| Muslims prefer to bury the body of
the deceased within 24 hours. The deceased is placed with their head facing
the Muslim holy city of Makkah. The body is then ritually washed. Muslims
prefer this ritual to be performed by family or close friends rather than
by hospital staff or undertakers. Male relatives will wash male bodies and
female relatives will wash female bodies.|
After the ritual washing, the body is wrapped in a shroud. This is usually white. The salat for the dead, 'salat ul janaza', is then performed. This takes the form of the usual Muslim daily salat prayers with some special additions which specifically relate to death. The ceremony usually takes place in the family home and is led either by someone the deceased chose before their death, a close relative or the family imam. It is generally accepted that Muslim funerals should be as respectful as possible without being extravagant. It is forbidden to cremate the body of a Muslim. Muslims are buried with their face turned to the right, facing Makkah. Members of the funeral party throw a little earth onto the grave while reciting "We created you from it, and return you into it, and from it we will raise you a second time", surah 20:55 from the Qur'an. Graves are raised above ground level and ostentation is discouraged.
Gravestones are kept simple, marked only by the deceased's name and date of death. Many Muslims will spend money on the poor rather than on an elaborate memorial stone. Official mourning lasts for 3 days and includes a banquet to remember the deceased. On the third day relatives visit the grave and recite extracts from the Qur'an.
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