Muslim funerals in the pandemic – What you should know

In such difficult times where due to the disastrous situation we are in, many people are passing away and the number of funerals we must carry out and perform is still really high. So this article explains how many people can actually attend a funeral and how it might differ as the circumstances change.

gravestones and funeral

Is there a limit on the number of people attending funerals during the coronavirus pandemic?

Currently, the government of the United Kingdom only allows close friends and family of the deceased to attend funerals and if a limit was to be placed, it would be on a maximum of 30 people attending.

Abu Huraira RA narrated: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The rights of a Muslim on the Muslims are to follow the funeral processions, to accept invitation and to reply to the one who sneezes.”

Although it is a right as mentioned by our beloved Prophet SAW that the dead should have Muslims who follow his funeral, we have been restricted by the law of the land and should not break this law as it would put the safety of people at risk.

What are the social distancing rules at funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is said that different households should not mix as they have quarantined separately, ate different foods and shared different facilities and coming together increases the risk of the transmission of the disease.

Those who are extremely vulnerable and more prone to becoming ill should be taken extra care of and it would be best if they did not attend at all. A safe distance of a few steps or 2 metres should be kept in between people and a face covering of some kind, either a face mask or a veil (niqaab) should be worn.

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When it is said that a total of 30 people can attend the funeral at this moment in time, this is dependent on the size of the place of the funeral or the venue. Due to this, the maximum number of people allowed to attend may be much lower.

If someone does not have the coronavirus themselves but has someone in their household who has it and are being quarantined, then it is better if they stay at home. The same goes for those who are shielding someone in their family. Processes can be put in place however, to allow mourners to attend and pay their respects and pray for the deceased.

concept of funeral
Close View of Headstone In Cemetery With Red Rose Flower. Concept Of Funeral, Death And Loss.

Mourning for the dead

Muhammad bin Sirin narrated: One of the sons of Um ‘Atiyya died, and when it was the third day she asked for a yellow perfume and put it over her body, and said, “We were forbidden to mourn for more than three days except for our husbands.”

Zainab bint Abi Salama narrated: When the news of the death of Abu Sufyan reached from Sham, Um Habiba on the third day, asked for a yellow perfume and scented her cheeks and forearms and said, “No doubt, I would not have been in need of this, had I not heard the Prophet saying: “It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days for any dead person except her husband, for whom she should mourn for four months and ten days.”

Al-Mughira narrated: I heard the Prophet saying, “Ascribing false things to me is not like ascribing false things to anyone else. Whosoever tells a lie against me intentionally then surely let him occupy his seat in Hell-Fire.” I heard the Prophet saying, “The deceased who is wailed over is tortured for that wailing.”

What to do if you attend a funeral?

After attending a funeral, take these precautions:

  1. Wash your hands – you must wash your hands as soon as you return home.
  2. Use soap or anti-bacterial wipes – this is to make sure all dirt and germs are properly removed
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose – this can easily help the spread and consumption of the disease
  4. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze – this is to prevent a further spread if you did happen to get the virus
  5. Don’t touch anything until after you have washed your hands properly – touching counter tops and utensils and other items will lead to a spread if you have caught the disease and have not washed it away using soap or disinfectant
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What actions to carry out to reduce the risk of infection at a funeral

  • Advice should be given to those attending the funeral to make their way either in their own car with their household members, or within their support bubble.
  • It is best to avoid using public transport such as buses and taxis etc, as the mode of transport could already be contaminated or you could contaminate it if you may happen to have the virus.
  • Advice should also be given to those attending the funeral that there are people in the gathering who have a high risk of catching the disease and some are extremely vulnerable.

Conclusion

It was narrated from Salamah bin ‘Ubaidullah bin Mihsan Al-Ansari that his father said:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘Whoever among you wakes up physically healthy, feeling safe and secure within himself, with food for the day, it is as if he acquired the whole world.’”

Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4280

Make the most of the health Allah has blessed you with and look after yourself the best you can. We must pray for all those who have lost their lived to this pandemic and we must pray for ourselves and our family to be protected from these illnesses and diseases.

May Allah cure all those who are sick and grant the highest level of Paradise for those who have passed away.