Latest Updates - Corona Virus - 31 May 2020

Washing and Burying the Deceased during the Pandemic Disease

16 April 2020

Praise be to God the Lord of the Universe, peace and blessings be upon Muhammad [pbuh].

In Islam, difficulties and calamities are destined by God Almighty. The Messenger of God [pbuh] said, "There is no trouble that comes to a believer except that it removes some of his sins, even if it is the pricking of a thorn." These difficult times are but a blessing in disguise as per the words of God Almighty, "...but give glad tidings to the patient..." [see 2: 155]

Amid the current global crisis the world is facing as a result of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), officially announced by (WHO) as a pandemic, it is important for Muslims to counter this pandemic through undertaking the necessary policies and following medical instructions announced by official health organizations and institutions for protection and treatment.

Under this current pandemic disease which is spreading around the world, many religious issues and Islamic rulings require new rulings and fatawas relating to the acts of worship [Ibadat] i.e. prayers, fasting, Zakah, Hajj, funeral services and others. Under this unusual time, the Islamic rulings changes according to the need and necessity. Amongst these issues are the washing and burying the deceased.

Under this unusual circumstance, it is agreed among scholars that those that have died from the disease, known as Covid-19, their bodies are not required to be washed with water out of fear that it will spread the virus. If the specialists and doctors confirmed that the body of someone who has died from the coronavirus should not be touched, due to concerns the illness could spread, in that case washing is not required. If washing [ghusl] cannot be done and there is a genuine danger or reasonable doubt regarding harming the health of those around the corpse, tayammum can be done. Even tayammum is not required if the specialists confirmed that may it is not safe and the virus can still spread, then Taymmum is not required too, because protection for the people of funeral service is more required. It is highly recommended that any type of cleaning and interaction with the body has to be done using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

The same rule applies to the process of burials and Muslim community should follow all routine procedures in burying the dead, but if they encounter problems due to local government restrictions, they can perform alternatives. If there are not graves, they bury more than one body one grave. Even the funeral prayer can be offered anywhere and by any number. According to the majority of scholars the funeral prayer, salat-ul janazah, doesn't require a fixed number of people in attendance and can be performed at any location. It can even be performed at the burial site. Islam is a religion of ease, it does not cause difficulty or hardship for people as the Qur'an and Sunnah clearly mentioned [see 2: 286 and 22:78]. However, in Islam Cremation is not allowed in any way or form.

Finally, adhering to all medical procedures and health protective measures is required and a Muslim must put their trust in God that He will remove the harm, cure the patients and immensely reward them in this world and the hereafter. "There is no need to panic and occupy yourself with making Ibadah and remembrance of God."

The London Central Mosque Trust Ltd. Registered in England and Wales. Company Number: 442394

Registered Office Address: 146 Park Road, London, NW8 7RG | Tel 020 7724 3363 | Fax 020 7724 0493 | Secretary 0207 725 2213, 0207 725 2152