Muslim Burials: Takfeen

TAKFEEN (WRAPPING THE BODY IN THE KAFAN)

General

The Kafans of a male and a female deceased person differ only in the number of pieces of cloth used and their arrangement around the body. Whereas a male deceased is wrapped in three pieces of cloth, a female is wrapped in five. Like everything else, this practice also follows the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the manner of his own burial as is confirmed by the following Hadith:

Aishah (ra) reported: "Allah's Messenger (pbuh) was shrouded in three white cotton Yemeni sheets from Sahul (an area in Yemen). None of them was either a shirt or a turban. He was simply placed on (and wrapped in) them. (An Nasa'i and Abu Daud)

Kafan

(i) The Kafan for a male shall consist of three clean (preferably white) and plane pieces of inexpensive cloth (cotton or partly synthetic) of the following approximate sizes:

Piece # 1: 96" long x 45" wide.
Piece # 2: 40" long x 45" wide.
Piece # 3: 45" long x 45" wide.
Additional Item: One 2"x36" swatch and two 2"x12" swatches of the same cloth.

(ii) The Kafan for a female shall consist of five clean (preferably white) and plane pieces of inexpensive cloth (cotton or partly synthetic) of the following approximate sizes:

Piece # 1: 84" long x 45" wide
Piece # 2: 84" long x 45" wide
Piece # 3: 64" long x 45" wide
Piece # 4: 45" long x 45" wide
Piece # 5: 45" long x 18" wide
Additional Item: One 2"x36" swatch and two 2"x12" swatches of the same cloth.

Notes

(1) The sizes given above are considered adequate for most cases. However, suitable adjustments may be made as necessary for circumstances calling for a different size.
(2) If unavoidable, it is permissible to shroud the body in a lesser number of sheets than mentioned above.


The Procedure For Takfeen

The following sketches and the accompanying brief descriptions explain the process of Takfeen:

(I) Male Deceased: (Sketch #1)
The order of the Kafan from bottom to top is as below:
(a) Piece # 1 spread out to its full extent.
(b) Piece # 2 spread out on top of Piece # 1 so as to cover the body from its navel to the ankles.
(c) Piece # 3 opened up and laid out on top of the upper half of Piece # 1 so that its top half projects beyond the top edge of Piece # 1. The slit in its middle would accommodate the head of the body as this piece is folded down and over after the body is positioned on the Kafan.

The following steps simplify the wrapping of the body:

(1) Place the washed body on the Kafan with the Awrah still covered with a towel or other suitable piece of cloth and with its head approximately centered on the head-opening in Piece # 3.
(2) Fold Piece # 3 over the head so that it passes through the opening and the body is clothed as if in a sleeveless shirt.
(3) Wrap Piece # 2 around the body as the temporary Awrah cover is discreetly removed.
(4) Fold the left half of Piece # 1 around the body to wrap it completely. Next, fold the right half over the left half.
(5) Tie the Kafan loosely above the head, at the waist and below the feet with the three swatches of cloth. These would later be undone when the body is finally placed in the grave.
The shrouded body may now be placed inside the casket.

(II) Female Deceased: (Sketch #2)
The order of the various pieces of the Kafan from bottom to top is as below:
(a) Piece # 1 spread out fully.
(b) Piece # 2 spread out fully on top of Piece # 1.
(c) Piece # 3 spread out over Piece # 2 so as to be able to cover the body from its shoulders to its ankles.
(d) Piece # 4 spread out as Piece # 3 is spread in Section III-c (I):(c) above.
(e) Piece # 5 can be held separately to be used later as a head scarf.

The following steps explain the process of wrapping the body:

(1) Place the body on the Kafan with its head approximately centered on the head-opening in Piece # 4. Keep the Awrah covered with a cloth during the process.
(2) Fold Piece # 4 over the head carefully so that it passes through the opening and the body is clothed as if in a sleeveless shirt.
(3) Fold the left half of Piece # 3 around the body while carefully removing the Awrah covering. Next, fold the right half over the left half.
(4) Wrap Piece # 5 around the head to cover the hair which may be loosely braided and positioned on either side of the head inside the head-wrap.
(5) Fold the left half of Piece # 2 around the body to wrap it completely. Next, fold the right half over the left half.
(6) Repeat step (5) with Piece # 1.
(7) Tie the Kafan loosely with the three swatches as in Section III-c (I):(5) above.

The shrouded body may now be placed inside the casket.

 

Comments

Assalamualikum WW
Mashallah very good detailed information reg Kafan. I have been searching for the length of Izar which is sheet no 2 for men and my understanding is like it says in your instruction from navel to toes. In some other books and web site it says from head to toes which is misleading as Izar or tehband is for lower part of the body. I will be greatful if you can provide a ref from any Fiqh book. Jazakallah

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