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Body Washing & Shrouding Workshop

December 11 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

We are encouraged by our faith to wash & shroud the body of our loved one. Get prepared for this challenging, necessary task in this free, interactive workshop for brothers & sisters ages 18+.

2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Sunday, December 11 | MCC Conference Room (women) & MCC Prayer Hall (men) | Free; no registration required

Rehana Markar facilitates the sister’s workshop. Abdur Rehman facilitates the men’s workshop. Afterward the parallel workshops, you can sign up to prepare bodies for burial at the Islamic Society of East Bay’s morgue.

These parallel and separate men’s and women’s workshops are conducted by experienced mortuary volunteers. This is an excellent opportunity for couples.

This workshop’s content and washing simulation are not appropriate for children and adults who are faint of heart.

Questions? events@mcceastbay.org

– MCC’s Islamic End of Life Talks Playlist: https://mcceastbay.org/end-of-life
– Islamic burial services in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay: https://mcceastbay.org/funeral

“He who washes a dead body and conceals what he notices of physical defects, he will be forgiven forty times.” [Al-Hakim]

Topic covered in this workshop include :
  • – What to do when death is occurring?
  • – Forms required by State of California
  • – Order of preference for who is preferred to perform the ghusl on the deceased
  • – What we should do before we start the ghusl (body washing)?
  • – Preparing the kafan (shroud) and ghusl items (soap, warm water, camphor (powdered dry sidr leaves), cardboard box, etc.
  • – Preparing and cutting the kafan
  • – Preparing the body for washing and process of washing the body
  • – Applying the shroud on the washed body
  • – What to do after shrouding the body?

We will describe how to perform the Islamic ceremonial process of washing and shrouding a deceased person (mayit) before Janaza and burial.

al-Mayyit (Arabic: الميت) is the term to refer to the deceased in Islam. There are prescribed burial rites to be given upon the death of a Muslim, including the salat al-mayyit, or “prayer of the dead.”

Abdur Rehman is a prolific volunteer who has volunteered to wash and shroud Muslims in the East Bay for more than a decade. A convert to Islam from Hinduism, he brings a unique understanding of the relationship to death and burial in both faith traditions. At mosques, Br. Abdul Rahman demonstrates practical ghusl and shrouding in workshops and he encourages area Muslims to learn how to wash their loved ones. He is a volunteer with the Fremont-based Islamic Society of East Bay’s mortuary. The masjid is also known as Lowry masjid.

Muslim funerals in the East Bay are community affairs, and non-family members partake in several aspects of funerals, from jānazah prayers to burials.

Community members are essential in conducting ghusl, a body-washing ritual on the deceased. In the ghusl ritual, the entire dead body is washed, which requires the helping hands of multiple people to lift and move the body around for washing. Muslim families often need outside assistance from the community to wash their deceased because they don’t have family members trained to perform it or be too emotional to perform it themselves. In such instances, volunteers step up to help families wash their dead.

How Volunteers Become Involved

Many might be surprised to learn that anyone would volunteer to wash the dead body of a stranger.

Ethics of Washing

Washing the body of the dead requires an ethical approach. It is an act that should be carried out in a dignified and respectful manner and it is important that we avoid causing harm to the body. In addition to not harming the body, the ethical approach includes avoiding idle talk around the body, making prayers for the dead individual, and making sure that all the steps of the ghusl are done properly. Under the pressure to finish washing the body in time for the burial.

Lessons from Volunteering (“He is down today, I am tomorrow.”)

The experience from washing during funerals does not simply remain in the wash facilities, but rather the volunteers carry lessons from the experience into their lives. Volunteers say that dealing with death has instilled them with humility. In remembering death while washing, it reminds us of the meaning in life: family, community, living a righteous life, and above all, worshiping her Creator.

Resources

Washing & Shrouding The Deceased Muslim

When a Muslim dies, it is the responsibility of his family or other Muslims to wash him according to the Islamic rites of washing the deceased. Two or three persons may perform the washing. The person(s) who may wash the deceased should:

  • – Be a trustworthy, and honest adult Muslim(s).
  • – Know the Islamic way of washing the dead and be able to carry out the washing.
  • – Not make any comment on the body of the deceased.

Note

  • – If the deceased is a male, then ONLY males should wash him.
  • – If the deceased is a female, then ONLY females should wash her.
  • – For a married person, the spouse may perform the washing.
  • – For a child, either males or females may do the washing.

Place of washing

  • – The deceased’s body should be washed in a clean, secluded, and private place where clean water and soap are available. Gloves or pieces of cloth are needed.
    – The body of the deceased should be washed with water and, if available, lotus leaves, or camphor (To be used in the final wash).
    – The washing should be done three or five, or any more odd number of times if necessary.

Steps of washing

  • – The body of the deceased should be placed on a table or alike, the deceased’s clothes should be removed, and the body should be covered with a sheet of cloth.
  • – The head and the upper body should be raised slightly to insure the washing water with exudations from the body flows down and does not run back to the body.
  • – The Aura (private parts) of the deceased should be covered with a piece of cloth. The Aura of a male is from the belly button to the knee in the presence of males, for the female is the same in the presence of females.
  • – The washer should start washing by saying:” Bismil – lah “,” In the name of Allah “.
  • – The washer winds a piece of cloth around his hand, and with this he cleans away any impurities from the body using water. Then he should dispose of this piece.
  • – The washer should take another piece of cloth around his hand, press lightly the stomach of the deceased so as so to expel, if possible, any remnants from it, and then wash the body of all impurities using water. Then he should dispose this piece of cloth.
  • – The washer should take another piece of cloth around his hand (may use gloves), and wash the covered private parts, then dispose of this piece of cloth.
  • – The washer should perform Wudu (ablution) on the deceased without inserting the water in the nose and in the mouth.
  • – The washer should clean the body with water and soap, if available, starting from the head (hair, face and beard {men}), then the upper right side of the body then the left side, after that the lower right side then the lower left.
  • – In the case of a female, her hair should be loosened, washed, combed, and be braided in three braids, and placed behind her back.
    The washing should be done three times, or five times, or seven times, as needed, providing that after washing the head, wash the right side before the left, and the upper parts before the lower ones.
  • – In the last wash, the washer may use camphor, or some perfume with the water.
  • – After that the body should be dried with clean towel.
  • – Then the body should be totally covered with a white sheet.
  • – You now get ready to start the shrouding.

Special Note: In case the deceased is a female in her menstrual period or have child birth bleeding, padding should be used to prevent blood from leaving the body.

Note:

  • – It is recommended that those who performed the washing should take a bath .
  • – It is recommended that those who performed the washing should make Wudu.
  • – All of this is based on authentic Hadith that Um Atiyah narrated that: ” When the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) died, he instructed us:‘ Wash her three times, or more than that if you feel it is necessary, with water and sidr(good smelling leaves), and then after the last wash apply some camphor to the body , then loosen her hair, wash it, comb it, and make it in three braids laid behind her back ” (Bukhari & Muslim).

Note:

  • – There is no Islamic teaching of reading the Quran during the Ghusul.

– There is no Islamic teaching of making special dthiker (Certain words to remember Allah) during the Ghusul.

Shrouding The Deceased Muslim

– Shrouding should start Just after washing the body of the deceased. It is recommended to use white sheets from inexpensive material. Extravagance is not recommended in the Kafan (Shroud).
Aisha relates that: ” When the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) died, he was shrouded in three white sheets from Yemen” (Bukhari & Muslim).

The shroud (kafan) of a male:
The Kafan of a male should consist of three white winding sheets about{7 x 7 feet}, clean and large enough to conceal the whole body, after having been perfumed with incense. Use 4 tie ropes, each 7 feet long. The material of the sheet should not be silk, nor should any gold be used.

Steps of shrouding

  • – The winding sheets should be spread out one on the top of the other.
  • – The deceased, covered with a sheet, is lifted and laid on his back on the winding sheets.
  • – Some scent or perfume may be put on those parts of the body upon which one rests during prostration, that is the forehead, nose, hands, knees, and feet.
  • – If it is possible the deceased’s left hand should be placed on his chest, then put his right hand on the left hand like the way in the Salat (Prayer).
  • – The edge of the top sheet is folded over the deceased right side, then the other edge over his left side. Then the second sheet should be folded the same way. The third and the largest sheet should be treated the same way.
  • – These sheets should be fastened with a piece of cloth {Tie ropes}, one above the head, another under the feet, and two around the body.

MCC East Bay

5724 W Las Positas Blvd #300
Pleasanton, CA 94588 United States

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