Why do you bath the bodies when someone dies?
Till the time of one’s death, one is himself responsible for cleansing one’s mind, body and soul. However, when a person dies, his family and brethren take charge of what is left of him with them and put it to rest, surrendering it to God, in a most befitting manner.
The death of a person, in the eyes of a believer in God, signifies the dead person’s return to his Creator. The dead person’s burial in the ground signifies the surrendering of his physical existence to the Creator to the place from where he would be raised again on the Day of Judgment. With the stated significance of the burial in perspective, the prophets of God taught their followers to thoroughly bathe and shroud the corpse in clean pieces of cloth, if possible.
Thus, on the one hand, this bathing and shrouding is a show of the survivors’ love and respect for their loved one. While on the other, it signifies their attempt to rest their loved one’s physical existence with the Lord of the world in a befitting manner, a manner in which he himself would have desired to present himself to his Lord.
I hope this helps.
August 18, 2003