As with any religious funeral, the planning of a Muslim funeral should take place with members and leaders of the Muslim community. Islamic laws and customs will guide this planning process, which begins from the moment it becomes clear that a Muslim is close to death. When it becomes known that a Muslim is dying, family members should be at his or her side. During this time family members should help the dying to think of his or her own transgressions, to ask for forgiveness and then to ponder Allah s mercy and forgiveness.
If the death occurs at home, relatives should call emergency services in order to have the death registered and a death certificate released. If a death occurs in a hospital or other institution, relatives should not attempt to move the body until a death certificate is released. When a muslim is nearing death, and during the period in which his breathing is laboured, those muslims around him including the sheikh, must recite surat Yassin. Upon death, those with the deceased should close the eyes of the deceased, bind the deceased s lower jaw to his head and cover the body with a clean sheet. It is the duty of the deceased s family to wash the body in accordance with Islamic rites. Unless a spouse is present, males will only wash males and females will only wash females. The washing should take place in a private place, with water, soap and a cloth, and be carried out three or five times. After washing, the body should be shrouded with white material. Embalming the body of a deceased Muslim is prohibited, and having the body undergo an autopsy is prohibited unless it is required by law.
Funeral prayers (Salat-ul-Janazah) is a collective obligation for Muslims, so the community should perform these prayers with the deceased s family. Often these prayers will take place outside of the Mosque or prayer room, for example in an activity room. The purpose of these prayers is to request pardons for the deceased and all deceased Muslims. These prayers may not take place at certain times of the day (according to the sun s progression) and almost all of them are said silently. The man most closely related to the deceased will lead these prayers, though the Imam or another knowledgeable Muslim may do so if needed.
Only Muslim men should put the body of the deceased in the grave. Females should only be put in the grave by a male relative. After the burial all Muslims may stay and Supplicate for the deceased. Marking the grave is permitted, however decorating the grave or allow constructing on top of it is not. Cremation is prohibited for Muslims, even if it is requested. After the burial loved ones observe a three day mourning period. Widows will observe a longer mourning period.
The preparation and burial of a deceased Muslim occurs according to Islamic law and custom. The family actively participates throughout the preparations, prayers and burial as does the wider Muslim community. Particularly in non-Muslim countries this time can be challenging as obtaining necessary items and following procedures that are not common in particular locations can be difficult. Local Muslim communities and spiritual leaders should be able to help with such funeral preparations. Local funeral directors and the staff of local funeral homes may also be able to give advice on the requirements for Muslim funerals. Looking into such resources if a good idea.