Islamic Way Of Funerals And Burials In Time of Coronavirus

islamic way burial covid-19

Our Almighty and Benevolent Allah, has bestowed Muslims an exceptional status, amongst all creations. With that, every Muslim has faith that this corporeal form belongs to Allah and, it is their utmost right to treat their bodies, from birth to death.

Sadly, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several people have lost their lives, unexpectedly. In such testing times, Islam supports a dignified way of burying a dying Muslim brother and sister.

There is no dubiety to the fact that the ones passing away, cannot be brought back. However, it is incumbent for us, Muslims, to perform the spiritual needs that a dead person requires.

Nevertheless, the Holy Quran enumerates that the communal obligations, revolving around the funeral rites are:

  • Storage, transportation, and collection of the deceased
  • Ritual cleansing (Ghusl)
  • Shrouding (Kafn)
  • Performing the funeral prayers (Janaza)
  • Burial of the deceased one
islamic way burial covid-19

Image: timesofisrael

How to give ‘Ghusl’ To COVID-19 deceased?

Quite obviously, in such a case, the grave risk that lies is, the transmission of the virus to the ones washing the body of the dead. However, in such scenarios, the body of the dead person is sealed in a tight bag, with the label ‘DO NOT OPEN’.

According to Islam, those washing the body is such a case must observe wearing proper types of equipment like surgical gloves and masks. Meanwhile, it is customary to not move the body here and there, which would prevent spreading the virus. All of this procedure should be carried out in a safe and dedicated place.

Shrouding (Kafan/Takfin)

Instead of white sheets, a body bag is enough to serve the purpose of shrouding. After transferring the body into the bag, and later into the casket, the outer part of the casket should be wiped with an appropriate disinfectant as part of transfer procedures.

islamic way burial covid-19

Image: DW

Funeral prayers (Janaza)

Owing to the current situation, where mosques are observing the cessation of all public prayers, Islam instructs that the Janaza can be offered near the cemetery. Following, it is preferable that only family members, maintaining proper distance, offer the prayers with one of them fulfilling the ‘Fard Kifaya’.

Burial task

For the burial of a COVID-19 deceased, a minimum number of people should attend the ritual. Under any circumstances, the body is not to be lowered into the grave without taking care of precautionary measures. Such as gloves, protective clothing, and surgical masks.

Following, the ‘talqin’ shall be recited, “Remember the covenant by which you exited this world. The testification that there is no god but God who has no partners and that Muhammad is the messenger and slave of God. Remember that the Day of Judgment is coming and that God resurrects those in the graves. Say: ‘I have accepted that my Lord is God, that Islam is my religion, that Muhammad is a true Prophet, that the Kaaba is the true direction for prayer, that the Qur’an is my guide and that all believers in God are brothers.”

Governments worldwide are either banning or considering banning funerals during the coronavirus pandemic and religions are supporting it. This is causing anguish and suffering beyond imagination to the victims’ families. Islam, on the other hand, insists on safe and dignified funeral rites.

May this world, comes out of the virus crisis soon. Ameen.


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