Rules related to Washing a Dead Body in Islam

In the name of Allah,


According to most scholars, it is a fard kifayah, or collective duty, to wash a deceased Muslim’s body. If some individuals take care of it, it is done on behalf of everybody. If no one performs it, the entire community is deemed sinful[I].  


Origin of giving Ghusl to the dead

The bathing of the deceased dates back to Adam. According to Ubayy Bin Ka’b, Allah’s Messenger stated: 

‘When Adam died, the angels washed him with water an odd number of times, dug his lahd, and said, “This will be a guidance from Adam to his descendants.” [ii]  


Who Should wash the deceased

Males are washed by only males and females by females. A man cannot perform a ghusl for her even if a woman is one of his mahrams. The only exceptions to this rule are husband and wife or young children. The Hanafi school holds that it is not permissible for a husband to wash his wife’s dead body, while they allow a wife to wash her husband’s body.

According to the Sunnah, the deceased should be washed by someone most informed about the Sunnah of washing the dead, especially from among the deceased near family members or relatives. [iii] 


The reward for giving ghusl to dead


Anyone who washes the deceased receives a huge reward if he does it for Allah’s sake, conceals the dead person’s defects, and does not talk of the awful things he sees on the deceased person’s body while washing him.

The prophet (PBUH) said:

‘Whoever washes a deceased (Muslim) and covers him, Allah will cover his sins. And whoever shrouds him, Allah will give him silk garments (in Jannah).’ [iv]

Some scholars believe that if he discovers anything good while washing, he should mention it. Ibn Umar narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: “Mention good things about your dead, and refrain from (mentioning) their evil.” [Tirmidhi 1019] Classified as weak by Albany.


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[i] Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Sayed Sabiq

[ii] Recorded by al-Hakim and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albany (Sahih-ul-Jami no. 5207). See Funerals, Regulations & Exhortations, 2nd Edition, MUHAMMAD MUSTAFA AL-JIBALY, page 95

[iii] An Abridgement of the Rulings & Regulations Pertaining to the Funeral Rites, Shaikh Muhammad Nasirud-Din Al-Albani, page 54

[iv] Recorded by at-Tabarani in al-Kabir. It is verified to be authentic by al-Albanl (as-Sahihah no. 2353).



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