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Identifying Unknown Deceased as Muslim

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askmufti.co.za

Q: How does one identify a dead, unknown female as a Muslim?

A. If one is aware that Muslim women in the area use mehndi. or dress in a certain way, or apply a certain makeup peculiar to Muslims then this could be used as signs to determine the religion of the deceased female. Other that this, there is no way to ascertain from her body whether she is Muslim or not.

In that case you need to do the following:
a) Check for identification on her.
b) Ask people in the area where her body was found. Perhaps someone will know her.
c) Find out from the police and the ‘Missing Persons Bureau’ if someone with her description has been reported missing.

In the absence of proper identification from the above sources, one should use discretion. If the heart strongly feels that the deceased is a Muslim then give her an Islamic burial. If not, then wrap the body in one or two pieces of cloth, dig a hole and bury it. There will be no Du’aas, Janaazah Salaah, etc.

Moulana Yusuf Laher

This answer was collected from AskMufti.co.za, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Siraj Desai of Darul-Uloom Abubakr, South Africa.

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