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The mode and manner of an Islamic burial

Question:

What do  expert scholars say about a certain method of burial: the Muslim community of Gravesham have struggled for many years to find a place for Muslim burial. A private company are willing to provide burial space but are prevented by the Environmental Agency to bury straight in the ground due to contamination.

They will provide a polypropylene chamber with soil on the bottom. The whole chamber will be lowered in the grave and soil will be back filled in the grave. Question is this acceptable in Islam?

Answer:

We live in a country that has different rules in different regions. So, it is important that we them as long as the minimum requirements of the Shari’ah are met, in the case of burial: shrouding the body with the “kaffan” (two pieces of white cloth). So, in this case, there are no issues which go against the Shari’ah by using polypropylene chambers. Since the chamber is lowered into the ground, envelops the body and then soil is placed on top of it.

Allah (Glorified Be He) explains in the Qur’an:”  وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ(Al-Isra’ 17:70)

“And We have honoured the children of Adam…” Humanity has been honoured by Allah and that honour is in both life and death. It is a duty upon the living to ensure that the dead amongst us are given the correct burial. If the ground could be contaminated by the body and the use of polypropylene chambers prevents that, then we must use the chamber for the greater good of others.

The Islamic Fiqh teaches:

“Honouring a dead Muslim is as it is honouring him when he is alive ”

” حُرمة المسلم ميتًا كحُرمته حيًّا

So, use the ground being provided to you.

And Allah knows best.

Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari
Director of British Fatwa Council