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Ghusl mass al-mayyit

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Ghusl mass al-mayyit (Arabic: غسل مسّ الميّت) (ritual bathing after touching a dead body) is a ghusl that becomes obligatory on whoever touches dead body that is cold and is not given ghusl of the dead. Sunnis believe that it is not obligatory.

Conditions of Compulsion and Rulings

Sunnis believe that ghusl mass al-mayyit is not obligatory. On the contrary, Shi'a jurists maintain that it is obligatory; however, only al-Sayyid al-Murtada said that it is recommended. There are 50 hadiths about the rulings of ghusl mass al-mayyit just in Wasa'il al-Shi'a and Mustadrak al-wasa'il. One who touches a cold dead body must perform ghusl mass al-mayyit; however, if the dead body was given the three special ghusls of the dead (i.e. ghusl al-mayyit), ghusl mass al-mayyit is not obligatory.

Touching an animal carcass will not cause compulsion of any ghusl.

According to the fatwa of most Marja's, ghusl mass al-mayyit is also obligatory if one touches a part of body that was cut from a human body (dead or alive), provided that the part has bone.

There is disagreement whether touching a dead body voids wudu or not. Most Marja's count touching a dead body as al-hadath al-asghar (an act that voids wudu); so one who has touched a dead body cannot do those acts that are subject to having wudu, such as performing prayer and touching the verses of the Qur'an. Some jurists have counted touching a dead body as al-hadath al-akbar (an act that voids ghusl, such as janaba and hayd); so one who has touched a dead body cannot do the acts that are subject to having ghusl, such as: performing prayer, touching the verses of the Qur'an, staying in Masjid and so on.

Touching a dead body for several times or touching several dead bodies does not cause several ghusls and only one ghusl mass al-mayyit will suffice. According to common opinion of jurists, ghusl mass al-mayyit does not suffice for performing prayer, and one should make wudu in addition to ghusl mass al-mayyit for performing prayer.

Touching the Imams and Martyrs' bodies

Ghusl mass al-mayyit is not waijb after touching the body of the infallible Imams (a) and martyrs. Some jurists have also excluded the one who has performed ghusl al-mayyit before being executed as hadd or qisas (retaliation). In these cases, touching the dead body of the deceased does not cause ghusl mass al-mayyit.

How to Perform?

Main article: Ghusl

Like other kinds of ghusl, ghusl mass al-mayyit is performed in two ways: Tartibi (Sequential) and Irtimasi (by Immersion). It only differs from other ghusls in intention.

Wisdom

In hadiths, hygiene and spiritual purification are mentioned as the wisdom of ghusl mass al-mayyit.

References