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The publication of a Handbook of Muslim Burials may need some explanation. A review of the available literature on Islam in English shows a marked paucity of useful information on this important and sensitive subject. Moreover, the little information that is available is either inadequate or incomplete in its scope as well as in its presentation. Evidently, the sensitive nature of the subject and its common perception as a rather unpleasant topic has discouraged prospective writers.

GHUSL AL MAYYAH (WASHING THE BODY)

General

This section describes the procedure for washing a body in preparation for its burial in detail. Islam lays great emphasis on physical and spiritual cleanliness. Indeed, physical cleanliness is considered absolutely necessary for all acts of worship to be meaningful.

Funeral practices in various countries often reflect the influence of local traditions and other religions. Muslims are required to confine all related rituals within the bounds prescribed by The Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Innovations in religion that have no sanction from The Quran or the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) should be scrupulously avoided as is clear from the following Hadith:

SALAT UL JANAZAH (PRAYER FOR THE DECEASED)

General

Salat ul Janazah is a Fard Kifayah, and its procedure and details follow the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). It is strongly recommended that as many members of the Muslim community as possible should join the funeral procession and Salat ul Janazah:
Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said:

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:

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