What Is a Muslim Funeral Like?
Muslims believe that the good deeds they do in life will be rewarded with entry into paradise on the Day of Judgment, which is when the world will end. They believe in the resurrection of the dead and that some will live in peace in paradise and others will suffer in hell.
Although this is a common belief among Muslims, there are many different branches within Islam, so funeral rituals and beliefs may vary.
Muslim Funeral Arrangements
The Islamic faith has fairly firm guidelines regarding funeral services and the duration of mourning. Islamic funeral procedures begin immediately after the death of a loved one, as according to Islamic law, they should be buried as soon as possible.
Families will usually contact a local Islamic organization to assist in the planning and organization of the funeral, including the choice of funeral agency to hire.
Islamic Funeral Traditions
As a general rule, organ donation is permitted in Islam. However, autopsies are considered heresy and are not accepted by Islamic law, although they may still be a legal requirement in a host country.
Cremation is also prohibited, while embalming is occasionally accepted.
Islamic Funeral Service
In general, most Islamic funerals follow a traditional sequence. First, the mourners will gather in the courtyard, prayer room, or study hall of the mosque and recite Islamic funeral prayers.
The length of the Muslim funeral may depend on the Islamic branch to which a person belonged, the location of the funeral and the wishes of the family.
Muslim funeral rites are led by a leader, known as an imam, and usually last 30 to 60 minutes, although they can last longer. In addition to the funeral prayers, you can expect the service to include several readings from the Quran.
During the prayers, everyone should face Mecca and form at least three rows, with the closest male relative in the front row. Behind him will gather the other male mourners, the children, and the women.
Muslim Funeral Customs
After the funeral, once the prayers have been completed, the congregation will line up in rows and pass the casket from shoulder to shoulder, moving to the grave for burial. Non-Muslim mourners should stand at a respectful distance to carry the coffin.
In the Islamic tradition, only men can attend the funeral, although some Muslim communities allow women to attend. For a Muslim burial, the grave must be perpendicular to Mecca, the holy city, with the person placed on their right side facing the sacred temple. The mourners recite a prayer while the deceased is placed in the grave.
Wood and stones are placed on top so that the ground does not directly contact the deceased. The imam may recite another prayer, and each mourner will then throw a handful of earth into the grave.
What Happens After a Muslim Funeral?
Traditionally, the family gathers in their home and receives guests after a funeral. Usually, the community provides food for the mourners for the first three days after the funeral.
The mourning period lasts 40 days but can often vary from family to family. Traditionally, the mourning period for widows is more extended, four months and ten days, during which they are forbidden to interact with men they could potentially marry.