Burial and Farewell Preparations to his Honourable Body
dispute about who would succeed him [pbuh] broke out even before having the messenger of allâh’s body prepared for burial. lots of arguments, discussions, dialogues took place between the helpers and emigrants in the roofed passage (portico) of bani sa‘ida. finally they acknowledged abu bakr [r]e as a caliph. they spent the whole monday there till it was night. people were so busy with their arguments that it was late night — just about dawn of tuesday — yet his blessed body was still lying on his bed covered with an inked-garment. he was locked in the room.
on tuesday, his body was washed with his clothes on. he was washed by al-‘abbas, ‘ali, al-fadl and qathm — the two sons of al-‘abbas, as well as shaqran — the messenger’s freed slave, osamah bin zaid and aws bin khauli. al-‘abbas, al-fadl and qathm turned his body round, whereas osamah and shaqran poured out water. ‘ali washed him and aws leant him against his chest.
they shrouded him in three white sahooli cotton cloth which had neither a headcloth [sahih al-bukhari 1/169; sahih muslim 1/306] nor a casing and inserted him in.
a sort of disagreement arose with regard to a burial place. abu bakr said: "i heard the messenger of allâh [pbuh] say: ‘a dead prophet is buried where he dies.’ so abu talhah lifted the bed on which he died, dug underneath and cut the ground to make the tomb.
people entered the room ten by ten. they prayed for the prophet [pbuh]. the first to pray for him were people of his clan. then the emigrants, then the helpers. women prayed for him after men. the young were the last to pray.
this process took tuesday long and wednesday night (i.e. the night which precedes wednesday morning). ‘aishah said: "we did not know that the prophet [pbuh] was being buried till we heard the sound of tools digging the ground at the depth of wednesday night." [mukhtasar seerat ar-rasool p.471; ibn hisham 2/649-665; talqeeh fuhoom ahl al-athar p.38, 39; rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 1/277-286]