Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- After the death of one of the spouses, the other partner should take care of his/her dead spouse.
2- Muslims should start applying the rulings of Islamic funerals. The living spouse should ever make dua for his/her late spouse.
3- Kissing a dead spouse is permissible as the marriage relationship doesn’t come to an end by death.
In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states;
Does the marriage relationship end with death?
The marriage relationship between spouses does not end with death. The view that it does end with death is not very strong. This view has been contradicted by clear evidence in the sources as well as the practice of the pious predecessors.
Here are a few points worthy of consideration in this regard:
1- If the marriage relationship were to end with the death of one of the spouses, then how would the Prophet (PBUH) choose to die lying in the lap of his beloved wife Aishah? Didn’t he know that as soon as he died, (if such were true) his wife wouldn’t be allowed to touch him?
2- It was Ali ibn Abi Talib who bathed his wife Fatimah, the beloved daughter of the Prophet. If their marriage relationship had ended with her death, how could Ali choose to bathe her? Are we to suppose that Ali, who was one of the most knowledgeable among the Companions, did not know this basic issue?
3- We also learn that Asma bint Umays bathed her husband Abu Bakr. She was one of the early Muslims and she did so by the knowledge of the Prophet’s Companions who were present at the time.
The fact that Asma did so with the knowledge of the Companions and they remained silent is clear indication of the permissibility of such an act.
In other words, it implies a tacit consensus among the noble Companions that the marriage relationship is not rendered null and void with the death of one of the spouses.
4- Once the Prophet told Aishah; “If you were to die before me, you won’t need to worry about anything, for I would myself bathe you, shroud you, pray over you, and bury you!” (Ibn Majah)
Touching or Kissing a Dead Spouse?
It is clear from the above that there is nothing wrong for a spouse to touch or kiss the other following the latter’s death.
To conclude: It is definitely permissible for a spouse to touch his/her partner after death or kiss him/her goodbye. There is nothing in the sources to indicate that it is permissible only before bathing or shrouding and not after.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.