Mus­lim burial cus­toms

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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

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