Please answer the following questions concerning the deceased Muslims (due to Coronavirus)

In The Name of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful
To the office of the Grand Religious Authority his Eminence Al-Sayed Al-Sistani (may Allah prolong his life),
Assalamu ‘alykum wa rahmat’llahi wa barakatuh

Q.1 Does the body of deceased Muslim (due to Coronavirus) need to be washed and purified like other Muslims, or does it suffice to perform tayammum?
What if the authorities do not allow the tayammum to take place, as the medical staff put the body in a special bag with preservatives and prevent us from opening the bag before the
burial?

A.1 If it is not possible to wash the body due to fear of infection, then a dry ritual purification (tayammum) can performed instead even if the believer is wearing gloves.
If the authorities do not allow the tayammum to be performed, then the deceased Muslim can be buried without ghusl or tayammum.

Q.2 If it is not possible to embalm him based on his seven mosques with camphor, is there any other alternative to this situation?

A.2 In this case, embalming is no longer required and there is no alternative.

Q.3 Is it obligatory for the deceased to be shrouded (takfīn) with the three dresses? What if the authorities do not allow the bag to be opened so that it could be shrouded in it?

A.3 The body must be shrouded using the three garments, even if it is on top of the bag. But if it is not possible to shroud the body with all three garments then it is enough to shroud it using the ones available, such as the Azar, which covers the entire body.

Q.4 In some non-Muslim countries, the corpse of a deceased person (due to Coronavirus) is cremated (burnt to ashes). Is it permissible to allow cremation of a Muslim’s body or should his family prevent it if they can?

A.4 It is not permissible to cremate the body of a deceased Muslim. His relatives and other family members must prevent that and insist on burying the body according to what is required in the true Sharia.

Q.5 What is the ruling on placing the body in a coffin and burying the coffin in the ground?

A.5 It is permissible, but it is necessary if possible, to place the body on its right side and to turn his face towards the qiblah, as it would be if it was buried without a coffin.

Q.6 Specialists say that the deceased can be buried at the known burial places in the country and there is no need for an exceptional procedure for that in terms of the depth of the grave because the virus relies on the living cells for its survival, and after the death of the infected, the virus lives for a couple of hours but does not have any way to get out of the body and infect anyone else. It is sufficient to take medical precautions in the process of transferring the body of the deceased person and burying him by wearing medical gloves, insulating masks and there is no fear after the burial of transmitting the infection to others. Considering this, what is the ruling on the reluctance to bury the deceased in the public cemeteries in the country – even in a place isolated from other graves, contrary to his will or the will of his relatives?

A.6 It is not permissible to refuse the burial of the body in public cemeteries, and the authorities in charge should facilitate this matter.

The Office of Al-Sayed Al-Sistani

The Holy City of Najaf

Sha’ban 3, 1441 A.H.