Praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messengers, our master Muhammed may Allah bless him and his family and companions and those who followed them in truth until the Day of Judgment.
These are some guide lines of handling Janazah of deceased body of COVID-19, May Allah protect and save us all.
Some rules of handling Janazah of the deceased body of COVID-19 victim
We pray that Allah accepts those Muslims who died of this epidemic COVID-19 as martyrs, Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) Narrated: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, "He (a Muslim) who dies of an abdominal disease is a martyr, and he who dies of plague is a martyr." (Sahih al-Bukhari 5733).
As we live in Japan, it is necessary of following the rules and instructions issued by the Japanese government regarding handling deceased body of COVID-19, except for cremation of the dead body, because for Muslims, cremation is not only prohibited, it's viewed as a desecration of the deceased.
Regarding to washing a Muslim who has died, the majority of scholars are of the view that washing a Muslim who has died is Fard Kifayah (communal duty), the washing has to be done by Muslims only, and it is not allowed for a non Muslim to do this work.
Washing of deceased body of COVID-19:
Washing the deceased’ body of COVID-19 must be subject to the rules and procedures followed in Japan for such cases, and it is strongly suggested to be done in a special hospital which having all facilities handling such cases, the washing has not to be done in normal washing places in some Masjeds.
If the authorities in Japan allow some Muslim people to wash the deceased’ body, of course, after taking all necessary precautions to prevent any kind of infection, then the washers can wash the body by just spraying water on the body, even without taking of deceased’s clothes and no need to touch the body as possible, and there is no problem for non-Muslim doctors to attend that washing to guide washers from a medical point of view.
In case that the authorities prohibit washing deceased’ body, then Tayyammum can be done instead if possible, and if Tayyammum also is not possible, then Janazah (funeral) prayer can be done without washing and without Tayammum as well.
kafan ) Shroud ( :
If washing or Tayammum can be done, then kafan ) Shroud ( can be just by covering body with three clothes, in some countries the deceased’ body is putting in a special wrapped bag, and they don’t allow it to be open, in this case kafan ) Shroud ( will be done by covering the outside of that special wrapped bag with three clothes.
Janazah (funeral) prayer:
Janazah (funeral) prayer will be done by a minimum number of people three or even two people, as for others they can do the funeral prayer in absentia, the Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are of the view that it is prescribed to offer the funeral prayer in absentia for everyone who dies away from his home town, even if the funeral prayer is offered for him in the place where he dies.
Burying the deceased in a coffin :
There is no dispute among the scholars that it is makrooh to bury the deceased in a coffin if there is no need for that. If there is a need for that, such as the deceased’ body of COVID-19 if the authorities in Japan don’t allow the coffin to be open due to prevent any kind of infections to others, the deceased can be buried in a coffin.
And Allah knows the best.
May Allah protect and save all, May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
Dr. Mohsen Shaker Bayoumy
Imam of Osaka Ibaraki Mosque