In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
In the original text of Zad al-Maad there is very little discussion regarding the washing and shrouding of the deceased. The reason for this may be that the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) was not known to have himself washed or shrouded a body. And Allah knows best.
As discussed in the previous lesson, shrouding the body is a right of the deceased. Its ruling is Fard Kifiyah (Communal Obligation). If the deceased did not leave sufficient funds or relatives to pay for the arrangements, the obligation falls upon the Ameer (Leader) or the wider Muslim community.
Aisha narrates that:
The Prophet was shrouded in three pieces of cloth which were made of Suhul (a type of cotton), and neither a shirt nor a turban were used.[Saheeh al-Bukhari, volume 2, hadeeth 361].
Also the word ‘thawb’ is used in some narrations. ‘thawb’ in this context does not mean the garment which we know today which has sleeves and collars.
It is important to have a general understanding of some of the words used to describe clothing in narrations or a person may misunderstand Fiqh rulings which relate to clothing.
Consider the following definitions:
Thawb – sheet which has not been tailored
Imaamah – a Turban
Kamees – garment with 2 sleeves which may reach the ankles such as the modern day thawb, or be shorter such as is worn in the asian subcontinent.
Saraweel – trousers
Aba – cloak which is worn upon the shoulders with 2 holes for the arms to protrude through.
The Ihram is the closest garment to the garment worn by the Companions of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him). In modern times the closest garments to the attire of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) is worn in the asian sub continent particularly in the frontier region where you will find people who wear an Imaamah, Kamees and a type of Izaar.
The sunnah is to shroud the body in 3 pieces of cloth. If this is not available then 1 will suffice. Saa’d narrated from his father:“Once a meal was brought to ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf and he was fasting. He said, “Musa’b bin ‘Umayr was martyred and he was better than I and was shrouded in his Burd and when his head was covered with it, his legs became bare, and when his legs were covered his head got uncovered. Hamza was martyred and was better than I. Now the worldly wealth have been bestowed upon us (or said a similar thing). No doubt, I fear that the rewards of my deeds might have been given earlier in this world.” Then he started weeping and left his food.”[Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Haith 364].
The Companions Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and Musab ibn Umayr were martyred in the battle of Uhud. Musab was very wealthy in Makkah before he accepted Islam and was known for his excuisite garments and exclusive scents, but when he died the Companions could not even find a piece of cloth large enough to cover his entire body. Hamzah who is the Syed (Leader) of the Martyrs in Paradise and the uncle of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) also died and the Companions did not have a piece of cloth large enough to cover his body.
Khabbah narrated that “In the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud they could not find any cloth with which to shroud Musab’s body, except his own garment. When they covered his head with it, his legs showed and when his legs were covered, his head was exposed. The Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) said: Place the garment over his head and cover his feet and legs with the leaves of the Idhkhir (Rue) plant.” [Reported by Bukhari]
“Aisha said, “I went to Abu Bakr (during his fatal illness) and he asked me, ‘In how many garments was the Prophet shrouded?’ She replied, ‘In three Suhuliya pieces of white cloth of cotton, and there was neither a shirt nor a turban among them.’ Abu Bakr further asked her, ‘On which day did the Prophet die?’ She replied, ‘He died on Monday.’ He asked, ‘What is today?’ She replied, ‘Today is Monday.’ He added, ‘I hope I shall die sometime between this morning and tonight.’ Then he looked at a garment that he was wearing during his illness and it had some stains of saffron. Then he said, ‘Wash this garment of mine and add two more garments and shroud me in them.’ I said, ‘This is worn out.’ He said, ‘A living person has more right to wear new clothes than a dead one; the shroud is only for the body’s pus.’ He did not die till it was the night of Tuesday and was buried before the morning.””[Reported by Bukhari].
He desired that if he died that day, he should be buried the same day.
From this incident we can see that the shrouds should be clean and of decent quality but not necessarily new. As ibn al-Qayim mentioned the Sunnah is to avoid extravagence. The exact method of shrouding is flexible but scholars have mentioned some guidelines. It is good to use Hunoot to fragrance the cotton and place it in the ears, nose and passages to ensure there is no discharge. An extra cloth should be placed around the private parts.
For the lady the sunnah is to use 5 pieces of cloth. The 3 mentioned and an additional upper and lower garment.
For a step by step animated guide to washing and shrouding the body refer to the flash movie entitled ‘washing and shrouding the deceased’:
It is a very sobering experience to wash the body of the deceased. The lifelessness of the boy is startling. It is very stiff and the mouth is often open and sometimes the eyes are open, although the sunnah is to try and close the eyes. Scholars state that a person should always do good deeds so the light of the good deeds are reflected in the person’s face when they die.
A man fell from his Mount and died while he was with the Prophet at ‘Arafat. The Prophet said, “Wash him with water and Sidr and shroud him in two pieces of cloth and neither perfume him nor cover his head, for he will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection saying, ‘Labbaik’.[Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 2, hadith 358].
With regards to the issue of preparing the body of the Martyr, Jabir narrates:
The Prophet said, “Bury them (i.e. martyrs) with their blood.” (that was) On the day of the Battle of Uhud. He did not have their bodies washed.[Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 2, hadith 431].
Hence the martyrs are to be buried in their state and their bodies are not to be washed or shrouded, however scholars explain that the leather and metal from a Martyr should be removed leaving just his clothes.
The Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) was shrouded in how many pieces of cloth?
The Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) was shrouded in a cloth made of Suhul. What is Suhul?
b. Type of wool
c. Type of cotton
Which of the following Companions were martyred at the Battle of Uhud but no piece of cloth long enough could be found to shroud their entire body?
b. Hamza bin Abdul Mutalib
c. Musab ibn Umayr
Which of the following should not be done for the Muhrim (person in a state of Ihram) if he dies on Hajj?
b. Head to be covered
c. Janaza Prayer
Which of the following should not be done for the Martyr?
b. Janaza Prayer
3. b) & c)
5. a) & c)