will also be performed upon him.
  4. A still-born child will be given an Islamic name. He will thereafter be given ghusal, wrapped in a cloth and buried without Janaazah Salaah.[3]
  5. If a woman miscarries and only separate, individual limbs are seen (e.g. hands, feet, nose, mouth) which are not joined to a body, then these limbs will be wrapped in a cloth and buried.[4]
  6. If a woman miscarries and the limbs and body of the foetus are intact but not fully formed (i.e. hands, feet, nose, mouth etc. are joined to the body, but the entire body with these limbs have not yet been fully formed) then the child will be named, washed, wrapped in a cloth and buried without Janaazah Salaah. The Shar’ee ghusal will not be carried out in this case.[5]
  7. If the child dies during birth, before most of the body exits, then it will follow the law of the still-born child i.e. it will be given an Islamic name and Shar’ee ghusal, wrapped in a cloth and buried without Janaazah Salaah.
  8. If the child died during birth, after most of the body appeared, then it will be regarded as though he was born alive and then passed away. Therefore, he will be given an Islamic name and a Shar’ee ghusal, and the normal kafan will be carried out. The Janaazah Salaah will also be performed upon him.

Note: The major portion of the child appearing will be determined in the following manner: If the head of the child exited first, then once the chest exits, it will be regarded as though the major portion of the child has appeared. If the child’s feet exited first then by the navel becoming visible, it will be regarded as though the major portion of the child has appeared.[6]

 

Miscellaneous Masaa’il

Ruling of ghusal for a deceased male when there are no males present

If a man passes away and there are no Muslim males present to give him ghusal, rather there are only females present, then:

  • If he is married, his wife should give him ghusal. It is impermissible for any other female besides his wife to give him ghusal even if that female is his mahram.
  • If his wife is not present, but a non-Muslim male is present, he should be taught the method of giving ghusal to the Muslim male.
  • If his wife is not present, or he is not married, and there is no non-Muslim male present, then a woman will make tayammum for him. It should be noted that during the tayammum, the woman will not touch his body with her bare hands. Instead, she will use a glove to carry out the tayammum.
  • If the woman is a mahram of the deceased, it will be permissible for her to make tayammum for the deceased without a glove.[1]

Note: The tayammum for the ghusal is the same as the tayammum which is carried out for wudhu.

 

Ruling of Ghusal for a Deceased Female When There are no Muslim Females Present

In the case where the wife passes away and there are no Muslim females present to give her ghusal, it will not be permissible for the husband to give her ghusal or touch her with his bare hands.[2]

  1. If there is a non-Muslim female present, she should be taught the method of giving ghusal so that she could carry out the ghusal of the deceased.
  2. If there are no females present, her mahram will make tayammum for her.
  3. In the case where a mahram is not present, then the husband will make tayammum for her.
  4. If the husband is also not present, then any other person can make the tayammum for her. However, it should be noted that if the mahram makes the tayammum, he does not have to wear a glove. If the husband or any other person makes the tayammum, they will have to use a glove. It will not be permissible for them to touch the body of the deceased with their bare hands.[3]

 

The Difference in the Ruling between the Husband and Wife in regard to Ghusal

We have seen above that in the case where the husband passes away, the wife is permitted to give him ghusal. On the contrary, if the wife passes away, the husband is not permitted to give her ghusal. What is the reason for the difference?

The reason for the difference in the ruling between both situations (i.e. the wife can give ghusal to the deceased husband but the husband cannot give ghusal to his deceased wife) is that when the wife passes away, the marriage immediately terminates. Hence, the husband is treated as a stranger to his wife in terms of certain laws. However, in the case of the husband passing away, the wife remains in the nikaah until the completion of the iddah. Nevertheless, though the husband is regarded as a stranger to his wife upon her demise, permission has been granted to him to look at the face of his deceased wife.

 

Ghusal and kafan of a Person Who Passed Away while in Ihraam

If a person passes away in the state of ihraam, whether he tied the ihraam for hajj or umrah, he will be treated as a normal person i.e. he will be given ghusal and kafan as normal.[4]

 

Ghusal for a Drowned Person

If a person passes away through drowning then once he is removed from the water, it is fardh to give him ghusal. Merely being in the water will not suffice to fulfil the obligation of ghusal. The reason is that carrying out the ghusal for the mayyit is fardh (upon the living) and through the mayyit drowning in water, this fardh obligation will not be discharged, as it is dependant on them carrying it out.

However, if before removing the body from the water, those removing the body shook the body in the water and intended that this will be in place of the ghusal, the ghusal will be valid, though this will not conform to the sunnah method of ghusal.

In the abovementioned situation, if the mayyit was removed from the water after drowning and the Janaazah Salaah was performed upon him without ghusal being given to him, the Janaazah Salaah will be valid. The reason for the Janaazah Salaah being valid is that the entire body of the mayyit was washed after his demise. The validity of the Janaazah Salaah is subject to the body of the mayyit being washed after demise. Hence, the Janaazah Salaah will be valid, even though the people will be sinful for not discharging the obligation of giving ghusal to the mayyit. [5]

 

Ghusal of an Incomplete Body

  1. If the mayyit’s head is found without the body, ghusal will not be waajib. Instead, the head will be buried.
  2. If more than half of the mayyit’s body is found, ghusal will be waajib, irrespective of whether it was with the head or not.
  3. If half of the body is found, then ghusal will be waajib in the case where the body is found with the head. If the body is found without the head, ghusal will not be waajib.
  4. If less than half of the body is found then irrespective of whether it is with the head or not, ghusal will not be waajib.[6]

 

Ghusal and Janaazah for Unidentifiable Bodies

If the body of a deceased is discovered and it is not known whether he is a Muslim or a kaafir then:

  1. If the body is found in an Islamic country (Darul Islam), ghusal will be given to him.
  2. If the body is found in a non-Islamic country (Darul Harb), then if any signs of Imaan are visible on him, he will be regarded as a believer and ghusal will be given to him. If signs of kufr are visible on him, he will be regarded as a disbeliever and ghusal will not be given to him.

The signs of Imaan are the deceased wearing the clothing of the believers (e.g. topee, turban or kurta), the deceased being circumcised or the pubic hair being shaved.[7]

If Muslims and non-Muslims pass away together e.g. in earthquakes, floods etc. and the Muslim bodies cannot be distinguished from the non-Muslim bodies then:

  1. If in some way it is known that the Muslims at the scene were more in number than the non-Muslims, ghusal will be given to all the bodies and the normal kafan will be carried out. The Janaazah Salaah will also be performed upon all the bodies with the niyyah that the Janaazah Salaah is only for the believers, and they will be buried in a Muslim graveyard.[8]
  2. If the non-Muslim bodies were more in number than the Muslim bodies, ghusal and kafan will not be carried out. However, all the bodies will be washed in the manner that an impure cloth is washed. Thereafter, the bodies will be wrapped in a cloth and buried in a non-Muslim graveyard. The Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon them, and they will be buried in a kaafir graveyard.[9]
  3. If the Muslim bodies and non-Muslim bodies were equal in number then ghusal and kafan will not be carried out. However, all the bodies will be washed as a dirty cloth is washed. Thereafter, the bodies will be wrapped in a cloth and buried. The Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon them.

In regard to this situation (the bodies of Muslims and non-Muslims were equal in number), there are three opinions of the Fuqahaa with regards to where the bodies will be buried. Practising upon any opinion is permissible.

  1. The bodies will be buried in a non-Muslim graveyard.
  2. The bodies will be buried in a Muslim graveyard.
  3. The bodies will neither be buried in a non-Muslim graveyard nor a Muslim graveyard. Instead, they will be buried in a separate land.[10]

Some Fuqahaa are of the opinion that in all the above mentioned three situations (where the number of the Muslims are more than the non-Muslims, less than the non-Muslims or equal), all the bodies will be given ghusal and kafan, and Janaazah Salaah will be performed with the intention that the salaah is only for the believers.

Ghusal for a Kaafir Relative

If a Muslim’s close relative who is a kaafir passes away, his body should be given to his non-Muslim family or those who are of the same religion. If no non-Muslim family can be found or the non-Muslims refuse to accept his body, then under dire necessity it will be permissible for the Muslims to give ghusal to the non-Muslim. However, the ghusal should not be given in the normal sunnah manner. Instead, the body of the nonMuslim will be washed just as any impure cloth is washed. Similarly, there will be no Janaazah Salaah performed on the body.[11]

Note: By washing the body of the kaafir, the kaafir will not become pure.[12]

 

Ghusal for Rebels and Renegades

  1. If rebels are killed while fighting against the state or highway robbers are killed while involved in the crime of highway robbery, then in an Islamic country, ghusal will not be given to them. If rebels are killed while fighting against a non-Islamic state or highway robbers are killed while involved in the crime of highway robbery in a non-Muslim country, then ghusal will be given to them. If they are not killed while involved in the crime of rebelling or highway robbery, but rather pass away a natural death, then whether they pass away in an Islamic country or not, ghusal will be given to them.[13]
  2. If a murtad (i.e. one who renounces Islam) is killed, ghusal will not be given to him. If the followers of the religion to which the murtad converted request for the body, the body should not be given to them. His body will not be buried in a Muslim graveyard.[14]

 

Ghusal After Performing Tayammum

A deceased was given tayammum due to the absence of water. Later on, water was found. If the mayyit was not yet buried, ghusal will be given to him. If the Janaazah Salaah was performed with the tayammum, it will not have to be repeated.[15]

The Janaazah Salaah

The Janaazah Salaah is in reality a Dua to Allah Ta’aala for the deceased. Thus, there is no need for an additional dua after the completion of the Janaazah Salaah. The practice of making an additional dua after the Janaazah Salaah is not established from any narration from Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, the Sahaabah, the Taab’ieen and the entire Ummah. Hence the additional dua after the Janaazah Salaah that is practised in many places is an innovation in deen.

 

The Conditions for the Validity of Janaazah Salaah

There are two types of conditions for the validity of Janaazah Salaah:

1) Conditions that relate to the Salaah

2) Conditions that relate to the deceased

 

Conditions relating to the salaah

The conditions for the validity of the Janaazah Salaah are the same as normal Salaah, viz. being in the state of Wudhu, covering those parts of the body which are necessary to cover in order for the Salaah to be valid, facing the qiblah, the clothing and the area upon which the Salaah is performed be pure and having the intention of Salaah.[80]

 

There are however two differences between Janaazah Salaah and normal salaah.

1) The Janaazah Salaah is not limited to any specific time unlike the five daily salaah. Hence, at whichever time the Janaazahis prepared and brought, the Janazah Salaah can be performed, provided it is not performed at the time of sunrise, Zawaal or sunset.[81]

2) Performing the Janaazah Salaah with tayammum is permissible if one fears missing the Janaazah Salaah by performing wudhu,[82] contrary to the five daily Salaah. Thus, if a person without Wudhu fears that by performing Wudhu the time of Salaah will expire, it will be impermissible for him to perform the Salaah with Tayammum. Instead it is necessary for him to make Wudhu and perform the Salaah. If the time has expired, then he should perform the Salaah as Qadha.[83]

عن ابن عباس قال : إذا خفت أن تفوتك الجنازة وأنت على غير وضوء فتيمم وصل  (مصنف لابن أبي شيبة – في الرجل يخاف أن تفوته الصلاة على الجنازة وهو غير متوضئ 7/273)

Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (Radiallahu Anhuma) is reported to have said: “If you fear missing the Janaazah Salaah whilst you are not in the state of wudhu, then make tayammum and perform salaah.

 

Performing Janaazah Salaah in the makruh time

If the Janaazah is brought after the makruh time sets in, then performing the Janaazah Salaah in the makruh time will be permissible. However, if the Janaazah was brought before the makruh time sets in but the Salaah was then delayed till the makruh time, then performing the Janaazah Salaah in the makruh time will be makruh tahreemi.

Note: The makruh time is when the sun begins to change colour before sunset.[84]

 

Performing Janaazah Salaah with shoes

If the Janaazah Salaah is performed with shoes then it will be necessary to ensure that the shoes as well the ground one stands on is pure. If one removes his shoes and stands on them, then in this case it will be necessary that only the shoes be pure (not the ground). If one’s shoes are impure, the Janaazah Salaah will be invalid.[85]

 

Conditions relating to the deceased

The second type of conditions are those that relate to the deceased:

Six conditions relate to the deceased: [86]

1) The deceased has to be a Muslim.
If the deceased was a Kaafir or Murtad (renegade) Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon him. If a Muslim is an open sinner or Bid’ati, Janaazah Salaah will still be performed upon him.[87]

2) The body and kafan of the deceased must be purified from najaasat-e-haqiqi (i.e. physical impurities such as urine, stool, etc.) as well as najaasat-e-hukmi (i.e. the deceased must be given ghusal or tayammum if water is not found).
Hence, if any of these impurities were not removed from the deceased’s body or the deceased was not given ghusal the Janaazah Salaah will be invalid.

Note: However, if after giving ghusal to the deceased najaasat-e-haqiqi (urine, stool, etc.) comes out of the body the ghusal will not have to be repeated and the Janaazah Salaah will be valid (even though the impurity soils the body and kafan of the mayyit).[88] Some Ulama opine that just as it is a pre-condition for the validity of the janaaza salaah that the deceased be cleansed of najaasat-e-haqiqi as well as najaasat-e-hukmi, similarly it is a pre-condition for the validity of the Janaazah Salaah that the area upon which the deceased is placed also be pure.[89]

3) To cover that portion of the deceased’s body that is waajib to cover during normal Salaah.
If the deceased’s body is completely bare or any portion becomes exposed which will invalidate the Salaah, the Janaazah Salaah will be invalid.[90]

4) To place the deceased in front of those performing the Janaazah Salaah.
If the deceased is placed behind those performing the Janaazah Salaah, the Janaazah Salaah will be invalid.[91]

5) To place the deceased on the ground.
If the Janaazah Salaah is being performed upon the deceased while he is being carried by some people or while he is placed on a vehicle or an animal, the Salaah will not be valid.[92]

Note: If the deceased is placed on an inanimate object (e.g. a table or bench) which is placed on the ground the Janaaza Salaah will be valid.

6) The deceased should be present at that place of the Janaazah Salaah.
If he is not present, the Salaah will not be valid.[93]

 

Miscellaneous cases of Janaazah Salaah

Janaazah Salaah of rebels and highway robbers

The Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon Muslims who rebel against a just Muslim ruler (in an Islamic country) if they were killed whilst fighting. However if they (rebels) are captured and killed after the battle or die a natural death, then the Janaazah Salaah will be performed upon them. Likewise, the Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon highway robbers who are killed during the crime of highway robbery in an Islamic country.[94]

 

A person who killed one of his parents

A person who kills his father or mother in an Islamic country and is thereafter killed by the Imaam (Ruler) as punishment for the crime committed,  the Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon him. [95]

Note: Despite the above-mentioned people being Muslims, the Janaazah Salaah is not performed upon them in order to impress upon the Muslim Ummah the seriousness of the crime they commited. However, in a non-Islamic country Janaazah Salaah will be performed upon all these people. [96]

 

One who commits suicide

Janaazah Salaah will be performed upon a person who commits suicide.[97] However the pious and learned will not participate in the Janaazah Salaah in order to impress upon the people the severity of the sin.

Note: The pious and learned will not participate in the Janaazah Salaah of all such individuals who were involved in serious offences such as killing one’s parents, highway robbery, suicide, etc. However, the general public will perform the Janaazah Salaah of these people. [98]

 

An immature child who has only one parent who is a Muslim

If a child who has not reached the age of puberty passes away and only one of the parents is a Muslim (and the other is a kaafir), the child will be regarded as a Muslim. Thus, Janaazah Salaah will be performed upon him.[99]

 

The deceased buried without ghusal and Janaazah Salaah

If a person was buried without ghusal and Janaazah Salaah then the Janaazah Salaah will be performed at his grave provided the body has not decomposed. If after performing the Janaazah Salaah and burying the deceased it was discovered that ghusal was not given to him, then the Janaazah Salaah will have to be repeated at the grave provided the body has not decomposed.[100]

Note: The time it takes for the body to decompose will be determined through the nature of the soil of the area in which the deceased was buried. This will differ from place to place. Hence, it is not possible to specify any period of time. This is the most preferred opinion among the Fuqaha.[101]

 

The Faraa’idh and Sunan of Janaazah Salaah

There are two Faraa’idh in Janaazah Salaah:

  1. To recite Allahu Akbar four times.
  2. To perform the Janaazah Salaah in a standing posture.

 

Note:

  • In Janaazah Salaah each takbeer is in place of one Raka’at i.e. the position each takbeer holds in a Janaazah Salaah is similar to the position each Raka’at holds in a four Raka’at Fardh Salaah. Hence, if any takbeer is omitted, the Janaazah Salaah will be invalid.
  • Just as it is compulsory to perform the faraa’idh and Waajibaat standing, similarly, it is compulsory to perform the Janaazah Salaah standing. Thus, if a person performs the Janaazah Salaah sitting without a valid excuse the Salaah will not be valid. [102]
  • There is no Ruku’, Sajdah or Qa’dah in Janaazah Salaah. [103]

 

There are three Sunnats in Janaazah Salaah:

  1. To praise Allah Ta’aala.
  2. To send salutations upon Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
  3. To make Dua for the deceased. [104]

 

Is Jamaa’at a Condition for Janaazah Salaah?

Jamaa’at is not a condition for Janaazah Salaah. Hence, if one person performs Janaazah Salaah on the deceased, the Fardh obligation will be fulfilled, irrespective of whether the one performing the Salaah is a male or female, mature person or an immature person. However, there is more benefit for the deceased in the case where the Janaazah Salaah is performed in congregation (as it has been explained previously that the Janaazah Salaah in reality is a Dua for the deceased). The reason is that few people collectively supplicating to Allah Ta’aala for the forgiveness of the deceased is certainly a greater means of attracting the mercy of Allah Ta’aala compared to an individual supplicating for the forgiveness of the deceased. [105]

عن عائشة : عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال لا يموت أحد من المسلمين فتصلي عليه أمة من المسلمين يبلغون أن يكونوا مائة فيشفعوا له إلا شفعوا فيه (ترمذي 1/200)

Hadhrat ‘Aaisha Radiallahu Anha reports that Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “Whenever a Believer passes away and a group of Believers numbering a hundred perform Janaazah Salaah upon him and intercede on his behalf, their intercession will be accepted in the court of Allah Ta’aala.

 

The method of performing the Janaazah Salaah

The Sunnah method of performing the Janaazah Salaah is as follows:

  • The deceased should be placed in front of the Imaam.[106]
  • The Imaam will stand directly in line of the chest.[107]
  • The intention for Janaazah Salaah will be made. The intention is as follows:[108]

نَوَيْتُ أَنْ اُصَلِّيَ صَلَاةَ الْجَنَازَةِ لِلّهِ تَعَالى وَ دُعَاءً لِلْمَيِّتِ

Translation: I intend offering the Janaazah Salaah for the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala and as a Dua for the deceased.

  • The hands will then be raised up to the ears followed by saying the takbeer.[109]
  • Thereafter the hands will be tied below the navel as done in normal Salaah.[110]
  • The thanaa will then be recited.[111]
  • The takbeer will be said for the second time without raising the hands.[112]
  • The Durood will be recited. It is preferable to recite the same Durood that is recited in Salaah, i.e Durood-e-Ebrahim.[113]
  • The takbeer will be said for the third time without raising the hands.[114]
  • Thereafter the dua for the deceased will be recited. If the deceased is an adult the following Dua will be recited:[115]

اللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِحَيِّنَا وَمَيِّتِنَا وَشَاهِدِنَا وَغَائِبِنَا وَصَغِيْرِنَا وَكَبِيْرِنَا وَذَكَرِنَا وَاُنْثَانَا اَللّٰهُمَّ مَنْ اَحْيَيْتَهُ مِنَّا فَاَحْيِهِ عَلَى الْاِسْلاَمِ وَمَنْ تَوَفَّيْتَهُ مِنَّا فَتَوَفَّهُ عَلَى الْاِيْمَانِ

Translation: O Allah! Forgive our living and dead, present and absent, young and old, men and women. O Allah! Whoever amongst us is kept alive by You, keep him alive on Islam and whoever You give death, grant him death on Imaan.

  • In some Ahaadeeth, the following Dua has has been recorded:[116]

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ له وَارْحَمْهُ وَعَافِهِ وَاعْفُ عنه وَأَكْرِمْ نُزُلَهُ وَوَسِّعْ مَدْخَلَهُ وَاغْسِلْهُ بِالْمَاءِ وَالثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ وَنَقِّهِ من الْخَطَايَا كما يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الْأَبْيَضُ من الدَّنَسِ وَأَبْدِلْهُ دَارًا خَيْرًا من دَارِهِ وَأَهْلًا خَيْرًا من أَهْلِهِ وَزَوْجًا من زَوْجِهِ وَأَدْخِلْهُ الْجَنَّةَ وَأَعِذْهُ من عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَعَذَابِ النَّارِ

Note: Apart from these two, other Duas have also been reported in the Ahadeeth. The Fuqaha have also recorded these Duas in the books of fiqh. One could therefore recite whichever Dua one wishes.

  • If the deceased is an immature boy, the following Dua should be recited:[117]

اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْهُ لَنَا فَرَطًا وَّاجْعَلْهُ لَنَا اَجْرًا وَّذُخْرًا وَّاجْعَلْهُ لَنَا شَافِعًا وَّمُشَفَّعًا

Translation: O Allah! Make him a source of happiness for us, make him a means of reward and a treasure for us, make him an intercessor for us and accept his intercession.

  • If the deceased was an immature girl, the same Dua should be recited with the following changes:[118]

اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا لَنَا فَرَطًا وَّاجْعَلْهَا لَنَا اَجْرًا وَّذُخْرًا وَّاجْعَلْهَا لَنَا شَافِعَةً وَّمُشَفَّعَةً

Translation: O Allah! Make her a source of happiness for us, make her a means of reward and a treasure for us, make her an intercessor for us and accept her intercession.

  • Once this Dua has been recited, the takbeer will be said for the fourth time without raising the hands. After this takbeer, the salaam should be made just as it is made for any other Salaah. There is neither at-tahiyyaat nor recitation of the Qur’aan in this. [119]

Performing Janaazah Salaah in a masjid

  • It is compulsory to perform the Janaazah Salaah out of the masjid. Performing the Janaazah Salaah in the masjid  is makrooh-e-tahrimi.

عن أبى هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من صلى على جنازة فى المسجد فلا شىء له (سنن أبي داود 2/98)

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallah Anhu) reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: “Whoever performs Salaat-ul-Janaazah in a Masjid then there is no reward for him.

  • There is no difference in the law in the following situations:

a) the Janaazah as well as the people are in the masjid;

b) the Janaazah is in the masjid and the people are out of the masjid;

c) the Janaazah is out of the masjid and the people are in the masjid;

d) the Janaazah and some people are out of the masjid and some people are in the masjid.

Note:

1) If there is a dire necessity to perform the Janaazah Salaah in the masjid e.g. in the event of rain, then performing the Janaazah Salaah in the masjid will be permissible. However, in today’s times since the Masaajid have a sahan (demarcated area outside the masjid) there will be no need to take the Janaazah into the masjid.[120]

2) The above-mentioned law (i.e. impermissibility of performing the Janaazah Salaah in the masjid) conforms to the Hanafi and Maaliki madh-hab. According to the Shafi’ and Hambali madh-hab, it is permissible to perform Janaazah Salaah in the masjid.[121]

 

Miscellaneous Masaa’il

  • The laws of Janaazah Salaah which apply to the Imaam also apply to the Muqtadi. The only difference beween the Imaam and Muqtadi is that the Imaam will make the takbeers and salaam aloud while the muqtadi will make them softly. The remainder (i.e. the thanaa, Durood and Dua) will be recited softly by the muqtadi as well as the Imaam.[122]
  • Making at least three saffs for the Janaazah Salaah is mustahab. Hence if there are only seven people present for the Janaazah Salaah, one will be made the Imaam, three will stand in the first saff, two in the second saff, and one in the third saff.[123]

عن مرثد بن عبد الله اليزني قال : كان مالك بن هبيرة إذا صلى على جنازة فتقال الناس عليها جزاؤهم ثلاثة أجزاء ثم قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم من صلى عليه ثلاثة صفوف فقد أوجب (جامع الترمذي 1/200)

Translation: Whenever Maalik ibn Hubairah (Radiallahu Anhu) performed a Janaazah Salaah, he would split the congregation into three parts. He would then say that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “That Janaazah upon which three rows of people performed Salaah has been secured”.

  • Those factors that invalidate normal Salaah invalidate Janaazah Salaah. The only two differences between normal Salaah and Janaazah salaah are:
  1. Laughing aloud in normal Salaah invalidates the Salaah as well as the wudhu. However in Janaazah Salaah, laughing aloud only invalidates the salaah, not the wudhu.
  2. If a woman stands next to a man, in normal Salaah the Salaah of the man becomes invalid. In Janaazah Salaah if a woman stands next to a man the Janaazah Salaah does not become invalid.[124]

 

Delaying the Janaazah Salaah

Delaying the Janaazah Salaah in the anticipation of a larger crowd is makrooh. [125]

Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had commanded us to hasten in burying the deceased and not to delay in this regard.

عن علي بن أبي طالب أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال له يا علي ثلاث لا تؤخرها الصلاة إذا آنت والجنازة إذا حضرت والأيم إذا وجدت لها كفوا (جامع الترمذي 1/206)

Translation: Hadhrat Ali Radiallahu Anhu reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to him: “O Ali! Do not delay in three things. Salaah when its time sets in, Janaazah Salaah when it is present and a virgin girl when you find her a compatible partner.

 

Performing Janaazah Salaah whilst seated in a vehicle

It is impermissible to perform the Janaazah Salaah whilst seated on the ground or in a vehicle without a valid shari’ excuse. [126]

 

Performing several Janaazahs at one time

If there are several Janaazah’spresent at one time, performing a separate Janaazah Salaah on each deceased is better. However, if one Janaazah Salaah was performed on all the deceased it will be permissible.

Upon which deceased should Janaazah Salaah be performed first

If each Janaazah is performed individually, then the Janaazah Salaah of the one possessing the most deeni  virtue (the one possessing the highest rank in deen) will be performed first, followed by the one who is second in rank, and so forth. [127]

 

The method of placing the Janaazahs when performing one Janaazah Salaah for several deceased

The first Janaazah will be placed in front of the Imaam. The head of the second Janaazah will be placed at the feet of the first Janaazah. The head of the third Janaazah will be placed at the feet of the second Janaazah, and so forth. The Imaam will stand in-line with the chest of the first Janaazah (which is closest to him).[128]

 

Coming late for Janaazah Salaah

1) A person who joins the Janaazah Salaah at the time when one or more takbeers have been completed will be regarded as a masbooq (a late comer).

The law of the masbooq is that he should wait until the Imaam calls out the next takbeer. When the Imaam says the takbeer, he should join in the Salaah. This takbeer will be regarded as his first takbeer (takbeer-e-tahrima). If he has knowledge of which takbeer the Imaam has made, then he should recite whatever the Imaam will be reciting. Otherwise, he will commence from the beginning (i.e. by reciting thanaa). When the Imaam completes the Janaazah Salaah and makes salaam, he should not make salaam with the Imaam. Instead he should recite the missed takbeers and thereafter make salaam. If he wishes to recite the Durood and the Dua’ after the respective takbeers, then it is permissible provided the Janaazah is not lifted. If he fears that the Janaazah will be lifted, then he should suffice on the takbeers and make the salaam.[129]

2) If a person reaches at such a time when the Imaam has already made the fourth takbeer, in this case, (if he has knowledgs that this is the fourh takbeer of the Imaam) he should immediately make the takbeer and join the salaat before the Imaam makes salaam. When the Imaam makes salaam, he should repeat the missed takbeers as explained above.[130]

3) A person was present at the time of takbeer-e-tahreemah or when any of the other takbeers were called out, but for some reason he did not join the Salaah. Hence since he was present at the time the Imaam said the takbeer, he should immediately say the takbeer and join the salaat. He should not wait for the next takbeer as is the law of the masbooq (a late comer).

Note: He will not have to repeat the takbeer as long as he makes it before the Imaam says the next takbeer. This takbeer will be valid even though he did not make it simultaneously with the Imaam, unlike the masbooq (late comer), that if he says the takbeer before the takbeer of the Imaam, it will not be valid and he will have to repeat it when the Imaam makes salaam.[131]

 

The most worthy person for leading the Janaaza Salaah

In an Islamic country, the person most worthy for the Imamaat of Janaazah Salaah is the Muslim ruler. Shariah has reserved the right of performing Janaaza Salaah for the ruler despite there being more pious people than him present in the gathering. If the ruler is not present, then his deputy will be the person most worthy. If the ruler as well as the deputy are not present, then the judge of the city will be appointed. If the judge is also not present, then his deputy will be appointed.

In the presence of the above-mentioned people, according to the prescribed Shar’i sequence, it is impermissible for anybody else to lead the Janaaza Salaah. However if they permit anyone to perform the Janaazah Salaah in their presence, it will be permissible.

The person most worthy for the Imaamat of the Janaazah Salaah in the absence of the aforementioned individuals is the Imaam of the locality.

Note: The Imaam of the locality will be the most worthy of all the people provided there is nobody more qualified than him from among the relatives of the deceased. If among the relatives of the deceased there is someone who is more knowledgeable and qualified than the Imaam, he will be more deserving than the Imaam of the locality.

If the deceased did not pass away in his own locality then the right of performing the Janaazah Saaah will be entrusted to his heirs according to the sequence of the Asabaat (Paternal male relatives).

However, the only difference in the sequence of the Asabaat is that the father of the deceased will receive the first right before the son, unless the son is more knowledgeable than the father. If the Janaazah Salaah was performed without the permission of those worthy of performing the Janaazah Salaah, then they have the right to repeat the Janaazah Salaah. This right is applicable to the extent that if the deceased is already buried, those worthy of performing the Janaazah Salaah have the right to repeat the Janaazah Salaah at the graveside until such time that the body has not started to decompose.[132]

Note: The time it takes for the body to decompose will be determined according to the nature of the soil of the area in which the deceased was buried. This will differ from place to place. Hence, it is not possible to specify any period of time. This is the most preferred opinion among the Fuqaha.[133]

If a person who is most worthy of Imaamat (e.g. the guardian of the deceased) performs the Janazaah Salaah without the permission of the other relatives, then the other relatives do not have the right to repeat the Janaazah Salaah. Similarly, if the guardian of the deceased performed the Janaazah Salaah in the absence of the ruler or his deputies, then the ruler does not have the right to repeat the Janaazah Salaah, since the original right is the right of the guardian. In fact, even if the relatives offer the Janaazah Salaah in the presence of the ruler, the ruler does not have the choice to repeat the Janaazah Salaah. However, the relatives will be sinful for not appointing the ruler to perform the Janaazah Salaah.[134]

 

Performing the Janaazah Salaah several times

Once the Janaazah Salaah is performed, it is impermissible to repeat the Janaazah Salaah except in the situation where it was performed without the permission of the guardian. In such an instance, the guardian has the right to repeat the Janaazah Salaah .[135]

The child in the womb of a deceased, pregnant woman

If a pregnant woman passes away with a living fetus, the fetus in the womb will be removed through surgery. If the fetus has also passed away, then it will not be removed.[136]

 

Passing away through lightning or getting burnt

If a person passed away after being struck by lightning or by getting burnt, then ghusal, kafan and the Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal provided his body did not disintegrate. However, if the body disintegrated, then it will just be wrapped in a cloth and buried.[137]

If a person’s body was burnt and most of the body turned into ashes, then the ashes together with the remainder of the body will be placed in a cloth and buried. There will be no ghusal, kafan or Janaazah Salaah. However, if a portion of the body was burnt and the major portion of the body remained intact, then ghusal, kafan and the Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal.[138]

If a person’s body was burnt but remained intact and did not turn into ashes, then ghusal, kafan and the Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal.[139]

 

The fear of the corpse disintegrating​

If the corpse of the deceased bloated up to such an extent that it is feared that by touching it the body will burst, then merely passing water over the body will suffice for the ghusal. The deceased will be enshrouded in the kafan in the normal manner and Janaazah Salaah will be performed. However if the body bursts before the Janaazah Salaah can be performed then the Janaazah Salaah will not be performed upon the deceased. Instead the burst body will be buried without Janaazah Salaah.[140]

If the body did not burst, however a bad odour is emitting from it, Janaazah Salaah will be performed on the body.[141]

Finding the skeleton of the deceased

If only the skeleton of the deceased is found then there will be no ghusal or Janaazah Salaah. Instead it will just be wrapped in a cloth and buried.[142]

 

Passing away through an accident or a natural disaster

If a person had passed away through some natural disaster or accident and most of the body is intact, then the ghusal, kafan and Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal. [143]

Passing away through an earthquake

After an earthquake, if bodies are found lying under rubble or in a place where it is difficult to remove the bodies, then Janaazah Salaah will be performed at that place. However, at the time of performing the Janaazah Salaah, one will make the intention that he is performing the Janaazah Salaah upon the Muslim bodies, not the Kuffaar bodies. Since removing the bodies is not possible, Ghusal and Kafan will not be Waajib. If it is possible to remove the bodies and the bodies are intact, then the ghusal, kafan and Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal. If the major portion of the body is burnt or disintegrated, then the bodies will be wrapped in a cloth and buried without  Janaazah Salaah being performed. [144]

 

Passing away by falling into a well or drowning at sea

Passing away by falling into a well

If a person fell in a well and passed away, then if the body can be retrieved, the ghusal, kafan and Janaazah Salaah will be carried out as normal. If the body cannot be retrieved, then there will be no ghusal or kafan. However, Janaazah Salaah will be performed.[145]

 

Passing away by drowning at sea

If a person drowns in the ocean and there are no traces of the body, then there will be no ghusal, kafan or Janaazah Salaah.[146]

 

The burial of a pregnant Christian or Jewess in the nikah of a Muslim

If a Christian or Jewess in the nikah of a Muslim man passes away while she is pregnant, then if the foetus is alive, the child will be removed through surgery. If the foetus is not alive then there will be one of two situations.

1) The woman passed away before four months of her pregnancy. Since there is no life that enters the foetus before four months, the woman will be buried in a Non-Muslim graveyard.

2) The woman passed away after four months of pregnancy and the child in the womb had also passed away. Since life entered the foetus, it will follow the religion of its Muslim father. In such a situation, there are three opinions recorded in the books of fiqh in regard to where the woman with the foetus should be buried.

2.1) The woman should be buried in a Kaafir graveyard considering the fact that she is a Kaafir.

2.2) The woman should be buried in a Muslim graveyard considering the fact that the foetus is a Muslim.

2.3) Precaution demands that the woman be buried in a separate place, neither in a Muslim graveyard nor in a kaafir graveyard. The woman will be placed in the grave in this manner that her back be made to face towards the Qiblah so that the face of the Muslim foetus faces the Qiblah.[147]

 

The Burial

Carrying the Deceased

Just as the Ghusal and Janaazah Salaah is Fardh-e-Kifaayah, similarly, burying the deceased is also Fardh-e-Kifaayah[148]

  • Once the Janaazah Salaah has been performed, the deceased should immediately be taken to the graveyard. [149]
  • If the deceased is a baby or slightly bigger (toddler), then he will not be carried on the bier, instead he will be carried by hand being passed on from one person to another till they reach the graveyard. [150]

Note: If the graveyard is very far, then the body will be transported by a conveyance from the home till the graveyard, and thereafter carried by hand.

  • If the deceased is an adult, he should be carried on a bier. It should be carried by four people, each corner being supported by one person. The bier will be lifted and carried on the shoulders in a respectable manner. However, it is Makrooh to carry it on the shoulders in the manner that one carries his luggage. [151]
  • The mustahab method of carrying the deceased is as follows: One should first lift the front left leg of the bier and place it on his right shoulder and walk for at least ten steps. Thereafter, he should place the back left leg of the bier onto his right shoulder and walk for at least ten steps. Thereafter he should place the front right leg of the bier onto his left shoulder in the manner explained above. Lastly he should lift the right back leg onto his left shoulder in the same way. In this way one will walk at least forty steps in total whilst carrying the deceased. [152]

Note: If this is not possible due to the crowds of people, then one should carry the bier for whatever duration possible.

 

Accompanying the Deceased

  • It is Makrooh to transport the deceased by a vehicle to the graveyard without any valid reason. However, if there is a valid reason it will be permissible to transport it by vehicle e.g. the graveyard is at a far distance. [153]
  • It is Makrooh for a woman to accompany the Janaazah to the graveyard. [154]
  • It is sunnah to walk briskly with the Janaazah. However one should not jog or run, or move so fast that the body of the deceased is jostled (begins to move from side to side). [155]
  • It is makrooh for those who accompany the Janaazah to sit down before the Janaazah can be placed onto the ground. However, if there is a valid excuse e.g. sickness or old age, then there is no harm in one sitting. [156]
  • If the Janaazah is passing by a group of people, then upon seeing the Janaazah they should not stand up for the Janaazah. At the beginning of Islam, the Sahaabah were commanded to stand up for the Janaazah when it passed by, but this law was later abrogated. [157]

Travelling with the Janaazah

  • It is mustahab for those who are accompanying the Janaazah to walk behind the Janaazah. Walking in front of the Janaazah is also permissible. However, if everyone walks in front of the Janaazah, it will be makrooh. [158]
  • It is mustahab for those accompanying the Janaazah to travel to the graveyard on foot. However, if travelling on foot is difficult due to a valid reason e.g. old age, illness or the graveyard being at a distance, then travelling to the graveyard by a vehicle will be permissible. If the Janaazah is being transported to the graveyard on foot, then those travelling by vehicle should move behind the Janaazah. Moving ahead of the Janaazah will be makrooh for them. [159]
  • It is makrooh for those accompanying the Janaazah to make any dua or zikr in a loud voice. [160]

Method of Burying the Deceased

  • baqee1If the ground is soft, it will be permissible to place the deceased in a box and then bury the deceased, regardless of whether the box is made of wood, stone or steel. However, in doing so, it is preferable to spread out some sand at the bottom of the box. [161]
  • Once the grave is ready, the deceased should be lowered into the grave from the direction of the qiblah. The method of lowering the deceased into the grave is as follows:

The deceased should be brought from the side of the qiblah, and lowered into the grave in such a manner that those receiving the body should be standing in the grave while facing towards the qiblah. In this manner Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was placed in the Qabr. [162]

  • There is no harm that an odd number of people or an even number go into the grave in order to lower the deceased. Four people had lowered Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) into the grave. [163]
  • At the time of placing the deceased, it is mustahab to recite: [164]

بِسمِ اللهِ وَعَلىَ مِلَّةِ رَسُولِ اللهِ

(In the name of Allah Ta’ala, and upon the way of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

  • After placing the deceased into the grave, it is mustahab to turn him on his right side facing the qiblah[165]
  • After placing the deceased into the grave, the strings which were used to tie both ends of the kafan should be loosened. [166]
  • The deceased should then be covered with unbaked bricks or straw. It is makrooh to place baked bricks or strips of timber around the deceased. However, if the ground is very soft and there is a fear of the grave collapsing, it will be permissible to place baked bricks or strips of timber, or even to place him into a box.[167]
  • At the time of placing a woman in the grave, a covering should be placed above the grave in order to conceal the body from the eyes of strangers. [168]
  • Covering the grave with a sheet should not be done when placing a man in the grave. However, if there is a need to cover the grave of a man, (e.g. due to rain or snow etc.) then it will be permissible. [169]
  • Once the deceased has been placed in the grave, the soil that was removed from the grave at the time of digging should be replaced into it. Adding more sand to the grave is permissible, however, if so much of sand was added that its height reaches more than one hand span, it will be makrooh. [170]

Throwing Sand over the Grave and Esaal-e-Thawaab

  • When throwing sand over the grave it is mustahab to commence from the head side. Using both hands to throw soil over the grave is better than using one hand. [171]
  • Throwing sand over the grave thrice is mustahab. [172]
  • The first time that one throws, he should recite:   ​

مِنْهَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ 

(from soil We have created you)

  • The second time, one should recite: ​

وَفِيْهَا نُعِيْدُكُمْ

(and We will return you to soil)

  • The third time, one should recite:

وَمِنْهَا نُخْرِجُكُمْ تَارَةً أُخْرَى 

(and from soil shall We resurrect you and bring you to life once again)

  • It is mustahab to stand at the graveside for a little while. One should make dua for the forgiveness of the deceased, or recite any portion of the Qur’an and convey the reward of the recitation to the deceased. [173]
  • After burying the deceased, sprinkling a little water over the grave is mustahab. [174]
  • One can recite any portion of the Qur’an and convey the reward of the recitation to the deceased. However, the following surahs have been mentioned specifically to be recited at the graveside:

1) Surah Yaaseen

2) Surah Faatiah

3) The opening verses of Surah Baqarah and the concluding verses of Surah Baqarah.

4) Aayatul Kursi

5) Surah Mulk

6) Surah Takaathur

7) Surah Ikhlaas [175]

 

 

The Grave of the Deceased

  • The deceased should not be buried in a house irrespective of whether the deceased is a minor or Baaligh, a pious person or an impious person. Being buried in a house is an exclusive right of the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus salaam).[176]
  • To shape the grave in a square form is makrooh. Raising the grave slightly, similar to the hump of a camel, is mustahab. Its height should be equal to one hand span or slightly higher.[177]
  • Raising the grave  higher than a hand span is makrooh. It is makrooh to plaster or cement the grave.[178]
  • Constructing a dome over the grave is impermissible.[179]
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