Funeral rites in Islam
Sunday 25th May
Apart from being one of the world’s three main monotheist religions, Islam is also a set of social and legal rules that regulate the life and conduct of Muslims from birth until death. The ritual that Islam and its holy book, the Koran, instruct the faithful to observe during the process of death and burial is normally divided into five phases.
Islamic funeral rituals begin when the person enters their final throes, during which the dying person is normally accompanied by his closest family and friends, who quietly recite alongside him their profession of faith, whispering it into his ear so that he may mutter it ensuring that it is the last thing he says. Once the dying person releases his last breath, which is when his soul finally leaves his body, his body is washed by a member of the community with sufficient knowledge, as it is necessary to follow an exact ritual that not everyone knows. This ritual washing of the body is followed by the shrouding, in which the deceased is wrapped in an odd number of white canvas sheets. Once shrouded, the body is placed in the coffin, which is normally as simple as possible, as it is discarded at the moment of burial when the body is placed directly in the ground. The funeral prayers may be said either at the place where the person has died or in the cemetery, for which a precise ritual must also be followed, with the imam leading the prayers. According to Islamic beliefs, the dead person must be buried as soon as possible after death and cremation is prohibited.
After a brief explanation of each of these phases, we will end with a tour of the various known cemeteries of Andalusí Granada, describing their situation and characteristics.