A miscarried fetus, less than four months old, may not be washed, nor may a funeral prayer be offered for it. It should be wrapped in a piece of cloth and buried. The majority of jurists are in agreement on this point.
On the other hand, if a miscarried fetus is four months old or older, and the existence of life in it is established, then there is a consensus that it should be washed and a funeral prayer offered for it. But if its life is not established by its movements or other evidence, then according to Malik, Al-Awza’i, AlHasan, and the Hanafi school, funeral prayer may not be offered for it. They base their opinion on a hadith transmitted by Tirmizhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Jabir that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “If in a miscarried fetus life is established by its movements, a funeral prayer should be offered for it, and it is entitled to its share of inheritance.” According to this hadith offering a funeral prayer for a miscarried fetus is conditioned upon proof of its life evident in signs of life, such as its movement, etc.
Ahmad, Sa’ id, Ibn Sirin, and Ishaq are of the opinion that in the light of the above hadith, a miscarried fetus may be washed and a funeral prayer may be offered for it. The words used in this hadith are “a funeral prayer should be offered for a miscarried fetus” because it has a soul and is alive. The Prophet, peace be upon him, informed us that a fetus receives a soul when it is four months old. Others refute this argument with the assertion that there is confusion in the chain of narrators of this hadith, and besides, a stronger hadith contradicts it. But this alone does not constitute a valid argument.