Listed below are some of the Islamic customs that are followed at funerals and burials.
Here are 10 Muslim funeral traditions: No matter what your religious beliefs are, coming to terms with the death of a close friend or member of your family is a challenging experience. Islam, like any other faith, has its own set of burial ceremonies and customs for dealing with the passing of a loved one.
So, what are the customs that Muslims follow when it comes to funerals and burials? The ceremonies start immediately after the person has died.
1. Shortly After Death
When a Muslim passes away, it is traditional for the eyes to be covered with a cloth, the jaw to be bound, and a fresh sheet to be placed over the body. It is essential that the deceased person’s body be prepared for the funeral as quickly as is humanly possible. The funeral should take place as soon as possible, preferably within the following 24 hours or before the next sunset.
The period of time spent in hidaad, or mourning, for a close relative should not exceed three days, and there are specific instructions regarding how this period of time should be spent. It is appropriate to shed tears, although members of the Muslim faith are discouraged from sobbing aloud or acting out during the grieving time. The most traditional strains of Islam hold the belief that the spirit of the deceased can hear these cries, and that they bring the spirit great suffering.
There is a unique period of grief that is observed by women after the death of a husband. This period of time is known as the ‘Iddah (or Edda), and it lasts for a total of four months and ten days. During that specific period, the lady is not permitted to wear jewelry or perfume, and the only times that she is permitted to leave the house are for work and other necessary errands. During the ‘Iddah, she is permitted to pay visits to her relatives and friends; but, she is obligated to remain in her own home and cannot remarry until the period has over.
3. Washing the Corpses
The deceased’s family will perform a series of customary Islamic washing procedures prior to the funeral. It is essential that the individuals who do the washing likewise adhere to Islam and be of the same gender as the person who has passed away. The only people who are exempt from this rule are children and spouses.
The washing calls for adhering to a number of extremely strict guidelines. The washing process involves placing the body on a raised table, reciting “In the name of Allah,” and then using towels to systematically clean the body, working from top to bottom and left to right. The process is repeated anywhere from three to seven times until the body is clean.
4. Shrouding the Body
There are distinct guidelines for how male and female Muslims should drape their headscarves. You will need three white sheets and four ropes to properly wrap the body of a male Muslim. After positioning the man’s hands so that his right hand is on top of his left hand and his left hand is resting on his chest, you begin wrapping each sheet around the body starting with the right side. To complete the wrapping of the body in the shroud, first knot two ropes just above the head and just below the feet. Then, using the other two ropes, fasten the sheets around the body.
The wrappings are significantly more complicated for female customers. The deceased individual is covered from head to toe with a head veil, a loin cloth, and a garment that does not have sleeves. All of that goes underneath the sheets and ropes that you would use to wrap a male body in the traditional manner.
Since Muslim custom emphasizes that after a person passes away, they should be buried as quickly as possible, it is essential to begin the funeral as soon as the shrouding is finished. This ensures that the deceased is not exposed to the elements for an extended period of time.
5. Funeral Prayer
This rite, known as the Salatul Janazah, is open to participation from all Muslims, even those who did not have a personal relationship with the departed or their family.
No matter the age of the deceased Muslim at the time of death, it is customary for prayers to be said over the body of the individual before the burial. The prayer need to happen right after the wrapping of the body in the shroud. In most cases, it takes place outside of the mosque and its prayer chamber. If at all feasible, the prayer should take place at dusk or sunset; however, if the body is already decaying, it should be buried as soon as possible.
Muslims get together in a gathering to pray in silence, asking Allah to have mercy on the individual who died as well as all other Muslims who have passed away. There are only two parts of the prayer that are spoken aloud, and further information regarding the funeral ceremony will be provided on the following page.
6. The Funeral
Men stand in the front row, children in the second row, and women in the third row as they face Mecca while attending the funeral. The participants are arranged in three horizontal lines. In the same way as the quiet prayer, this one is performed outside of the mosque, if that is at all possible, and it is performed standing up the entire time. The participants begin the funeral ritual by reciting the first section of the Quran, which is called the Fatihah, in silence. After this, they set pure intentions for the service. This prayer, which consists of seven verses, requests Allah for mercy and guidance.
In a traditional Muslim funeral ritual, there are four further prayers that follow the quiet recitation of the Fatihah. Before each of the next four prayers, the attendees will chant “Allahu Akbar,” which can be translated as “God is good.” The Tahahood prayer, a prayer addressed to the prophet Muhammad, and three personal prayers for the departed round up the set of four prayers. When a child passes away, it is common practice for the third personal prayer to be offered up for the child’s parents.
7. Transporting the body
It is customary for several men to carry the deceased person’s body on foot to the cemetery, and mourners will follow behind them. In today’s world, the casket containing the deceased person’s body can be brought in a hearse, followed by a funeral procession.
The funeral procession must take place in complete silence, and neither the car nor the truck that is used to transfer the body should be a military vehicle. It is strictly prohibited to read from the Quran, sing, or cry out loud. Incense and candles are not permitted to be used at any point during the funeral procession.
It is customary to bury a Muslim at the location where they passed away. This is because Islamic law mandates a speedy burial. This signifies that a Muslim who passes away in another country or in a remote place should be buried in that spot rather than being brought back to their own country for burial.
8. Islamic burial traditions
According to Muslim custom, a deceased Muslim should only be buried at a Muslim cemetery, and neither women nor children are permitted at the grave site when the burial is taking place.
It is regarded a form of profanity to cremate a Muslim corpse; instead, the body should be buried in a grave that is sufficiently deep to enclose the stench that would be produced as the body decomposes and to prevent animals from uncovering it. The body is placed in the grave on its right side with its head turned toward Mecca, and the coffin is not used if at all possible. It is not uncommon for Muslims to throw bricks or stones on top of a grave in order to prevent animals from disturbing the body of a deceased person when the cemetery is located in an area with a high concentration of wildlife.
If a Muslim passes away at sea and it is not possible to get the body to shore within the first twenty-four hours after the death, then the Muslim is permitted to be buried at sea.
9. Marking and visiting the grave
As a result of the importance placed on modesty and reverence in Muslim graves, elaborate burial monuments are not permitted there. A modest headstone or memorial is acceptable, on the other hand. In accordance with custom, you are not permitted to place anything for the departed on or around the cemetery. This includes fresh flowers, candles, and any other kind of offerings.
There is some disagreement as to whether or not women are permitted to pay their respects at the tomb of a deceased male family member or friend. Although there are Muslims who believe that doing this is forbidden, there are also Muslims who believe that it is permissible to visit grave sites on occasion in order to reflect on one’s own mortality and mourn those who have passed away.
Even though these laws aren’t as stringent as some of the other funeral traditions, the Muslim religion offers guidelines for how to offer consolation to friends and family who have lost a loved one.
10. Offering Solace to Relatives and Close Friends
The Muslim community places a high value on offering solace to bereaved friends and family members, but there are few hard-and-fast regulations regarding the manner in which this should be done. It is customary to extend condolences and provide the family in sorrow with food and support for a period of three days following the funeral.
As is the case in a great number of other societies, providing comfort and assistance to the bereaved family is regarded as a crucial component of the grieving process. It is also usual practice to provide meals to the family of the deceased following a Muslim funeral. This relieves the bereaved of the responsibility of attending to day-to-day tasks like cooking while they attempt to come to terms with the death of a loved one.
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