The Muslim Funeral Rites

Asalam alykum,
Many of you will have watched the funeral prayer for our brother Dr Muhanad ElTayib broadcast online today on our Facebook Page.
We pray for him – that Allah will forgive his sins and grant him Jannah (paradise)
And also for his family – may Allah grant them sabr (patience) and comfort at this time.
Many of his family and friends across the world watched online and I pray this brought you some comfort although you could not be with him in person.
For some of you this will have been the first Muslim funeral you watched and you may be wondering what was happening as it was a little different to a traditional Irish funeral.
This will be a long post but I hope will be informative for any of you curious about the Islamic rites.
Life and death are two realities accepted in Islam. “Every soul shall taste of death” 3:185 – Quran
Life and death are in the hands of God and we believe death is a change from this world into the Hereafter.
Muslims believe the body of the deceased must be handled carefully and respectfully after death. We do not use cremation and the deceased should be buried as soon as is practically possible. The body will be washed by family, friends or trained members of the community (Ghusl) and wrapped in a white sheet – a Kaffan (shroud). Here in NI this is then placed in the wooden coffin.
The burial of the deceased is a collective obligation (farḍ kifāyah) on the Muslim community. Because it is a collective obligation, the entire Muslim community will be guilty if a Muslim body is not buried, unless the burial was beyond their knowledge or capacity. You may have seen funeral announcements on our page in the past. It is customary for many Muslims to attend even if they do not know the individual or family who passed away. Because it is the right of the deceased to be buried and prayed for in the best way and an obligation on the community. Women can attend but men will carry the body of the deceased.
The coffin will be angled to face the Qibla (the direction of the prayer – Mekkah) and the mourners will line up behind the Imam (the one leading the prayer) facing Mekkah. The funeral may begin with a short reminder about the next life and comforting words then those gathered offer the Salat-e-Janazah ( Funeral prayer).
The prayer begins with first takbir (Allah Akbar) said out loud by the Imam which is repeated silently by the followers lifting their hands up to their ears. After each Takbir a silent prayer is recited:
1. Allahu Akbar (Allahu Akbar)
Al Fathia (opening chapter of Quran) followed by a short surah or part of a surah
In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds – The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path – The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.
2. Allahu Akbar (Allahu Akbar)
O Allah, let Your Peace come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have brought peace to Ibrahim (Abraham) and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.
3. Allahu Akbar (Allahu Akbar)
A prayer for the deceased (this is one of the recommended supplications)
O Allah, forgive our living and our dead, those present and those absent, our young and our old, our males and our females. O Allah, whom among us You keep alive, then let such a life be upon Islam, and whom among us You take unto Yourself, then let such a death be upon faith. O Allah, do not deprive us of his reward and do not let us stray after him’.
If it is a child:
Oh Allah, make him/her a treasure for his parents, a forerunner, a cause of reward and an intercessor whose prayer is answered. Oh Allah, make this (loss) make their (the parents) scales heavy, and make their reward great, and make him/her be with the righteous believers.
4. Allahu Akbar (Allahu Akbar)
A pause to contemplate before saying one Tasleem to the right (‘Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allaah’). Doing it on both sides
This prayer will typically be held in the Mosque but under current circumstances it is only in the graveyard.
The body will be brought to the grave, then the body will be lowered into the grave angled to face Mekkah by the next of kin or friends. The Imam, using the hand or shovel, will, three times, scoop soil dug from the grave and scatter it in the direction of where the head lies. After that all present should scoop soil. The initial filling is done by the family and mourners who wish to do this using shovels. Elsewhere they may fill the grave to a small mound, but here the balance is filled by the local council machinery. The funeral is not considered completed until the burial is complete.
At this time, the deceased’s relatives and friends may remain at the cemetery for a while and make Dua (supplicate) for the deceased.
More detailed guidance including variations in prayers can be found here:

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