Wednesday, January 05, 2005


When death is expected

  • If a person is dying, he is put on his right side facing the Qiblah as a sunnah, or flat on his back to make the exit of the soul easier.
  • Someone will repeat for him the creedal statement, but he is not ordered to say it (because of the tension he might refuse).
  • If he dies, then his mouth is closed by tying a cloth over the head and under the chin and his eyes are closed as well.

Washing the dead

  • The obligation is to wash the dead person at least once, but there are optional things that should be observed listed below.
  • Ablution is made for him as a sunnah, without rinsing the mouth or nose.
  • He is put on a bed so that the water will flow off.
  • A cloth is put to cover his private parts alone, and his clothes are removed.
  • His bed is perfumed with incense an odd number of times (3, 5 or 7).
  • Water is boiled with sidr or ushnaan (plants boiled with water to give it greater cleansing effect.) If they are not found, then pure water is used.
  • His head and beard is washed with khatmi (another plant) if available.
  • He is put on his left side and washed with sidr water until it is seen that water has reached under him on the bed.
  • He is put on his right side and washed with sidr water until it is seen that water has reached under him on the bed.
  • He is sat up leaning against the one washing, who lightly squeezes his stomach. This is so that the funeral clothes won't later become filthy.
  • If something comes out, it is washed away, but neither the full wash (ghusl) nor the ablution is repeated.
  • After this he is put on the right side and washed a 3rd time.
  • After this he is dried by a cloth and perfumed before shrouding.
  • Some perfume is put on the dead's head and beard - but not what is exclusive for women if the dead is a man.
  • Neither his hair nor his beard is combed
  • His nails and hair are not cut.

Shrouding the dead

  • The sunnah is to put the man in 3 shrouds: one to the neck (shirt), one from the top of the head to the end of the toes (izaar), one beyond the head and feet (wrap). In that order.
  • It is allowed to shroud a man in only 2 shrouds; izaar and wrap; Abu Bakr ordered to be shrouded in this way.
  • For the man it is disliked to use only one shroud, except in necessity.
  • If there is fear that the shroud might fall off, then it is tied with a cloth to prevent that.
  • The woman is shrouded in 5 as a sunnah: shirt, headcover, izaar, wrap and chest-cover (in that order).
  • It is allowed to use only three for her; izaar, wrap and headcover, but less than that is disliked.
  • The woman is first put in her shirt, and then her hair is braided into two braids and placed over her shirt on her chest. After that her head-cover is put on.
  • All the shrouds (for men and women) are perfumed by incense an odd number of times (3 times) before use.
  • After this the prayer is performed.

The Prayer for the dead

  • This prayer is an obligation for the community (fard kifaayah) and its pillars (conditions for valid performance) are: supplication, standing and proscription.
  • Its prerequisites are that the dead is a Muslim, has been washed and is placed in front of those praying.
  • The sultan is the preferred leader, then the judge, then the local imam, then the guardian is preferred (but unlike in a woman's marriage the father is first), then the sons according to age. If there is no guardian, then the husband (in the case of a woman) leads, and if there is none, the neighbor.
  • If someone lower in priority than the guardian leads, then the guardian repeats the prayer later if he wishes.
  • If the guardian prayed, or those higher than him in priority, then the funeral prayer may not be repeated.
  • If the dead one was buried without having been prayed for, then the prayer is performed by the grave, if it is before the body starts to disintegrate (according to what one thinks is most likely the case.)
  • The prayer consists of: proscription with raising the hands, the thanaa' (or praising Allah saying "al-hamdu lillaah" and the like), a takbiirah (without lifting the hands) followed by praising the Prophet (saying sallallaahu 3alayhi wa sallam and the like, but it is best to do it like in prayer after tashahhud), another takbiirah followed by supplication for the after life of oneself, the dead, ones muslim parents and the muslims in general. It is better to say supplications mentioned in hadit. After this one makes the fourth takbiirah and then the salaam.
  • If the leader makes a fifth takbiirah, then the follower does not follow him in this.
  • The supplication for the dead (after the third takbiirah) consists of asking for forgiveness for the dead one.
  • One does not ask forgiveness for a child (since the child is not accountable). Instead one says:

اللّهمّ اجْعَلْه لَنا فَرَطاً ، واجْعَلْه لَنا أَجْراً وَذُخْراً ، واجْعَلْه لَنا شافِعاً مُشفَّعاً

"Allahumma-j3alhu lanaa faraTan, wa-j3alhu lanaa Ajran wa dhukhran, wa-j3alhu lanaa shaafi3an mushaffa3an"
  • If one is late, then one does not make a takbiirah until the leader makes one after one is present.
  • If the leader has made 4 takbiirahs before the follower's presence, then he does not enter the prayer, even if the leader didn't make the salaam yet.
  • If someone was present and did not make the takbiirah immediately with the leader, then he does not wait for him to make another takbiirah.
  • The one who is praying for a dead man or woman faces the body's chest, since this is the place of the heart where the light the belief of Islam is.
  • One must stand for the funeral prayer - unless there is an excuse.
  • It is allowed for the guardian to permit others to lead the prayer.
  • It is allowed to announce the prayer, i.e. to send the word around to get people to attend the funeral prayer.
  • The funeral prayer should not be performed inside the masjid.

Funeral for Children

  • If there are lifesigns (sound or movement) from a newborn before its death (but after most of him/her has come out of the mother), then it is named, washed and prayed for.
  • If the newborn gave no lifesigns (after most of him had come out and he had some visible bodyparts), then he is washed and wrapped in a cloth and buried in respect of his humanity, but he is neither prayed for nor named. He does not inherit, unlike the case where he is named.
  • If a child was captured from the non-muslims together with its parents and then died, then it is not prayed for since he is attached to them. This is unless he declares his Islam when old enough to believe the basics of the belief.
  • If one of the child's parents became a Muslim, then he is also prayed for, because he follows the best of them in terms of religion.
  • If the child was captured alone, then he is prayed for, because he is now attached to the abode of Islam (Islamic land), just like in the case of an abandoned child found in a Muslim country.
  • If a non-Muslim died and he has a Muslim guardian, then he is washed, shrouded and buried, but without any observation of the sunnahs.

Carrying the dead

  • When they carry the dead on his platform/ open chest, they hold it in its four corners.
  • They walk with him quickly without jogging (so that the dead will not be thrown around in the box).
  • When they reach the grave, it is disliked to sit before he has been put down from the necks of those carrying. This is because help may be needed and standing makes one ready to do so.
  • The manner of carrying is to put the casket on your right shoulder first in front (which is also the right side of the dead by his head since he is on his back), then go behind and put him on the right shoulder, then go up front to the right of the casket (the left of the dead by his head) and place him on your left shoulder and finally go behind to the right and put him on the left shoulder. This way is to give preference to the right hand side of the dead and the carriers, (and to keep behind the casket). (Each person makes ten steps on each corner for a total of 40.) This is all in the case of many available carriers.
  • Those who are not carrying follow behind, not in front or to the sides, and recite or make remembrance silently.

The burial

  • The grave is dug and side-slotted (in the side of the grave towards the Qiblah (the prayer direction)). In soft earth one makes a wide cleft straight down, and then a narrower one to place the dead in the middle.
  • The dead one is placed on the side of the Qiblah of the grave (so that the one taking him down will be facing the Qiblah).
  • The undertaker says while putting him in the slide slot: "bismillaah wa 3alaa millati-rasuulillaahi" and he is put on his right side facing the Qiblah.
  • The grave of the woman is covered until the bricks have been placed on the slot, but this is not done for men.
  • The knots are then untied since one is now safe from it falling off, and (unburned) clay-bricks are placed to close the side-slot.
  • It is disliked to use building bricks or wood, because these are for solidifying buildings, and the grave is a place of tribulations.
  • After that the grave is filled and given a slightly elevated top from earth. Those who have seen the Prophet's grave (may Allah raise his rank) bore witness that his grave is shaped in this way.

The Case of the Martyr

The martyr (i.e. the complete martyr that has special funeral treatment) is the muslim that was killed by non-muslims, or was found on the battlefield with a sign of having been killed, or was killed injustly by muslims in a way that does not obligate payment of diyah (i.e. it was on purpose, not by mistake or by something that does not cut). This martyr is shrouded and prayed for, but not washed, because he died in the manner of the martyrs of Uhud. The Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) said about them that they were to be wrapped with their injuries and blood.
  • Any muslim that was killed by iron injustly and he is ritually pure (Taahir), has reached puberty, and there is no financial damages to be paid for his loss, is a martyr like those of Uhud.
  • The meaning of sign of having been killed is external or internal injury, because this is the indication of having been killed. Internal injuries are detected by blood exiting from an irregular place, such as the eye or ear.
  • Al-Shaafi3iy disagrees with us with regard to the prayer, and says that the sword removes all sins, so the martyr does not need intercession. The answer is that the prayer is to show the dignity of the dead, and the martyr has first priority in this. Moreover, the person free of sins, is still in need of supplication, like a prophet or a child.
  • The one that was killed by any instrument (even what does not cut) by the non-muslims, or rebels (against the khaliifah), or highway robbers is not washed, because not all the martyrs of Uhud were willed by swords.
  • If someone who is in need of greater ritual purity (ghusl) died as a martyr, then washing is required. Accordingly, the woman in menstruation or post-partum bleeding, or after it has stopped before washing, is washed.
  • The martyred child is also washed according to Abu Hanifah. He says that the sword removed the need for washing adults since it removes sins, and a child has no sins, so he does not fall under the meaning of the martyrs of Uhud.
  • Blood is not washed off the martyr, and his clothes are not removed. However, what does not have the meaning of shrouding is removed, such as padding, fur, hats, weapons, socks or shoes. (However, pants are kept on. In addition, he is not stripped naked, and padding and fur is kept on if nothing else is available.)
  • Shrouding is added or removed as needed in order to do the sunnah number of shrouds.

The Deadly Wounded in Battle

The one who was deadly wounded in battle and does not die immediately (hereby refered to as deadly wounded) is washed, because his attribute of martyrdom had someting following it, namely some lifespan after it. This way the trace of injustice was weakened, so he does not take the meaining of the martyrs of Uhud. The one considered to have been deadly wounded so that this trace was weakened is the one who ate, drank, slept, took medicine or was tranported from the battlefield alive, because he engaged in the matters and benefits of this life. On the other hand, the martyrs of Uhud died thirsty while the water was offered them, and they did not accept in fear of losing martyrdom.
  • If the wounded was removed from the place he fell so that he wouldn't be trampled, and died after that, then he is a martyr, because he did not get any rest or pleasure out of that. However, if he was put in a tent or the like, then he is considered deadly wounded, not a plain martyr in the meaning of Uhud.
  • If the wounded remained alive the entire time of a prayer, while conscious and rational, then he is a deadly wounded person (and is washed). This is because this prayer became a debt that must be made up, and this is a judgement for the living.
  • If the wounded made a testament regarding things of the afterlife, then he is also a deadly wounded person according to Abu Yusuf, because this is a business of this life. However, Muhammad said this is not so, because such a testament is a matter of the dead, and he is therefore a martyr.

Murder victims and those punished by death

  • The person found dead in a town is washed, because oaths and diyah (bloodmoney) is due, so the trace of injustice is lessened. The exception is if is known that he was killed by something sharp injustly (so there is no diyah), because the duty here is capital punishment for the killer or punishment in the hereafter.
  • The one who was killed in prescribed physical punishment is washed and prayed for. This is because he expended himself to settle the right of others upon him, whereas the martyrs of Uhud expended themselves for the sake of Allah only.
  • Highway robbers or rebels against the Khaliifah that were killed are not prayed for. This is because Ali did not pray for the dead among the rebels against him.