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Chapter 8
Orders Regarding a Dying Person

 

539. A Muslim who is dying, whether man or woman or old or young, should, on the basis of precaution, be laid on his/her hack as far as possible, in such a manner that the soles of his/her feet should face the Qibla (direction towards the holy Ka'bah).

 

540. It is better that the dead body should also be made to lie facing the Qibla until its bathing is completed. However, when its bathing is completed it is better to make it lie in the same state in which it is made to lie when prayers is offered for it.

 

541. It is obligatory upon every Muslim on the basis of precaution to make a dying person lie facing the Qibla and it is better to obtain permission in this behalf from his guardian.

 

542. It is recommended that Islamic fundamentals viz. acknowledgement of the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of the holy Prophet Muhammad and the acknowledgement of the twelve Imams and other principles of faith should be spoken out to a dying person in such a manner that he should under- stand it. It is also recommended that these things should be repeated till the time of his death.

 

543. It is recommended that the following supplication should be spoken out to a dying person in such a manner that he should understand it: Alla hummaghfir liyal kathina mim ma'asika waqbal minniyal yasira min ta'atika ya man yaqbalul yasira wa yaafu 'anil kathir, Iqbal minniyal yasira wa'fu 'anniyal kathir. lnnaha antal afuwwul Ghafur. Alla hummar hamni fa innaka Rahim.

 

544. If a person is experiencing difficulty in the matter of departure of his soul it is recommended to carry him to the place where he used to offer prayers, provided that it does not cause him discomfort.

 

545. If a person is experiencing the pangs of death it is re- commended to recite by his side Surah Yasin, Surah as-Saffat, Surah al-Ahzab, Ayat al-Kursi and 54th verse of Surah al-A'raf and the last three verses of Surah al-Baqarah. In fact it is better to recite as much out of the holy Qur'an as possible.

 

546. It u abominable to leave a dying person alone or to place anything on his belly, or to talk much or cry near him or to let only women remain with him. Going of a junub or a ha'iz near him is also abominable.

 

Orders Regarding Acts to Be Performed With Regard to a Dead Person

 

547. It is recommended that the eyes and lips of a dead body should be closed, its chin should be tied, its hands and feet should be straightened and it shoUld be covered with a cloth.

 

  If a person dies at night the persons concerned should illuminate the place and inform the believers to join the funeral and should make haste in burying the dead body. In case, however, they are not certain that the person is actually dead they should wait till the position becomes clear. Furthermore, if the dead person is a pregnant woman and there is a living child in her womb, her burial should be delayed till such time that her left side is cut and the child is taken out and then her body is sewn.

 

548. Bathing and shrouding of a Muslim who is dead and offering prayers for him and burying him is obligatory for every responsible (adult and sane) person even though the corpse may not be an Ithna 'Ashari Shi'ah. However, if some persons accomplish these acts, others are absolved from the responsibility. But if none discharges these obligations all those who know it shall be sinners.

 

549. If a person begins performing the acts relating to the dead body it is not obligatory for others to participate in them. In case, however, that person leaves these acts incomplete others should complete them.

 

550. If a person is certain that another person is busy looking after the jobs relating to the dead body it is not obligatory for him to take steps in this behalf. However, if he doubts or suspects he should take necessary steps.

 

551. If a person is certain that the bathing, shrouding, prayers for or burial of a dead body has been performed wrongly he should perform these acts again. In case, however, he is only suspicious about their validity or doubts whether they have been performed properly it is not necessary for him to take any action in the matter.

 

552. On the basis of precaution permission should be taken from the guardian of a dead body for its bathing, shrouding, performing prayers and burial.

 

553. The guardian of a woman is her husband. And after him the men who inherit from the dead person enjoy precedence over their women.

 

554. If a person says that he is the guardian of the dead body, or that the guardian of the dead body has given him permission to carry out its bathing, shrouding and burial, or he says that he is the executor of the dead body in the matter of its equipment, and if what he says is relied upon, or the dead body is in his possession, or two just (Adil) persons and even one reliable person testify to his statement, his word should be accepted.

 

555. If a dead person appoints some one other than his guardian to carry out his bathing, shrouding, burial and prayers the guardianship with regard to these matters rests with that person. And it is not necessary that the person whom the dead person has appointed to carry out these jobs should accept the will. However, if he does accept it he should act upon it.