Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the questions we’ve been asked in the past are listed below.
The circumstances around each family and the death of a loved one is unique and different. If your question is not answered below or you need any information please contact us, so that we can be more specific.
In Islam the entire funeral process is a community responsibility, so you will note significant close family and community assistance for the process and the family may do as much or as little as they prefer. The entire process is intended to be very simple, with plenty of support from family and friends. There is no extravagance in any aspect of the funeral process.
GHUSL = washing and shrouding process
KAFFAN = white wrapping shroud
JANAZA = Body of the deceased
JANAZA SALAH = Funeral prayer for the deceased takes place after ghusl and before the burial process
DAFAN = Burial process
What do I do if death is expected?
If there is a family member who is ill or is expected to die soon, it is recommended that you contact RIC to get adequate information in preparation for death and the funeral process. There is some information on the near death page which will also be useful for the hospital, doctor or nursing home.
Discuss this information with the doctor or hospital, so that they are made aware of your beliefs and also so that they understand the urgency in making the ’cause of death certificate” available
Are there any forms I need to complete?
You may complete the application and consent form, before death so that we have adequate information to do the necessary grave bookings as soon as death occurs. There are additional forms which the next of kin is required to complete and sign, some of which may also be completed before death. See the Forms page.
What do I do when death occurs?
Contact RIC as soon as possible even if this is out of office hours or on a weekend. Ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to get the cause of death certificate available as soon as possible. This is crucial because we cannot proceed to make all the arrangements without this document.
In the UK we need to make the doctor and staff aware of this urgency. non-Muslim funerals are usually delayed for several days, so the staff are not familiar with the urgency for Muslims and usually have the death certificate available even a day or two later for Non-Muslims. They are almost always most accommodating if they are advised of this early.
What if death occurs at home?
Again if death is expected follow the above process. If death is sudden or unexpected contact the regular GP or calls QAS on 999. If the doctor is able to ascertain the cause of death and is willing to do the death certificate, then the Ambulance and police will usually allow Family members to pick up the body of the deceased.
If there is no regular GP or the cause of death could not be ascertained then the Police will arrange for the government approved funeral director to collect the janaza and transfer to the state mortuary – Stonemans at Reigate Surrey Tel no: 01737-763456.
Please contact RIC and attempts to assist or expedite some processes may be possible.
What happens at the mortuary?
The state coroner will assess the individual case and determine if a post-mortem needs to be done. It is important that the coroner’s office is advised that in Islam it is preferred not to have a post mortem performed unless it is absolutely necessary or under suspicious circumstances for medico-legal purposes. There are instances of non-suspicious death that coroner may accede to the family’s request to do an external examination only, and not necessarily perform an open post mortem.
It is also important to advise the police and the coroner’s office of the Islamic custom of burying the deceased as soon as possible and that any assistance is expediting the process will be highly appreciated.
What is the next step?
RIC will arrange to pick up the janaza (deceased) and transfer to the ghusl facility/mosque of your choice. We will also complete all the necessary forms and arrange for burial.
Where does the Ghusl take place?
RIC operates the Ghusl facility at Stoneman’s at Reigate Surrey Tel no: 01737-763456. You may choose to have this done at any other mosque which has the necessary facilities.
Who performs the Ghusl?
It is always good to have the close family members perform or assist with the Ghusl, however if this is not possible most facilities do have a list of volunteers who will willingly perform this role.
Who provides the Kaffan?
Most ghusl facilities have a supply of the kaffan available, so it is not usually necessary for the family to arrange this. RIC is happy to supply kaffans at any time, should anyone prefer to pre-purchase the kaffan. We have pre-cut pre-packed kaffans for males and females available for £200 each.
Can women attend the funeral?
Most of the mosques do have a ladies section and the close family female members may come to the mosque, where they will congregate in the female section. It is not obligatory for females to perform the funeral prayer.
However, is is not customary for women to attend the cemetery or graveside burial. Women are encouraged not to attend the cemetery.
Can a non-muslim attend the funeral?
Yes, a non-muslim may attend the funeral. As in any other faith it is expected that anyone attending the mosque dress modestly and this applies to both men and women and the men may attend the cemetery to observe the burial.
How does the burial take place?
In Islam the deceased are buried and there is no cremation at all. There is no requirement to bury in a coffin. However depending on where in the world we bury the actual internal grave may vary slightly. In Redhill Cemetery once the grave is dug by the council, then the local burial committee arranges to prepare the grave internally with concrete blocks on the four sides. The body is then lowered into the grave by the close family members and then covered by timber sleepers and eventually covered by soil. The initial filling is done by the family and mourners who wish to do this using shovels. The balance is filled by the local council machinery. The body of the deceased MUST always be buried directly on the ground.
The grave is usually designed / dug so that the deceased is usually laid in the ground and slightly tilted towards the right and the body faces towards the direction of the Qibla (Mecca in Saudi Arabia).
Do we use a lowering device?
The body of the deceased is usually manually lowered into the grave by close family and friends
Who goes into the grave?
Usually at least three (depending on the weight of the deceased may even be four) close family members go into the grave first and they assisted from above to lower the body gently into the grave. Once the body is properly placed then one members will remain in to place the timbers sleeper board and come out once this is done.
Do you have a tombstone?
Is is not customary to have a tombstone, although a simple edge to the grave and a plaque at the head end is acceptable to identify the grave.
Do you have floral arrangement placed on the coffin or grave?
It is not customary to have the coffin draped / decorated with floral arrangements. However some cultural practices do place flowers on the grave and the family may take this to the cemetery if they so choose.
Can any items be placed in the Grave?
It is not permissable to bury the decease with any items of jewellery or personal items. Only the shrouded body goes into the grave. All other effects including rings, jewellery, false teeth etc are usually removed on death before the ghusl.
Is there a choice of grave plot?
There is no choice of a specific plot. The Council uses the next available grave for burial in the Muslim section.
Do we have a choice of hearse?
In Islam the funeral and burial process is a simple and non-extravagant ritual. We do not have to use a ‘traditional’ hearse, to transport the remains of the deceased. So there is no choice in this service. Please contact the Stonemans Funeral Directors at Reigate Surrey.
Is there a funeral parlour?
There is no designated funeral parlour or viewings of deceased. The washing and shrouding usually takes place at a local mosque which has a washroom facility. The body may be placed at a section of the mosque for close family to spend some time with.
Where does the funeral prayer take place?
This does not take place in the main section of the mosque, but rather in an ‘annex’ referred to as the ‘sehan’, or in an open courtyard, or the car park to accommodate the congregation or at the cemetery before burial.
Is there an eulogy at the funeral?
Eulogies are not usually done at or during the funeral process of Muslims.