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Ghuslul-Mayyit [Ritual Ablution of the Dead Person]

We have formerly learnt how to perform Al-Ghuslul-Wajib such as the Ghusls of Al-Janabah and of Al-Hayd, as well as Al-Ghuslul­Mustahabb. We have realized that they follow an identical process. Now we want to learn the precepts pertaining to Ghuslul-Mayyit, i.e. the ritual washing [ablution] of the dead before burial:

1. The body of a dead Muslim, old or young, even the miscarried fetus, if it has completed four months1, must be ritually washed.

2. The dead is to be washed with three kinds of water. It is given a complete Ghusl, like the Ghuslul-Janabah, with each kind of the said waters, as below:

a. First, it is to be washed with a water mixed with powdered side.2

b. Then, it is to be washed with a water mixed with camphor.3

c. At last, it is to be washed with absolute (natural) water.

d. By these three Ghusls the body of the dead becomes Tahir.4

N.B. A martyr, who has been killed in a battle for defending Islam and the Islamic sanctuaries, needs no Ghusl and no Kafan [shroud]. He is buried without being washed or wrapped in a shroud, so as to meet Allah stained with the blood of honour and martyrdom, and to be, on the Day of Resurrection, a blood-stained witness against those who killed him and warred against justice and faith.

Explanation

The martyr who is not to be ritual ly washed must have died in battle or shortly after it, but before being attended to by the Muslims while still in his last breath of life.

Discussion

Q1. How are the dead washed, and what different kinds of water are to be used for the Ghusl.

Q2. Is a martyr who falls in battle to be ritually washed? Why?

  • 1. The Hanbalis say that the Ghusl is Wajib. The Hanafis say: "If it is delivered alive then dies, or if it foils dead but with complete physical constitution, it must be washed, otherwise no Ghusl would be needed.
  • 2. Powdered leaves of the Nabq or lote-tree
  • 3. A strong-smelling substance extracted from the camphor-tree.
  • 4. The other four Islamic sects; the Hanafis, the Malikis, the Shafi’is, and the Hanbalis say that the Wajib Ghusl is that which is done by pure water, while the other two Ghusls are Mustahabb (Look up "Al-Fiqh Alal-Madhahibil-Khamsah” by Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Maghniyyah, p. 57).