The general practice in a Muslim funeral is to bury the deceased as soon as possible and usually within 24 hours.
When a death occurs, the local Muslim Community Centre or mosque is first contacted. After the body is carefully washed (between 3 to 7 times till the body is clean), it is then wrapped in a shroud or white cloth (common referred to as the Kafan). The face, however, is not covered so that the family may kiss the forehead of the deceased goodbye. The shrouded body is finally secured with ropes, one above the head, two tied around the body, and one around the feet. These rites are usually performed by close family members of the same gender as the deceased. The only exceptions are spouses and children.
Janazah (funeral) prayers are said before the deceased is carried to the cemetery. The Surah Yasin is usually recited upon the death of a loved one. The body is buried facing the Holy city of Mecca (or Makkah) in Saudi Arabia where it is believed to be the birth place of the Prophet Muhammad.
Upon lowering the body into the ground, those present will throw 3 handfuls of earth into the grave. This signifies that human beings came from dust and to dust shall they return.
Cremation is not an option
According to the Muslim faith, there will be a Day of Judgment (yawm-ad-din), also known as the Last Day where the deceased will be physically resurrected. Therefore, cremation is forbidden as this is seen as a desecration of the body. Likewise, embalming and cosmetology are also prohibited.
Muslims have faith that the good deeds that one performs in life will grant them entry into Paradise. On Judgement Day, the dead will remain in their tombs as those journeying to Paradise will encounter peace. On the other hand, those making their way to Hell will be afflicted with pain and suffering.
Minimalism and deference is central as far as Muslim cemeteries are concerned. Hence, extravagant grave markers or gravestones are rarely seen. Traditionally, visitors do not place flowers, candles or offerings at Muslim graves.
Muslim men and women should dress modestly at all times. At funerals, a shirt and trousers are the norm for men. For women, nothing tight or transparent is allowed. It is common to wear an ankle-length skirt along with a long sleeve top. Also, the headscarf must be worn. Shoes are to be removed before entering the prayer hall.
Post – Funeral Reception
It is customary for the Muslim community to reach out to the grieving family with food and condolences for 3 days after the funeral and burial.
In Malaysia, how much does it cost for a typical Muslim funeral?
Administrative expenses RM 100
Washing of the deceased’s body RM 200
Shroud RM 150
Coffin RM 200
Grave digging RM 220
Funeral transportation RM 100
Tombstones (subject to preference) RM 150 and above
Total Cost = RM 1120
These are paid to the mosque and the undertaker.
Kindly note that these are estimates and could vary according to location.