Organising a Muslim Funeral Service in the UK
Many people of Islamic faith in the UK will know exactly how Muslim funeral services are arranged and will have even made some plans as to what to do when the time comes. However, Islamic funeral services can seem harder to organise for people who are outside of the Muslim community or who are new to the faith. If you are in the position of needing to organise the funeral of a recently departed friend or family member who held Islamic religious views, then find out what you need to do to give them the sort of burial they would have wanted.
Begin Planning Without Delay
As soon as a person of Muslim faith has died, their funeral planning should begin. This is a question of religious teaching because Muslims should be buried as soon as possible after their death. If someone has died and their body has not yet been released by the authorities, then the next best thing to do is to begin organising the funeral so that the burial can occur as soon as the deceased becomes available. Note that in Islamic belief, funerals are to be conducted as burials.
Prepare the Body
Under Muslim teachings, the body of the deceased should be placed under a white sheet. If the person has died at home do this as soon as you can. In addition, the eyes and the mouth of the deceased should be closed before an Islamic funeral service can take place. According to Newrest Funerals, a company that helps people to organise funerals among all faith communities in the UK, this is something that some people struggle with. Therefore, booking a local firm of funeral directors who have experience with Muslim funerals services is often the best way to proceed. Either way, the deceased should be washed by someone of the same gender, ideally a close relation. After that, the body of the deceased should be positioned with the palm of the left hand placed on the chest and the right hand on top of the left. White sheets, tied with ropes are then used to shroud the body.
Notify the Mosque
Muslim funeral services typically centre on the mosque where the deceased worshipped. Let the Imam there know you will want to hold a funeral there unless they've already been informed. Usually, an Islamic funeral prayer, known as Ṣalāt al-Janāzah, will be recited for mourners. During the recitation, it is expected that everyone in attendance will face towards Mecca. Readings from the Quran are also common.
Find a Suitable Burial Site
After the service at the mosque, the body will be taken to its burial site. Religious and secular settings are used for Islamic funerals in the UK. However, the grave should be dug such that the body will be placed in the ground side-on to Mecca. The right side of the body is traditionally the one that will be closest to the city. After the body has been placed into the ground, it is common for mourners to place three handfuls of soil into the grave. If you are planning a Muslim funeral service, then you won't have to order a gravestone since these are not usual at Islamic burial sites.