Chapter Twenty: On what to do when someone is at the point of death and on washing the dead, shrouding them, embalming them, carrying them and burying them

20.1 Attendance at death

20.1a. Turning the person towards qibla

When someone is at the point of death, it is recommended to turn them so that they face qibla and to close their eyes after they have died.

[When the signs of death appear in a person and it is certain that he will die, he is turned: that is when the eyes become fixed. It is disliked to do that before. What is meant by facing qibla is to put him on his right side with his chest towards the qibla. It is said that that at that point one says, "In the name of Allah and on the sunna of the Messenger of Allah and peace be upon the Messengers and praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Let those who work, work for the like of this (i.e. death) The like of this is not denied." It is also recommended to tie the jaw with a bandage, bind the limbs gently, lift him from the earth, cover him with a cloth, place something heavy on his abdomen like a sword, and to recount the shahada to him.]

20.1b. Saying the shahada

The shahada should be said in the presence of the dying person so they will be reminded of it.

[This is done before he actually dies. The previous things are for the person who has died. This instruction is that someone sitting with his says so that he can hear, "La ilaha illa'llah. Muhammadun rasulullah." This is done when the signs of death appear. He is taught so that he will remember them in his mind and die acknowledging them in his consciousness. When the dying person says them, they are not repeated to him unless he is speaking a foreign language and then they are repeated to him so that that will be the last of his words and he will enter the Garden by what is related: "If the last words of a person are 'la ilaha illa'llah,' he will enter the Garden." One does not say, "Say: 'la ilaha illa'llah' because he might be in a conflict with Shaytan who says, 'Die on the deen of the Jews or Christians,' and he says 'No,' and then people will have a bad opinion of him.]

20.1c. Purity of the body

It is better than the body and what it is on are free of impurity. It is better that menstruating women or anyone in a state of janaba do not come near someone who is dying.

[It is desirable that what is on and under the body and the body itself be pure, if that is possible. The reason is that the angels will be present with him. It is recommended that menstruating women or those in janaba do not come near the dying person because the Prophet said that the angels do not enter a house in which there is a menstruating woman or someone in janaba. It is desirable that no dogs or images or anything that angels dislike be brought near him.]

20.1d. Reading Sura Yasin

Some of the 'ulama' recommend reading Surat Yasin at the bedside of the dying person although according to Malik this was not the usual practice.

['Some' means Ibn Habib. It is read at his head or feet or elsewhere. Surat Yasin is read because it is related that the Prophet said, "There is no one who dies who has Surat Yasin read at his head but that Allah makes it easy for him." This recitation is not mentioned by Malik. He considers it disliked, and that Yasin is not singled out. He considers it disliked to recite Yasin or any other sura when a person is dying, after his death or at his grave. It is also disliked to instruct him after he has been placed in the grave. ]

[Khalil says it is disliked to recite Qur'an beside a dying person and to recite it beside the dead person or at his burial. It is also disliked to burn aromatic substances.]

20.1e Weeping

There is no harm in weeping when someone dies although self-control and patient endurance are better if that is possible.

[There is no harm in weeping when the person is dying or after his death. Self-control in what has happened is good and better if possible. He is helped in that by looking at the reward for afflictions in ayats and hadiths which are related about that. One is them is the words of the Almighty, "But give good news to the steadfast: those who, when disaster strikes them, say, 'We belong to Allah and will return to Him.' Those are the ones who will have blessings and mercy from their Lord." (2:155-156) The blessings and mercy of Allah are not equal to any of the things connected to this world. In hadith: "Whoever says that and says with it, 'O Allah, reward me for my loss and replace it with better than it,' Allah will do that for him."]

20.1f. Wailing is forbidden

and crying out and wailing are forbidden.

[Based on the words of the Prophet, "The one beats his cheek and tears his garments and calls out with the call of the Jahiliyya is not one of us." In a variant of Muslim, "When the wailer does not repent before she dies, she will be raised up on the Day of Rising with trousers of pitch and a shirt of mange.]

20.2 Washing the body

20.2a. Number of times

There is no fixed limit to the number of times you wash a dead body. The body should be thoroughly cleaned and the number of times it is washed should be odd.

[Except for the martyr in battle according to Malik, but what is desired is that the body be clear and that it be washed an odd number of times. The reply is that the limit is that which should not be exceeded or decreased, and the odd is three, five or seven. In short, the cleaning defined by the number three does not have the limitation of a particular number since it is known that the odd contains three, five, etc. It is recommended that the washing be odd except not only one time, which is not desirable. The principle of the sunna washing is based on what is well-known and it does not need an intention. It is also said that it is obligatory and confirmed, i.e. on society as a whole, which is preferred, and it is done as an act of worship, not for cleanness in the well-known position. It is is said that it is for cleanness. It is clear that the result of the dispute is that when a Muslim man dies, and there is no Muslim with him but there is a dhimmi with him, according to the statement that it is worship, the dhimmi does not wash him because he is not one of the people of worship. According to the second one, that it is for cleanness, the dhimmi washes him.]

20.2b. What is used for washing

It should be washed with water and sidr (lote tree leaves) and in the last washing camphor should be added to the water.

[Al-Fakhani says that it means that all of the scholars say that crushed lote leaves should be dissolved in water and then the body of the corpse rubbed with it. It is like that in every washing except the first. In it there must be clear water for the obligatory ghusl. In the last washing it is recommended to add camphor because the Prophet commanded that if there is no camphor, then another perfume takes its place. When there is no lote, then saltwort and the like is used instead.]

20.2c. Covering the private parts

During the washing the body's private parts should be kept covered.

[When the dead person is stripped to be washed, the private parts should be covered. What al-Lakhmi understands from the Mudawwana are the actual private parts in particular. The accepted position is that it is what is between the waist and the knees, as is transmitted from Ibn Habib. Al-Baji transmitted from Ashhab that the chest and face are covered, fearing change which could give rise to bad opinion.]

20.2d. Cutting nails and hair

The nails should not be cut nor should the hair be shaved off.

[If it is done, it is disliked to do this and they are included with him in his shroud.]

20.2e. Squeezing the stomach

The stomach should be gently squeezed.

[It is recommended to do this before washing if it is needs. It is done gently lest any thing of it come out and soil the shroud.]

20.2f. Wudu'

It is good if wudu' is done for the dead person although this is not obligatory.

[It is recommended and does not require an intention because he is doing it for someone else. It is not obligatory, which indicates that there are two positions in the question. It indicated the first when he say it is good, and he rejected the second by saying that it is not obligatory, even if something impure issues from him after washing. It is removed and he is not washed again nor is wudu' done for him. Only the place is washed.]

20.2g. Position of the corpse

It is better if the body is turned on its side for washing although it is acceptable to wash it in a sitting position.

[It is better than sitting it up because it is easier to clean and kinder to the corpse. He first puts him on his left side and then washes the right side, and then turns him on the right side and washes the left side. This is recommended although sitting is allowed. 'Abdu'l-Wahhab prefers it because it he more able to wash throroughly.]

20.2h. It is good for a spouse to wash

It is good for a husband or wife to wash their dead partner although it does not necessarily have to be them that do it.

[There is no harm here if another is chosen. Either of the couple has priority in the washing of the one who has died over other relatives so that he is adjudged to be able to do it if the relatives dispute about it. The basis for it is what is mentioned about 'Ali washing Fatima and Abu Bakr being washed by his wife.]

20.2i. Who washes a woman without relatives or other women

If a woman dies on a journey and there are no other women present nor any men of mahram status then a man should do tayammum for her, wiping her face and hands.

[If a Muslim woman dies and there are no Muslim women or male relatives present, but there are unrelated men, a man does tayammum for her, wiping the hands only to the wrists because they are not part of 'awra and so it is permitted to look at them without lust. Az-Zurqani said, "It is permitted for a unrelated man to wipe her when she is lifeless because of the rarity of pleasure here. The one who prays only does tayammum after finishing the tayammum of the corpse because it is the time of the prayer."]

20.2j. Who washes such a man

Similarly if the dead person is a man and there are no other men present nor a woman of mahram status, then a woman should do tayammum for him, wiping his face and his hands and arms to the elbows. If there is a woman of mahram status present she should wash his body, keeping his 'arwa covered.

[When there is a woman who is a relative present, she washes him, covering the 'awra according to one of two interpretations in the Mudawwana. It is sound because his body is not forbidden for them to see. So it is permitted for her to look at a male relative except for what is between the waist and knees. Touching is analogous with looking by necessity. The other interpretation is that his entire body is veiled.]

20.2k. When a woman's mahram is present

If a woman has died and there is a man of mahram status present he should wash her through a cloth covering her whole body.

[When there is no woman with her, a relative or in-law washes her according to what is in the Mudawwana. Ashhab says that he does not wash her, but performs tayammum. The form of washing is that water is poured on her and he does not touch her body with his hand either above or under the cloth.]

20.3 Shrouding

20.3a Number

It is recommended for the body to be shrouded in an odd number of lengths of cloth, either three, five or seven. Any waist-wrapper, shirt or turban that is put on the body is counted as one piece of cloth. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. was shrouded in three lengths of white sahuli cloth, each layer being well wrapped round him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

[This is with the exception of the martyr in battle. He is silent about what is obligatory, which is a garment which covers the entire body. It is clear from his words that seven is recommended for both men and women. It is in al-Mukhtasar and it is what is accepted. Seven is recommended especially for woman, and more than five for a man is disliked. Since he feared that that would be limited to what is used to wrap the body, he removed the possible misconception by saying that that includes garments. Then he indicates the recommendation of the odd number based on the Prophet's example. "Sahuli" refers to a type of cotton which is washed or it refers to a town in Yemen.]

20.3b. Just a shirt and turban

There is no harm in a dead man being dressed in a shirt and a turban.

[No harm here means it is better to not to do it. There is a text in the Mukhtasar that it is recommended, i.e. each of them is recommended, not that it is one recommendation. The turban is recommended for a man, and one leaves the end of it an arm's length to put over his face. A woman has no turban. A head covering is put on her head and the end of it left to put on her face. The best shroud is white cotton or linen. But cotton is better because it is more concealing and because the Prophet was shrouded in it. It is disliked to use yellow or green scent and every colour except white. The place of dislike is when it is posssible to have white. Otherwise it is not. Shrouding, the perfume and preparing it is advanced before the debt - except for the pawn and bequest. However, if there is a pledge against the debt, it is permitted to the pledgee. The pledged debt is advanced over the cost of preparation.]

20.3c. Use of perfume

The body should be perfumed, with the perfume being put between the layers of cloth that make up the shroud and also directly on the body and the places which touch the ground in sujud.

[It is recommended to perfume the corpse with perfume which is not forbidden and is customary. It is recommended to dry the body with a clean rag before it is perfumed, and it is recommended that its clothes be fumigated an odd number of times, three, five, or seven and the like. Hanut, which is perfume like musk, amber or camphor is put between the shrouds, i.e on each layer except the top, and on the body, like the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and nostrils by spreading it on cotton and putting it on his eyes, ears, nose and orifices without putting it in, and also on the places of prostration: brow, neck, knees, hands and toes of the feet.]

20.4 Marytrs, suicides and executed criminals

20.4a. Martyrs

A shahid on the battlefield is not washed nor is the prayer done for him. He is buried in his clothes.

[A martyr is anyone who dies by weapons in battle against the unbelievers when there is a battle. Similar to being killed by actual weapons is dying because of being trampled by a horse, falling from a camel, or attacking the enemy and falling into a well or falling from a precipice. The apparent meaning of his words is that he is not prayed over if he is killed by the enemy in the land of Islam. That is the well-known position. Opposite it is that he says if he is in the land of Islam, he is washed and prayed over because his degree is less than that of the martyr who has entered enemy territory. If he is carried live from the battle and then dies, the well-known position is that he washed and prayed over, even if the fighter is wounded when he is removed, unless he is on the point of death and does not eat or drink. This is the summary of the words of some of the commentaries of Khalil. But the School is that the one who is wounded is not washed whether he is removed unconscious or not, except the one who has fainted.

As he is not washed or prayed over, he is buried his clothes with leather socks and a cap and a belt of little value and it is permitted, or a ring of little value. But not the armour and weapons: they are taken from him. He does not have anything else. If his clothes are not enough to cover him, they are increased so that he is will covered as obligatory. Similarly it is obligatory to shroud him when he is found naked. The martyr is not washed by the words of the Prophet, "Wrap them in their garments. The colour is the colour of blood and the scent is the scent of musk," meaning that with Allah the smell of blood is pleasing like the smell of musk. For that reason, he is not washed and the blood is not removed from him. He is not prayed over by what was said to Malik, "Do you convey that the Prophet prayed over Hamza and said 50 takbirs?" He replied, "No, and he did not pray over any of the martyrs." It was in the Muwatta' that the Prophet led the people in prayer over him as individuals and did not lead anyone in the prayer.'Iyad said the sound position which the majority hold is that the prayer of the Prophet was a real prayer, not only supplication. It is said that what is meant by the prayer over him is supplication only. Al-Baji said its reason is that the Prophet was better than every martyr whose excellence dispenses with the prayer over him. The martyr cannot be washed since that would remove the blood which must remain because of its goodness and because it is a token of his martyrdom in the Next World. [

20.4b. Suicides

If someone kills himself, the prayer is done for him.

[This is whether it is suicide or an accident. His wrong action is his. The people of virtue pray over him when it is accidental, but not when it is deliberate. ]

20.4c. Those who have executed

The prayer is also done for someone killed by the imam as a hadd punishment or because they have killed someone. The imam himself does not participate in the prayer.

[When someone has been killed by obligation, as for abandoning the prayer on account laziness and the highwayman, and those who have to be stoned for sodomy or adultery, or whom the Imam has killed for a hadd or in retaliation, neither the Imam nor the people of virtue pray over him. The Imam and the people of virtue do not pray over him so that that will be a deterrent to others against doing the like of what he did when they see the Imams and people of virtue refuse to pray over him.]

20.5 Bringing the dead to the grave

20.5a. No incense and walking in front

Incense should not be burned during funeral processions and it is better to walk in front of the bier.

[Incense is not used because it involves fire and the Prophet forbade that. It is better for men to walk in front than to walk behind. If they ride, it is recommended for them to go behind the bier. The evidence for the first is what is related by the people of the Sunan from the hadith of Ibn 'Umar who said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr and Umar walk in front of the bier." The evidence for the second is what Abu Dawud related that the Prophet said, "The rider travels behind the funeral."]

[Khalil: It should not be too slow. Women go at the very end. The bier should not be brought into the mosque.

20.5b. The body is placed on its right side

The body should be placed in the grave on its right side

[It is recommended that the corpse be placed on its right side facing qibla because it is the noblest of positions. The right hand is extended over his body and the head put level with earth. Earth is put behind and in front of it so that it does not move. The binding of the shroud is undone. If he cannot be put on his right side, then he is put on his back with his face towards qibla. If that is not possible, then however is possible, If his direction shifts in the burial, as when it is put not to qibla or on the left side and not too long has passed, that is remedied and he is moved. A long time means when the burial is complete.]

20.5c. Clay and straw placed over the corpse

and slabs made of clay and straw should be laid over it.

[After the dead person is placed in the grave, then bricks are put over him. That is based on the transmission that the Prophet made the grave of his son Ibrahim and put bricks on the grave. It is recommended to plug the gaps since he commanded that about his son.]

20.5d. What is said

When this is done you should say, "O Allah, our companion is now with You. He has left this world behind him and is in need of what is with You. O Allah, make his speech firm when he is questioned and do not test him in his grave beyond what he can bear. Grant that he may be in the company of the Prophet, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

[When the corpse is in the grave or those present have buried him, and the bricks are in place then this is said. ]

[Khalil says that those who are next to the grave throw in handfuls of earth)

20.6 Monuments

It is disliked to build anything on graves or to whitewash them.

[It appears that this is absolute, but that is not the case. There are details about this. In short, what is disliked is when it is in wasteland or owed so that the people of corruption cannot resort to it nor is pride intended by it and so distinction is intended by it. It is also unlawful in waqf land absolutely, like al-Qarafa. He said in at-Tahqiq, "It is obligatory for the governor to command that it be demolished." Whitewashing is also disliked because it is found in Muslim that the Prophet forbade that the grave be whitewashed and that it be built on or sat on. ]

[Khalil: the tumulus should not be raised more than one hand above the trench and should be shaped like a camel's back although some dislike this and say it should be flat. There should be no fence around the grave. A tombstone is permitted as a market or a piece of wood, but this must not have any writing with the name, date or death, qualities of the person, etc.]

20.7 Burying an unbelieving father

A muslim should not wash his father if he is not a muslim nor should he put him in his grave unless he is afraid that his body will remain unburied in which case he should cover the body and then bury it.

[Because washing is only done for the one over whom the prayer is said. An unbeliever is not prayed over and so there is no point in washing him. The prohibition is one of forbidding, and applies even more so to others than his father. Nor does he put him in his grave because his filial duty is removed with the death of his father. This is unless he fears that he will be left unburied. Then it is a duty to bury the body, and there is no difference between a unbeliever with whom we are at war and others. This does not only apply to the father, but the obligation is general, extending even to the stranger. He is not made to face qibla because he is not one of its people.]

20.8 Niche in the grave

According to the people of knowledge the lahd-type (niche) grave is better than the shaqq-type (a simple trench). A lahd-type grave is one in which, after you have dug the basic trench, you dig out a place for the body at the bottom of the side which faces qibla so that the body is protected by an overhang. This should be done provided that the earth is firm enough and will not crumble or cave in. This was how the grave of the Prophet was dug, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

[This is based on the tradition, "The lahd is for us and the shaqq for others" and because Allah Almighty chose it for His Prophet. If the ground is too soft or sandy, then the shaqq is better.

[Khalil: Graves should not be too deep, not more than a cubit.]

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