How to perform funeral prayer in Islam (step by step)

Has one of your Islamic brethren answered to a natural call and looking for how to perform funeral prayer for him/her corpse before burying him/her? In this article, I will share with you the step by step guides recommended ways on how to perform funeral prayer in Islam.

Islamic funeral prayer, also known as Janaza, is a type of dua performed to a deceased male and female Moslem. It should be performed in an Arabic language but interestingly, if you can’t pray it in Arabic language, then you can perform it in English or in your mother tongue (native language).

the dua of funeral prayer in Islam is the same for both male and female. Though there is a slight difference. If you want to know more, then continue reading this post as you will in the process.

According to Malik ibnu Huraira as reported by Abu Daud, it is highly recommended to form three rows of participants when praying janaza or funera prayer. Hence, where they can have a minimum of three rows of participants, all sin of any the deceased person will be forgiven by Allah.

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Do you wan to know how to perform Janaza or funeral prayer? Here is the step by step guides and explanation. Now, let’s start!

How to perform janazah prayer in a recommended way

For a janaza prayer to be performed in a recommended way in Islam, participants must be standing if possible, saying four takbeers, reciting suratu al-Fatiha, sending blessings upon the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.), praying for the deceased, performing the aforementioned in the stated sequence and saying at-Tasleem.

More explanations on how to perform funeral prayer in Islam are discussed below step by step.

  1. Have a neeyat (intention) in your heart that you are praying for a deceased person, then say first Takbeer (‘Allahu Akbar’) and raise both hands up to your earlobes and then place your right hand over your left hand
  2. Seek refuge from the Shaytan (devil)
Funeral prayer
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaitan
  1. Then recite Surah Al-Fatihah followed by a short surah or part of a surah
Surah Al-Fatihah
Surah Al-Fatihah

In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds – The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path – The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

  1. Say second Takbeer. You can either choose to raise your hands again up to your earlobes or leave them as is. Both are permissible.
  2. Recite Darood on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as one does at the end of the prayer
Darood of Prophet Muhammad
Darood of Prophet Muhammad

O Allah, let Your Peace come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have brought peace to Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.

Meaning of Darood in English.
  1. Say third Takbeer. You can either choose to raise your hands again up to your earlobes or leave them as is. Both are permissible.
  2. Make supplication (du’a) for the deceased. There are a number of recommended supplications from the Prophet (pbuh). 
Du’a for the deceased
Du’a for the deceased

‘O Allah, forgive our living and our dead, those present and those absent, our young and our old, our males and our females. O Allah, whom among us You keep alive, then let such a life be upon Islam, and whom among us You take unto Yourself, then let such a death be upon faith. O Allah, do not deprive us of his reward and do not let us stray after him’.

Meaning of the du’a for the deceased in Enslish.
  1. Say fourth Takbeer and pause for a little while. You can either choose to raise your hands again up to your earlobes or leave them as is. Both are permissible. Some scholars say to recite general supplications for yourself, family, friends, and all Muslims during this period.
  2. Finally, the funeral prayer should be ended by saying one Tasleem to the right (‘Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaah’). Doing it so on both sides as in regular prayer is also recommended.

Note that there is no ruku (prostration) in Janaza or Islamic funeral prayer. If you are following an Imam to perform it, simply emulate what he is doing.

How to perform funeral prayer in English

“Oh Allah, forgive him, have mercy on him, grant him respite and pardon him. Be generous to him in his abode, cause his entrance to be wide, and wash him with water, snow and albarad (ice). Cleanse him of his transgressions as you cleanse a white cloth of stains. Grant him an abode better than his abode, a family better than his family and a wife better than his wife. Take him into Paradise and protect him from the punishment of the grave [or from the punishment of Hellfire.]” If the deceased is a female, he changes the pronouns in the prayer to the feminine.

If the deceased is a baby or an aborted foetus [ A miscarried baby.], you are to say:

Oh Allah, make him a treasure for his parents, a forerunner, a cause of reward and an intercessor whose prayer is answered. Oh Allah, make this (loss) make their (the parents) scales heavy, and make their reward great, and make him be with the righteous believers. And make him under the care of Ibraheem, and protect him, due to Your Mercy, from the punishment of the hell fire.”

Islamic Dua janaza for a deceased baby in English

I hope you have known how to perform funeral prayer in Islam using English language? Continue reading for how to bathe a deceased in Islam step by sep.

Rules of bathing the deceased before funeral prayer

However, before a corpse is bring out for funeral prayer, he/she must be bathed, shrouded and perfumed. Please continue reading to know how to bathe a corpse, shroud him/her and lots more.

In Islam, bathing a deceased before people perform funeral prayer for him/her or her is one of the Sunnah of prophet Muhammed (SAW) and below are the procedures and how to do.

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It is recommended to be present with someone exhibiting signs of death, to remind him of the statement: “La ilaha illa-l-lah.” This is in accordance with the Prophet’s ﷺ statement: “Instruct your deceased ones (terminally ill) to say “La ilaha illa-l-lah.” [ Source: Muslim.]

Thus when he finally succumbs to death, his eyes should be closed. He should then be covered with a cloth, quickly shrouded and prepared for the funeral prayer, and finally buried.

Bathing, shrouding, carrying, praying over and burying the deceased is fardh kifayah (a collective obligation of a living Moslem); when enough people do this obligation, the remaining people are relieved of the sin of not performing it.

The Islamic rules in bathing a deceased for a funeral prayer:

  • It is important to choose, for the purpose of bathing the deceased, someone that is trusted, just and knowledgeable about the rulings of the funeral bath.
  • Priority is given to the person appointed or entrusted by the deceased (before his death), then the relatives according to their closeness, on the condition that such a person knows the rulings of the bath; otherwise a more knowledgeable person is chosen for the task.
  • A man should bathe man and a woman should bathe woman, and any of a married couple can bathe the other. This is due to the Prophet’s ﷺ statement to A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her): “You would not be harmed if you were to die before me, as I would wash you, shroud you, pray over you and thereafter bury you.” [ Source: Ibn Majah.]
  • A man or woman can bathe children below the age of seven; but it is forbidden for any Muslim – male or female – to bathe an unbeliever, carry his remains to the funeral, shroud or offer funeral prayer over him, even if this unbeliever is a close relative, such as his father.
  • A martyr who died during a battle is not to be bathed, shrouded or prayed on, but he should be buried in the clothes in which he died.
  • When an aborted fetus – a child that is born of its mother before complete formation, male or female– reaches four months, it is to be bathed, shrouded, prayed over and buried, because after four months it has become a human being.
  • The water used to wash the deceased’s body must be pure and legitimate, and the deceased must be bathed in a covered place, just as the presence of anybody not having any business with the bathing process is to be prevented.

Step by step rules on how to bathe a deceased in Islam for funeral prayer are:

How to bathe the deceased

  • The deceased is placed on a bed for the bathing, then the parts of his body that should be concealed are covered with a cloth, over his clothes. His clothes are then removed. The deceased should be protected from the eyes (sights of people) by bathing him in a closed room or the like.
  • It is recommended for the person who bathes the deceased to wrap a piece of cloth over (i.e. cover) his hands during the procedure.
  • The person raises the deceased to a near sitting posture, he then massages and presses his stomach. Thereafter, he cleanses the private parts (frontal and the anus), thus removing any impurity that might be on either of them.
  • He makes the intention for the ritual bath and then says “Bismillah”.
  • He performs ablution for the deceased just like that for Salat; except for rinsing the mouth or putting water in the nose, where wiping over the mouth and nose suffices.
  • The head of the deceased and his beard are washed with water containing sidr (Sidr is the name of a lotus tree; “sidr water” means the water to which sidr leaves have been added), soap or other things like them.
  • He washes the right side, followed by the left, then the rest of the body.
  • It is preferred to add camphor to the water for the last round of bathing.
  • The deceased is then dried.
  • The hair of the female is plaited and brought together behind her.
  • The Deceased is Placed on the Special Bed Used for Washing Him.
  • The Head of the Deceased Being Raised
  • The One Performing the Washing Wraps a Cloth Around His Hand.
  • His Stomach Being Pressed
  • He Performs Wudu’ for the Deceased like the Normal Wudu’ for Salah.
  • He Washes the Head and Beard of the Deceased with Water and Leaves of the Lotus Tree.
  • He Washes the Right side then the Left.
  • Drying the Deceased

Please keep the following notices in mind:

  • The obligation is to wash once if cleanliness is achieved by that; but it is recommended to wash thrice, even if cleanliness is achieved (prior to the third round.)
  • If bathing the deceased is difficult due to lack of water, or the corpse is mutilated as a result of fire etc., then a sand ablution (at-tayammum) is preformed for the deceased.
  • It is recommended for he who bathes the deceased to take a ritual bath after bathing the deceased.
  • In Islam, women are not allowed to perform funeral prayer even though they are a not in their period.

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Shrouding the Deceased

  • The tradition (Sunnah) is to shroud males with three white wrappers made of cotton and of clothes that will not reveal or describe the body skin, covering the whole body, but with cloth that is not expensive.
  • The female is shrouded in five pieces of clothing; a loin cloth, head veil, blouse and two wrappers. A male child is to be wrapped in one cloth but three clothes are permissible, while a female child is to be shrouded in a blouse and two wrappers.
  • The three wrappers are brought and these are scented with incense. This is due to the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: When you scent the deceased[ Perfume the shroud with incense], then make it odd.” [ Source: Ibn Hibban.]
  • These wrappers are separated one above the other, placing in between them mixtures of scents such as amber, camphor, musk and others, except if the deceased is in a state of Ihram, as his cloth is not to be touched with either incense or perfume. This is due to the saying of the Prophet ﷺ: Do not touch him (the man who died in Hajj) with perfume.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
  • The deceased is placed lying on his back on these wrappers, then the top cloth is picked up from the left side, pulled over him and tucked under his right side, then the right portion is similarly tucked under his left. The second and third wrappers are treated in the same way. Thereafter the extra length of wrapper is pulled together above his head, and the shroud is bound with strips of cloth so that the wrappers won’t fall apart. The strips are to be loosened during burial.
  • The obligation is to cover the entire body of the deceased. However if what is available is a short cloth that is not sufficient to cover the whole body, then his head is covered and his feet are covered with idhkhir’ [ A plant with a a fragrant odor.] (a plant with a sweet scent). This is evidenced by Khabbab’s , statement when narrating about the shrouding of Mus’ab bn Umair ,: “The Prophet ﷺ ordered us to cover his head and to place on his feet some idhkhir.” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.]
  • The person who dies while in a state of ihram (on pilgrimage) will be buried in his two-piece ihram garment and the head of a male pilgrim is not to be covered. The Prophet ﷺ said: Wash him with water containing sidr, shroud him in a two-piece cloth, do not use al-‘Anut[ An oil which is mixed for the shrouds of the deceased.] (a perfume) on him and do not veil his head[ Do not cover his head.], for he will be raised on the Resurrection Day while saying at-Talbiyah.[ Saying: Labbaykallahumma Labbayk.]” [ Source: Al-Bukhari.].

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Abdulrazaq Yahaya

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