I would like to ask a question about the following points in relation to the apparent passing away from this world of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
1) Was Ghusl given to the body of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ after his apparent passing away from this world and what was the reason/wisdom for giving Ghusl to the Pure and sinless Prophet Muhammad ﷺ?
2) Who preformed it and what was the method, i.e. was it done in the same manner our Ghusl would take place or was it done in a different manner and what was the reason/wisdom behind this?
3) Was a funeral prayer preformed for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and how was this done and what was the reason/wisdom behind it being done in the manner that it would have taken place in?
4) Who issued the guidance of how to carry out and handle all the above tasks and what was the wisdom behind that particular companion (may Allah bless him) being the one who the Muslim Ummah turned to in their time of uncertainty and sorrow JazakUmullah khayra?
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
1. Yes, the blessed body of the Beloved (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) was bathed by Sayyidunā Ali (رضي الله عنه) as mentioned in al-Shifa (vol.1, p.41) and Khasāis al-Kubrā (Vol.2, p. 275).
In another narration mentioned in Badā’i al-Sanā’i’ (p. 301), the bathing was undertaken by Sayyidunā Ali, Sayyidunā Abbās, Sayyidunā Fadl, Sayyidunā Ibn al-‘Abbās and Sayyidunā Sālih (the servant of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم), may Allah be pleased with them all.
The ‘Ulamā have mentioned that the actual bathing was undertaken by Sayyidunā ‘Alī (رضي الله عنه) and the rest were there to help pouring water etc.
The bathing was not for purification “as he was pure when he was born and when he passed away. (Kāna Tahiran Hayyan Wa Maytan)”
[Radd al-Muhtār, p. 631]
To such an extent, the scholars have mentioned that his blessed blood, urine, stool and the Nutfah by which his body was formed were all pure and means of blessing and cure.
[see Matāli’ al-Musarrat Sharh Dalāil al-Khayrāt, p.90]
Hence one of his blessed titles is Atyab al-Tayyibīn (The purest of the purest).
One of the reason why his blessed body was bathed was to fulfil one of the rights (Huqūq) or due to death (Mawt).
It is in Radd al-Muhtār, “The bathing of the body of Sayyidunā Ādam (عليه السلام) was due to death.”
The other reason is because the Prophet of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) requested Sayyidunā Alī (رضي الله عنه) to bathe him. It is in al-Shifā, “Sayyidunā ‘Alī says, “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) told me that I was to bathe him and no one else”.
Another reason is to prepare to meet Allāh Almighty or to go to the Barzakh.
Or it might be because bathing the deceased is Wājib upon the living and therefore the companions felt the obligation of washing the blessed body (‘Ināyah, p.69).
3. There was no congregational Janāzah prayer, rather people individually and in groups would enter the blessed chamber and would read Salutations and Blessings upon the beloved (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم)
[see narrations in Khasā’is al-Kubrā, vol. 2, p. 276 also Fatāwa-e-Ridawiyyah, vol. 9, pp. 285-286]
Imam Ahmad Ridā (رحمة الله عليه) was asked a question. He replied saying “…There is a disagreement in regards to the Janāzah prayer over the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم). One group of scholars say that there was no Janazah prayer (in congregation) rather people would come in groups and would recite Salawat (Salutations) upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) as mentioned in these Aĥadīth which I have cited in my verdict, Al-Nahu al-Hājiz ‘An Takrār Salāt al-Janā’iz. And many well-known scholars have taken this position.
Sayyidunā Abu Bakr Siddīq (رضي الله عنه) was busy in calming the situation of the Ummah. Before Bay’a (allegiance) the Muslims would come and read Salawat upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) individually or in small groups. After the allegiance (When Sayyidunā Abu Bakr Siddīq (رضي الله عنه) was elected as the first Khalīfah), he prayed Janazah prayer and after that no one prayed”.
[Fatāwā-e-Ridawiyyah, vol. 9, pp. 314-315]
4. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) foretold the companions about who will carry out his Ghusl and how to pray his Janazah prayer.
Earlier we mentioned the narration of Sayyidunā ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه) about bathing. Firstly, Sayyidunā Ali (رضي الله عنه) was told by the beloved (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) himself. Secondly, the men who were to bathe his blessed and pure body had to be from Ahl al-Bayt. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) whilst answering a question about who would bathe him said, “Men from my household (Rijālun Min Ahl Bayti al-Adnā Fa al-Adnā…).”
[Khasāis al-Kubra narrated by Sayyidunā Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ūd (رضي الله عنه)]
As regards to the Janāzah prayer, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) said, “When you bathe and shroud me, place me on my bed and then go out. First Jibrīl (عليه السلام) will come to pray, then Mikā’īl (عليه السلام), then Isrāfīl (عليه السلام) then the Angel of Death (Izra’īl (عليه السلام)) with his group of angels. Then you (companions) enter in groups and send Salutions and Blessings upon me (Fa Sallū ‘Alayya Wa Sallimū Tasliman).
[al-Mustadrak ‘Alā al-Sahihayn, Kitab al-Maghāzī, vol.3, p. 6]
Allāh knows the best.
Answered by Mawlana Mohamed Husein Qadri