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Islamic Rituals at Death


Question

Islamic Rituals at Death

What are the procedures after death and during funeral for a Muslim living in the USA?



Question from United States of America
Answer

The necessary Islamic rituals at the death of a Muslim are as follows:

  1. The corpse is washed (bathed): The main factor in this step is to physically cleanse the corpse. The method, the style and the accessories used for bathing the corpse may vary from time to time and from place to place. Bathing a corpse, in whatever method, is a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), and therefore a part of the Islamic Shari`ah.

  2. The corpse is wrapped in a simple plain cloth. The cloth is called 'kafan' and the process 'takfeen'[1]: The main factor in this step is to respectfully wrap the corpse in a cloth so that its private parts are not visible to others. The style of this wrapping and the material and the color of the cloth used for this wrapping may vary from place to place and from time to time. However, the important aspect in the style of wrapping and the material used is that it should be a simple rather than a gaudy style and the cloth used for this purpose should also not be very flashy. It is for this reason that Muslims have generally preferred to use white cotton cloth to serve as 'kafan'. It is allowed to put some perfume on the cloth.

  3. The Muslims of the community gather to offer their collective prayers for the forgiveness of the dead. This prayer has been generally termed as the Janazah prayer. (The prayer is offered in a particular way).

  4. The corpse is then buried in the ground. The style of the grave and that of the burial may vary from time to time and place to place. The Islamic directive is restricted to a respectful burial in the ground.

  5. After the burial, the Muslims who have gathered for paying their respects to the dead collectively pray for the forgiveness of the dead. This collective prayer is the last formal collective prayer for the dead.

According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), these are the necessary Islamic rituals at the death of a Muslim. Many other rituals have been added to the list but all of them are either not essential or are not a part of the Islamic Shari`ah (law).

I hope this helps.

12th February 2000


[1] i.e. to clothe with the kafan or to wrap the kafan around the corpse.




Answer published by Moiz Amjad


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A Further Clarification Regarding the Rituals at Death