The correct method of applying the shroud (kafn) for a deceased, male and female.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Shrouding the deceased
The shrouds may be any of any type or colour usually worn by the deceased but preferably of nice quality and white cotton. The shroud of both, men and women, should be perfumed with incense an odd number of times before the deceased is wrapped in them. It is preferable to burn incense at three times: when the soul is leaving the body, at the time of bathing the deceased, and when the deceased is shrouded.
The hair and the beard of the deceased should not be combed or braided and the nails should not be cut.
It is Sunnah that a man is shrouded in three clothes:
Izar – a loin cloth extending from the head to the feet like the Lifafah
Qamis – an upper garment extending from the shoulders to the feet
Lifafah – (chador) a complete wrapper extending from the head to the feet
It is also permissible to restrict the man`s shroud to only the Izar and Lifafah.
The deceased male should be put in the shrouds. Firstly, the Lifafah should be spread out and thereafter the Izar should be unfolded on top of it. The deceased should be wrapped in a Qamis without sleeves and put onto the Izar to be folded into it first from his left and then from his right and then similarly into the Lifafah.
The additional wrapper should be wrapped around the deceased beginning with the left side, putting the shroud over him, then the right side. The shroud may be fastened with a knot.
It is Sunnah that a woman should be shrouded in five cloths:
Khimar – a scarf which should be on top of the Qamis under the Lifafah
A cloth with which her bosom is tied
It is also permissible to restrict the woman`s shroud to only Izar, Khimar and Lifafah.
The deceased female should be put in the shrouds. Firstly, the Lifafah should be spread out, then the cloth to place on the bosom, then the Izar on top of it. The deceased should be wrapped in a Qamis and put onto the Izar to be folded into it, then the cloth and then into the Lifafah.
The two hair plaits of a woman should be placed on her chest on top of the Qamīs. Then the woman should be made to cover the head and face wear the Khimar below the Lifafah and on top of the Qamis. Then she should be wrapped in an Izar. The piece of cloth should then be fastened on top of that behind the chest on the bossom and then the Lifafah should be fastened.
The child close to maturity will be shrouded with the same clothes as an adult. If the achild is younger, it is better to enshroud him also with the full kafn, although it is permissible to enshroud the young boy in a single cloth and the young girl in two clothes.
Once the deceased has been wrapped in the shrouds, it is compulsory upon the people to pray over the deceased.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)