Desirability of performing Ghusl after washing the deceased

Q: Is Ghusl (ritual bath) required of a person who washes the body of a dead person?


A: All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, and his family and Companions. Imam Ahmad and the Compilers of Sunan (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Al-Nasa'y and Ibn Majah) reported from several chains of narration that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Anyone who washes a dead body should perform Ghusl (ritual bath).” (Part No. 5; Page No. 318) Though all chains of narration of this Hadith have been subject to scholarly dispute, it is sometimes relied upon as evidence of the desirability to perform Ghusl after washing the dead. However, it is not obligatory on the one who washed the body of a dead person to perform Ghusl, because the Hadith mentioned has been classified as Da‘if (weak). It is, however, desirable for a person who washes the body of a dead person to perform Ghusl. This is supported by the Hadith reported by Abu Dawud and classified as Sahih (authentic) by Ibn Khuzaymah on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) would take a bath because of four things: Janabah (major ritual impurity), on Friday, for cupping and after washing a dead body.” May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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