Shahadah Muslims hope to be surrounded by their loved ones when they die; however, even if they are alone, they know that the angels will help them. Those tending the dying should be respectful, tactful and sympathetic.
If possible, the bed should be turned so they can be facing Makkah, with feet in the direction of the Ka’aba. It is always considered the best thing if a believer dies with prayer, or thoughts of Allah.
If anyone’s last words are “There is no God but Allah”, he will enter Paradise.” (Abu Dawud) Click to return to main page To last slide
Ghusl The mortal remains of a Muslim should be treated with dignity, love and respect, and the last services done to them in a prayerful and loving atmosphere. Muslims try to bury the dead person as fast as possible, within 24 hours.
When the loved one has died, the eyes should be gently closed and a prayer said. The deceased should be given the final ritual wash.
The final washing should be done by family members, male relatives for men, female relatives for women. Click to return to main page To last slide
Tayammum Ghusl is also known as tayammum. If clean water cannot be found, tayammum may be done with sand if available.
Martyrs are traditionally buried “with their blood”. In these cases, they are usually shrouded in their clothes. If pilgrims die in ihram, they should be buried as pilgrims, with heads uncovered and faces unveiled. Click to return to main page To last slide
Shroud It is not commendable to use expensive materials. Three white winding sheets are used for men, and five for a woman. The shrouding could, however, be two sheets, or even one, provided it covers the whole of the body.
The sheets are spread out, one on top of the other, with the final one being the longest and widest. The deceased is lifted and laid on top of them and perfumed with incense.
Then the edge of the top sheet is folded over the deceased’s right side, and the other edge over the left side. The second and third sheets are treated the same way. These are all fastened in place round the deceased and only unfastened when he or she is laid in the grave.
A woman’s shrouding consists of a loin- cloth to bind her upper legs, waist wrapper to tie it in place, a shift, a head veil (after her hair is plaited, if it is long) and the final winding sheet Click to return to main page To last slide
Burial Because Muslims believe that at the Day of Judgement there will be a physical resurrection, cremation is forbidden. Allah will put people's bodies back together again at the Day of Judgement: People should always stand in respect when a funeral passes. It is more respectful to walk than to ride.
The grave should be simple. Extravagance is forbidden in Islam. People should remain standing by the graveside until the person is buried. The grave should reach the depth of a man’s chest, and preferably have a qiblah niche in it. The grave should be orientated towards Makkah.
A woman’s body should be lowered in by men in her family, and all bodies are placed in the grave legs first. The deceased are placed on their right sides, with their faces in the direction of Makkah, and supported so that they do not roll over onto their backs.
The fastening of the shroud is undone, and bricks, canes, or leaves set in place so that no earth falls on the body.
“A little earth is sprinkled into the grave, saying, “We created you from it, and return you to it, and from it We will raise you a second time.” (Surah 20:55) Then the earth is heaped over, while the people pray.
The surface of the grave should be raised by a hand’s-breadth so that it will be recognised as a grave and not trodden on. The grave may be marked with a headstone, but Muslims should not spend lots of money on a tombstone. Large tombstones or decorations are discouraged. To last slide Click to return to main page
Funeral Prayer This is a collective obligation that has to be performed by at least one Muslim.
The best person to perform it is whoever the deceased chose personally. After that, preference goes to the Imam or his deputy, the deceased’s father, or grandfather, then son, grandson, or closest male relative.
The whole prayer is made standing; there is no prostration as in normal prayer. Click to return to main page
Now answer this question “Muslims should not be afraid of death.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer, referring to more than one point of view. Refer to death rites information in your answer. Click on this link to attempt a short quiz. Death Rites To return to the main page.