Preparation of the Deceased and Janazah Prayers
I. Body-Washing or "Ghusl"
II. Wrapping (Kafan)
III. Prayers (Salat)
References (all in Arabic)
There are five main points for the preparation of a Muslim's body
for burial; we present briefly the procedure involved in each of
Washing the deceased's body is obligatory on Muslims; it is a
Fard Kifaya, i.e., if some members take the responsibility of doing
it the need is fulfilled, but if no one fulfills it then all Muslims
will be accountable.
Washing can be carried out in the following way:
1. A man's body should be washed by men and a women's by women,
but a child's body may be washed by either sex. A husband can wash
his wife's body and vice-versa if the need arises.
2. Only one person is needed for washing with someone to help him.
3. It is better to choose for this the person who knows best how
to perform ghusl.
4. Place the body on a high place, e.g., a table or something similar.
5. Remove the deceased's clothes (garments) leaving the private
6. Press the stomach gently and clean whatever comes out.
7. For washing, use a piece of cloth or your hands.
8. Only clean water may be used; add some scented oils (non-alcoholic)
in the final wash. It is preferable to use warm water.
9. Perform ablution (wudu) for the body, cleaning the teeth and
nose from outside only.
10. Wash three times, but if the body is not yet cleaned, continue
washing five or seven times - it must be odd numbers.
Turn the body on its left side and begin washing the right side.
Then turn it on its right side to wash the left side. This is done
in each wash. The first and the second washes are done with water
and soap, while the last one with water and scent.
11. Hair should be unbraided, washed and combed. For women it may
again be braided in three braids.
12. Dry the body with a clean cloth or towel.
13. Add some perfume on the head, forehead, nose, hands, knees,
eyes, armpits, and place perfumed cotton on the front and rear openings.
1. It must be a clean piece of cloth (preferably white) to cover
the whole body.
2. Add some perfume to the kafan (non-alcoholic).
3. Do not use silk cloth for men.
4. Use three pieces for men and five for women, [but each one must
cover the whole body.]
5. Tie the front and the rear with a piece of cloth (from the same
kafan) in such a way that one can differentiate the head from the
1. It is better that those praying divide themselves into three
rows facing the qibla with the Imam in front.
2. Put the body (or bodies) in front of the Imam.
3. The Imam should stand by the middle of the body if the deceased
is a man and by the shoulder if she is a woman.
4. If there is more than one body, then they should be put one
in front of the other, those of the men nearest to the Imam and
those of the women furthest from him.
5. Having the appropriate neeyat (intention) in your heart, raise
your hands in the usual manner and say, Allahu Akbar.
6. Then fold and hold your hands on your breast in the usual manner,
the right hand on the left.
7. Read al Fatiha quietly.
8. Say Allahu Akbar without raising the hands.
9. Pray for the Prophet in the same way as you do in tashahud.
10. Say Allahu Akbar (don't raise your hands).
11. Make du'a for the deceased. (du'a
12. Say Allahu Akbar (don't raise your hands).
13. Make du'a for the Muslims.
14. Say Assalaamu 'Alaikum, thus finishing the prayer.
It is clear from this description that all this prayer is done
while one is standing - there is no ruku or sujud in it.
Du'a for the deceased may be chosen from the following authentic
1. Procession: Mourners should walk in front or beside the bier.
Those who are riding or driving should follow it.
2. Silence is recommended.
3. It is absolutely forbidden to accompany the body with music
or crying (wailing)
1. The grave should be deep, wide and well made. It is recommended
that it consist of two excavations, one inside the other. It is
recommended that the smaller one called lahd be dug on the side
of the larger one facing the qibla.
2. It is in this one that the body is put.
3. The deceased's body should he laid on the ground with the face
toward the qibla, the direction of the ka'aba.
4. While laying it say
5. It is not recommended to use a casket unless there is a need
for it, e.g., if the soil is very loose or wet. A stone, or bricks
or some soil should he put under the deceased's head to raise it
6. Do not use a pillow or put anything with the deceased inside
7. Cover the lahd with bricks so that they become like a roof for
it. Pour three handfuls of soil.
8. Fill the larger pit with soil. It is preferable that each one
of those present share in this by pouring three handfuls of soil.
Raise the level of the grave a little less than one foot in a sloping
1. Al Fiqh'Al Madhahib Al Arba'a, Abdul Rahman Al Jazeeri,
2. Fiqhul Sunnah, Vol.4, Sayed Sabiq, 1968, pp. 69-138.
3. Sifat Salatul Nabi, 5th Edition, Mohammad Nasirul Deen,
Al Albani, 1389 P. pp.125.
4. Riyadhul Saliheen, pp.360-373, Cairo Edition.