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What to do upon a death

The demise of a person is a sad and trying time for those close to the deceased. It is important for those responsible to undertake the responsibility that results from the demise of their family member.

1. Upon the demise of a person, recite Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi Rajioon. This dua may also be recited: Allahumma' jurni fee musabatee waakhluf lee khairam minha

2. Attend to the following immediately:
a. Close the mouth by tying a piece of cloth from below the chin around the head (so that the mouth remains closed)
b. Close the eyes gently – recite Bismillah wa ala millati Rasulillah
c. Tie the feet together with a strip of cloth so that they do not move apart

3. All removable items like a wrist watch or band, jewellery, rings, removable dentures, false teeth, amulets, bangles, spectacles, etc. should be removed

4. Cover the entire body with a sheet. One may burn incense near the deceased if available

5. A person in a state of uncleanliness (needing a fardh ghusl) or women in Haidh (menses) or Nifas (post-natal bleeding) should not be in close proximity to the deceased

6. Quran Shareef should not be recited in close proximity to the deceased until the ghusl is complete. However, some Jurists advise that if the body is covered then Quran Shareef may be recited softly near the deceased

7. Assistance in the above and other related matters should be rendered by Mahrams (relatives who the deceased was not permitted to marry) as far as possible

8. Make the necessary funeral arrangements by contacting the local Muslim burial society to facilitate the preparation of the grave, ghusl, shrouding and burial

9. The close family members should announce the news of the demise to relatives and neighbours and fix the time of the Janazah Salah without any unnecessary delay

10. Preparation for the Ghusl of the deceased should commence without any undue delay, ensuring that legal formalities are complied with.

The following should be at hand:
a) identity documentation of the deceased
b) identity documentation of the next of kin
c) certificate from a qualified medical doctor confirming death

If the death occurred unnaturally then all the legal requirements of such a death must be complied with.


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