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Fatwa on Ghusl Mayyit, Shrouding and Janazah for Those Who Died of Infectious Diseases

Number: 03-2-26/20

Date: 22nd Rajab 1441

           17 March 2020

Pursuant to Article 10 of the Rulebook of Mufti Council, in its 24th regular session, on 22 Rajab 1441/17 March 2020, in consideration of the current situation caused by the corona virus pandemic, Mufti Council of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed on the following

Fatwa on Ghusl Mayyit, Shrouding and Janazah for Those Who Died of Infectious Diseases

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ‎

الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين ، نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful,

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon His final Messenger, his family and companions.

Lord Almighty has honored human beings over many of his creations. This honor applies both to the living and the deceased. To honor the deceased, Lord Almighty peescribed that their bodies should be washed and shrouded, that janazah should be prayed upon them and that they should be buried. Following these rules is the collective obligation (fard al-kifayah) of the entire Muslim community/jamaat.

In case a person dies of an infectious disease, the local health institutions should be contacted to determine the degree of danger of spreading the disease and proper ways to wash and shroud the body. If the institution in charge declares that the infection is mild, and that, with adequate precautions, washing and shrouding can be performed, then both these actions will be performed, but the person in charge of ghusl will only pour water over the body, without touching the body.

If the infectious disease was severe, the ruling on tayammum will be applied to replace ghusl. The person performing it is obliged to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) prescribed by the instructions of the official government institutions. After shrouding, the area should be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated in accordance with local standards.

In case the deceased is transported to the ghusl premises in a body bag or a casket which must not be opened and from which the deceased must not be removed due to the danger of spreading the infection, the ruling of tayammum will be applied. A white kaffan (shroud) will be covered over the body bag. In this case too, the person performing the shrouding and tayammum should wear protective equipment. Janazah and burial will be performed as customary.

As for performing the janazah and the burial, in cases of an epidemic or a pandemic, as is the case of the corona virus in our time, the rulings of the official government institutions in regards to public meetings should be followed, and the janazah should be performed only by a single imam and members of the family. All other customary gatherings commonly organized in either mosques or homes after the janazah and burial should be postponed until the danger of the epidemic/pandemic stops.

The precautions and protective measures mentioned in this Fatwa that apply to infected people also apply to people who die in self-isolation/quarantine.

And Allah knows best!

Husein ef. Kavazović

Raisu-l-ulama/Grand Mufti