The Prescribed Prayer: Chapter Two (cont.)

[Previous] | [Top]


A Muslim, alive or dead, is respected by Al-Islaam. That is why if a Muslim has expired, we are commanded to offer him Ghusl, or Tayammum if there is no water, perfume him, shroud him (with al-Kafn), pray over him, take him to his final resting place, and then bury him. The details of all these are described below.


It is the recommendation of Sunnah that when the symptoms of death appear in a Muslim patient, the people attending him should do the following:
  1. Talqeen, inducing and reciting to him the Kalimah: La ilaaha illa llaah, Muhammadur Rasuulullah, so that it will be the last thing he utters before leaving this world to meet his Creator. Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudaree related the Prophet said:

  2. "Recite to your dying one: Laa ilaaha illallah. (Muslim)

    The Talqeen is only recommended if the patient is not saying the Kalimah, but if he is saying it there is no need for Talqeen. The Talqeen is also recommended when muhtadir, a dying person, is still conscious and able to utter a word, as he should not be forced to say the kalimah lest he say something derogatory about his faith, nor should he be asked to repeat the kalimah after he has said it.

  3. Turn a dying person toward Al-Qiblah, laying him on his right side. Abu-Qataadah related that when the Prophet (s.'a.s.) came to Medina, he asked about Baraa bin Ma'aruur. The Prophet was told he had passed away and left a will in which he stated that one-third of his money be given to the Prophet (s.'a.s.) and he requested that his face be turned towards Al-Qiblah. Upon hearing that the Prophet said:

  4. "He is right according to the Fitrah. However, I return the one-third of his money to his son." (Al-Haakim)

  5. Recite Suurah Yaseen, Chapter 36, to a dying person before he is dead. The Prophet (s.'a.s.) said:

  6. "Recite it (Suurah Yaaseen) on your deceased." (Ibn Hibban) Indeed, by reciting Suurah Yaaseen, according to this Hadeeth and many others, Allah will forgive the muhtadir, dying person, and make his death easy and more peaceful.

  7. Closing his eyes after he has passed away. In Hadeeth related by Muslim, the Prophet entered on Abee Salmah after his death, and found his eyes open, so he closed them and said:

  8. "Indeed, when the soul is seized the eyes follow."

  9. Cover the deceased body. 'Aaishah related that when the Prophet (s.a.s.) passed away he was covered. (Muslim/Al-Bukhaaree). A mayyit, corpse, may be kissed. Abubakar (r.'a.) kissed the Prophet (s.'a.s.) when he passed away.
  10. Prepare the body as soon as one passes away, he should be prepared for burial by his waliyy, next of kin. This should be done as soon as possible. The mayyit, corpse, should not be displayed for viewing, nor should the burial be delayed for someone but his next of kin if he is away and we are sure that the body will not deteriorate. Ali Bin Abeetaalib related the Prophet said:

  11. "Ali, do not delay three things, Salaah when it is due; Janaazah (funeral) when it comes; and an unmarried woman if she finds a suitable person." (Ahmad)

  12. Pay his dain, debt. When a dead person leaves a debt behind, it should be payed from his estate. However, if he left nothing, his relatives should pay his debt. Abu Hurairah related the Prophet (s.'a.s.) said:

  13. "The soul of the believer is hanged by his debt until it is paid out." (Ahmad)

    This Hadeeth is in reference to a believer who passed away leaving behind money from which his debt will be paid, but if he left nothing but was intending to pay it, or he left money but his relatives refused to pay his debt out of it, Allahu ta'aala will pay the debt for him.

    Abu Hurairah related the Prophet (s.'a.s.) said:

    "Whoever takes people's money while intending to pay it back, Allah will pay it for him, but whoever takes it with intention not to pay it back, but to destroy it, Allah will destroy him." (Al Bukhaaree)

The Prophet (s.'a.s.) used to abstain from praying on al-Madyuun, the indebted; however, when the Muslim Ummah becomes strong financially, the Prophet paid out their debt from Bait maalil Muslimeen, the Muslim community treasure and prayed on them.

The Sunnah recommended that a believer, whose waliyy, muslim relative, passed away should make du'aa, supplication and instirjaa saying the following, for his deceased relative:
Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilaihir To Allah we belong, and to Him is
raaji'uun. our return.
Allaahummah ajirnee fee O Allah reward me in my affiction and
museebatee we akhlif lahuu let him be succeeded by the best.
khairan minhaa.


As mentioned earlier, Ghusl may be achieved by two things, Niyyah, intention, and a complete bath. However, the following procedures are recommended:
  1. The person in charge of ghusl and those assisting him must be trustworthy, as we should be sure that they will not come out and say something negative about the deceased. The Prophet said:

  2. "Let trustworthy people wash your deceased." (Ibn Maaja)

  3. After having Niyyah to care for the deceased, one starts by gently squeezing the stomach and cleaning him from any defiling agents. With a glove, one cleans his privacy, and after this the full Wuduu is done for him. The deceased is then washed three times with water and soap, starting with his right side. He may be washed more than three times, five or seven times as the case might be.
If parts of the deceased person are missing, the remaining part should be Ghusled.

If the deceased is a female, her hair must be undone and washed be- fore it is done again.

After washing the body it is dried with a clean towel and perfumed. The Prophet ordered that the deceased be embalmed with musk. The basic procedures of Ghusl in this respect are taken from the famous Hadeeth by Umm 'Atiyyah in which she reported:

"The Messenger of Allah (s.'a.s.) came to us when we were bathing his daughter, and he told us: 'Wash her with water and (with the leaves of) the lote tree three or five times, or more than that if you think fit, and put camphor or something like camphor in the last washing, then inform me when you have finished! So when we had finished, we informed him and he gave to us his (own) undergarment saying: 'Put it next to her body'." (Muslim/Al-Bukharee)

KAFN (Shroud)

After the Ghusl, the deceased is dressed up in what is known as Kafn, a shroud wrapped all about him. Although one layer of white shroud will do, the Hadeeth recommends three wrappings for men and five for women. After the Kafn we are ready for Salaah on the deceased.


The deceased Muslim is placed horizontally in front of the Imaam, who stands, according to the Sunnah, at the shoulder of the deceased if he is male, and at the waist if she is female. The rest of the believers stand behind the Imaam. There is no Rukuu'u or Sujuud in the prayer. The prayer is conducted in an upright standing position, Qiyaam, and contains four Takbeers:


The Imaam says Allaahu Akbar, raising his hands to his ears and placing them between the chest and the navel. The followers do the same. The Imaam recites Du'aahul Istiftaah, the opening supplication. This is followed by Al-Faatihah.


The Imaam says Allaahu Akbar without raising his hands. He invokes Allah's blessings upon the Prophet by reciting the second part of Tashahhud, Salaatu 'Alan Nabiyy.


After the third takbeer, the Imaam prays for the deceased, by saying the following:
Allaahumma ighfir lihayyi naa O Allah, forgive those of us who are
wa mayyitinaa wa shaahidinaa still living and those who are dead,
wa ghaa ibinaa wa sagheerinaa those of us who are present and those
wa kabeerinaa wa dhakarinaa who are absent, our minors and our
wa unthaanaa; elders;
Allaahumma man ahya'tahu O Allah, let the one whom thou keep-
minaa fa ahyiyee 'alal Islaam, est alive from among us live according
Wa man 'awaffaitahu minaa to Islaam and the one whom thou
fa tawaffahu 'alal Imaan. causes to die from among us, die as a


The Imaam again stays All aahu Akbar and proceeds with:
Allaahumma laa tahrimnaa O Allah, do not deny us reward which
ajrahu, wagh fir lanaa wa lahu. is due him, do not expose us to temp-
tation after his death. Forgive us and

The Imaam concludes the prayer with:
As-Salaamu 'Alaikum warah Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you
matullaahi, (turning the face to the right side).
As-Salaamu 'Alaikum warah Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you
matullaahi. (turning the face to the left side).

If the deceased is a minor, the following invocation is added to the Du'aa in the third takbeer:
Allaahumma ij'alhu lanaa fara- O Allah, cause him to become a means
tan waj'alhu lanaa ajran wa of salvation for us and cause his loss
dhukhran waj'alhu lanaa shaa- to become a means of reward and
fi'an waj'alhu lanaa shfee'an. recompense for us and make him for
us an intercessor.


The burial of a deceased Muslim is a congregational obligation on the Muslim Ummah.

In Al-Quran, Allah the Almighty says:

"Have we not made the earth (as a place) to draw together. The living and the dead." (Al-Quran, 77:25-26)

According to the above verses and many Aa hadeeth, it is completely forbidden to cremate a human. Indeed, cremation is forbidden to every living creature, human or animal.

Hence, the reason for burial is to cover the body so as to prevent predatory animals from reaching it, as well as to prevent odor and disease.

The Sunnah recommends that the grave be deepened to about five feet or more; it is also Sunnah to make a lahd, niche, inside the grave where the body will be placed, but if the soil is too soft, one may do without it.

It is Sunnah to place the body on the right side facing the Qiblah. While the body is being lowered into the grave, one may utter:
Bismillaah wa 'alaa millati In the Name of Allah, (we bury)
rasuulillaah1 according to the Sunnah of the Mes-
senger of Allah.

Each person who witnesses the burial may help fill the grave with dirt, with both hands, at least three times.

During the first time, one may say:
Minhaa khalaqnaakum1 Out of it we created you

With the second time, one says:
Wa feehaa nu'eedukum1 And into it we deposit you

With the third time, one says:
Wa minhaa nukhrijkum1 And from it we shall take you out
taaratan ukhraa once again.

After the burial, the escorters may make invocations for the forgiveness of the deceased.

A green twig may be fixed on the grave. It is forbidden to erect domes or other decorative structures over the grave.

[Previous] | [Top]
1. (Al-Quran, 20:55)