Fiqh of Janaazah/Death
Notes from a lecture
series by Sheikh Ahmad Jibril
I. WASHING THE DECEASED
1. Wash the deceased ASAP
Hadith: Quickly prepare your dead
2. Who washes the deceased?
a) Whoever is specified in the will
b) Children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents of the deceased
c) Anybody who knows the correct Islamic procedure for washing the dead
* Men wash men and women wash women except in the case of a deceased husband
or wife - their spouse can wash them.
3. Procedure for washing the deceased
- Lay the dead person down. Put him/her at an 80-90 degree angle and push
down on their stomach to let out any excretion that might still be in
- Wrap your hand with a towel or glove to clean the private parts.
- The deceased should be naked with only their private parts covered.
- Perform wudu for the dead. Do everything as normal except use a towel
to clean their mouth, nose, and ears.
- Rinse their upper right side, followed by their back right side, and
then the left side - top to bottom.
* What if more waste is excreted after the deceased has been washed?
If the deceased is wearing their shroud, leave them alone. If not, clean
the affected area and perform wudu for them again.
4. How many times do you was the deceased?
1, 3, 5, 7, etc. The Sunnah is to wash the deceased any odd number of
times, the usual habit is three times.
5. You can use soap to was the deceased
- It's traditional to apply kafoor after the last wash. Kafoor has a nice
smell and keeps bugs away.
* Is there an exception to applying cologne upon the dead?
Yes, a muhrim (someone in ihram) cannot wear cologne.
6. Use cold/warm water
- More cold than warm. If the deceased is excessively dirty, it's okay
to use warm/hot water to clean them.
7. It is Sunnah to trim the mustache
* If the private parts aren't shaved, it is Sunnah to have them shaved
at this point
8. Comb the hair unless the hair is
so weak that combing pulls it out
9. It is Sunnah for women to have
their hair tied with three bands - one for the left third, one for the
right, and one for the middle third.
10. Dry the deceased
* The person washing the dead shouldn't tell anyone if the deceased has
* If you wash the deceased for the sake of Allah and not money, your reward
* It is Sunnah to take a shower after washing the dead
Hadith: He who washes, let him bathe. Whoever carries the deceased, let
him make wudu.
* Don't wash a martyr from a battlefield even if they're in a state of
Hadith: On the Day of Judgment, the blood of a martyr smells like musk
and looks beautiful - bury them like they are.
* Does the fetus from a miscarriage need to be washed?
After four months of pregnancy, the angels blow the soul of the baby into
the fetus. Therefore, if the fetus is less than four months old, it doesn't
need to be washed and prepared like a normal person. However, if the fetus
is more than four months old, it must be washed like normal.
* If someone dies in an area where there's no water, perform tayammum
for the deceased. It is generally agreed that tayammum consists of wiping
the hands, face, and feet (just the top).
II. CLOTHING THE DECEASED
* The shroud used to cover the deceased can be any white cloth with no
1. It is fard to cover the deceased
2. The money which is needed for the
burial and shroud is the first thing that comes out from what is left
of the dead person's wealth.
- If there is not enough money then the relatives of the deceased - those
that inherit from him/her pay for these expenses.
3. The kafan/shroud must cover the
- A sahabi, Musaib Ibn Umayr, didn't have a shroud that covered his entire
body when he died. The Prophet (saaw) ordered that his face and feet should
be covered with leaves.
4. The kafan must be in good condition
- It should be clean, cover the whole body, and be of medium quality.
It is haram to spend an extravagant amount of money on the kafan.
5. If the deceased is a martyr, the
shroud should be placed over their clothes
- This doesn't include swords, armor, or other similar military attire
6. Lay three shrouds on top of each
other and center the deceased on top of them all.
- Put additional coverage on both private parts, a sponge or diaper type
7. It is Sunnah to spray cologne on
the kafan, followed by the eyes, nose, face, and whole body if there is
8. Wrap the material over the right
side of the deceased, followed by the left side
* The private parts should always remain covered, even when being washed
9. Wrap the material around the head
and feet so it forms a cylinder at both ends of the body.
- Use strips of material to tie both ends, and five other points along
the body. These should be untied when the dead person is placed in their
10. Women should have five shrouds
covering them instead of three.
- Their face should always be covered (sometimes the face is uncovered
during the burial - this is okay for men, but not for women).
11. The colour of the kafan should
be white - this is the Sunnah. However, you can use other colours as having
a kafan is not fard - you can be buried wearing other clothes.
III. CARRYING AND FOLLOWING THE DECEASED
* Carrying and following the deceased before they are taken to the masjid
holds less reward/ajer than carrying and following the deceased after
the janaazah has been performed over them.
Hadith: If you carry the deceased after the janaazah, one qirat/mountain
of ajer will be recorded for you. If you even walk with the janaazah procession,
one qirat of ajer will be recorded for you. And if you stay with the deceased
until everything has been completed, another qirat of ajer will be recorded
- You receive the qirat of ajer for carrying the deceased just a short
1. You cannot follow the janaazah
in that which is haram i.e. wailing, raised voices, etc.
Hadith: Don't follow the janaazah in screaming or burning incense
2. Group dhikr is biddah
Hadith: The sahabah used to hate hearing raised voices behind the janaazah
3. Carry the deceased quickly, a little
short of jogging
Hadith: If the deceased was a good person, then they want to be rushed
to their grave. If the deceased was a bad person, then you should rush
to take them off your shoulders.
4. Walk in the front, back, or to
the sides of the janazaah
- There is nothing against walking in front of the janazaah
Hadith: You can walk close or far away from the janaazah
5. The deceased shouldn't be transported
in a special car
- This is a tradition of the kuffar. However, there are no other vehicles
to transport the dead in apart from a hearse in the U.S.
6. You shouldn't stand for the deceased
- This was abrogated by a hadith, first of all the Prophet (saaw) told
the sahabah to stand for the deceased, and then he told them to sit down.
NEXT WEEK: Salah & janaazah