Washing the dead suffering from contagious diseases
(Part No. 1; Page No. 279)
Praise be to Allah, Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last Prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' have read the letter sent to His Eminence, the Grand Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) by the Manager of Religious Affairs Department of the Armed Forces, no. 3/10/4196, which was sent to the Committee by the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars no. 19 T, dated 4/1/1412 A.H. in which the inquirer asks a question reading: "I hope you will advise us on some deaths at a hospital due to very contagious diseases, such as the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in addition to some deaths
caused by hepatitis.
Many doctors say these diseases are contagious. As a result of this, some corpses get partially discomposed in the morgue fridges, and others remain there until they become deformed. Thus, I hope you will advise us whether or not they should be washed. Can we perform Tayammum (dry ablution) for them? If Tayammum is permissible, should the plastic bag placed on the face be opened or can Tayammum be applied over it to avoid infection?
After the Committee had studied the inquiry, it answered as follows:The same steps followed in washing the dead should be applied to the cases that were mentioned. These diseases are not contagious by themselves. (Part No. 1; Page No. 280) People usually attribute the action to other than Allah (Exalted be He), and this is why it is authentically reported in a Hadith narrated by
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
There should be neither 'Adwa (believing that a disease becomes contagious spontaneously not by Allah's Predestination), nor Tiyarah (believing in bad omen), or Hamah (believing that the bones of the dead turn into a bird), or Safar (rendering the month of Safar a sacred month.)
Rather, it can be transmitted, by Allah's Will (Exalted be He), from a patient to a sound person. Therefore, it is permissible to use the precautionary tools available, such as vaccination, masks, gloves, and so on.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.