How Do You Plan a Muslim Funeral in the UK?

by Staff

As any Muslim will know, Islamic funeral rites demand that the body of the deceased is buried in as timely a manner as possible. Given that the last census information available states that there are well over 3.5 million Muslims living in Britain nowadays, funeral directors should be geared up to deal with Islamic burials. However, not all are and this is why it can help to turn to specialists.

According to Newrest Funerals, a funeral planning service provider that deals with funeral arrangements from Lands End to the Shetland Isles, choosing which firm of funeral directors to appoint is one of the first things you will need to do to expedite a quick service. That’s why turning to a professional planner can help, especially if the deceased is located outside of the big metropolitan centres like Bradford, Glasgow or Birmingham.

Many Muslims who live in the UK will know exactly what sort of service to arrange and will liaise with the deceased’s local mosque. However, this can be trickier if the person concerned was not particularly religious in later life or you are trying to make the arrangements from overseas. Again, this is why turning to professionals in the industry can help. Remember that the planning of any Muslim funeral is supposed to happen immediately following the death of the individual concerned. In the UK, there may be statutory reasons why the burial cannot take place immediately, however. Sometimes police or medical investigations will delay matters. That said, the planning should start straight away.

As soon as the deceased has been released by the authorities, you should make arrangements for them to be washed. It is an Islamic tradition that this is done by someone of the same sex and preferably a close family member. However, if this is not possible, then you can ask your chosen firm of funeral directors to carry out this service on your behalf. That’s why it is so important to select a firm that has the necessary experience in Islamic funeral rites. With the eyes and mouth of the deceased closed and the hands placed in the correct manner, the body should then be wrapped in a white sheet or sheets. After that, the sheets will be secured in place with ropes.

The next stage is for the body to be conveyed to a mosque where the Islamic funeral prayer – or Salat-al-Janazah – will be recited by the gathered mourners. After this ceremony, the deceased will be taken to its burial site, often a local authority-run cemetery in the UK. After prayers, mourners traditionally throw three handfuls of earth into the grave. Typically, a Muslim funeral service will take between 40 minutes and an hour.

Finally, it is worth noting that it is not traditional for any mourners at a Muslim funeral to be women. Although scholarly attitudes on this differ, non-attendance by women remains the norm in the UK unless there are exceptional circumstances. Often, the rules imposed will depend on the teachings of the local Imam.

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