[Q 256] Islamic Ruling on Postmortem


Is it permissible to perform a postmortem on a deceased? Sometimes, to deliver justice to a suspect, a postmortem becomes necessary to determine the cause of death and to clarify whether the accusation made against the suspect is correct or not. What would be the ruling in such a case?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الجواب بعون الملك الوهاب اللهم هداية الحق والصواب


The blessed Hadith states:

“كسر عظم الميت ككسره حيا”.

Translation: Breaking the bones of the deceased is like breaking them when he is alive.

(Sunan Abu Dawud (5/116)

According to this Hadith, causing pain to a deceased Muslim is akin to causing pain to a living person, and this is strictly haram. Undoubtedly, the process of postmortem also causes pain to the deceased, hence under normal circumstances, it is not permissible.

Yes, if there is a real necessity, such as the life and death of another person depending on the postmortem, as you mentioned, that only after the postmortem it will be clear whether the accused is guilty or innocent, then permission might be granted in such cases. Even in such cases, care must be taken to maintain the dignity of the deceased and limit the process to what is strictly necessary.

However, this need is not present in every case. Sometimes, it becomes clear that there will be no significant benefit from the postmortem report; it just fulfills a routine formalism. In such situations, a postmortem cannot be permissible.

Therefore, if there is a particular case at hand, the details should be presented before scholars to determine the Sharia ruling on whether permission will be granted or not.

Answered by: Mufti Sajid Attari

Date: 30th April, 2024

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