Islamic Funeral: Importance, Etiquettes, Rites and Traditions

Muslim believes that death is the return of the soul to his Creator Allah Almighty, the cause of death and the Hereafter is never far from his consciousness. In religion Islam, the concept of death and the afterlife is derived from the Holy Quran the final sacred book of Almighty Allah. In the Noble Quran Allah (SWT) says: “And it is He who takes your souls by night and knows what you have committed by day. Then He revives you therein that a specified term may be fulfilled. Then to Him will be your return; then He will inform you about what you used to do.”(Quran, 40:60)

Muslims believe that the deeds one does in this life will be the result of the entry into Paradise or Hell on the Day of Judgment. When a Muslim died all other Muslims should say: “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un [Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return]” (Quran, 2:156). Those who are present there should close the deceased’s eyes and lower jaw, and cover the body with a clean sheet. They should also make dua to Allah Almighty to forgive the sins of the deceased one. Those who are in grieve should strive to be patient, and remember that Allah is the One who gives life and takes it away, at a time appointed by Him.

Muslims strive to bury the deceased as soon as possible after death. Loud wailing is not permitted in religion Islam however, crying is permitted.  The other outward signs of extreme emotion, such as ripping of clothes, thrashing about, sacrilegious speech, and self-injury are also not permitted. The body is washed and (shrouded) covered with a clean white sheet by family members, right after the death. The hands should place as if in prayer. Then the body is transported to the location of the funeral, a mosque.

An Islamic funeral is considered a community event and has significance in the religion Islam. Muslims believe a funeral to be a very spiritual occasion. It is compulsory for every Muslim to participate in funeral prayer (Janaza) in groups, Muslims pray that Allah will have mercy on not only the deceased but also on all deceased Muslims. Islamic funerals are to help grievers to cope with their grief, but are also meant to offer hope for a good afterlife for the deceased.

Funeral prayers are led by the Imam. After performing funeral prayers, the body is taken to the burial site in a silent process that is in the graveyard. After burying the deceased each person at the burial have to throw three handfuls of mud into the grave. After the body is buried, all guests go to the house of the family of the deceased as this is the time when it is appropriate to express your condolences to the family and support them in their grief. A meal is prepared and guests usually stay for the entire day.

When a person dies, everything in this worldly life is left behind, and there are no more opportunities to perform acts of righteousness. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once said that there are three things, however, which may continue to benefit a person after death: charity given during life which continues to help others, knowledge from which people continue to benefit, and a righteous child who prays for him or her. May Almighty Allah guide us to live this worldly life according to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah! Ameen