Husband preparing wife's funeral
Fatwa No: 82750

Question

1- In Pakistan there seems to be a tradition that when the wife dies the husband is not allowed to see her face or touch her dead body because according to them they both get divorced and the husband automatically becomes a namahram to her as she dies. Is this true?2- There are also some stories which we would like to confirm on their authenticity. a) They say there was a prostitute who once passed by a place and saw a dog crying so she went to some distance and fetched him water to quench his thirst and the Prophet said that Allah loved her act so she is one of the Jannatis? 3- b) They also say of a man who never prayed or did any good deed and the Rasul (SAW) heard the noise of his slippers in his dream so he asked the man what good does he do that Allah likes him? The man said I do no good deeds with regards to religion and am a drunkard but once I saw an Ayah of the Qur'an thrown in the wastebasket and I picked it up went home and kept it in a safe place.Allahu Aalam how far these things are true but someone needs to know so please do let us know.4- When a lady travels for Hajj. Is a male Mahram compulsory or can she go to Hajj with a female companion?There are Muslimahs in this country who have come for studying medicine. When they return home every year for vacations they go with other Muslimahs and at times alone; the journey is by plane and is of 6 hours. Is this permissible?5- Is plastic surgery allowed for cosmetic reasons? Is it allowed if a person has had an accident and his face is deformed?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
1. According to the Hanafi's school of thought the wife's death is a reason of her separation from her husband. So, it is not permissible to her husband to touch her or look at her after her death. Actually, they consider the wife's death as a separation similar to divorce since the husband can marry the wife's sister and can also marry four wives after her death. Note, however that they do not call this separation divorce. But they forbid the husband to wash the corpse of his dead wife.
Nevertheless, the majority of the Muslim scholars do not agree with this opinion. They permit the husband to touch his dead wife's corpse and look at it. This is for the saying of the Prophet to his wife Aysha (May Allah be pleased her): "If you die before me, I will myself wash you, enshroud you, pray on you and then bury you".(Ibn Majah) It is also proved by a narration that Ali (May Allah be pleased him) washed the body of his wife Fatimah (May Allah be pleased her) after her death. Many companions know about what Ali did and they did not dislike it.
2-
A- The first story is correct. It is narrated in Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurairah that Allah's Apostle said: "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."
B) The second story is unknown for us and we did not find it in the known Books of Sunnah.
3- To know the answer to your fourth question please refer to the Fatwa No. 81435 and Fatwa No. 81210.
4- Cosmetic surgery is carried out for two purposes:
One, to eliminate a deformity whether it is caused by an accident or it is by birth but an unusual part such as an extra finger, or an extra tooth etc.
This kind of surgery is permissible because a Hadith states that the Prophet permitted a person whose nose was cut to replace it by a nose made of gold.
Second, to beautify oneself, i.e., surgery is not performed to remove a deformation rather to become more attractive. This kind of surgery is forbidden. The Prophet said: "Allah curses those ladies who practice tattooing and those who get themselves tattooed, and those ladies who remove the hair from their faces and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth in order to look more beautiful whereby they change Allah's creation." [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim].
Allah knows best.

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