Answered by: Maulana Nabil Khan
When a person passes away, does his body become impure نجاسة خبث (major impurity) or نجاسة حدث (lesser impurity)? I can see that both opinions have been mentioned, but which one is the correct?
In The Name Of Allah, The Most-Merciful, The Most Kind
It is correct that two opposite opinions have been documented in regards to the purity of a deceased human body.
A group of jurists such as Muhammad bin Shuja’ Al-Thalji has been recorded to hold the opinion that the body of a human does not become impure by death. He argues that if the human body were to become permanently impure by way of death then there would be no benefit behind performing ghusl of the deceased. This opinion has also been defended by other jurists.
The second group of scholars, which is the overall majority have claimed the opposite, stating that the human body does become impure after death and for this reason we are commanded to perform the ghusl to purify the body after death. This is due to death is like sleep in the fact that the muscles and limbs of the body before relaxed due to lack of blood flow and inevitably result in the inability to withhold impurity from exiting the body, and in such a case the ruling is granted that such a person is in a state of impurity.
This is based on hadith that mentioned when asleep “his limbs are relaxed,” thus requiring wudu to be made thereafter. These narrations have been mentioned in numerous books of hadith like Abu Dawud, Ad-Darqutni, and others.
Imam Muhammad has mentioned that since the body of a deceased human is impure after death prior to ghusl being made; If the body falls into a well, the well becomes impure due to the body being impure at this point.
This second opinion is held by the majority and should be acted upon as it is in line with understanding of the numerous narrations used in this discussion.
Al-Badai’ Al-Sana’i volume 1 pg 307.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Nabil Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham