Islam has set certain rules and regulations with regard to attending to
a deceased person and some of these rules are as follows:
- In most cases, death is preceded by sickness and it is the
duty of the Muslims who happen to know the sick person to pay him a
visit and make supplications to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for his
recovery. Indeed, a sick Muslim has a right to be visited by other
Muslims who are acquianted with him.
- If and when a Muslim is about to die, it is the practice that
the person is directed to the Qiblah (the sacred mosque in Makka) after
which the "Shahada", (the words of witness) is proclaimed over the
person and he/she is also urged to proclaim the same. Thus: "LAA ILAAHA
ILLAL LAAH ". Which Means: " There is no god but Allah". This is in due
regard to the following saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Exhort your dying ones to affirm the Shahada” (Reported by Imam
- Where the person dies, the eyes are to be closed, body
covered with garments and the people around him are required to avoid
talking of anything else, except that which is good, such as saying for
example: "O Allah forgive him and have mercy on him". This is in
accordance with the following saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Do not say over your dead ones except supplications for the angels
Ameen, on your supplications” (Reported by Imam Muslim).
- In Islam a Muslim is respected whether alive or dead, and
therefore, if a Muslim dies, the religion commands us to give the body
total ablution (Ghusl) and to perfume it properly.
- A deceased male Muslim is given a bath only by other male
Muslims, although, nothing forbids his wife from giving him a bath.
Likewise, a deceased Muslim woman is given a bath only by other Muslim
women, although, nothing forbids a husband from giving a bath to his
- The deceased should be wrapped in a shroud. If the deceased
is a woman, she should be wrapped in a shroud composing of five pieces
of white garments, while, a deceased male should be shrouded with three
pieces of white garments.
- If a woman dies where there are no other women nearby to
undertake the ritual bath or if a man dies in a similar situation where
there are no other men nearby, then, the deceased person is only given
a dry ablution (AT-Tayammum) by rubbing the earth over his/her face and
hands. Because in such cases, complete bath is impossible. Proper
funeral prayer is then performed over the deceased and thereafter
- The funeral prayer is a collective obligation on the
residents of a particular area. This is known as "FARDH-AL- KIFAYA" in
Arabic. And if no one comes out to perform the prayer on a deceased
Muslim of that community, the community as a whole is deemed sinful in
the sight of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). But, if it is performed by
some of the people, then, the rest of the community are absolve of the
- Women are not supposed to follow the funeral procession as
can be noted from the following confirmation by Umm Atiya (may Allah be
please with her) who said: “We were forbidden by the Prophet
(peace be upon him) without enforcement to follow funeral processions”
(Reported by Imam Bukhari).
The prayer over the deceased person takes the following form:
- The funeral prayer has neither Adhaan nor lqamah.
- The deceased is laid down on the ground with the face
directed towards the Ka'ba.
- Where the deceased is a male, the Imam would stand facing
towards the head of the dead body, while, if the deceased is a woman
the Imam would stand facing the middle part of the dead body.
Meanwhile, the congregation would be standing behind him in rows.
- The funeral prayer is performed with one standing only and
has neither bows (Rukuus) nor prostration (Sujuuds).
- The Imam begins the prayer by raising up his hands up to the
lobes of his ears and comes up with the words of greatness i.e. "Allahu
Akbar". The congregation would follow likewise.
- Then, everybody including the Imam would recite "Al-Fatihah".
- After completing the recitation of the Al-Fatihah, the Imam,
once again comes up with the words of greatness i.e. "ALLAHU AKBAR",
and the congregation would follow likewise. After this, the Imam and
the congregation would recite for themselves in a low voice the
supplication for the Prophets ABRAHAM and MUHAMMAD, (may peace and
blessings be upon them), which is usually recited by the Muslims during
their daily prayers in the second part of the At- Tashahud. The
supplication goes as follows: "ALLAHUMMA SALLI 'ALAA MUHAMMADIN WA
'ALAA AALI MUHAMMADIN KAMA SALEYTA 'ALAA IBRAHIMA WA 'ALAA AALI
IBRAHIMA, WABARIK 'ALAA MUHAMMADIN WA 'ALAA AALI MUHAMMADIN, KAMAA
BARAKTA 'ALAA IBRAHIMA WA 'ALAA AALI IBRAHIMA INNAKA HA'MIDUN MAJIDUN",
which means: "O Lord give peace and blessings to Muhammad and his
family like You blessed Abraham and his family and shower Your
blessings on Muhammad and his family like You showered on Abraham and
his family in the two worlds, You are the Most praised, the Most
- The Imam would thereafter proclaim the words of greatness
i.e. "ALLAHU AKRAR" for the third time and the congregation would
- The Imam and the other members of the congregation would
thereafter make the following private supplication for the deceased if
he were an adult male Muslim. The supplication consists of prayer for
self, for the deceased person and for the Muslims at large and it goes
as follows: "ALLAHUMMA IGFIR LIH'AYINNA WA MAYITINAA, WA SHAHIDDINAA WA
GHAA'IBINAA, WA SAGIIRINAA, WA KABIIRINA, WA DHAKARINAA WA UNTHANAA.
ALLAHUMMA MAN AHYEYTAHU MINNAA FA'HYIHI 'ALAL ISLAM, WAMAN TAWAFEYTUHU
MINA FATAWWAFAHU 'ALAL IIMAAN. ALLAHUMMA IGHFIR LAHU WAR-HAMHU,WA'AFIHI
WA'AFU'ANHU, WA-KRIM NUZULAHU, WA - WA-SI'I MUDKHALAHU, WAGASILHU
BIL-MAA-I WATHALAJI, WALBARAD, WANNAQIHI MINA-D-DUNUBI KAMA YUNAQA
THOUBUL ABYADHU MINA DANAS, WABADIL-HU DAARAN KHEIRAN MIN DAARIHI,
WAZOWJAN KHEIRAN MIN Z0WJIHI, WAD - KHIL HU JANNA TA, WA'AIDHU
MIN'ADABIL-QABRI WA 'ADHABI-NAAR, WAAFSAH LAHU FII QABRIHI, WANAWAR
LAHU FIIHI " which means: "O Allah forgive those of us who are still
alive and those who have passed away, those present (at the
congregation) and those who are absent, and our young and the elderly,
our male and female lots. O Allah, whomever Thou wishes to keep alive
from amongst us make him live according to Islam and whomever Thou
wishes to die from amongst us, let him die in the state of being a
believer (with faith). O Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him and
keep him safe and sound and excuse him for his faults, and grant him
respectable place in the heaven, and make his grave spacious, and wash
him with water, snow and ice and purify him of all his sins like a
piece of white cloth is cleared from dirt, and grant him a new house
better than his (previous) house and a family better than his
(previous) family and a wife better than his (previous) wife, and allow
him to enter the paradise, and protect him from the torture of the
grave and the hell-fire".
- If the deceased is an adult woman, then the above
supplication shall be repeated in full and the only change will be that
the supplication shall be given a feminine reading in the Arabic
language. Thus: "ALLAHUMMA IQFIR LIHAYINNA WA MAYITINAA, WA SHAHIDDINAA
WA QAAIBINAA, WA SAQIIRINAA, WA KABIIRINA, WA DHAKARINAA WA UNTHANAA.
ALLAHUMMA MAN AHYEYTAHU MINNA FAHYIHI ALAL ISLAMI, WAMAN TA WAFEYTUHU
MINA FA TA WWAFAHU ALAL IIMAAN ....... ALLAHUMMA IQFIRLAHA WAR-HAMHA
WA'AFIHA WAAFU ANHA WAAKRIM NUZULAHA, WA-WA-SI'I MUD- KHALAHA,
WAQASILHA BIL-MAA'I WATHALAJI WALBARADI, WANNAQIHA MINA-D-DUNUBI KAMA
YUNAQA THOUBUL ABYADHU MINA DANAS, WABADILAHA DAARAN KHEIRAN MIN
DAARIHA, WAZOWJAN KHEIRAN MIN ZOWJIHA, WAD-KHILHA JANNATA, WA - AIDHA
MIN-ADABIL-QABRI WA ADHABI-NAAR, WAAFSAH LAHA FII QABRIHA, WANAWAR LAHA
FIIHI " which means: " O Allah forgive those of us who are still alive
and those who have passed away, those present (at this congregation)
and those who are absent, and our young and our elderly, our male and
female lots. O Allah, whomever Thou wishes to keep alive from amongst
us make him live according to Islam and whomever Thou wishes to die
from amongst us, let him die in the state of being a believer (with
faith) ...... O Allah forgave her and have mercy upon her and keep her
safe and sound and excuse her for her faults and grant her respectable
place in the heaven. And make her grave spacious and wash her with
water, snow and ice. And purify her of all her sins as like a piece of
white cloth is cleared from dirt and grant her a new house better than
her (previous) house and a family better than her (previous) family and
a husband better than her (previous) husband. And allow her to enter
the paradise, and protect her from the torture of the grave and the
- If the deceased is a boy, then the following supplication
would be recited: "ALLAHUMMA IJ'ALHU DHUKHRAN LIWALIDEYHI WA FARADAN WA
AJRAN MUJAABAN ALLAHUMMA THAOIL BIHI MAWAASIINAHUMA WA-AZZIM BIHI
UJUURAHUMA WA ALHIQ-HU BISALIHI SALAFIL MU'MINIIN WAJALHU Fl KAFALAATI
IBRAHIM WAQIHI BIRAHMATAKA 'ADHABAL JAHIIM" which means, "O Allah,
make him forerunner of his parents and make him a reward and a treasure
for them, make him one who will pleads for his parents and accept his
pleadings. O Allah heavy him in their scales and grant them big reward
and join him with the good believers and make him under the sponsorship
of Abraham and protect him from the hell fire".
- If the deceased is a girl, then the above supplication would
be repeated in full and the only change would be that the supplication
must be given a feminine reading in the Arabic language.
- The Imam would thereafter, proclaim the words of greatness
for the fourth time and the congregation would also say it after him.
Immediately thereafter, the Imam turns his face only to the right side
proclaiming the words of peace i.e. "ASSALAMU ALAYKUM WA -
RAHMATULLAAH" to signify the completion of the prayer. The congregation
would also follow likewise, and thus, the funeral prayer is completed.
- If a person joins the funeral prayer while the Imam is about
to complete the same, then, the person would continue with the
congregation until when the Imam concludes the prayer, then, the person
would complete by himself whatever he missed of the prayer following
the above procedure.
- If a late-comer fears that the body of the deceased may be
taken away before he completes the pray over him, then, such a person
may only come up with the Words of greatness i.e. "ALLAHU AKBAR" four
times without necessarily reciting the required supplications. The
person thereafter, comes up with the words of peace, thereby, ending
- If a person is unable to pray over a deceased person before
burial, then, it is permitted for him to pray over the deceased's
- If a person who is faraway is told of the death of another,
then such a person may pray over the deceased person in absentia with
the intention as though the deceased is actually before him/her.
- Funeral prayer is also recommended over a baby born dead
after completing four months inside the mother's womb. However, no
funeral prayer is required over a baby born dead before completing four
months inside the mother's womb.