"Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return"
Muslim Funeral Guide
The procedures listed below are a basic outline of the steps required to ensure a quick burial of a departed Brother or Sister in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The first step in all cases is to contact the following people immediately:
1) Family Doctor
2) Funeral Director & Funeral Committee Secretary (if member)
3) Local Imam
4) Close Relative
Death at Home / Hospital
Cause of Death Know
In hospital deaths:
the doctor may want to carry out a post-mortem purely for their or the hospitals satisfaction but, they have to obtain the permission of the nearest relative. You do not have to give permission in these cases and your decision is respected.
The body would normally be transferred from the ward to the hospital mortuary. But if arrangements are made swiftly, the body can be collected by the funeral director from the ward and then taken to the Mosque or funeral directors mortuary ready to be bathed.
Death at Home / Hospital
Cause of Death Unknown
If, at home, the deceased persons GP is unable to certify the cause of death, then he/she will inform the police who in turn will inform the Coroner.
If, at hospital, the doctor is unable to certify the cause of death, then he/she will inform the Coroner1. (The Coroner1 is usually a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating certain deaths).
The matter is referred to the Coroner if death occurs in any of the following circumstances at home or at hospital:
The Coroner will probably arrange for a post-mortem examination of the body. The main purpose of this is to ascertain the cause of death. The consent of the relatives is not needed for this. They are, however, entitled to be represented at the examination by a doctor. If they are represented, the Coroner will, if practicable, tell the relatives the time and place of examination.
After the post-mortem:
If the death was found to be of natural causes then the Coroner’s Office will issue a Pink Form (form 100).
To register the death, you should take the Pink Form to the Registrar of Births and Deaths of the area where the death took place (the Registrar is currently based at The Old Council House, Corn Street, Bristol, BS1 IJG Tel 0117 903 8888). Follow Steps D & E.
If the cause of death is uncertain or was due to an accident, violence, or industrial disease, then an Inquest2 will be held.
An Inquest is an enquiry into the
medical cause and circumstances of death. It is held in public and sometimes with a jury. It is up to the Coroner to decide how to organise the enquiry in a way to best serve the public interest and the interest of the relatives.
It may be important to have a lawyer to represent you if the death was caused by a road accident, or an accident at work, or other circumstances which could lead to a claim for compensation. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to see if you can get Legal Aid for this.
After the inquest, the Coroner will give you, free of charge, an Order for Burial (form 101), this gives permission for the body to be buried and should be given to the funeral director so that the funeral can be held. The Coroner will also send a Certificate After Inquest (form 99), stating the cause of death, to the Registrar. This allows the death to be registered.
Other Useful Information
A Death Certificate is obtainable from the Registrar and is a certified copy of the entry in the death register. There is a fee for this certificate and one is required for the will, pension claims etc... It is better to obtain several copies straight away as the price increases if you need one later.
During public holidays or after office hours the Certificate for Burial (green form) can be obtained from the Registrar from his/her home.
Their telephone numbers can be obtained from Civic Offices or the Town Hall. This service is only available in the event of an emergency - if burial has to take place and offices are closed.
It is recommended that at least four persons be present to help bathe and carry the body. Washing will normally take place at the funeral directors premises.(InshAllah HBCC aim to provide the facilty to do this in future) The Imam of the will be available to guide the washing and prepare the ‘Kafan’.
After performing the Janaza Prayer at the mosque or at the cemetery, if facilities are available there, the body is taken in a coffin to the graveyard. During the Summer months the last time for burial is usually 4.00 p.m. and during Winter it is normally 3.00 p.m.
Certain cemeteries do not allow coffin boxes to be opened at the graveyard. Therefore to ensure that the head of the deceased is facing the ‘Qibla’ and where it is in relation to the coffin, make sure this is done before closing the coffin and before entering the cemetery.
Some cemeteries are now allowing bodies to be buried without using a ‘wooden’ coffin so that Muslims can be buried in the ‘Kafan’ only. In most cases, prior arrangements have to be made to do this. Please check with your Local Council Cemetery Department.
There are also now several Private Muslim Burial sites throughout the UK. Funeral Directors will have details of these.
The following Funeral Directors will be able to advise you further.
Ummah Funerals Ltd
Infusion Buildings, 16-20 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol, BS5 6SA
Aslam Funeral Services
c/o 29 Foster Street, Eastville, Bristol, BS5 6JE
Tel 07941360223 or 07854479094
(The above are not in any way endorsed by HBC. In the past they have provided very good service to the Muslim Community)
The funeral prayer is a petition of mercy for the deceased. In joining it, there is mercy and blessing for both you and the deceased.
Patience in Grief
The loss of a loved one causes severe grief and sorrow, which only the mourner can truly understand. The bereaved should be extended a sincere hand of sympathy and support by relatives and Muslim brothers and sisters. A Muslim struck by affliction
should draw deeply on his faith in Allah and display the utmost patience, with the knowledge that all life is a gift from Allah which he gives and takes as he chooses, for he is the compassionate and is full of mercy. The believers should find consolation, that they will be re-united with their loved ones in the Hereafter Insha-Allah, and they should strive to attain this through righteous deeds and worship of Allah according to
the Quran & Sunnah. It is clearly stated in the Quran,
‘For those who patiently persevere, there is the attainment of the final home. Gardens of perpetual bliss, they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their forefathers, their spouses and their offspring.’
Surah Ar-Raíd 13:22-23
What Benefits the Dead?
The deceased should not be forgotten, they now face the future alone and can no longer act on their own accord. They can however derive benefits from our supplications and actions, which are done on their behalf.
Prayers for the Dead
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘There is no person who has died and who has Muslims whose number reach one hundred praying for him and they intercede on his behalf, except that it will be accepted.” (Muslim)
The dead will feel the presence of his brothers after his burial for a period of time no longer than it takes to slaughter a lamb and distribute its meat.
The meaning of the above statement by ‘Amr bin Al-’Aas has preceded: ‘ After you have buried me, sit around my grave
for a period of time no longer then it takes to slaughter a lamb and distribute its meat, so that I feel your presence, and see what I will review with the Angels of my Lord.’
Supplications for the Deceased Immediately after Burial
Related from Uthman bin Affan that whenever the Messenger of Allah completed the burial of a deceased he would stand over him and say, ‘Seek forgiveness for your brother, and ask that he be firm because he is now being questioned.’ (Abu Dawud)
The Messenger of Allah said, “When anyone dies all his actions cease except in three cases, continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a pious child that makes supplications for him.”
Charity given by his Child
It is related from Aisha (RA) that a man said to the Prophet,
“My mother died all of a sudden. I think if she was able to talk she would give charity, so would she receive any reward if I gave charity on her behalf?” He replied, “Yes”. (Bukhari/Muslim)
Supplications and seeking Forgiveness
by all the other Muslims and Believers
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and women, Allah will write him a blessing for each believing man and woman.’ (Saheeh al-Jaami)
Death is an inevitable journey, which we will all face alone. All worldly attachments will be left behind and only our belief, righteous actions and worship will be of any use. Therefore we should remember death frequently and fear Allah. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘At evening, do not expect to live till morning, at morning do not expect to live till evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death.’
Belief in life after death is an essential part of belief in Islam. Also referred to as the Hereafter, it is the final destination of all mankind. Here, on the Day of Reckoning, we will face the Almighty Creator and be held accountable for all the actions and deeds we undertook in this worldly life.
One of the first stages of life after death is the grave, as confirmed by the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah who said, ‘The grave is the first stop from among the stops to the Hereafter, and if one successfully passes through it, then whatever follows it is easier. If however, one does not successfully pass through it then whatever comes after it is more difficult.’ (Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb)