Problem # 8 If a dead person has been buried without the ritual bath or due to forgetfulness, it shall be obligatory to exhume the dead body for bathing it, if there is no excuse like dishonoring the dead due to the decomposition of the body, or harm to the living persons due to its stink or (the trouble caused by the necessary) arrangement of the bath and burial. The same rule shall apply in case some of the baths have been given up, or later it transpires that they were void. The same rule shall apply if the dead body has been buried without being duly shrouded. If the dead body has been buried with a usurped shroud, and there is no due excuse for exhuming the body, it shall be obligatory (to exhume and bury it with a lawful shroud). If there are any of the excuses mentioned before, then there is difficulty (in permissibility of the exhumation). According to the cautious opinion, the person from whom the shroud has been usurped shall receive its price. If, however, the usurper happens to be the dead person himself, then according to the stronger opinion, it shall be permissible to exhume his body even if it involves dishonor to the body. If, (after burial), it transpires that prayer has not been performed for the dead, or it is learnt that the prayer was invalid, it shall not be permissible to exhume the body; rather prayer shall be performed at his grave.
Problem # 9 It is not lawful to charge some remuneration for performing the bathing of the dead, except when the remuneration is charged for some things not obligatory, for example, softening the fingers and joints of the dead, washing both the hands of the dead upto half a cubit before the bath, washing the head of the dead with the lather of the leave of the lotus tree or marsh mallow, washing the private parts of the body of the dead with (the lather of) the leaves of the lotus tree or saltwort or drying up the body (after the completion of the ritual bathing) with clean cloth, or the like.
Problem # 10 If the body of the dead becomes unclean after the ritual bath or during its performance due to the discharge of unclean matter or due to some external unclean matter, according to the stronger opinion, it is not obligatory to repeat the bathing even in case of excretion of urine or feces, though it is more cautious to repeat it if it has occurred during the performance of the ritual bath. Of course, it is obligatory to remove the refuse from the body of the dead. It is more cautious to do so, even if it was after placing the dead body in the grave, except when there is some due excuse even if it causes dishonor to remove the dead body from the grave.
Problem # 11 It is not obligatory to wash the plank or cot on which the dead body has been ritually washed after the completion of each of the three baths. Of course, it is more cautious to wash it for bathing another dead body, though according to the stronger opinion it also becomes clean with the washing of the dead. The same rule applies to the cloth placed on the dead body, as it also becomes clean with the washing of tile dead.
Problem # 12 It is more cautious to place the dead body facing the Qiblah at the time of the ritual bath in the same position as it was placed at the time of breathing the last, though, according to the stronger opinion, it is one of the Sunnah (recommended) practices.
Problem # 13 According to the most valid opinion, performance of ablution is not obligatory for the dead body. Of course, it is strongly recommended; rather it is more cautious, and it should precede the ritual bath.
The etiquettes of washing the dead include the following practices:
The dead body should be placed on a plank or cot, and its shirt should be removed from the side of the legs, though it may cause ripping it open, but at the time of removing it, to be more cautious the consent of the deceased's heirs must be kept in view; the dead body must be under a shade of roof, a tent or the like; the private parts of the dead body must be covered, even if no one is looking at them, or even if the bath is being performed by a person who is allowed to look at them; the fingers and joints of the dead body should be gently softened; both the hands of the dead must be washed upto half a cubit before the bath, and its head must be washed with the lather of the leaves of lotus tree or marsh mallow, both its private parts must be washed with (the lather of the leaves of the lotus tree or saltwort before the ritual bath; the dead body must be rubbed gently in the first two baths, except when the dead body happens to be of a pregnant woman; in each bath, each of the parts of the dead body must be washed thrice, so that the total washing takes place twenty seven times; the dead body must be dried up with a clean cloth after completion (of the ritual bath),and the like.
Problem If some thing falls from the body of the dead like (a piece of) skin, a hair, a nail or a tooth, it shall be placed with the dead body in its shroud and buried.
Like the ritual washing of the dead, its shrouding is also a collective duty of all the Muslims (which if performed by some, relinquishes others from it, and if carried out by none, all are considered liable for the commission of the sin).
The shroud includes the following three obligatory things:
Firstly, an apron to cover the body from the navel to the knee;
Secondly, a shirt, according to the more cautious opinion, it must cover at least upto half of the shin; and
Thirdly, a loincloth to cover the entire body, so it is obligatory that its length must exceed the length of the body, and its width must be such that one of its side may be placed on the other and, when wrapped, may cover the entire body. In case it is not possible to provide all the pieces of the shroud, then whatever is possible may be provided, so that if there are two pieces of cloth, the one having more covering capacity must be preferred. Even if only so much of the shroud is possible as may cover both the private parts, it shall be obligatory (to provide even that much).
Problem # 1 It is not permissible to use usurped shroud for the dead, even if in case of emergency, nor of cloth made of pure silk, even for a child or a woman, nor made of skin of a dead (animal), or made of an unclean thing, including even an unclean thing which is allowed in offering prayers, nor made of the skin, hair or fur of an animal whose meat is forbidden for eating, or, according to the more cautious opinion. even made of skin of an animal whose meat is allowed for eating, excluding its wool, hair and fur, as there is no objection (in using them for shroud).
Problem # 2 The absence of permissibility for what has been mentioned before except the usurped things is applicable particularly in case of option; otherwise. they are permissible in case of emergency; rather if the skin of an animal whose meat is allowed for eating is used in a way that it may be treated as a cloth, it is also permissible where there is an option.
In case, however. it is not treated (as a cloth); it cannot be used even in case of an option. (In case clean cloth is not available), unclean cloth shall be given preference over other things, then, according to the more cautious opinion, a silken cloth, and then the skin of an animal whose meat is allowed for eating, and then other things.
Problem # 3 If the shroud becomes unclean before the dead body is placed in the gravel it is obligatory to remove the unclean objects from the shroud by washing or cutting as much as may not cause any deficiency in the shroud.
The same rule shall apply even if the dead body is placed in the grave, in which case it is better to cut the unclean part of the shroud.
In case it is not possible to wash the unclean part of the shroud when it depends only on taking the dead body out of the gravel it shall be indispensable to cut the unclean part of the shroud, as also it shall be indispensable to wash the unclean part of the shroud if it is not possible to cut that part due to depriving the shroud of its purpose of covering the body of the dead.
Of course, if washing the unclean part of the shroud depends on taking the dead body out of the grave, causing thereby dishonor to it, then it shall not be obligatory (to wash the unclean part of the shroud); rather it shall not be permissible (to do so).
In case both the things (namely, washing or cutting) are not possible, then the shroud shall be changed, if possible, when it does not cause dishonor to the dead body; otherwise, it shall not be permissible (to do so).
Problem # 4 The (expenses on the) shroud shall be taken out from the actual amount of inheritance, besides the other exceptional things, and given preference over the other dues, legacies, and (shares of the heirs in the) inheritance. Apparently an amount according to the prevalent custom which is in conformity with his social position shall be taken out, and so also the other expenses on the burial arrangement. Of course, caution should not be given up to avoid anything more than what is necessary at the same time preventing any dishonor to the dead. Likewise, the expenses on the actual water, leaves of the lotus tree, camphor, price of land, wages of the porter, grave-digger, etc. shall be defrayed out of the amount earmarked for the burial arrangements, including even the amount charged by the government for burying the dead in the land belonging to none.
If the property left by the deceased belongs to some other persons due to insolvency of the deceased or its being mortgaged, even then apparently preference shall be given to the amount earmarked for his burial. Of course, there is difficulty in giving preference to it over the payment for the crime committed by the deceased (like compensation for murder by the deceased).
In case no property is left by the deceased to defray the burial expenses, he shall be buried naked (i.e., without shroud), and the Muslims shall not be bound to pay its expenses, though it is recommended to do so.
Problem # 5 The expenses on the shroud and other arrangements of burial of the wife are borne by her husband, although the wife may be quite well-off, regardless whether she was an adult or a minor, sane or insane, a free woman or a slave-girl, consummated or otherwise; obedient or contumous.
In case of a temporary wife, there is difficulty (in declaring the husband responsible to bear the expenses of her burial), particularly if the term of the temporary marriage is too short. Caution should not be given up in case of a revocably divorced wife; rather the expenses on her burial shall be borne by her husband.
Problem # 6 If the shroud for a dead woman is arranged by a person voluntarily without being a disgrace for her, her husband shall be absolved of its liability.
Problem # 7 If the husband dies after, before or with his wife, and has left property sufficient for meeting the burial expenses of a single person, then preference shall be given to meeting the expenses for the husband's burial over those of the wife.
Problem # 8 If the husband is in straightened circumstances, the burial expenses shall be defrayed from the property left behind by the wife.
If the husband becomes well off after the burial of the wife, her heirs shall not be entitled to demand the recovery of the expenses on her burial from him.
Problem # 9 It is not obligatory on a man to bear the expenses of the close relatives whose maintenance he is liable to pay other than his wife.
Of course, the burial expenses for the slave- girl are borne by the master, except the one who is married (to another man), in which case the expenses on her burial shall be paid by her husband.
Recommended Things for the Shroud and its Etiquettes
Besides the three obligatory pieces of shroud, it is recommended to cover (the dead body of each man or woman upto the two thighs with a piece of cloth, the cloth being three and a half cubits long and one to one and a half span of the hand wide which should be bound strongly from both the loins, then wrapped very tightly on the two thighs in a way that nothing should be visible from them until it reaches both the knees, then its upper part should pass from under both the legs to the right side and placed at the place where the wrapping ends, then something of cotton be prepared and placed between both the buttocks in a way that it may cover both the private parts after sprinkling some fragrant powder on it. Before wrapping with the said piece of cloth some cotton must be placed inside the anus if there is fear of something coming out of it, and rather in the genital organ of the woman too, particularly when there is fear of discharge of puerperal blood or the like from it. Then another sheet in addition to the obligatory one must be placed over the body, which is preferably to be a Yemenese sheet, rather, according to the stronger opinion, it is recommended that there should be a third sheet, particularly for a woman.
For a man, there should be a turban bound round his head in a way that its two sides should pass from under his chin and its right end should fall on the left and vice versa, then both the ends should extend to his chest. For a woman particularly there should be a veil in place of a turban and a sheet to cover both the breasts upto her back. It is also recommended that the shroud should be new, made of a clean material without any suspicion (of uncleanness), and that it should be made of cotton. It should be of white color except in case of the (Yemenese) shawl (Habarah). It is better that it should be red (Yemenese) sheet and that it should be made of the cloth which the person has used for Ihram or which he has used while praying. If the shroud is to be stitched, it should be stitched with the yarn of the shroud itself, and on each of the pieces of cloth some camphor and fragrant powder must be sprinkled. On edges of all the pieces of the shroud and both the palm branches (stripped of leaves) should be written (in Arabic) that: "Such person, son of such person, bears testimony that there is no god but Allah. He is One. He has no Partner And Muhammad is His Messenger. Allah's Blessings be on him and his Posterity. And that Ali, Hasan, Husayn (upto the last Imam) are his Imams, his Masters and his Leaders. And that Resurrection, Reward and Punishment are true.”
Similarly, it is also recommended that the Jowshan al-Kabir should also be written on the shroud. Of course, it is better, rather more cautious that all these words should be written on what is certainly believed to be safe from uncleanness and filthiness. It is more cautious to avoid writing these words in places which according to the custom are considered repugnant to their honour. It is better that if the shrouding of the dead body is being done by the person who has ritually washed the dead, then, before shrouding the dead, he (or she) should perform bath for touching the dead body as well as ablution. In case, it is some one other (than the person who has ritually washed the dead body), then he should first clean himself of the Major and Minor Pollutions.
Rules of Camphorating (Hunut) the Dead Body
Camphorating (anointing the dead body with camphor) is, according to the most authentic opinion, obligatory, regardless whether the dead person is an adult, a minor, male or female. As already mentioned, it is not permissible to camphorate a person who has tied Ihram (for Hajj or Umrah). It is a condition that the camphorating must be done after the performance of the ritual bath or Tayammum (of the dead). It is permissible to camphorate before, during and after shrouding, though the first one is the most preferable.
Its procedure is that camphor is anointed on all the seven parts of the body used in prostration. It is recommended to add the side of the nose; rather it is more cautious to do so. It is not far from being recommended to camphorate both the armpits, chest and joints. It is preferable to do so with the intention of hope, and it cannot be replaced by any other fragrance, even if needed.
Problem # 1 No particular amount of camphor is obligatory while anointing, but what is obligatory is to use as much of camphor as may be called anointing with it. The most preferable is seven mithqals of treasures (sayrafi), inferior to it in degree of preference is four canonical (shar’i) mithqals, and then (weighing) four Dirhams, and then one canonical (shar’i) mithqal, and inferior to it is one Dirham (in weight). If it is not possible even to the extent of being nominal, then the dead body shall be buried without camphorating it.
Problem # 2 It is recommended to mix the camphor with an amount of the holy dust of (of Imam Husain’s grave), but then it should not be anointed on places repugnant to its honour, like the two toes of feet.
It is among the emphatically recommended things to place two fresh branches with the irrespective of his being an adult or a minor, male or female. Placing them with a child is with the intention of hope (that it would be agreeable to Allah). It is most preferable that the two branches must be of a palm tree, in case they are not available, then of a lotus tree; otherwise, of a willow (tree), a pomegranate (tree), or any fresh tree. It is better that each of them should be equal to the arm bone in length, though the most permissible being at least of the span of the hand and at the most a cubit long. It is better to place one of them on his right side near his collar bone, sticking to his skin, and the other on the left side, close to the collar bone reaching above the shirt upto the covering sheet.
Rules Concerning the Funeral of the Dead
The attendance in the funeral of the dead has lot of virtue and reward. It has been said in a Tradition (of the Holy Prophet): “Whosoever participates in the funeral (procession) of the dead, for every step he takes until he returns has (a reward) of hundred billion (thousand thousand) good deeds and one hundred billion (thousand thousand) sins are forgiven, and his rank is elevated by a hundred billion (thousand thousand) degrees. If a man offers prayers for the dead, a billion (thousand thousand) angels shall accompany him and ask pardon for him. If a man attends the burial of the dead, Allah appoints a hundred billion (thousand thousand) angels to ask pardon for him until he resurrects from his grave. Whoever offers prayer for the dead, Gabriel and seventy billion (thousand thousand) angels shall offer prayers for him, and all his previous sins shall be forgiven. If he stays there till the dead is buried, and throws dust on his grave, and returns from the burial, then for every steps he takes on returning to his house, he shall get a Kerat of reward, a Kerat being equal to Mount Uhud which thrown in his account as a reward”.
(Etiquettes of the Funeral)
As regards the etiquettes of the funeral, they are also numerous.
Firstly, that those who carry the bier of the dead should recite (in Arabic):“Bismillàh, va ãh, va Sallallàhu ‘ala Muhammadin va al-i Muhammad. Allàhummaghfir lil-Mu’mini na val- Muminat”.
Secondly, that the dead body should be carried on the shoulders, not on a beast of burden, or the like, except due to some due excuse like (long) distance, so that they may not be deprived of the virtue of carrying the dead on the shoulders. It is however, not known whether it is abominable to carry the dead on a beast of burden.
Thirdly, that one who participates in the funeral (procession) should fear God, pondering the time and imagining as if it is he himself who is being carried, and he has asked for his own return to the world, and it has been granted.
Fourthly, that those participating in the funeral (procession) should walk on foot as riding is disapproved, except with due excuse. Riding, however, is not disapproved while returning after the funeral.
Fifthly, that one should walk behind the (bier of the) dead, or on its both sides, though it is ore preferable to walk behind it.
Sixthly, a participant in the funeral (procession) of the dead should hold all the four ends of bier (one by one). It is more preferable to start from the front of the bier on the right side of the dead and place it on his left shoulder, then place the other right side on his right shoulder, then the other left side on his left shoulder. Then he should shift to the front on left side, and place it on his left shoulder.
Seventhly, the most grieved mourner of the deceased should walk barefooted, put aside his cloak or change his appearance in some other way, fit for the mourner, so that he could be (easily) recognized.
It is disapproved to laugh, engage in frolics, or for one other than the chief mourner the dead to put aside his cloak, or walk quickly in a way that may be discourteous to the dead, particularly when it is the form of running ; rather, those participating in the funeral (procession) should adopt moderation in walking. It is also disapproved to carry fire behind the bier, except a lamp, rather to carry (in the funeral procession) any lighted thing at all. It is also undesirable for a sitting person to stand up at the time the funeral (procession) is passing, except when the dead happens to be an infidel in which case a (sitting) person may stand up. It is better for women not to participate in the funeral procession, even if the dead were a woman. It is not far from being disapproved for young women to participate in the funeral (procession).
Rules for the Prayer for the Dead
It is obligatory to offer prayer for every Muslim (dead person), even if he belongs to the opposite (non-Shiah) sect. However, if he is an infidel of any category whatsoever, even if he is an apostate, or one who is declared a non-Muslim even if he unduly assumes the title of Islam like Nawasib (openly hostile to Ahl-i Bayt) or Khawãrij (.i.e, those who oppose Imam Ali), it is not permissible to offer prayers on their dead.
If a dead body is found in a Muslim town, he shall be affiliated to Muslims.
The same rule shall apply to a foundling who is found in a Muslim town.
If, however, a foundling is found in a town of the infidels where Muslims also reside, there is likelihood of its belonging to them; there is difficulty (in accepting this likelihood).
The children born of Muslim parents, as far as the obligation for offering prayers on their dead body is concerned, are treated as Muslims like their parents, even if they are illegitimate children born of Muslim parents, provided that they are six years old. In case a child who was born alive, but who has not attained the age of six years, there is hesitation (in the application of this rule being desirable).
If a child is born dead, even if soul was breathed into it, (while still in its mother’s womb), it is not desirable (to offer prayers on its dead body).
It has already been mentioned that a part of the body, if it is chest or one containing chest or part thereof which was the place of the heart, even if it does not contain it now, shall be treated as the whole body as far as the obligation for offering prayers on it is concerned.
Problem # 1 The time for offering the prayer for the dead body is after the completion of its washing and shrouding, and it is not lawful to offer the prayer before the completion of these two formalities.
The obligation for offering the prayer does not drop even if it is not possible to wash and shroud the dead body, in the same way as it does not drop even if it is not possible to bury the dead body.
If a dead body is found in a waterless desert, and it is not possible to wash, shroud or bury it, prayer shall be offered for it, and it shall be left (in the desert). The conclusion is that whatever is not possible from the obligatory things shall drop, and whatever is possible is established (as obligatory).
Problem # 2 It is a condition for the person offering prayer for the dead body ( a Shi’ah Muslim) that he should be a Mu’min (i.e. a Shi’ah), and the prayer of a person belonging to the opposite (non- Shiah) sect is not enough, not to speak of prayer offered by an infidel.
According to the stronger opinion, it is not a condition for a person offering prayer for the dead to be an adult, as a prayer offered by a discreet child is also valid, but there is hesitation in his prayer being sufficient without the participation of adult duty-bound (Mukallaf) persons.
It is also not a condition that the person offering the prayer for the dead must be a male, so that the prayer offered by a woman, even for a man, is valid. The absence of males is not a condition for the validity of the prayer offered by a female, but in the presence of males, they are to be preferred to the females; rather, it is more cautious (to do so).
Problem # 3 As regards offering prayer for the dead, though it is a collective duty of all the Muslims (which, if offered by some, its obligation is relinquished from others, but if carried out by none, it means commission of a sin by all), except that, like all the other funeral arrangements, here too preference is to be given to him who enjoys preference over others among the heirs of the dead, so that if he intends to do it by himself, or assigns the job to someone else, he is not to be opposed; rather the validity of an act performed by any other person requires his prior permission. If the deceased has willed that a particular person should offer prayers for him, his guardian must permit him to do so, and it is upon the person appointed by the deceased by will to perform the job after obtaining permission from the guardian of the deceased.
Problem # 4 It is recommended to offer the prayers collectively (al-Jamã’ah). It is a condition that all the qualifications required in the person leading the other prayers (Imam), like moral soundness (Adalat) and the like, should also be found in the person leading the prayers for the dead; rather all the conditions required in a congregational prayer (al-Jamã’at), like the absence of any obstacle, or the like, must also be found in the congregational prayer offered the dead, though it is not far from being likely that none of the conditions required usually for the person leading the prayers and the congregational prayers are required here except what is required to treat them as such according to the custom, like absence of excessive distance or thick obstacle. (Contrary to the usual congregational prayer), the person leading the prayer for the dead does not recite anything in place of those following him in the prayer (so that those following him in the prayer have to recite every word of the prayer for the dead).
Problem # 5 It is permissible for several persons to offer prayer individually for a single dead person, or in the form of several congregational prayers, and it is permissible for each of them to intend offering the prayers as obligatory as long as none of them has finished the prayer; otherwise, the remaining persons should intend to offer the prayer as recommended one or for closeness (to Allah). The same rule applies in case there are several persons offering the prayer in a single congregational prayer (for the dead).
Problem # 6 It is permissible for a person standing behind the leader of the prayer (Imam) to intend to offer prayer individually during the prayer for the dead, provided that he is not at a distance from the dead body which is harmful for the prayer nor outside the limits required for the person offering individual prayer.
Procedure for Offering Prayer for the Dead
The prayer for the dead (is performed in Arabic and) consists of five Takbirs (saying: Allah-o-Akbar, (Allah is greatest)). The first Takbir is followed by the two Testimonies, the second by sending Blessings on the Prophet and his Progeny, the third by praying for the believing men and believing women, the fourth by praying for the dead, the fifth by concluding the prayer.
Less than five Takbirs are not permissible, except by way of Taqiyyah (dissimulation of one’s faith in the face of threatening death). The prayer for the dead has no Adhãn (the Call for prayer and no iqãmat (the short Call just before beginning Prayer), no Qirã’at, no “Ruku” (Kneeling), ‘Sajdahs” (Prostrations) and no ‘Tashahhud’ (reciting the Two Testimonies) and no “Salãm” (i.e., the Three Salutations at the end of the usual Prayer). It is sufficient to name those referred to in the four Takbirs. So after the first Takbir one should say: “I bear witness to that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness to that Muhammad is (his Servant and) His Messenger; after the second Takbir: “O Allah, send Blessing on Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad”; after the third Takbir: “O Allah, Forgive the Believing Men and Believing Women”, and after the fourth Takbir: “O Allah, Forgive this dead person”. Then one should (recite the fifth Takbir) saying: “Allãh-o- Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), and (thereby) conclude (the prayer).
It is better that after the first Takbir one should say (in Arabic) “I bear witness to that Allãh is One. He has no Partner. He is One god, the Matchless, the Eternal, the Single one, the Everlasting, the Endless, the Ever- Enduring. He has no Female Companion, nor a Child. And I bear witness to that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger. ‘He has sent him with Guidance and True Faith, so that he may make it prevail over all the beliefs, even if it be undesirable for the Polytheists’ (see Sürah Al-Saff, verse No.9).”