Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 004, Funerals and Dhikr, Fiqh 4.030.

Section : Cleaning the Body by Tayammum When Water is Unavailable.

If there is no water to wash the dead body, then it may be cleaned with tayammum (ablution with dust), for Allah says in the Qur'an: "If you do not find water, then perform tayammum (ablution with dust)." And the Prophet said: "The entire earth has been made pure and a mosque for me." Similarly if it is feared that the body might deteriorate if it is washed, then it may be given a tayammum.

The same applies to a woman who passes away when there is no other woman around to wash her, or if a man dies and there are only women but no man to wash him. Abu Daw'ud in his collection of Marasil, and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Makhul, report that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If a woman dies while she is with men and there is no other woman with them, or if a man dies while with woman, and there is no other man there, then the body of the dead person may be given a tayammum instead of washing it and then it should be buried. They both will be regarded as ones who died when there was no water available to wash (and purify)."

The body of a woman shall be given tayammum by one of her mahrim consanguine relatives with his hand. If there is no consanguine relative present, then any other man can give her a tayammum by wrapping a piece of cloth around his hand. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah and Ahmad. Malik and Ash-Shafi'i are of the view that "if a male relative of the deceased is available, then he should wash the body of the dead woman, for in matters of 'awrah ('Awrah (Arabic), those parts of a person's body which must be covered. A man must cover the front and back of his pubic region. There is disagreement about the navel, thighs, and knees. There is, however, no disagreement over what constitutes a woman's 'awrah. Her entire body is 'awrah and must be covered, except her hands and face) (nakedness of the private parts) and being alone with a woman, she is considered and treated in such a case as a male person for him.

In Al-Murawwa it is noted that Malik said: "I heard the scholars saying: 'If a woman dies and there is no other woman there to wash her, nor any male consanguine relative nor her husband who could undertake this responsibility, then she should be given a tayammum, wiping her face and hands with dry soil'." Malik said: "The same should be done in the case of a man who dies and there are only women around him." (Ibn Hazm holds that if a man dies while among women and there is no man around, or if a woman dies while among men with no other woman around, then the women may wash the body of the man and the men the body of the woman while covered in thick cloth. The water should be poured over the whole body without any physical contact. He is of the view that tayammum may not be given instead of a wash except when no water is available)

Related Hadith(s)