In the Islamic faith, there is a strong belief in the afterlife. Accordingly, much attention has been paid to the care and respect of both the body and the religion.
Due to not believing in embalming (the process of preserving the body, and protecting it from decay, by using specific chemicals), Muslims generally bury people the day after they die.
They believe that the body should decompose naturally in the ground.
Hence, all funeral planning and preparations should begin immediately. If the funeral must be delayed (due to unexpected circumstances or necessary hold-ups), no more than three days should pass until the burial ceremony.
Important Notes to Take Into Consideration
For Muslims, cremation does not fall within the line of acceptable. It is considered ‘haram’ – an unclean practice that is a desecration of the deceased. Cremation destroys the body and is therefore forbidden.
After the death of a Muslim, there should be no viewing before the funeral. This is consistent with the fact that the body should be buried as soon as possible.
When preparing the body for burial, first, it must be washed three times by the same-sex family member – ‘Ghusl’.
The eyes and mouth are immediately closed after the death of the loved one, and the body is covered with white sheets. Next, the left hand must be placed over the chest (if possible) with the right hand on top – in the prayer position. Then it is shrouded with three broad, white sheets and tied with ropes – ‘Kafan’.
After the preparation, the body should be transported to the mosque, where it is ready for funeral prayer – ‘Salat al-Janazah’.