Who is the companion whose dead body was washed by angels?

The Details of the Question

I heard that a Companion was martyred while he was junub and angels washed his body; is it true? What is the truth about it? How did it happen?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The name of that companion is Hanzala Ibn Abi Amir b. Sayfi al-Ansari al-Awsi. He is known by the nickname Ghaseel al-Malaʾika (the person who was washed by angels).

It is estimated that Hanzala became a Muslim after the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) migration to Madinah. One day before the Battle of Uhud, he married Abdullah ibn Ubayy's daughter Jamila, who was a Muslim. When he heard that the Messenger of God (pbuh) was going to Uhud to fight the Makkan polytheists, he joined the Islamic army before he had the opportunity to make ghusl (full ablution).

During the battle, he met Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the commander of the polytheist army, and dropped him from his horse. After Abu Sufyan asked for help, Ibn Shaddad bin Aswad, who was known as Ibn Shaub, martyred Hanzale with his spear.

Abu Sufyan, who carried out the Battle of Uhud to avenge the Battle of Badr, regarded the killing of Hanzala in return for his son Hanzala, who was killed in the Battle of Badr.

When the polytheists started to cut the organs of the martyrs with a sense of revenge, Abu Amir ar-Raiib, who supported the army of the polytheists, prevented the corpse of Hanzala, who was the son of Abu Amir, from being tortured.

Having learned from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that the angels washed Hanzala's body, the Muslims gave him the nickname "ghaseel al-malaʾika" (the person who was washed by angels) because he was martyred before he could make ghusl.

It is written in some sources that Hanzala asked permission from our Prophet (pbuh) to kill his father, who was an enemy of Islam and a polytheist, but the Messenger of Allah did not allow it. (Ibn al-Jawzi, 1/608)


According to the majority of scholars, those who become martyrs during janabah or menstruation or puerperium are not washed. Acting upon the narration that Hanzala, one of the martyrs of Uhud, was washed by angels because he was junub at that time, Abu Hanifa, Hanbalis, some fiqh scholars from Shafiis and Malikis decreed that a person martyred when he/she was in one of those cases would be washed.

Ibn Ishaq, as-Sira, p. 312;
Waqidi, al-Maghazi, I, 273-274;
Ibn Hisham, as-Sira, III, 75, 123;
Ibn Sa‘d, at-Tabaqat, II, 43; V, 66, 81;
Tabari, Tarikh (Abul-Fadl), II, 521-522;
Ibn Hibban, as-Siqat, I, 228;
Hakim, al-Mustadrak, III, 204;
Bayhaqi, Dalaʾilun-Nubuwwa (published by Abdulmu‘ti Qal‘aii), Beirut 1405/1985, III, 214, 246, 278, 282;
Ibnul-Jawzi, Sifatus-Safwa, I, 608-610;
Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, IV, 21; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, I, 360-361;
Suyuti, al-Khasaʾisul-Kubra (published by M. Khalil Harras), Cairo 1387/1967, I, 538-539;
Shami, Subulul-Huda, IV, 314-315;
Diyarbekri, Tarikhul-Khamis, I, 445;
Ahmad ash-Sharabasi, Yasʾalunaka fid-din wal-hayat, Beirut 1980, II, 462-464.
see TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, Hanzale item.

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