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Ḥanūṭ (Arabic: حَنوط) refers to wiping camphor on seven parts of the dead body of a Muslim which touch the ground in prostration. It is obligatory and mixing it with the Soil of Imam al-Husayn's (a) grave is recommended.
Meaning and Usage
In jurisprudential terminology, "hanut" refers to camphor wiped over seven parts of the dead body (or the shroud of a dead person), by which the dead body is scented. Wiping camphor on the dead body is called "tahnit".
Rules of Hanut
Wiping camphor on the dead body of a Muslim is obligatory; but, wiping it on the dead body of a person who is wearing ihram clothes is not permissible because using fragrance is not permissible for a person wearing ihram. However, wiping camphor on the dead body of a woman during her idda of death and also wiping camphor on the dead body of a person who has been mu'takif is obligatory while using perfume has been forbidden for them (when they were alive) and they do not join in the rule of those who wear ihram clothes.
There are disagreements on whether wiping camphor on the dead body should be performed before shrouding it, after it, or after putting the loincloth and before putting on the shirt or whether it is permissible to be performed in any of the mentioned cases. However, it is better if it is performed before shrouding.
Method of Hanut
There is a disagreement about the method of hanut. Some jurists consider wiping camphor on different parts of the dead body obligatory and some others have considered only touching camphor with the body sufficient and have considered wiping it as recommended.
Parts of the Body for Hanut
The obligatory parts of the body in hanut are the seven parts of the body which touch the ground in prostration as following,
The forehead, the palms of both hands, two knees, tips of the toes and according to some views, the tip of nose.
Some consider performing hanut for the tip of the nose as recommended; and some have considered it recommended to be performed as well on the armpit, jugular notch, under the knee, joints, the soles, back of the hands, and every part of the body which sweats and emits bad smell. It is recommended to wipe the extra camphor remained on the chest of the dead body. Inserting camphor in the eyes, ears and the nose of the dead body are makruh (reprehensible).
Amount of Hanut
The common view is that the obligatory amount of hanut is as much as it is called so. However, some jurists have said that it should be at least the size of one dirham and less than that is not sufficient. According to the mentioned common view, it is recommended that it should not be less than one dirham or according to another report, it should not be less than one mithqal, and it is better if it is about four dirhams or according to another report, four mithqals, and it is even better if it amounts to thirteen dirhams and one third of a dirham.
If camphor is not available, the dead body will be buried without hanut. However, scenting the dead body is permissible using dharira, but it is not considered hanut. There is a disagreement on whether scenting the dead body with anything other than camphor or dharira is reprehensible or forbidden. Mixing camphor with dharira for hanut is permissible.
If there is little camphor which is not sufficient to be used for both the ghusl of the dead body and hanut, it should be used for ghusl and between performing hanut on the forehead and other parts, the forehead is prior.
Mixing camphor with the soil from the grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) is recommended, but it should not be wiped over the parts which would be considered as disrespect. Also, according to some sources' clear statement, it is recommended that performing hanut begins from the forehead. The appearance of some sources' statements implies its obligation.
- Note: There is a disagreement about the meaning of dharira. Some jurists have tried to consider different views and conclude that: dharira neither has a descriptive meaning (i.e. any scented and grinded material), nor is it a name for a certain material, but rather, it is a title for different scented materials. (Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 4, pp. 221 – 222)
- The material for this article is mainly taken from حنوط in Farsi WikiShia.