Volume - V / CHAPTER - 2 / LESSON NO: 15 / PAGE 1 of 2
OF THE DEAD BODY
Q 1: What are the signs of death?
A. The signs of death are that one's legs slacken rendering him unable to stand, nose becomes inclined to one side, temples sink, skin of the face stiffens etc.
Q 2: What should be done at the time of death?
A. When the death of one is nigh and the signs of death appear his face should, according to Sunnah, be turned on his right facing the Qiblah if possible otherwise not. At this critical juncture of his life, "Kalimah Taie-yib" or "Kalimah Shahaadat" must be recited before him aloud in a suggestive way but he should not be stressed to do so. If he recites once, give up the suggestion and if after that he utters some thing then repeat "Kalimah(s)" so that his last word be "Laa Ilaaha Illal Laahu Muhammad ur Rasoolul Laah".
Fragrance be placed there. For example, incense or aloe stick may be burnt. If there is any dog or picture in the house remove that immediately as the Angels of mercy do not enter such house. It is better that some pious and virtuous men remain beside him so that they may pray to Allah Almighty for themselves as well as for the good of the dying man. No bad word should be spoken before him. If there appear agonies of death on the dying man recite "Surah Yaaseen" and "Surah Ra'ad"
Q 3: What should be done after the dying man has died?
A. After the soul has left the body of the dying man i.e. death is confirmed, the head and the chin should be fastened together with a wide strip of cloth thereby to close the month, eyes be closed gently and fingers, hands and legs be straightened. While closing the eyes recite this Du'aa: "Bismil Laahi wa 'Alaa Millati Rasoolil Laah. Allaa Humma Yassir 'Alaiehi Amrahu wa Sahhil 'Alaiehi Maa Ba'dahu wa As'idhu Biliqaa-ika waj-al Maa Kharaja Ilaiehi Khaieram Mimmaa Kharaja 'Anhum" (Allah, in the name of, and in accordance with the community (religion) of the Messenger of Allah. O'Allah! Make his task easy for him and make light for him what follows, grace him with Your Sight and make the hereafter (the place where he has gone) better for him than the world he left). Then cloths be taken off and thereafter the whole body be covered with a sheet of cloth. A weighty thing but not too weighty like iron or wet-clay may be put on the stomach so that it does not bulge out. It should be placed on a "Charpai" (four-poster) or any other raised thing but not be left on the ground.
His debt, if any, must be cleared immediately. All relatives and friends of the deceased be informed in order that more and more people may participate in funeral prayer. Washing, shrouding and burying the dead must be hastened, for, Ahaadees lay emphasis on it.
Q 4: Can the Holy Quran be recited near the dead?
A. Yes, the Holy Quran can be recited near the dead provided that the body is fully covered with sheet or any other cloth, otherwise, other "Tasbih" and "Zikr" (remembrance of Allah) be done.
Q 5: How is that for washing the dead?
A. Washing the dead is "Fard-e-Kifaayah" (an obligation which is fulfilled if performed by a few men). All will be relieved of the obligation if "Ghusl" is done to the dead by some, otherwise all will be sinner if do not wash it despite knowledge.
Q 6: What is the method of washing a dead?
A. The method of washing a dead is that the plank on which corpse is to be bathed should be fumigated three or five or seven times i.e. censer or aloe stick should be moved round the plank and then have the dead laid on it and take off cloths causing least inconvenience to the dead and then cover it with a piece of cloth from the navel upto the knees.
It is "Mustahab" to cover the place where the dead is to be washed so that others could not see it than those involved in the washing process. The one who gives bath to the dead should be in the state of purity (not sexually or otherwise polluted). First he should do "Istinjah "(abstersion) to the dead wearing gloves or wrapping his hands in cloth and then administer "Wudu" i.e. washing of the face, hands upto (inclusive of) elbows, "Masah" of the head (rubbing of the head with wet hands) and washing of feet leaving out washing of hands upto wrists, gargles and pouring of water into nostrils. However, wet cotton or cloth should be passed over the teeth, gums, lips and into the nostrils. The head and beard should be washed with gilly flowers or gram flour or pure soap manufactured by an Islamic soap factory or any other cleansing substance if available otherwise the simple water is enough to serve the purpose.
Thereafter, he should lay the dead left side-ways and pour luke-warm water boiled with the leaves of Jujubes' tree (buck-thorn family tree) from the head to the feet so that it reaches the plank and then lay it right wide-ways and pour the water similarly. Simple boiled water (luke-warm) will also do the job. Then have the dead seated with support and hand be pressed on its belly slowly downwards. If any impurity comes out remove and wash it. Do not repeat the procedure as "Wudu" and "Ghusl" are not affected by such emission.
In the end of washing, camphoric water should be poured over the whole body from the head to the feet and dry it up gently with a piece of clean cloth. Pouring water over entire body once is "Fard" and thrice is "Sunnat".
Q 7: Who should wash the dead?
A. It is better that any close relative may wash the dead otherwise any pious and reliable man should wash it well. If he notices any good thing, tell people about it but abstain from disclosing any bad thing if noticed during washing process. However, if any unbeliever or a Muslim who had erroneous beliefs died and any bad thing appeared on his body then let the people know it so that they may learn a lesson from such horrible incidents. Man should wash man and woman should give bath to woman. However, woman can wash minor boy and man can bathe minor girl.
Q 8: Should a new spouted-jug/ large earthen jar be utilised to wash the dead or the used ones?
A. It is not necessary to buy new spouted-jug or large earthen jar to wash the dead. The used i.e. which are in use of family can be utilised for the purpose. After use they should not be broken or discarded as it is forbidden and unlawful. They may at most be washed for re-use in family or be placed in mosque not with the idea that their retention at home is bad omen because such thinking is nothing but folly, but instead with the intention that worshippers will use them which will benefit the dead.
Q 9: How is that for shrouding the dead?
A. Shrouding the dead is "Fard-e-Kifaayah". If only one man provides "shroud" to the dead all will be relieved of the obligation otherwise all people will be sinner.
Q10: What the shroud of a man should, according to Sunnah, be composed of?
A. A man's shroud, according to Sunnah, consists of (1). "Lifaafah" (outer covering) which should be long enough to be easily tied on the head and foot ends,(2). "Izaar" (inner covering) from the head to the feet, smaller than "Lifaafah" in length i.e. without extra cloth for knots at both ends unlike "Lifaafah" and (3). "Qameez" or "Kafnee" (shirt-like garment without front-opening and sleeves) from the neck(shoulders) upto, inclusive of, knees and its front and back should also be equal in length.
Q11: What the shroud of a woman should, according to Sunnah, be composed of?
A. Five pieces of cloths are Sunnat for woman's shroud i.e. three are the same as those of a man and two others are: "Orhnee"(sheet) 1 1/2 yards in length and "Seena Band"(chest covering) from the chest to the thighs or at least to the navel. Man's shirt-like garment (Kafnee) should be slit on the shoulder and woman's on the chest.
Q12: How much shroud will serve the purpose if not available according to Sunnah?
A. Two pieces of cloth i.e. "Lifaafah" and "Izaar" will suffice for man's shroud and three i.e. "Lifaafah", "Izaar" and sheet or "Lifaafah", "Qameez, Kafnee" and sheet for woman. If even these are not available then at least a piece of cloth which could cover the whole body should be arranged.
Q13: Which cloth should the shroud be made of?
A. Shroud should be of good cloth i.e. carry the price of what cloths the male dead used to put-on on Eids' days and Friday and female dead used to wear on visiting her parents.
A Hadees says: shroud your dead in good cloths as they meet one another and rejoice at it. The best shroud is that of white cloth. Saffron or dark-saffron coloured or silk shroud is forbidden for man but lawful for woman. One can be shrouded in the cloth (quality-wise) which he/she wears in life.
Q14: What is the method of shrouding the dead?
A. The method of shrouding the dead is that after having washed the dead and dried it up gently with a piece of clean cloth lay on the fumigated shroud. First, outer-covering (Lifaafah) should be spread, on it inner-covering (Izaar) and .shirt-like garment (Kafnee) thereon. And then the dead should be laid on these cloths and "Kafnee" be put on it: Perfume should be applied on the beard and body and camphor be applied to the marks of prostration, forehead, nose, hands, knees and feet and then the left side of the inner-covering be turned on the body and similarly the right side thereupon followed by folding of the outer-covering in the same manner so that the right side of the wrapping is on the left. Shroud should be tied with bands of cloth on the head and below the feet.
As for female dead, after putting "Kafnee" on it divide her hair into two parts and put them on the breast over the "Kafnee". Sheet should be spread under her upper-half of the back and folding the remaining portion of it from the head-side put on the face spreading upto the chest like a veil and then fold the "Izaar" and "Lifaafah" as is done in the case of man. On all these "Seena Band"(chest covering) should be placed from the breast upto the thighs and then tied.
Q15: What is the accepted way of carrying bier to graveyard?
A. The Sunnat way of carrying "Janaazah"(bier) to graveyard is that four persons should carry the four-poster shouldering one of its legs and change his shoulder after walking ten steps on each of the four legs in succession. And "accepted way" according to Sunnah is that one should shoulder the front right-leg of the four-poster and then the back right-leg and thereafter the front left-leg and then the back left-leg walking ten steps on shouldering each leg. Thus the distance covered will be forty paces. A Hadees to this effect says: the one who carries "Janaazah" forty paces, will have his forty major sins erased.
The bier should be carried with the head of the four-poster forward and swiftly but taking care that the swiftness does not cause shaking to the dead body. An infant or a minor boy or girl may either be carried on the hands by people one after another or on a cot,little four-poster.
Q16: How should people accompany, follow "Janaazah"?
A. It is better for the people who accompany Janaazah to walk behind the bier instead of the right side or the left and if one wants to walk ahead of it then he should walk at a considerable distance so as not to be included in the funeral procession. Besides, they should neither talk with one another nor laugh but instead observe silence keeping in view death and grave and do "Zikr" (remembrance of Allah, recitation of the Holy Quran) in the heart. However, religious scholars have permitted to do "Zikr" loudly in the present age.
Q17: Can one who accompanies "Janaazah" go back before burial or not?
A. The one who accompanied,followed bier should not go back without offering funeral prayer. After funeral prayer he can go seeking permission from the guardians of the dead. However, after burial he need not seek permission.
Q18: Is funeral prayer "Fard" or "Waajib"?
A. "Salaatul Janaazah" (funeral prayer) is "Fard-e-Kifaayah" i.e. if it is offered by only one all will be absolved of the obligation, otherwise all those who had come to know of it and did not offer, will be sinner. The denier of the "obligatory nature" of Salaatul Janaazah is an infidel. Jama'at is not essential for it. Even if a single person offered it, "Fard" would be accomplished.
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