What is the manner for shrouding the deceased?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.
Shrouding the deceased is an obligation that should be performed on both a Muslim and Dimmi's (A non-Muslim living under the protection of a Muslim state), since Aisha' (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was shrouded in three cotton garments of white Yamani stuff from Sahul, among which was neither a shirt nor a turban." [Related by Al-Bukhary]. Further, shrouding a warrior from disbelievers is permissible as well recommended for an embryo who neither exceeded four months nor shown any signs of life. In this regard, it is stated:" Shrouding dead embryo is recommended stipulated that signs of life aren't observed and it didn't exceed 4 months old .i.e. physical characteristics aren't shown; therefore, it shouldn't be shrouded nor washed according to our doctrine (Shafiee's doctrine); rather, it should be dealt with in accordance to the Prophetic tradition (Covered with rag and buried). However, even if the embryo reached four months (120 days-The very period in which the life is usually breathed into it-its personal characteristics is to be recognized as well), in this case, performing funeral prayer on the embryo isn't obligatory nor permissible according to the preponderant opinion, because signs of life aren't recognized; yet, washing, shrouding and burying it is an obligation." [Mughni Al-Muhtaj vol.2 pp.33].
On one hand, the least acceptable form of a shroud, is the one that covers the body even if this was with one wrapper regardless of the gender; on the other hand, the best form is with three wrappers for a male, and five for a woman as follows: Two wrappers, shirt, veil and Izar (waist wrapper covers the lower part of her body).
As for the manner for shrouding the deceased, is as follows:
1. Wrappers must be opened widely and placed neatly on a dry spot and each one must be perfumed.
2. Perfumed cotton must be placed in front and back private openings, the openings of nose, ears, mouth, face, palm of the hands, behind knees and among toes.
3. The washer should raise the legs of the deceased and place the right hand on the left one or place both on his sides; yet, both of latter manners are recommended. Kindly refer to [Mughni Al-Muhtaj vol.2 pp.18].
4. Later on, he (The washer) should start by raising the left side of the wrapper and fold it then he should raise the right side of the wrapper and fold it and the same applies on the rest of the wrappers.
5. Five ties on the shroud by the washer as follows: Two ties on both sides of the shroud, one at deceased's shoulders, one at his waist and the last one on both knees. Besides, the washer shouldn't tie them hard in order to ease untying them in the grave.
6. As for woman's shroud, it should be done in sequence as follows: the washer should start shrouding her with the Izar-from waist to knees, then with a shirt in order to cover the whole body, a veil in order to cover her head, neck and chest; finally, he should use two wrappers for covering her entire body.
7. The deceased should be shrouded with textiles that are permissible to be worn during the life time of Muslim i.e. it is impermissible to shroud a man with silk; on the other hand, shrouding a woman with it is permissible but remains reprehensible, as it is considered a waste of assets. Kindly refer to [Al-Majmooa' Sharih Al-Mohadab vol.5 pp.197].
8. The color of the shroud is recommended to be white and expensive ones must be avoided, since Aisha' (May Allah be pleased with her] narrated, (What means):" The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was shrouded in three pieces of white Yemenite cotton sheets. They did not include either a shirt or a turban." [Related by Al-Bukhary].
9. If death took place while being in state of Ihram whether in Umrah or Hajj, the head of the deceased male shouldn't be covered nor perfumed at all whether during washing or shrouding; but as for a deceased's woman, only her face that shouldn't be covered in this case. And Allah knows best.