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Islamic Funeral Customs and Service Rituals Cheat Sheet by

Islamic Funeral Customs and Service Rituals
services     funeral     islamic     customs


Muslims view death as a transition from one state of being to another, not as an end. They believe that actions follow you to the afterlife. So, if you follow the law of the Koran and live a good life you will be rewarded in the afterlife. In death, you will be separated from the ugliness in the world. But if you live a dishonest and bad life, you will be separated from all the beauty of the world.

At a time where a Muslim is near death it is recomm­ended that the last words they utter in this world be "La illaha ilalla­h" or "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah", for this declar­ation of faith is their last act as a Muslim should they be able to perform it. Family and friends are usually called upon for recitation of the Quran, rememb­rance of God's mercy and forgiv­eness, as well as comfort to those grieving.

Washing and Shrouding

Normally a family member or a member of the community should assist in the ablution and shrouding of the deceased. Facilities are available in our building in Preston Street, Bradford.

The deceased should be washed with clean and scented water similar to when a Muslim prepares for prayer. A Muslim is to be buried wrapped in a clean white cloth called a kafan. (The only time a Muslim is not buried in a Kafan is when they die as a martyr and they are buried in the clothes in which they died.)

Islamic funeral customs require:

Only males may attend the actual burial of the deceased.
The body be buried as soon as possible after death
If permitted by law, the deceased is buried without a coffin facing on their right side towards Mecca.
IIn the casket the body be turned to face towards Mecca, the holy center of Islam.
Guests of the same sex should greet each other with a handshake and hug.
A person sitting next to the body reads from the Koran. An Imam presides over the service.
The deceased’s eyes and mouth are closed.
Guests should not take photos or use recording devices.
The arms, legs, and hands of the body are stretched out in alignment with the body.
The death is immedi­ately announced to all friends and relatives.
Within two days following the death, the body is carried to the graveyard by four men. A procession of friends and relatives follow.
No discussion takes place at the time of burial, but all guests pray for the soul of the departed.

Islamic Funeral Prayer

Funeral Prayers

Once the body is taken to where funeral prayers will be held (also known as Salat-­i-J­anazah) the community gathers and the prayer leader, also known as an imam, will stand in front of the deceased as everyone in the congre­gation is directly behind him. In a funeral prayer there is no bowing or prostr­ation like in the five daily prayers, but most of it is performed silently except for a few words.

After the Burial

After the body is buried, all guests go to the house of the family of the deceased. A meal is prepared and guests usually stay for the entire day. Family members may stay for the whole week.
During this time, the family members socialize. It is believed that social­izing helps to ease suffering.
If arriving late, guests should simply join in.

Mourning Period

Under Islamic funeral customs, the mourning period officially lasts for 40 days. During that time, family members wear only black clothing.
As in accordance with the Quran 2:234, spouses observe a mourning period of four months and ten days; the term for this in Islam is called idah. During this time widows cannot wear decorative clothing or jewellery, remarry or move from their home.
For one full year, the wife of the deceased continues to wear black, but the annive­rsary of the death is not observed.
In the Islamic culture. death is accepted and viewed as a natural part of life. The belief that the deceased has moved on to a pleasant afterlife is an important belief and helps the bereaved cope with their suffering.

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