Applying Fragrance when bathing a Deceased Female

Nasihah (Advice): Adding scent when giving ghusl to a Mayyit

 

Sayyidah Um ‘Atiyya al-Ansariya narrates, “Rasulullah () came to us when his daughter died and said, ‘Wash her thrice or five times or more, if you see it necessary, with water and Sidr and then apply camphor or some camphor at the end; and when you finish, notify me.’ So when we finished it, we informed him and he gave us his waist-sheet and told us to shroud the dead body in it.” (Bukhari)

 

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Question and Answer

 

  1. Is it permissible to use perfume, scent, or itr on the body of a deceased female after the ghusl?

 

  1. A. Yes, it is permissible and recommended to use perfume or fragrance on the body of a deceased female after the ghusl. The practice of washing the deceased with water enhanced with camphor or other fragrances, perfuming the shroud (kafan) with incense, and applying camphor or other fragrances to the places of Sajdah (prostration) is considered Mustahab (recommended) for both males and females.

 

This is supported by an authentic narration in which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam instructed the women who were washing his daughter to add camphor to the final wash. This narration is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari (1253) and Sahih Muslim (939). Camphor is a type of perfume.

 

Haafiz ibn Hajar (RA) explains that camphor is used because it has beneficial properties, including a drying and cooling effect, the ability to stiffen the body, repel vermin, prevent waste from being expelled, and slow down decomposition. These properties make camphor highly effective as a perfume for the deceased. It is applied in the last wash to ensure its lasting effect, as earlier application would be washed away. While camphor is preferred, other perfumes may be used if camphor is not available, provided they have at least some of the beneficial qualities of camphor. (Fathul Bari)

 

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam also emphasized perfuming the deceased with incense, as evidenced by the following hadiths:

 

“When you perfume the deceased with incense (bakhoor), then apply it three times.” (Musnad Ahmad, #14131)

 

“Perfume the shroud of the deceased with incense three times.” (Bayhaqi 3/568)

 

Additionally, Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (Radiyallahu anha) instructed her family to perfume her garments with incense and apply hanoot (a type of fragrance) to her after her death (Muwatta of Imam Malik #528, Bayhaqi 3/568).

 

Therefore, it is permissible and recommended to use perfume on the body of a deceased female after the ghusl.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

 

Mufti Moosa Salie

Mufti Taahir Hansa

 

(The answer hereby given is specifically based on the question asked and should be read together with the question asked. Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh unless otherwise stated.) 

 

Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians
223 Alpine Road, Overport

Durban, South Africa
Tel : +27 (0) 31 2077099

Email: fatwa@jamiat.org.za
Fax : +27(0) 31 2074163
Website : www.jamiat.org.za

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