Date : 14-03-2021

Question :

How should the deceased be washed, shrouded, and buried?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

The Ghusl (Washing and shrouding) of the deceased is a collective duty and the responsibility of the deceased's heirs and family. If the deceased is a male, then ONLY males should wash him, but if the deceased is a female, then ONLY females should wash her. However, it is permissible to hire a washer to perform this task, and pay him/her for this service. For more information, check {Moghni Al-Mohtaaj, V.2:7-13}.

According to the Shafie jurists, the least acceptable form of Ghusl is pouring water on the whole body of the deceased, and it isn`t conditioned that the washer makes the intention of Ghusl in order for it to be valid.

As for the complete Ghusl procedure (Washing and shrouding), it is as follows:

1-The body of the deceased should be placed on a table or alike and should be covered with a sheet of cloth, and it is preferable that there is drainage system. 

2-The deceased should be washed in a clean, secluded, and private place in the presence of the washer and his assistant.

3-It is preferred that the washer is honest and trustworthy. If he sees something good, then he should disclose it, but if he sees something bad, then he should conceal it.

4-The washer shouldn`t look at the Auwrah (Private parts) of the deceased at all, nor look at the rest of the body, save for a necessity. It is also forbidden for him to touch the deceased`s genitals without wearing gloves or the like.

5-It is recommended to wash the deceased with water of normal temperature unless there is an impurity that can`t be removed save with hot water.

6-It isn`t permissible for the washer to remove any of the deceased`s hair or nails. The washer wears gloves or winds a piece of cloth around his/her left hand, then sits the deceased up by placing his knee behind the deceased and his right hand on the shoulder (deceased) and uses thumb to keep his head (deceased) steady, then presses slightly the stomach of the deceased so as to expel any remnants from it. However, it is better to apply perfume to cover any bad smell.

7-The washer should place the deceased on his/her back again and wash his/her back and front openings with water to remove any exudation.

8-The washer should clean the deceased`s eyes, nose, mouth, and nails.

9-The washer should perform Wudu` (ablution) for the deceased along with all its Sunnan and Athkar, of course after having made the intention for Wudu`. However, the washer shouldn`t insert water in the mouth, the ears or into the nose. He may use a piece of wet cotton wool in a small roll to clean mouth and teeth using the forefinger.

10-The deceased`s head should be washed with water and soap three times. After that, his/her hands, starting from the finger tips, are washed all the way to the shoulder. Next, his right side, which is facing the washer, is washed all the way to his toes, and the same is done to his left side.

11-The right leg of the deceased is placed on the left, then he is turned from his/her left side and all his right side is washed from the back all the way to the toes, for three times. Similarly, this is done to the other side, and for three times as well.

12-The whole body of the deceased is washed with water and, if available, camphor or perfume. However, the complete form of Ghusl is washing the deceased`s body for nine times, but less than that is also valid.

13-It is better that the washer moves the joints of the deceased after washing him/her and dries his/her body with a clean towel so that the shroud doesn`t get wet.

14-If there is any reason that prevented washing the body of the deceased, because it was burnt or degenerated, then performing Tayamum, in this case, is obligatory. And Allah the Almighty knows best.