Method of Washing the Dead
Fatwa No: 394099

Question

Pls I want to know how to bath a deceased person?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be noted that there is a Hadeeth about the virtue of washing the dead by Abu Raafi’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him who narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "He who washes a dead person and conceals what he sees (of defects or signs of a bad end), he will be forgiven forty times (i.e., a large number of sins). Whoever shrouds a dead person, Allah will clad him with garments of fine silk and brocade in Paradise. Whoever digs a grave and buries the dead in it, then he gets a reward as if he has provided a dwelling to the dead until the Day of judgment." [Al-Haakim who classified it as authentic, and Al-Albaani also classified it as authentic]

As for the method of washing the deceased, there are some etiquettes and rulings.

Whoever wants to wash the dead should do the following:

• It is obligatory on him to start by covering his ‘Awrah: in regard to the man, it is between the navel and the knee; the same thing applies in regard to a woman with another woman, which is between the navel to the knee.

• He undresses him from his clothes, as the Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them said when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) died: "Shall we undress him from his clothes of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as we take off the clothes of our dead." [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, Ibn Hibbaan and Al-Haakim, and Al-Albaani classed it as authentic in Ahkaam Al-Janaa'iz (funeral rulings)]

• It is desirable to conceal him from the eyes of the people, and it is disliked for other than those who assist the person who washes the dead to be present.

• Then the person who washes the dead should put him on a washing bed or high place and raise his head close to the position of sitting down.

• He should press on his belly gently then pour abundant water at this moment.

• Then the washer should wrap his hand with a cloth and washes the private parts of the dead [front and back].

• It is not permissible for the person who is washing to touch the ‘Awrah directly (without a cloth) of a seven-year old and older.

• It is desirable not to touch the rest of his body except with a cloth.

• Then it is desirable to perform ablution for him, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) instructed the women who washed his daughter: "Begin with her right side, and from the parts that are washed in ablution." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

• The washer should not put water into the nose or mouth of the dead; he should wet fingers and enter them between his lips and wipe his teeth, and he should then enter his fingers in his nostrils and clean them. He should have a cloth on his fingers when doing so.

• Then he should intend to perform Ghusl for him and say Bismillaah (In the Name of Allah).

• He should wash his head and beard only with the foam of Sidr (good smelling leaves).

• The Sidr should be crushed and placed in a container with water, then he should mix it with his hands until it forms a foam, and then wash the right side of the dead and then his left side, and then the entire body, either three, or five, or seven times, according to the need, while observing an odd number of times as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Wash her an odd number of times, three, or five, or more than that if it is needed." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

• He should pass his hand on the belly of the dead each time, and in the last wash, he should put camphor, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "In the last wash, apply some camphor or some perfume that contains camphor." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

• The benefit of camphor is to give the dead body a good scent and to drive insects away from him because camphor has this characteristic (due to its smell).

• There is no harm in using soap if needed.

• Some scholars said: "He should cut his mustache and clip his nails, but he should not comb his hair." Then he should dry his hair with a cloth.

• If there are any discharges from the dead after washing him seven times, then the place (anus) should be closed with cotton, then the anus is washed and ablution is performed for him. If any discharges come out after enshrouding him, then Ghusl is not performed again for him.

• In the case of a female, her hair should be loosened, washed, combed, and be braided in three braids, and placed behind her back.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 84697.

Allah knows best.

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