Friday, August 12, 2022 - 14 Muharram 1444

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A husband washing his deceased wife, is it permissible?

A husband washing his deceased wife, is it permissible?

Answer

The principle is that when the deceased is a male, only men are to wash him and when the deceased is a female, only women are to wash her. This is because it is easier for a person to look at another of the same gender. But according to the Malikis, Shafi’is and Hanbalis, it is permissible for a husband to wash his deceased wife. The legal precinct for their opinion is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to ‘A`isha (may God be pleased with her), “What harm would it be to you (i.e. it would be better for you) if you die before me? I will then wash and enshroud you, and then pray over you and bury you.”
However, it is disliked for a husband to wash his deceased wife when there are women who can undertake this duty. The reason for this is to avoid juristic controversy, since the Hanafis deem it prohibited. Ibn Abideen said in his commentary on Al-Durr Al-Mukhtar, “[(His opinion that it is impermissible for a husband to wash his deceased wife…) points to what is written in Al-Bahr that one of the conditions for the person who washes a deceased, is the permissibility of looking at him or her. A man cannot therefore wash a [deceased] woman and vice-versa].”
And God Almighty knows best.