Islamic Topics, May 2004, To see today's opinion articles, click here: ww.aljazeerah.info
The Washing and Shrouding of the Deceased
The washing and shrouding of the deceased is an obligatory duty enjoined upon all Muslims in the community. However, if it is performed by some, the other members are cleared of the obligation. The person selected to wash and shroud the deceased should be one who was chosen by the deceased, if possible. The person should be an adult Muslim who is in possession of his or her senses, and who is honest, trustworthy, pious, well acquainted with the rules for washing the deceased in accordance with the practices of Prophet Muhammad (saws), and who will not broadcast what he or she might see except what is good.
It is permissible for a husband to wash the body of his wife, and for a wife to wash the body of her husband. Aishah said: "Had I known then what a know now, I would not have allowed anyone except his wives to wash the body of the Prophet." Transmitted by Ahmad and Abu Daw'ud and al-Hakim
If the deceased is a child, the washing may be done by either a male or female adult.
If the relatives of the deceased are non-muslims, it is the duty of other Muslims to wash and shroud the body of the deceased.
The entire body must be washed with water, at least once, regardless of whether the deceased is a male and needed a ritual bath, or a female who was menstruating at the time (of her death).
It is recommended that the body be placed on an elevated surface ie. A table or a board. It then should be stripped of clothes, but his awrah (private parts) should be covered. At the washing, only people whose presence is needed may stay. A cleaning agent such as soap should be used to cleanse the body before it is rinsed with pure water. In the final washing of the body a non-alcoholic perfume is to be added to the water.
Before washing the deceased, the washer must make his or her intention to wash the body of a specific person. The body is then placed on its back, and the abdomen (stomach area) is gently pressed the so that any waste material may be discharged.
The washer's left hand must be covered or wrapped with a non-transparent material, before washing the deceased (because touching the private parts of the dead is haram [forbidden]), and it should also be used when removing any unclean matter from the body. Cotton is placed in the opening of the ears, nose and anus of the deceased after all unclean matter has been removed.
The washer, using the left hand beneath the sheet which covers the awrah, washes the private parts first. Then he or she should wash the rest of the body starting with the right side. The parts that are washed in wudu (ablution) are cleaned first. Umm Atiyyah reported in regard to the washing of his daughter: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) told them (the women) to start from the right side with those parts of the body over which ablution is performed." Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, page 195
This is in order to crystallize the mark of the believer's parts of the body always washed during wudu that will shine forth brightly on the Day of Judgement. One should not put water into the mouth, nose or ears of the deceased.
The washing of the body at least once is obligatory, however the body should be washed three times, or an odd number of times up to seven. If impurities come out of the body during washing, the procedure must be repeated until all impurities have been expelled. If the last washing was even numbered the body must be washed once more so that the final wash is an odd number. If soap is not available, then washing with ordinary water will suffice. According to a sahih hadith, the Prophet (saws) said: "Wash the dead body an odd number of times, that is three, five, or seven, or more if you feel it is necessary."
After ablution the hair of the head is thoroughly washed with soap. Next the body is turned on its left side and washed from the neck to the foot, in front first, then in back. It is then turned on its right side and washed in the same manner. After washing, the hair and the body are rinsed.
After the final rinse the entire body is dried with a clean towel. The hair should be combed and brushed. A woman's hair is to be braided into three braids. Ibn al-Mundhir said: "The Prophet (saws) instructed the female washers to wash the dead body more than seven times in case they felt it was necessary to do so, but it must be an odd number of times. If the deceased is a female, then her hair should be loosened, washed, redone, and placed behind her back. According to a hadith narrated by Umm 'Atiyyah the hair of the Prophet's (saws) daughter was done in three plaits. I asked: 'Did they loosen her hair and then redo them in three braids?' She said: 'Yes'." Muslim reports this in these words: "We braided her hair in three braids, on both sides and in front (of her)."
A man's hair and beard should be well groomed. The nails are not to be cut, nor is the hair under the armpits or from the private parts is to be removed. Both males and females are to be groomed humbly, without the use of cosmetics. Then some perfume should be applied to it. The Prophet (saws) said: "When you apply perfume (to the dead), apply it an odd number of times after washing it." Al-Baihaqi, Al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban, of whom the last two consider it a sound hadith.
If a Muslim is buried without being given an obligatory washing (ghusl), the body must be dug up and washed; then prayers must be said over the deceased. If the body has been buried for a long time and has deteriorated, the grave is opened and water is poured over the entire body until it is fully covered. Prayer is then offered for the deceased, and the grave is closed.
Though this is not an illustrition, this is the most accurate piece to explain the cleasing process of a jenazah. hope u find it useful and to know more i suggest u appoarch a trusted and alim person who is expreienced in such matters. In syallah everything goes well. Only HE knows the best.
Source: "Baduroon Nesa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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