shrouding the deceased Muhrim

Q: We would like to ask you about those who die in the hospitals of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and other similar entities like traffic, police, and municipality concerning washing the dead since it is noted that those mentioned above, specifically hospitals cover the face and head of the dead Muhrim (pilgrim in the ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah) whether a man or a woman. We would hopefully like you to give us a written Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) explaining how to deal with such cases taking into consideration the following:1- If the face and the head of the corpse is totally burnt.2- If the face and the head were damaged because of an accident.3- If the face of the dead woman was pretty.4- If it is necessary to keep the dead body in the morgue.

A: The Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) is to wash the person who died in a state of Ihram (ritual state for Hajj or `Umrah) with water mixed with Sidr (lote tree) or similar substances, never to apply perfume to either men or women, never to cut any of their hair or nails, never wrap dead men in Makhit (clothes sewn to fit body limbs) or to cover one's head or face. If there are Ajanib (men other than a husband or permanently unmarriageable male relatives) present in the wash of a dead woman, they must cover her face relying on what has authentically been proven from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said about one of his Sahabah (Companions) whose camel broke his neck while he was staying in `Arafah : wash him with water mixed (with the leaves of) the lote (tree) and keep his face exposed; (he, the narrator) said: And his head (too), for he would be raised (Part No. 7; Page No. 233) on the Day of Resurrection pronouncing Talbiya. As for a woman, her head and face must be covered exactly like other parts of her body; since it is Niqab (face veil) which is not allowed in Hajj, but covering her face with anything else is Wajib (obligatory) specifically in the presence of Ajnaby men. If the dead body is burnt, Taymmum (dry ablution) should be applied, as well as in a case if is not easy to wash the face of the dead body.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.