Coronavirus: New Muslim burial guidance

The Council for Mosques (CfM), has been working diligently with Bradford council, the hospitals and the coroner’s office to ensure that burial procedures for patients who pass away from COVID-19 are sensitive to Muslim practices.

“Further to some serious concerns raised by the community about Muslim funerals, it’s understandable that people are anxious,” says Zulfi Karim, President for CfM.

“Contrary to claims widely shared on social media about the deceased being cremated, I’d just like to reassure our Muslim brothers and sisters that the government’s emergency bill was amended to make allowance for Islamic burials.

“There has also been speculation that Bradford would not be able to provide burial space for Muslim deceased within the graveyard. That is incorrect. The CfM currently has space for up to 1000 graves.

“Of course, this goes without saying that we don’t want to be in a position to be filling up those graves.

“Our focus should entirely be on safeguarding ourselves and our loved ones so we don’t have to bury them in the first place.

“We urge our communities to follow self-isolating and social distancing guidelines.

Zulfi Karim, President of Bradford Council for Mosques

“South Asians are particularly vulnerable as many of us have elders that live with us.

“We must do everything we can, including placing those vulnerable in strict quarantine to ensure they remain safe during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The CfM yesterday announced burial guidelines for those who succumb to the coronavirus.

Mr Karim added: “We understand these procedures will be very difficult, but we are having to take them to prevent the further spread of the virus and more deaths.

“These procedures are in line with Government guidance. We have done our utmost to ensure that the burial is according to Islamic practices and with the highest regard for the dignity of the deceased. This policy will take immediate effect from Thursday 26th march 2020.”

The current arrangement is subject to change from national and government agencies, Asian Express will keep you updated.

New guidance for Muslim burial

  • If there is a COVID-19 death in hospital, the doctor will issue the death certificate. The deceased will be placed within a body bag and conveyed to the mortuary by the mortuary staff only.
  • For COVID-19 death at home – The Funeral Director will contact the coroner to determine the cause of death. The body will be moved to the hospital mortuary so that the coroner can carry out the test.This could take a couple of days. The body during this time unfortunately will NOT be accessible to the family.
  • In all situations the funeral director will make all the necessary arrangements
  • The Funeral Director will attend with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and collect the deceased.
  • The Ghusl will be carried out by trained staff (brothers for male deceased & sisters for female deceased) wearing PPE ensuring dignity and respect at all times. The deceased will be placed in a body bag and then into a coffin. The coffin will be wiped down with appropriate disinfectants for handling.
  • The coffin will be taken to Scholemoor Cemetery where the Janazah will be performed.
  • All Janazahs will take place at Scholemoor Cemetery
  • There should be no more than ten people attending the Janaza
  • The congregation for the Janazah Prayer will be led by an Imam and will stand two metres apart – hand shaking or hugs will not be permitted due to the possibility of transmitting the virus which could lead to more deaths.
  • The burial will be according to Islamic practices. CFM’s Cemetery staff will fill the grave with soil.
  • Please remember it is likely that immediate family members will be in isolation if the cause of death is COVID-19. If any family member was in contact with the deceased, they and their family will not be allowed to attend the Janazah prayer.

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