Sunday, 21 October 2007

Janazah 102



After it has been confirmed that a person has passed away, the next obligation is to have the body washed. This bath is an Obligatory injunction upon all deceased Muslims, except for those who are martyred in battle as Shahid.


It should be noted that anyone may wash it, but it is offensive / not permissible for a non-Muslim to wash the body of a Muslim. Infact, in such requirements - non-Muslim relatives are as though non-existent in the following priority list:

Deceased Males

When the deceased is male, the best suited to wash the body is:

1. the father of the deceased;

2. the father's father;

3. the son;

4. the son's son;

5. the brother;

6. the father's brother;

7. the son of the father's brother (male cousin);

8. those named in the sequence given according to the laws of Irth (Inheritance);

9. men related to the deceased;

10. men not related to him;

11. his wife; and

12. his unmarriageable female relatives (Mahram)

Deceased Females

If the deceased is female, the best suited to wash the body is:

1. one of her female relatives - meaning here the women of her immediate family, such as her daughter or mother;

2. any other women;

3. her husband; and then

4. any member of her unmarriageable male relatives (Muhrim) - following the order cited above for deceased males.

Deceased Non-Muslims

If the deceased is a non-Muslim, then his non-Muslim relatives are better suited to wash him - if this is necessary according to their customs; or in the situation when there are no prescribed customs for their beliefs and Muslims are requested to take charge of making decisions about the deceased's Janazah arrangements.

Requirements of the Washer

It is recommended that the washer be trustworthy, so that he can be relied on to wash the deceased completely and so forth. If the Washer notices something good, it is Sunnah to mention it, but if he notices something bad, it is absolutely Unlawful to mention it, as this is Ghibat i.e. Slander.


It is obligatory for the Washer to keep the nakedness of the deceased covered at least as per minimum Awrah requirement while washing him/her.

It is Sunnah that no one be present except the Washer and his assistant.

It is preferable that the body be washed while clothed in an ankle-length shirt (Jubah-like clothing) into which the Washer inserts his/her hand from the sleeve if ample enough, while pouring water over the garment and washing the body under it. If the sleeve is not wide enough for this, the Washer may tear open the seam from the side under the arm. It is Obligatory that the body be covered from the naval to the knees.

Incense should be burned from the start of washing to the finish, and this is Sunnah.

It is best to wash the body under a roof, and best that cold water be used, except when necessary - such as to heat it, in order to clean away filth that could not otherwise be removed, or when the weather is cold, since the deceased suffers from it just as a living person would. In short, the water should be comfortable for a living person too.

It is Unlawful to look at the nakedness of the deceased, or to touch it - except with a cloth, or something similar - because direct contact without there being something in-between is not permissible. As for other parts of the body, it is recommended not to look at them or directly touch them, except with a cloth.

Recommended Measures whilst Bathing the Deceased

It is recommended:

1. to force out waste from the stomach (e.g. by applying pressure on the deceased from just under the sternum / diaphragm towards just before the private parts);

2. to clean the private parts of filth. This is recommended when one is not certain anything has exited from those parts, though if it has, cleaning is Obligatory;

3. to give the body Wudhu (Ablution) - similar like the Ablution of a living person, and turning the head to the side when rinsing the mouth and nostrils so that no water reaches the stomach;

4. to make the intention of performing the purificatory Ghusl (bath), and then to wash the head, beard, and body each three times with water infused with sidr i.e. lote tree leaves, taking care each time to press the hand on the stomach in a downward stroke, leaning on it to force its contents out, but gently so as not to hurt the deceased. If the hair of the head or beard is matted / knotted, it should be gently combed with a wide-toothed comb so as not to pull any out. If hair comes out as a result, the Washer should return it and place it in the shroud to be buried with the deceased.

It is Sunnah:

1. that the place of washing be on an incline so the head of the deceased is highest and the water flows down away from it;

2. that there be an incense burner present with incense in it;

3. to put one's right hand on the shoulder of the deceased with the thumb on the nape of his neck so that the head does not roll, and to brace his/her back up against one's right knee;

4. to have the Washer's Helper - pour abundant water during the process to obviate offensive odours from waste leaving the body of the deceased;

5. to stroke the deceased's stomach firmly and effectively with one's left hand; and

6. When finished, to lay the deceased down again on his back with his feet towards the direction of the Qiblat.

If the body is not clean after three times, one washes it again, reaching an odd number of washings. Thus, even if the body has become clean after an even number of washings, it is Sunnah to add another. If clean after an odd number, one does not add any. It is Sunnah to add a little camphor to the water, especially for the last washing.

The Obligatory minimum for bathing the deceased is that water reach all external parts of the body; and that any filth present is removed. The body should be dried with a cloth afterwards.
If anything leaves the body after washing, only the affected area need to be washed. It is not necessary to repeat the Ablution of bath, even if the excretion is from the front or rear private parts of the deceased.

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