Are there Muslim cemeteries

Islamic burial - an overview of the procedure and costs

As in Christianity and Judaism, the accompaniment of a dying person and the Islamic burial are shaped by centuries-old religious rituals and rules. The focus is on a coffin-free burial, with the deceased's gaze directed towards Mecca. In Germany, however, coffins were compulsory for a long time. As a result, many deceased Muslims had their deceased relatives transferred to their home countries in order to have them traditionally buried there. It was not until the end of the 1990s that the coffin requirement was lifted in most federal states. Especially in major German cities there are now many Muslim cemeteries that allow Islamic burials with the associated religious rites.

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Rituals at the onset of death

If a member of the Muslim faith is dying, the members gather around the deathbed. When a Muslim feels that he is dying, he speaks that one last time Shahada (the creed). If he is too weak himself, the relatives will help him. The dying man is placed on his right side facing Mecca. After death, his eyes are closed and supplications are offered for him. The lower jaw is tied to the deceased and the mouth is closed with it. Then an undertaker can convict the deceased. Depending on where the death occurs, the ritual washing of the deceased is carried out before the transfer.

Islamic burial - procedure and special features

The customs and traditions of Islamic burial can vary depending on the country of origin and religious belief. However, there are similarities:

  • The washing of the dead
  • wrapping the deceased in linen cloth
  • the funeral prayer
  • the burial. The grave and the face of the deceased face Mecca.

The ritual washing of the dead

Ghusl is the one ritual cleansing or washing of the corpse. It can be done either at home, in the hospital, in the retirement home, on the undertaker's premises or in the cemetery. Deceased men are washed by male relatives or by an imam, women by female relatives. This regulation does not apply to spouses. The cleaning can also be done by an Islamic funeral home. According to established rules, washing is carried out three times. Musk, camphor or rose water is added to the water. To do this, one undresses the deceased; the feet are in the direction of Mecca during the ablution. In the case of deceased Shiite believers, perfuming the corpse with camphor is also one of the duties after the ablution (source).

Wrapping the deceased in linen cloth

After washing, the deceased is wrapped in white linen so that only the outlines can be seen. This symbolizes that in death before Allah all people are equal. After the ablution, the funeral prayer is said.

The funeral prayer

The Islamic funeral prayer (Arabic: palat-ul-Janazah, Turkish: cenaze namazi) is performed shortly before the burial, either at the grave or in a nearby mosque. The deceased is laid out in the direction of Mecca. The imam stands at head height in front of the corpse. Behind him are the Muslim participants in several rows. The funeral prayer traditionally consists of an opening, the wishes for peace and blessings on the prophets Mohammed and Abraham, supplications to the deceased and a conclusion. (Source)

The funeral

After the funeral prayer, the deceased is buried. Men carry the coffin or the deceased wrapped in cloths on a stretcher to the grave, following the imam. During the funeral procession, the mourners keep talking the Shahada (Creed). The imam recites a few verses from the Koran at the grave and then gives a speech. The deceased is placed in the prepared grave in linen cloths or in a simple coffin. He is lying on his right side, his face turned towards Mecca.

The only permitted type of burial for Muslims is burial. Traditionally, the burial takes place without a coffin, but only in a shroud. Due to the obligation to coffin in Germany, Muslim burial rules repeatedly clash with German legislation. Increasingly, however, exemptions are exempting Muslims from the obligation to coffin.

Muslim cemetery

There are now Muslim cemeteries and grave fields in all major cities in Germany. However, they do not grant what is customary in Islam never ending silence. That would mean that the graves have no rest period. Municipal or non-denominational cemeteries are also increasingly providing areas for Muslim burials. Because the cult of the dead is less pronounced in Islam, the graves are decorated less often than those of Christian deceased.

Muslim undertaker

Nowadays there are more and more funeral homes in Germany that offer Muslim burials. Muslim undertakers do not differ from other undertakers in terms of their basic services in terms of emergency aid, transportation, accompaniment through the mourning, handling of all formalities and advice. However, through Muslim rituals such as washing and clothing and through the organization of transfers to their home countries, they offer respectful treatment of the deceased according to the religious guidelines of Islam.

Islamic burial cost

Islamic burial is a special form of burial in the earth. The costs usually do not differ significantly from a normal burial. However, the selection of undertakers and cemeteries that bury Muslims is significantly smaller. Only in a few cemeteries in Germany are the deceased wrapped in linen cloths allowed to be buried without a coffin according to the Muslim rite. In addition, there are no graves in which the corpse can remain in the earth forever. Graves in German cemeteries have a limited rest period. The space for the ritual washing and the alignment of the graves in the direction of Mecca is also not available everywhere.

Relatives should therefore first find out exactly where and by which undertaker the funeral should be carried out. The undertaker will help to find the right burial site and enable a dignified Muslim burial for the deceased.

Grief in islam

The Muslims living in Germany are a pluralistic society from different countries of origin and just as different mourning rituals. Family members primarily provide emotional support. Loud wailing and weeping at the grave and during the time of mourning are not desired according to the Koran; rather restraint in mourning is requested. In the foreground should be the thought that the deceased can take a step on his way to Allah through his death and that the bereaved support him on his way there through prayers and intercessions. In some Islamic regions (e.g. Anatolia), however, the so-called mourners are part of the funeral and mourning ritual. When someone has passed away, they are called in to recite intense lamentations for the dead with poignant lyrics and melodies. Loud lamentations for the dead can also be heard at the funeral.

After the funeral, a three-day mourning period begins, during which the relatives receive condolences, say prayers and recite from the Koran. In the 40 days after the death of a Muslim, the closest relatives are said to wear mourning clothes in dark colors. Celebrations of joy (e.g. weddings) should be avoided. This time is marked by prayers. You read a lot from the Koran. In addition, the grave of the mourner is visited, a meal is organized and alms are distributed (source). The period of mourning lasts a total of 1 year.