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Just before (Ehtezar) and Immediately After Death

Let us create a scenario in which you are sitting in front of a very sick friend or a relative whom you have come to visit. He/she is alone in the house. You are the only other person present. Suddenly you see him/her struggling for breath. He/she is taking his/her last breath! Dying! The color of his/her face is changing. He is said to be in Saqarat - the pain of death. Gradually, he/she stops breathing and is dead. What should you be doing as required by the Shariah while the person is in the course of dying and soon after death?

I am not aware of the legal requirements here in Canada. Therefore, I will leave it to you to find out.

Before the Death, During the Saqarat ul Mawt

a) Move the dying person to face Qibla in such a position that the soles of his/her feet face Qibla. In other words, if he/she were to sit upright his/her face would face Qibla.

b) Recite the Shahadah and make him/her repeat it. It should cover Tawhid /Nubuwwat/ Imamat and make him/her recite dua for Istighfar to ask forgiveness from Allah for his/her sins.

c) Recite Surah Yasin, Wassafat, Ayatul Qursi and other Ayats from the Qur'an to ease the moments of Saqarat.

After the death


d) Close the eyes and the mouth of the dead person.

e) Stretch his/her arms along his/her sides and keep his/her legs straight.

f) Cover his/her body with a sheet of cloth.

g) Inform his/her Wali or next of kin (if wali is not present) to come immediately.

h) Recite the Qur'an until the body is taken away for Ghusle Mayyit.

The Wali, the personal representative appointed by the deceased in his/her will or next of kin is personally responsible for all the after death rituals. His prior permission is necessary before any other person(s) can handle the body.

After Death Rituals

It covers Ghusl/Kafan/Dafan i.e., washing, shrouding, and burying. Basically, these are Wajib (obligatory) acts for all of us but Kifai - Wajibe Kifai, which means if one or more persons undertake to do, others are absolved. Else it is wajib on everyone.

Therefore, it is essential for all of us to know the basics to be able to carry out the rituals in case of necessity.

Adapted from: "Burial Rituals" by: "Muhammad hussien Kermali"

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