death


Funeral practices in various countries often reflect the influence of local traditions and other religions. Muslims are required to confine all related rituals within the bounds prescribed by The Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Innovations in religion that have no sanction from The Quran or the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) should be scrupulously avoided as is clear from the following Hadith:

A few general guidelines for burial are given below. Most of these are based on common sense. They are included here for completeness:

(1) A man's body should be washed by men and a woman's body by women for obvious reasons.

(2) A child's body may be washed by men or women. It is preferable that men wash the body of a boy and women that of a girl.

(3) Bodies of children above the age of puberty should be washed by older members of the same sex as the deceased.

GHUSL AL MAYYAH (WASHING THE BODY)

General

This section describes the procedure for washing a body in preparation for its burial in detail. Islam lays great emphasis on physical and spiritual cleanliness. Indeed, physical cleanliness is considered absolutely necessary for all acts of worship to be meaningful.

The publication of a Handbook of Muslim Burials may need some explanation. A review of the available literature on Islam in English shows a marked paucity of useful information on this important and sensitive subject. Moreover, the little information that is available is either inadequate or incomplete in its scope as well as in its presentation. Evidently, the sensitive nature of the subject and its common perception as a rather unpleasant topic has discouraged prospective writers.

General

The funeral procession should be solemn and dignified. It is forbidden to accompany the body with music, loud recitations of The Quran or blatant demonstrations of grief. The deceased is transported to the cemetery in the hearse provided by the funeral home. It is recommended that all Muslims in the community make an effort to accompany the body to the cemetery in their own transportation.

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