Muslim Funeral Service Traditions and Etiquette

No matter what religion or traditions it abides by, a funeral service is a ceremony that holds profound meaning and sentiment. Having familiarity with the customs and etiquette that a specific religion traditionally follows at a funeral service is vital, helping you know what to expect so you can best pay your respects the mourning family and loved ones of the decedent

If you will be attending a Muslim funeral service in the near future, you may have questions as to what etiquette the religion follows as well as the typical traditions it adheres to. This article will offer an in-depth guide to Muslim funeral traditions in, so you are prepared to pay your respects and offer support at a Muslim funeral service.

What Does Death Mean in the Islamic Religion? 

As Muslims practice the religion of Islam, a Muslim funeral service is also referred to as an Islamic funeral service.  If we look at the meaning of the word, Islam, we can have better insight into the religion and the role that death then plays. The word Islam translates to: “achievement of peace with Allah (God and aman, and complete resignation to Allah in thoughts, words, beliefs, and deed. “ Muslims believe that death is not an end, but a transition into afterlife. The goal is to have been a good person deemed worthy of entering Paradise. When a Muslim passes away, an Islamic funeral service service as an opportunity for loved ones to pay tribute and mourn for the deceased while appealing to the mercy of Allah to have forgiveness for the decedent’s soul and grant him or her entry into Paradise. 

What Takes Place Immediately After a Muslim’s Passing? 

In the Islamic religion, it is crucial for a decedent to be buried as quickly as possible after their passing. Therefore, there is usually no viewing, wake or visitation. After a Muslim individual dies, their eyelids are closed, their body is bathed and then covered by a shroud with their hands placed in a position of prayer. 

Where Does a Muslim Funeral Service Take Place?

A Muslim funeral service is an important event to the Muslim community that holds great spiritual meaning. While the funeral service can be held in a mosque, it is actually more common for it to be held in an outdoor space within the community such as a prayer room, community square or courtyard. In such an outdoor space, the whole community can take part in paying their respects to the deceased, no matter how closely related he or she was to the decedent.

Muslim Funeral Etiquette and Customs

It is accepted for non-Muslims to attend an Islamic funeral service. However, in certain communities, women are not allowed to attend either the funeral service or burial. At funeral services in which women are allowed to attend, men and women normally sit separately from each other. 

While expressing sadness through crying is accepted, Muslim funerals are typically very quiet and music is not usually played, nor does anyone converse with any other person. The duration of the funeral service is usually between 30 and 60 minutes. 

What Do You Wear to a Muslim Funeral Service? 

It is important that the clothing one wears to a Muslim funeral service reflects their high levels of respect for the occasion. For this reason, it is typical that Muslim funeral attire is modest, with subdued colors. White or dark or clothing may be worn, but bright ornaments such as colorful makeup or eye-catching prints on clothing should be refrained from. Men are to wear a shirt with trousers, while women wear a long sleeve shirt with a high neck, a skirt that reaches their ankles, and a head scarf to keep their hair and neck covered. It is common for non-Muslims in attendance to wear a headscarf to pay their respects.

Traditions After the Funeral Service 

As mentioned earlier, buring the decedent quickly after their passing is significant to the Muslim religion and is therefore, usually done so within a range of 1 to 3 days after their death. Cremation is typically not allowed in the religion and the body is not usually embalmed before burial as well. 

After the funeral service, Male muslims will carry the shrouded body of the decedent to be buried. The decedent’s grave is typically positioned to the right facing the direction of Mecca. 

What Can You Bring to a Muslim Funeral Service?

Food can be brought to the mourning family as long as the family’s dietary preferences are met and respected. It is typical for food to be brought after burial although it is accepted prior to burial as well. Flowers and gifts are usually only brought to the grieving family after the burial service. 

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