Life is short and temporary; nobody knows the time or the probable cause of their death (or anybody else’s unless that person dies). Despite the grief and sorrow that befalls you when a loved one passes onto the afterlife, there’s a proper Islamic funeral process. It mainly comprises of the Ghusl (Islamic process of washing of the body), Namaz e Janaza (Prayer before the burial) and the Janaza (Islamic burial and preparation process). Hence, you must learn a Muslim funeral guide by heart or have it available to be read when and if this grieving moment arrives.
What is an Islamic Funeral?
Muslim believe that the funeral is very a spiritual occasion. Islamic Funeral is considered a community event, everyone in attendance participates in the Namaz e Janaza (a sort of a group prayer). In these prayers, the mourners pray for the forgiveness of the deceased and implore from Allah to have mercy on him and all of the Ummah that has passed onto the afterlife.
Not only this, but the Islamic funeral process also helps the mourners to cope up with the grief they are going through. The Ummah comes together and offers mental support to the deceased’s family and friends by being in their proximity.
Before the Namaz E Janaza:
Before the Namaz e Janaza is offered, Ghusl is performed on the deceased’s body. Ghusl is an essential part of the Islamic Funeral Process. It is considered obligatory to perform Ghusl to rid the body from all the impurities and insects/parasites before the body is buried.
The performing of Ghusl has been told to us in a very elaborate manner by the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). We can find the proper way to perform ghusl through the Ahadith. Giving Ghusl is a great act, and not everyone is eligible to carry it out. The person may give Ghusl to the deceased only if he/she fulfills all of the following requirements:
- Be of age (Adult), and an acclaimed honest and trustworthy person.
- Be of the same gender; males can only wash males and women can only wash women.
- If the deceased is not of age yet (child), either male or female can perform the Ghusl.
- Know the Islamic way of performing Ghusl (the Sunnah’s way) and be able to perform it properly.
- It is recommended that the person performing the Ghusl should perform Wudu (ablution) before the washing.
After the Namaz E Janaza:
After performing the Namaz e Janaza, the deceased’s body is taken from the Masjid (or wherever the prayer was offered) towards the Graveyard to be buried. As cremation is prohibited in Islam, we believe that we will be pulled back up from wherever we have been buried. But before the burial, we have to walk to the Graveyard holding the deceased on top of our shoulders. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“(A believer) who accompanies the funeral procession of a Muslim out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s reward and remains with it till the funeral prayer is offered and the burial ceremonies are over, he will return with a reward of two Qirat. Each Qirat is like the size of the (Mount) Uhud. He who offers the funeral prayer only and returns before the burial will return with the reward of one Qirat only.”
After all, the burial procedures are completed; according to the prescribed way of Hadith and Sunnah. People can go home or be with the deceased’s friends and family to sympathize with them. It is also a common tradition to tend to the deceased’s family by occasionally going and meeting them, sending them flowers or even food. As the comfort received by these small gestures rekindles the happiness within them and helps them come out of the grieving.
There is a lot more to this subject and the sub-subjects; you should read the proper way of Sunnah from Quran Teacher or through hadith books (Sahih Al Muslim and Sahih Al Bukhari) and practice it. The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) has described all of the above-mentioned practices like Ghusl and Janaza by doing it first hand in front of the Sahabah and through his Ahadith.