After the death of either the wife or the husband, the other partner should take care of his/her dead spouse. An Islamic funeral should be carried out; and the living spouse should ever make Du`a’ for his/her late spouse. Kissing a dead spouse is allowed as the marriage relationship doesn’t come to an end by death.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “The marriage relationship between spouses does not end with death; the view that it does end with death is not considered very strong since it 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 supposed to end with the death of one of the spouses, then how would the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) choose to die lying in the lap of his beloved wife `A’ishah (may Allah be well pleased with her)? Didn’t he know that as soon as he died, (if such were true) his wife wouldn’t be allowed to touch him?
2. We know from the sources that it was `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who bathed his wife Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her), the beloved daughter of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 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 Abu Bakr was bathed by none other than his own wife Asma’ bint `Umays. 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. We also read in the authentic reports that once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), “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!”
It is abundantly 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 allowed 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 allowed only before bathing or shrouding and not after. Since the general rule in Islam is that things are deemed as permissible unless otherwise forbidden, it shall be considered as generally applicable.”