Muslim burial customs
THIS is in response to the recent article on funerals, “Christians have simple rites”.
Every time I attend a Christian function or am engaged by a Christian, one of the first things I hear is that Jesus died for our sins, so we can enjoy eternal life.
If people know they can sin and will be absolved of that sin because Jesus paid the ultimate price with his life, will they strive to be good?
Hinduism, on the other hand, teaches us that what you sow, so shall you reap. The law of Karma!
We know that we are personally accountable for our actions.
This in turn forces us to be good and do good.
According to our beliefs, our soul has eternal life but the reincarnation of our soul depends on past lives.
If we sin, we pay for it, in the current life and in the lives to come until we understand our sin and repent. We are born again and again, until our souls reach perfection or purity that mirrors that of Gods.
When we reach this Moksha, we live in eternal bliss among the Gods. Hindus also believe in the living God.
Many Hindus worship Sai Baba – an extraordinary man with super human powers who lived among the people. The lucky ones have met him, touched him, have heard and seen him.
Such is the faith of Hindus in our beliefs of Karma and reincarnation, that when our deity is re-incarnated and is among us, we recognise the Godliness of such a human being and we worship him in real time. We have different THE burial procedure of a Muslim is designed to be executed as quickly as possible with minimal expense.
The general time between death and the completion of the burial is 3 to 4 hours.
This practice started in the old days due to hygiene reasons.
Upon death, the required legal documents are arranged and a Muslim burial organisation is contacted.
The burial organisation will conduct the necessary arrangements for the burial.
These include bathing the body of the deceased. Also, shrouding the deceased in white cloth and names for our deities because deities are re-incarnated as Vishnu, Shiva, Hanuman and, my favourite, Lord Ganesha.
I remember as a child, I used to hear a lot of criticism about Hindus who worshipped Sai Baba.
It was said that Hindus are praying to man, like you and me.
Was Jesus not a man, like you and me, among the people?
The only difference between Hindus worshipping Sai Baba now and Christians worshipping Jesus, is that they failed to recognise Jesus in the flesh, while he lived among them.
And about us praying to idols, I see statues and pictures of Mother Mary and Jesus in churches and in homes. The human nature is such that it needs to look at the Gods to believe they actually exist – hence arranging the grave. We shroud the body as a sign of privacy and respect to the deceased and his or her family.
Once the body is bathed and shrouded, the deceased is brought back to the funeral home, while the grave site is being prepared.
During this time, people come to the funeral home to pray for the deceased and console the grieving family.
The deceased is then taken to the mosque where the funeral prayer is conducted by a Muslim religious leader known as an Imam.
After the funeral prayer, the deceased is taken to the graveyard for burial. the statues.
If you are praying via a statue to God, is it not the same as praying via Jesus – the son of God – to God.
It is not about the medium of prayer but about the faith in God and the trust that one’s prayers will be answered.
Both religions have a lot in common but are interpreted differently or even criticised. I do, however, admire the Christians and the manner in which they welcome anyone into church.
I especially like to mention, we Hindus have given a lot to the world such as yoga, meditation and beautiful greetings but we can learn about having fellowship from the Christians.
I notice that we, Hindus seldom greet each other when we are at the temple. We just go about
The deceased is placed in the grave without a coffin. A row of planks is placed over the body, so that sand does not fall directly on the body and the grave is then filled with sand.
The Qur’an is recited as a blessing for the deceased and the participants pray for the deceased’s forgiveness.
This concludes the burial procedure.
For three days thereafter, people will visit the funeral home to console and offer support to the bereaved family. Muslims are not allowed to cremate their deceased as it is deemed an act of dishonour to the deceased person. our business, as if the other patrons are not there.
Christians will even greet a stranger with a handshake and say “God bless you”.
Hindus have such profound greetings – “Namaste, Vanakkam Namaskarum”. These words mean “The Deity (Theyvam or God) in me greets the Deity (Theyvam or God) in you”, according to Tamil scholars Kessie Naidoo and Kantha Dharmarlingam.
In the name of preserving our culture, let’s greet each other with these profound words.
As for Karma – I swear by it. It also works in the working world.
As soon as employees know that they are accountable for their actions and their bonus and salary increase (rewards) depends on their performance, the blame game stops and employees strive to be the best. KARNAGIE GOVENDER