Rules Regarding Kafan

The body of a dead Muslim should be given Kafan with three pieces of cloth: a loin cloth, a shirt or tunic, and a full cover.

As a precaution, the loin cloth should be long enough to cover the body from the navel up to the knees, better still if it covers the body from the chest up to the feet. As a precaution, the shirt should be long enough to cover the entire body from the top of the shoulders up to the middle of the calf, and better still if it reaches the feet. As a precaution, the sheet cover should be long enough to conceal the whole body, so that both its ends could be tied. It's breadth should be enough to allow one side to overlap the other.

The wajib portion of the loin cloth is that which covers from navel up to the knees and wajib portion of a shirt is that which covers from the shoulders up to the middle of the calf of the legs. Whatever has been mentioned over and above this is the Mustahab part of the Kafan.

The Wajib quantity of Kafan mentioned in the above rule should be financed from the estate of the deceased, and a reasonable quantity to cover the Mustahab may also be charged to the estate, if the status of the deceased demands. But as a recommended precaution, the Mustahab parts of Kafan should not be charged to the shares of minor heirs.

If a person makes a will that the Mustahab quantity of the Kafan(as mentioned in the two foregoing rules) should be paid for from the 1/3 of his/her estate, or if he/she has made a will that 1/3 of the estate should be spent for himself or herself but has not specified the type of its expenditure, or has specified it for only a part of it, then the Mustahab quantity of Kafan can be taken from 1/3 of the estate.

If the deceased has not made a will that Kafan may be paid for from the 1/3 of his estate and if they wish to take it from the estate, they must not draw more than what has been indicated in rule no. 579. And if they procured a Kafan which is unusually expensive, then the extra amount paid for it should not be charged to the estate. However, if his baligh heirs agree to pay from their shares of inheritance, then the sum can be deducted to the extent agreed.

The Kafan of a wife is the responsibility of her husband even if she owns her own wealth. Similarly, if a woman is given a revocable divorce and she dies before the expiry of her iddah, her husband should provide her Kafan. And if her husband is not adult or is insane, the guardian of the husband should provide Kafan for the wife from his property.

It is not obligatory for the relatives of deceased to provide his Kafan even if they were his dependents during his life time.

As a precaution, it must be ensured that each of the three pieces used for Kafan is not so thin as to show the body of the deceased. However, if the body is fully concealed when all the three pieces are put together, then it will suffice.

Kafan for a dead person must not be a usurped one, that is, unlawfully appropriated. If nothing else but the usurped Kafan is available, then the body will be buried without Kafan. In fact, the usurped Kafan should be removed even if the body has already been buried, except in some special situations, which cannot be discussed here.

It is not permissible to give a Kafan which is najis, or which is made of pure silk, or which is woven with gold, except in the situation of helplessness, when no alternative is to be found.

It is not permissible to give Kafan made of hide or skin of a dead Najis animal, in normal circumstances. In fact, even the skin of a dead Pak animal, or Kafan made of wool or fur from the animal whose meat is haraam to eat should not be used in normal circumstances. (By the term 'dead' is meant an animal who has not been slaughtered according to Shariah). But Kafan made of wool, fur or skin of a slaughtered halal animal can be used for the purpose. However, it is a recommended precaution to avoid them.

If the Kafan becomes Najis owing to its own najasat, or owing to some other najasat, and if the Kafan is not lost totally, its najis part should be washed or cut off, even after the dead body has been placed in the grave. And if it is not possible to wash it, or to cut it off, but it is possible to change it, then it should be changed.

If a person who is wearing Ihram for Hajj or Umra dies, he should be given Kafan like all others and there is no harm in covering his head and face.

It is Mustahab that one keeps one's Kafan and "Sidr" leaves and camphor ready during lifetime.