Duties of Muslims towards the deceased

Jubayer Ahmad

1 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Duties of Muslims towards the deceased

We are all living the life but moving toward to our final destination, the death. One day we will all die. Death is the consummation of the worldly life.  It is such a reality from which none can escape. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an: "Every self will taste death. You will be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden has triumphed. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of delusion," (Sura Ale Imran: 185).

When a Muslim is on the death-bed, it is the duty of other Muslims to turn the person's head towards Makka, straighten the legs and arms and close the mouth and eyes. Then it is the duty of family members of the deceased or other Muslims are as follows:

Talqeen (teaching and explaining) of Kalimah: Talqeen is an Islamic term, that means exhorting the dying person to say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah. According to Shariyah, Talqeen or encouraging the person who is nearing his death to recite the Kalimah or the words of faith (La ilaha illallah) is Mustahab. Abu Huraira (Ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "Exhort to recite ' There is no God but Allah' to those of you who are dying." (Sahih Muslim). Because, it is mentioned in Hadith that the one who uttered Kalima Shahadat (La ilaha Illallah or Ashhadu alla Ilaha illallah..) with faith or Iman as his last statement at the point of death, will enter Paradise. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "He whose last words are: ‘La ilaha illallah' (There is no true God worthy of worship except Allah) will enter Jannah (paradise)." (Sunan Abu Dawood). According to another Hadith, Mu'aadh ibn Jabal (Ra) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: "If a person's last words are Laa ilaaha illAllah, Paradise will be guaranteed for him." (Musnad Ahmad). After his death, his family members or other Muslims should close the eye-lids and shut the mouth of the deceased and cover the body.

Ghusl or washing the body of deceased: After a Muslim's death, it is the responsibility of his family members or other Muslims to wash him according to the Islamic rites of washing the deceased. The persons who may wash the deceased should be of the same gender. The best way is to start Ghusl with istinja' (cleaning the private parts), then Wudoo'. After covering the area between the navel and the knees so that it cannot be seen, he should do wudoo' for the deceased. Then he should wash the body of deceased with water and lotus leaves three times, then pouring water over the body, three times on the right side and three times on the left.

Wearing Kafan or shrouding of the body: After washing the body of the deceased, Muslims should shroud the body of the deceased with clothes (Kafan) in the Islamic way. It is recommended to use white sheets from inexpensive material. The Kafan of a male should consist of three white wrapping sheets and the Kafan of a female should consist of five white garments.

Attending Janaza: After a Muslim's death, it is the responsibility of his family members or other Muslims to pray (Janaza prayer) for him. Whoever follows the funeral until the deceased's body is prayed over, they will receive a Qirat of reward from Allah. Abu Hurayra (Ra) narrated that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "'Whoever attends the funeral procession till he offers the funeral prayer for it, will get a reward equal to one Qirat, and whoever accompanies it till burial, will get a reward equal to two Qirats.' It was asked, 'What are two Qirats?' He replied, 'Like two huge mountains.'" (Sahih Bukhari).

Refrain from lamenting: After a Muslim's death, lamenting or wailing or beating chests, slapping cheeks, striking shoulders with chains and cutting heads with swords to let the blood flow are strictly prohibited in Islam. Wailing or crying is an act of Jahiliyah. Abdullah (Ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "He who slaps the cheeks, tears the clothes and follows the traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not from us." (Sahih Bukhari).


The writer is a national award winner Qari and Khatib of Baitush Shafiq Mosque (near National University), Gazipur.