What should be done for a Muhtadhar Talqeen What to do after a person has passed away Documents needed Ghusl Kafan for male Female Kafan The Stillborn child Seeing the face of the deceased Janazah Salaat Rules at the Qabrastan Method of lowering the body into the grave Isaale thawaab Do’s and dont’s at the Mayyit (deceased’s) house Things which members of the family should do to benefit the deceased Acts to refrain from
What should be done for a Muhtadhar
A Muhtadhar by definition is that person on whom the signs of death are clearly visible.
The signs of the arrival of death are: a) The legs become slack or limp, b) Breathing becomes heavy, quick and erratic, c) The nose bends slighty, d) the temples sag.
It is prefarable to make him lay on his right side facing Qibla i.e. the head facing towards the east and the legs facing towards the west (for South Africa) and his face facing towards Qibla. It is permissible for him to lay on his back with his feet towards the Qibla and his head raised so that he may be facing Qibla. The reason for placing him towards Qibla is that the chances of shaytaan distracting him are rare. If moving the muhtadhar causes any discomfort then leave him in any convenient position. All the bed-linen should be paak (free from impurities). It is desirable to use lobaan or any other paak aromatics (i.e. made from pure substances) in the room. Those who are in a state of janaabat, haidh or nifaas should leave the room. It is recommended to recite Surah Yaseen (22nd Juz), Surah R’adh (13th Juz) whilst the person is in the throes of death.This could be done at the headside of the muhtadhar or anywhere else in the same room. The recitation of Surah Yaseen is extremely beneficial for the dying person for it lessens the pangs of death.
Talqeen is to remind and encourage the dying person to recite the Kalima.
Those present should recite the Kalima aloud so that it reaches the eyes of the Muhtadhar inducing him to recite it. The Muhtadhar should not be ordered or forced to recite the Kalimah. Once the Muhtadhar recites the Kalimah all those present should stop reading it. The object is that the last statement uttered on earth should be the Kalimah. If the Muhtadhar after having recited the Kalimah, indulges in worldly conversation, then the talqeen should be repeated. When the Muhtadhar breathes in rapid gasps (indicating the final moments of life), all present should recite the Kalimah loudly again.
What to do after a person has passed away
After the muhtadhar (one on the verge of death) passes away the following is to be done: Close the eyes gently. Close the mouth fastening a clean piece of material around his chin and over his head. Tie both the feet together with a similar piece of cloth. Straighten the arms and legs. Cover the body with a clean sheet. It is desirable to recite Tasmiyah whilst carrying out the above acts. Inform relatives and friends and write on Masaajid notice boards. Prepare Qabr. Arrange transport if cemetery is at a distance. Perform Ghusl Put on kafn The Quraan should not be recited near the deceased person until Ghusl is not given.
Documents needed (for those residing in South Africa)
Identity Document of the deceased Marriage Certificate (If married according to religious law) Death certificate – obtainable from your (family) doctor Burial Order – obtainable from the local burial society
Ghusl (Bathing the deceased)
A bench, basin or platform on which the Ghusl will be carried out, must be washed, cleaned and fumigated with lobaan or any other taahir aromatic – three, five or seven times.
During Ghusl it is permissible to place the body in one of the following positions : (a) Having the legs facing the Qiblah (b) Having the face towards the Qiblah (as a person is made to lie in the grave) Howver it is preferable to place the body with the face towards the Qiblah as Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has mentioned that the Kaba is the Qiblah of both, the living and the dead.
No hair of the head, beard or any other part of the body must be cut, shaved, trimmed or combed. The nails too should not be cut. Circumcision is also not permissible. All rings, jewellery, wigs, etc., should be removed. Where the false teeth and contact lenses of the deceased can easily be removed, these should preferably be taken out.
Thereafter the body should be put on the basin and the Satr (private parts) should be covered. (The male’s Satr is from the navel to the knees, and the female’s from above the breast to the ankles.)
The stomach should gently be massaged, then both the private parts should be washed with mittens on, without looking at the private parts.
The nostrils, ears and mouth should be closed with cotton wool to prevent water from entering the body during the Ghusl.
If the deceased has reached the age of puberty, and was one on whom Namaaz was Farz, he must first be given wudhu. This wudhu is similar to that of Namaaz, with the exception of gargling and putting water into the nostrils. The proper sequence should be to wash:
a. The Face.
b. Arms to the elbows
c. Masah of the head and
d. Feet up to the ankles.
If the deceased is in the state of Janaabat, Haiz or Nifaas, (a state in which Ghusl is WAAJIB on him/her), then it will be permissible to moisten the mouth and nostrils with a wet piece of cotton wool.
After Wudhu, the head and beard should first be washed with soap or any other cleansing agent. If these are not readily available, pure clean water will suffice. The temperature of the water must be that which a living person normally uses when bathing.
Thereafter the body should be tilted onto it’s left side to allow the right side to be washed first. Warm water should now be poured over the body from head to the toes once, and the body should be washed with soap until the water has reached the bottom (left side). The body should now be washed again twice by pouring water from head to toe. The body should then be turned onto it’s right side and the left side bathed similarly.
Thereafter the body should be lifted slightly to a sitting position, and the stomach be gently massaged with a downward stroke. Whatever comes out of the body should be washed away. The wudhu and ghusl need not be repeated in case any impurity does come out.
The body should once again be turned onto it’s left side and camphor water poured over it from head to toe three times. The body should then be turned onto it’s right side and camphor water poured over it from head to toe thrice.
The cotton wool should now be removed from the mouth, ears and nose.
With this, the Ghusl is complete and the body could be wiped with a towel or a piece of material. The Satr must be kept covered at all times. The first Tehband (covering sheet) will be wet due to the Ghusl. It should therefore be changed for a dry one. Care should be taken that while doing this the Satr is not exposed.
The body should then be wrapped in a sheet and carried carefully onto the Kafn.
It is best that the ghusl for an adult male be given by his father, son or brother. For an adult female by her mother, daughter or sister. If none of these persons are present then any near relative could carry out this duty. If no relative is present or in the position of performing the ghusl then the most pious person present should be requested to carry out the Ghusl. (male for male, female for female). The person performing the ghusl must be in the state of purity (free from Hadathe Akbar and Hadathe Asghar i.e. major and minor impurity) It is makrooh for a woman who is in the state of haidh (menstruation) or in the state of Nifaas (post-natal bleeding) to give Ghusl. A child who has not reached the age of puberty may be given ghusl by any adult male or female, i.e. If the same sex is not available.
Kafan (Grave “clothes” of the dead)
After the completion of the Ghusl the kafn should be put on. When putting on the kafn the body should lay with the feet toward the east and feet toward the west (In South Africa). After putting on the kafan the deceased is ready for Janaazah salaat and dafn (burial).
The masnoon kafan for a male is a Qamees, Izaar and Lifafah..
The Qamees is a long sheet that has to be folded in half and an opening cut to allow it to be put on as a shirt. (Refer to diagram below) The folded qamees should cover the body from the neck to the feet. Approximately 2.5 metres long and 1 metre wide.It will have no pockets, sleeves or seams. The Izaar is a sheet from the head to the feet. Approximately 2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide. The Lifafah is a sheet from above the head to below the feet. Approximately 2.3 metres long and 1.8 metres wide.
If only two garments are used, i.e. the Izaar and Lifafah, it will also suffice, but it is sunnat to use three garments. It is makrooh (undesirable) to use less than two without a valid reason.
Order of Male Kafan
First spread the lifafah on the floor, then on it the Izaar and on it that portion of the Qamees that will be under the body. The portion that will cover the top of the body should be folded and put at the head side. Fumigate the kafn an odd number of times using incense sticks before lowering the body onto it. Lower the body gently onto the kafn and cover the top of the body up to the calfs with the folded portion of the Qamees. Remove the sheet used for covering the Satr. Rub Itr on the head and beard. Then rub camphor mixture paste on the places of Sajdah (i.e. those parts of the body that touch the ground in namaaz: forehead, nose, both palms, knees and the fore feet). First fold the left flap and on it the right flap of the Izaar over the Qamees. Thereafter fold the Lifafah in the same manner. Remember that the right flap must always be on the top. Lastly fasten the ends of the lifafah at the head side, feet and around the middle with bands of cloth.
The masnoon kafan for a female is a Qamees, Izaar, Sinaband, Lifafah and Khimaar (Orni).
The Qamees is a long sheet that has to be folded in half and an opening cut to allow it to be put on as a shirt. (Refer to diagram above – under male kafn). Approximately 2.5 metres long and 1 metre wide.It will have no pockets, sleeves or seams The Izaar is a sheet from the head to the feet. Approximately 2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide. The Sinaband is a piece of material to hold the breats. It should preferably be under the armpits to the thighs. Approximately 2.5 metres long and 1 metre wide The Lifafah is a sheet from above the head to below the feet. Approximately 2.3 metres long and 1.8 metres wide. The Khimaar is the scarf. (approximately 1m x 1m)
Order of Female Kafan
First spread the Lifafah out on the ground, then the Sinaband, on it the Izaar and then on it that portion of the Qamees that will be under the body. The portion that will cover the top of the body should be folded and put at the head side. The Sinaband may also be placed between the Izaar and Qamees or lastly over the Lifafah. Fumigate the kafn an odd number of times using incense sticks before lowering the body onto it. Lower the body gently onto the kafn and cover the top of the body up to the calfs with the folded portion of the Qamees. Remove the sheet used for covering the Satr. Do not use Itr, Surmah or any other make-up. Then rub camphor mixture paste on the places of Sajdah (i.e. those parts of the body that touch the ground in namaaz: forehead, nose, both palms, knees and the fore feet). The hair should be divided into two parts and put onto the right and left breast over the Qamees. Cover the head and hair with the Orni. Do not fasten or fold it. Fold the Izaar, the left flap first and then the right over the Qamees and Orni. Now close the Sinaband (breast cover) over these in the same manner. Close the Lifafah, the left flap first and then the right. Lastly fasten the ends of the Lifafah at the headside, feet and around the middle with bands of cloth, to keep the complete Kafn in place.
If the foetus has developed any human parts. eg. hand, finger, nail, hair etc. it will be regarded as a child. The foetus will be named, given Ghusl, wrapped in a cloth without observing the Masnoon kafan and buried in the normal Masnoon way. However, Janaazah salaat will not be performed.
If the foetus has not developed any human organ, it will not be regarded as a child. There is no Ghusl, no Kafan and no Masnoon dafan(burial) for this foetus. It shall be wrapped in a cloth and buried.
If a fully formed child is born dead, it will be named, given masnoon ghusl and wrapped in a cloth (without observing the masnoon kafn) and buried in the usual way without performing Janaazah salaat.
If the child is born alive , but dies immediately on birth, it will be treated in exactly the same way in which a mayyit is treated. All Shar’i rites are applicable to it.
Seeing the face of the deceased
The face of the deceased should not be left open for everyone to see.
If the deceased is male: Shariat will only allow mahram females to see the face, the mahram females are : wife, mother, grandmother, sisters, aunts, nieces, daughters and grand-daughters.
If the deceased is a female: Shariat will allow only male mahrams to see the face. The male mahrams are as follows: father, grandfather, sons, grandsons, brothers, uncles and nephews.
Question: Can a husband see the face of his deceased wife ?
Answer: In the kitaab, Sharhut Tanweer (vol.1 pg. 897), it is stated that a husband is not permitted to give ghusl or touch his deceased wife, but he may see her face.
The Janazah Salaat is Fardh Kifaayah on all Muslims present. It consists of four takbeers, thana, durood, a masnoon du’aa and two salaams. All these are said silently by both the Imaam and Muqtadi. The Imaam will only call out the takbeers and salaam aloud. There are two fardh acts in Janazah Salaat : 1. To stand and perform salaat. 2. To recite all the takbeers. It is makrooh to perform Janazah Salaat while the sun rises, when it passes the meridian (zawaal) and when it sets. Besides these brief times, it can be performed at any time during the day or night. It could also be read after Asr salaat.
Masnoon method of performing Janaazah Salaat
The body of the deceased should be placed with the head on the right side of the Imam, who will face the Qiblah. The Imam should stand in line with the chest of the deceased when performing the salaat. It is Mustahab to make an odd number of safs (rows). The safs for Janaazah salaat should be close to one another, because there are no sajdahs to be made. After the safs are straightened, the niyyah should be made that : ‘I am performing this Janazah Salaah for Allah behind this Imam. (The salaat being a du’aa for the deceased). After the niyyah the hands should be raised up to the ears, and the Imaam shall say Allahu Akbar loudly, and the Muqtadies softly. Then fold them under the navel similar to the daily salaat. Then recite Thana softly.
Now the Imaam will recite the Takbeer for the second time loudly, and the Muqtadies softly. The hands should not be raised when saying this and all subsequent Takbeers. The Durood Ibrahim should now be read.
Now the Takbeer should be said for the third time and thereafter the masnoon du’aa for either an adult or minor male / female child should be read.
Dua for an Adult
Dua for a male child
Dua for a female child
The Imaam will say the fourth Takbeer and thereafter recite the salaam loudly twice, whilst turning his head first towards the right shoulder and then once again while turning towards the left shoulder. The muqtadies should follow by saying the takbeer and salaam softly. There is no du’aa immediately after the salaat.
Late comers to the Janazah Salaat
When a late comer fears that if he engages himself in wudhu, he will miss the Janazah salaat, then only will it be permissible for him to make tayammum and join the Jama’at. This rule applies only to Janazah salaat. Whoever arrives for the Janazah salaat after the Imam has recited one or more takbeers, should wait to join the Imam when he says the next takbeer. After the salaam he should complete the missed takbeer by merely saying Allahu Akbar once for every takbeer missed. No du’aa etc. should be read. If the Imaam has completed the fourth takbeer too, the late comer should join and complete all the missed takbeers, before the Imam says the salaam.
Delaying Janazah Salaah and burial
It is from the teachings of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam that we do not waste time with performing of Janaazah salaah and burial.
Abu Hurairah radhiallahu anhu narrates that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “Hasten with the Janaazah because if the person was pious then the grave will be a place of blessing for him. Hence, by hastening you are transferring him to his abode quickly, and if it is the contrary i.e. the person was not pious, then this is a heavy burden (which you are lifting upon your shoulders). Hence, by hastening you are removing him from your shoulders quickly.
Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “If a person passes away hasten him to his grave and do not keep him away”.
Do not neglect this teaching of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam (to hasten with Janaazah salaah and dafn). It is always more rewarding to obey Allah’s Rasool sallallahu alayhi wasallam then to please relatives and friends. It is Makrooh to delay the Janaazah salaah and wait for late comers to increase the Jamaat or to schedule it late at night without a shar’i reason.
The harms of delaying without reason
Leaving out the sunnah teachings Putting Muslims in difficulty It is no longer safe to travel late at night in South Africa.
Punctuality of Janaazah Salaah times
There should be no delay in picking up the mayyit after setting a fixed time. The masjid notice boards should clearly specify : What time the funeral procession will leave the house. Janaazah salaah time at the qabrastaan (cemetery) A precautionary 15 – 20 min. gap should be allowed between the two .Punctuality of the specified Janaazah time at the cemetery is absolutely essential.To delay the Janaazah Salaah in order to cater for late comers is highly inconvenient to those who have arrive on time. To inconvenience fellow Muslim brothers is Haraam.
How the Janaazah should be carried
It is reported in a Hadeeth that whomsoever carries the Janaazah on all four corners (i.e. he carries every corner of the Janaazah), forty of his minor sins are forgiven (Bahishti Zewar on the authority of Ibne Asakir) If the deceased is an adult it should be put on a Janaazah (bier)and carried on the shoulders by four men. It is makrooh to transport the corpse by hearse over short distances unnecessarily. If the deceased is an infant or small child, it should be carried in the arms individually by different persons The Mustahab manner of carrying the Janaazah is that every bearer has to carry the Janaazah forty steps. To do this observe the following procedure :
1. Carry Janaazah left front for ten steps (Mayyits right shoulder)
2. Carry Janaazah left rear for ten steps (Mayyits right foot)
3. Carry Janaazah right front for ten steps (Mayyits left shoulder).
4. Carry Janaazah right rear for ten steps (Mayyits left foot).
This method should only be adopted if it does not cause inconvenience to others.
Those accompanying the janaazah should not sit before the janaazah is lowered to the ground. The sick and infirm are excused. It is Masnoon to carry the Janaazah hastily, but not in a manner that the body jolted or shaken about. It is Mustahab to follow the Janaazab, and not go ahead of it. It is Makrooh for those accompanying the Janaazah to recite any Du’a or Aayat of the Qur’aan loudly. They may however read LA ILAHA ILLALLAH softly. One should abstain from speaking of worldly affairs, or laughing and joking.
If for some reason, the janaazah’s arrival at the cemetery is delayed or if one is early, then one should not engage in conversation regarding worldly matters or its like. However we should do as Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam had done i.e. When Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to accompany the janaazah, he used to remain silent pondering and meditating upon death. (Ibne Sa’ad) A person could recite Qur’aan and bless the reward thereof to the deceased. Hazrat Jaabir radhiallahu anhu narrates that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam forbade that graves be built with structures and that people sit on graves. (Ahmed and Muslim) The words in the Hadeeth indicate only salutations and duas for the dead. All other ways such as placing wreaths, flowers, paying homage etc., are incorrect according to the shariat, and one should abstain from acting wrongly. It is incorrect and forbidden to tread upon graves.
Method of lowering the body into the grave
The body should be lowered from the Qiblah side so that those in the grave may receive it whilst facing the Qiblah. Those passing on the body and those receiving it, should when handling the body, recite :
It is Mustahab (recommended) to cover the grave with a sheet whilst lowering a females body into it. It will be Waajib (compulsory) if it is feared that her Satr may be exposed.
It is preferable that pious mahram males lower a females janazah into the grave. If mahram males are not available than pious men from the community.
How the Qabr should be filled and shaped
All those present should participate to fill the kabr with at least three handfuls (using both hands) of soil. When throwing the first handful recite :
with the second handful recite :
and at the time of the third handful, recite :
It is Mustahab to begin closing the recess or trench from the headside. The recess must be covered with unbaked bricks, bamboo or timber. All the remaining little openings must be closed with mud or grass. The shape of the kabr when filled should be like the hump of a camel (approximately 10cm high) Out of necessity the placing of a name plate will be permissible but should be separate from the grave. No name plate or its like should be positioned flat on the surface of the grave, as this is impermissible and should be avoided. Erecting walls around the grave is an un-lslamic practice. It is not permissible do so. Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam once sent Hazrat Ali radhiallahu anhu to demolish all grave-constructions. Those who erect walls around the graves are not rendering any service to the dead. We are forbidden by Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam and Allah Ta’ala to solidify graves or build around graves like the kufaar.
After the ghusl and kafn ,Qur’aan sharif and tasbeeh could be read for the esaale thawaab of the deceased.
Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said that the returns for a person’s own virtues come to an end when he dies; but there are three such things, the returns for which keep accruing even after death: a Sadaqah with recurring benefits, knowledge from which people continue to benefit, and virtuous children who offer dua for their deceased parents.
“Sadaqah with recurring benefits” – include things such as building masaajids, madrassahs, hospitals, homes for travellers, planting of trees under which people can take shade, digging of wells, printing of Islamic literature, printing and distributing Quraans to students, sponsoring a student, providing musallaas for masaajids etc. As long as people gain benefit from these things, the deceased will continue to reap the rewards in his kabr.
“Knowledge from which people continue to benefit” – includes teaching one’s progeny the recitation of the Qur’aan or any other student, teaching matters of Deen to people, as long as they practice thereon, going out in the path of Allah and inviting people, establishing madrassahs, initiating and conducting the reading of Hadeeth and Islamic literature at one’s home, inviting non-Muslims to Islam by which they profess the Kalimah.
“Virtuous children” – Those who offer dua for their parents will be counted amongst the obedient children.
Do’s and dont’s at the Mayyit (deceased’s) house
People visiting the mayyit house should do the following:
No worldly talks should take place . One should avoid asking close members too many questions regarding the death of the deceased. By asking too many questions, it will increase their grief and sadness. One should not laugh or joke. One should express his grief. One should console and sympathize with family members. One should mention the good acts of the deceased and abstain from offensive ones. Do not overstay the visit.
Males visiting the home of the deceased
Males should not crowd in front of the main entrance of the house. By crowding the main entrance it becomes difficult for ladies to enter the house.
It is best for males to console the family members of the deceased or either stand one side reading Qur’aan or tasbeeh instead of engaging in worldly talk.
Du’aa for the deceased
There are no special Duaas to be made when leaving the home for the deceased . Before going to the kabarstan one should abstain from acts which are not mentioned in the Hadeeth of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam .
One may silently make du’aa for the deceased. Janaazah salaah itself is a du’aa for the deceased. Neither Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallamnor the sahaba Radhiallahu anhu made collective, loud dua immediately after the Janaazah salaah. However dua at the qabr is proven in the hadeeth.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu anhu narrates that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “Whomsoever whilst in the state of Imaan and having hope of reward, accompanies the janaazah of a muslim, till the completion of the burial, will receive the reward of two Qeerat and one Qeerat is equal to mount Uhud, and whomsoever accompanies the Janaazah until the completion of salaah only and does not remain till the completion of the burial, will receive the reward of one Qeerat. (Ma’aariful Hadeeth, Bukhari, Muslim)
Things which members of the family should do to benefit the deceased
Family members should settle any debts of the deceased, as unfulfilled debts will be means of punishment for the deceased. His wealth should be distributed to his heirs according to the shariat. If not distributed according to the shariah this will also be a means of punishment for him. It is narrated in a hadeeth that ‘Whoever will visit his parents grave every Friday will be granted maghfirat (forgiveness), and he will be recorded as an obedient son of his parents.” In general, all good actions done by the progeny of the deceased will be a means of benefit to the deceased. A person could offer charity to the poor and pass the reward and thawaab to the deceased e.g. feeding the poor, building madrassahs, masjids etc note: This charity is optional. One should recite a portion of the Quraan-e-Kareem daily and transfer the reward to the deceased.
All practices and customs not done by Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah after the death of a Muslim e.g. to have ceremonies for the deceased after three, seven, twenty and forty days, are not found in the Quraan and Hadeeth. To make milk and kheer (or some special food) and give it to the poor as a must.