Sadly there is widespread confusion over whether to perform ghusl over those who have passed away due to the coronavirus. Need for clarity As well as the distress and bereavement of losing loved members of the family and community, there is anxiety among families on the issue, and a need for clarity and assurance that the deceased are not being disrespected nor denied their funeral rights if they do not have a ghusl. Is ghusl an obligation? The ghusl is ordinarily considered to be an obligation (wajib or fard) according to the vast majority of opinions in our tradition. However, that obligation can be lifted and replaced by wiping (tayammum), when there are serious risk to life and health. Moreover, there is a legitimate opinion within the Maliki school that recognises ghusl as a sunnah, rather than something compulsory. I personally advise people to follow either this particular Maliki opinion; or to consider the ghusl as an obligation that is lifted due to the current situation, in order to be safe, and simply replace by tayammum. The fard can be suspended in times of danger During the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) he stopped the undisputed fard of Jumu’ah due to difficulty in walking through the mud and possibility of slipping. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that he said to the Mu’adhdhin on a rainy day: When you have announced ‘I testify that there is no god but Allah; I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ do not say: ‘Come to the prayer,’ but make this announcement: say, ‘Pray in your houses’ He (the narrator) said that the people disapproved of it. Ibn ‘Abbas said: Are you astonished at it? He (the Holy Prophet), who is better than I, did it. Jumu’a prayer is no doubt obligatory, but … Continue reading Should the deceased from the coronavirus have ghusl or tayammum?
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