How to wash the deceased with camphor
Fatwa No: 44331

Question

Should we wash the deceased with water mixed with Sidr (lotus jujube or lote-tree leaves) then at the last wash we use camphor without using water or we wash him with camphor then we pour water on him, given that camphor is pure but it does not purify the deceased? Is it true that camphor strips the water of the quality of purifying?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

 

Umm ‘Atiyyah said: "The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, came to us when we were washing his deceased daughter. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Wash her three times or five or more than that if you think that (is necessary), with water and Sidr, and put camphor or some camphor in (the water) the last time.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This Hadeeth explicitly stated using Sidr at the beginning of the wash then using camphor at the last wash.

Some scholars said that the water loses the characteristic of purifying other objects if mixed with Sidr or camphor. Therefore, it is incumbent to use absolute water.

Ar-Ramli, the Shaafi‘i scholar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "It is recommended to use Sidr at the beginning of the wash ... Then to pour absolute water so the wash of the water mixed with Sidr is not counted in the intended three washes as the water lost the characteristic of purifying. However, what counts is the wash with absolute water. So the obligatory wash begins with it according to the chosen opinion; As-Subki, may Allaah have mercy upon him, chooses rewashing with it until achieving cleanliness."

Al-Kharashi, the Maaliki scholar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "According to the vast majority of scholars it is recommended to use absolute water in the first wash so as to purify the deceased then to use water mixed with Sidr to clean him and then water mixed with camphor to perfume him."

The Hanafi scholars and some Hanbalis said that mixing the water with Sidr or camphor does not cause it to lose the characteristic of purifying.

Allaah Knows best.

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