What to do After Death

Ritual Washing of the Body (Ghusl)

Washing the deceased’s body is an obligation on Muslims.

It is recommended that at least four people are available to help bathe and carry the body. Ghusl will normally take place at the mosque or funeral directors premises. There will be someone available to guide the ritual washing of the body (Ghusl) and shrouding (Kafn).

The person carrying out the washing should be:

  • A Muslim, as it is an act of worship, although others can assist
  • The same gender as the deceased and preferably someone who knew the deceased
  • Of either gender if the deceased is a child
  • Only one person for washing and a helper

A husband may wash his wife’s body and a wife may wash her husband’s body.

How to wash the body (Ghusl)

  • Place the body on a high place, e.g. a table or something similar
  • Remove the deceased’s clothes keeping the Awrah (private parts – navel to knee for a man and neck to knee for a woman) covered at all times
  • Use a piece of cloth or your hands with rubber gloves on for the washing,
  • Use only clean water, preferably warm water
  • Lift the head slightly and apply pressure and rub the stomach to remove the contents
  • Wash the Awrah area using cotton wool
  • Perform a full Wudu (ablution), but only clean the outside of the mouth and nose not the inside
  • Wash the entire body three times, beginning with the head and the right side. If the body needs more cleaning, continue washing ending in an odd number of washes (i.e. 3, 5, 7…)
  • The first wash is done with soap and water, the second with water and the last one with water scented with perfume and camphor
  • Dry the body with a clean cloth or towel
  • Apply perfume to the areas of prostration
  • A woman’s hair should be plaited in three braids
  • If the person has a long moustache, nails or underarm hair, they may be trimmed (unless the person was a Hanafi, when nothing may be cut).

 How to Shroud (Kafn)

  • The cloths used for wrapping the body must be a clean (preferably white) and should cover the whole body
  • Do not use silk cloth for men
  • Use three pieces of cloth for men and five for women (each piece of cloth should cover the entire body)
  • Add some perfume to the sheets (musk or camphor)
  • Spread the cloths on the table
  • After Ghusl place the deceased on the cloths
  • Place cotton wool around the Awrah (private parts)
  • Perfume the body
  • Fold the right flaps over the body then the left
  • Remove the cotton wool from around the Awrah
  • After shrouding with two sheets, sprinkle camphor over them and then tie the third
  • Tie the two ends of the shroud and then with bands to the left side of the body.

Most aspects are the same for a woman except:

  • Two additional sheets are used to cover the Awrah and head


  • Nothing should be added to the shroud or buried with the body
  • No kohl should be applied to the eyes
  • Rings, dentures, etc. should be left on the body if it would cause harm to remove them

It is not obligatory for those who have performed the Ghusl to take Ghusl themselves afterwards. It is just recommended if it is possible and may be done after carrying the body.

The Funeral Prayer (Salat-ul-Janazah)

Salat-ul-Janazah is performed for every Muslim and can be done at any time of day, except for a few minutes around sunrise, midday and sunset.

It is better to perform the prayer at a Musallah (a place outside where Eid Prayers are held), but it can also be held in a mosque. If someone who knows the deceased misses the congregational Salat-ul-Janazah, they may pray it later at the graveside.

The person leading the prayer can either be the Imam of the mosque or someone named in the deceased’s will.

Both men and women can join Salat-ul-Janazah. They should line up in a minimum of three rows.

The Salat-ul-Janazah is said silently by both the Imam and the congregation while standing throughout, with the Imam just saying the Takbeers (“Allahu Akbar” – Allah is Great) and the ending Tasleem (“Assalamu alaykum”- Peace be unto you) aloud.

How to perform the Salat-ul-Janazah

  • Make a silent intention to perform the Salat-ul-Janazah
  • The Imam will give the first Takbeer, i.e. say “Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great) aloud
  • The congregation repeats this quietly, raising their hands up to their ears
  • Fold the arms over the chest, putting the right over the left
  • Recite Surah Al-Fatihah:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen
Ar-Rahmaanir-Raheem Maaliki Yawmmid-Deen
Iyyaaka na`budu wa iyyaaka nasta`een Ihdinas-Siraatal-Mustaqeem
Siraatal-ladheena an`amta `alayhim ghayril-maghdoobi `alayhim wa lad-daaalleen.

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful. [All] praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds,
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful, and Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path;
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

  • The Imam gives the second Takbeer, saying “Allahu Akbar” aloud
  • The congregation repeats this quietly, raising their hands up to their ears
  • Fold the arms over the chest, putting the right over the left
  • Recite the Salawat (invocation of blessings and peace upon the Prophet):

الَّھُمَّ صَلي علي مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلي آلِ  مُحَمَّدٍ کَماَ صَلَّيتَ عَلي اِبْرَاھِيمَ  وَعَلي آلِ اِبْرَاھِيمَ اِنَّکَ حَمِيدُ  مَجِيد
اَلَّھُمَّ بَارِک عَلي مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلي آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ کَمَا بَارَکتَ عَلي اِبرَا ھِيمَ وَعَلي آلِ اِبرَاھِيمَ اِنّکَ  حَمِيدُ مَّجِيد

Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala aali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta `ala Ibrahima wa `ala aali Ibrahima innaka hamidum majid.
Allahumma baarik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala aali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta `ala Ibrahima wa `ala aali Ibrahima innaka hamidum majid.

O Allah! Let Your Blessings come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.
O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.

  • The third Takbeer is the same as the earlier ones

Make a supplication for the deceased. This one is recommended if you can say it:

للَّهمَّ اغْفِرْ لِحَيِّنَا وَمَيِّتِنَا وَشَاهِدِنَا، وَغَائِبِنَا، وَصَغِيْرِنَا وَكَبِيْرِنَا، وَذَكَرِنَا وَأُنْثَانَا.
اللَّهمَّ مَنْ أَحْيَيْتَه ُ مِنَّا فَأَحْيِه ِ عَلَى الإِسْلامِ، وَمَنْ تَوَفَّيْتَه مِنَّا فَتَوَفَّه ُ عَلَى الإِيْمَانِ،
اللَّهمَّ لا تَحْرِمْنَا أَجْرَهُ، وَلا تُضِلَّنَا بَعْدَهُ

Allahuma maghfir lihayyinaa wa mayyitina, wa shaahidinaa wa ghaa’ibinaa wa sagheerinaa wa kabeerinaa wa dhakarinaa wa ‘unthaanaa.
Allaahumma man ‘ahyaytahu minnaa fa’ahyihi `alal-Islaami, wa man tawaffaytahu minnaa fatawaffahu `alal-eemaani,
Allaahumma laa tahrimnaa ajrahu wa laa tudhillanaa ba`dahu.

O Allah! Forgive our living and our dead, those who are with us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our menfolk and our womenfolk.
O Allah! Whomever you give life from among us give him life in Islam, and whomever you take away from us take him away in Faith.
O Allah! Do not forbid us their reward and do not send us astray after them.

  • The fourth Takbeer is the same as the previous ones
  • End by saying “Assalaamu alaykum (Peace be unto you)” to the right or to the right and left.

This is the end of the Salat-ul-Janazah. Nothing else is said congregationally after this.