Islamic Funerals

Care for the Dying

At a time where a Muslim is near death it is recommended that the last words they utter in this world be "La illaha ilallah" or "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah", for this declaration of faith is their last act as a Muslim should they be able to perform it. Family and friends are usually called upon for recitation of the Quran, remembrance of God's mercy and forgiveness, as well as comfort to those grieving.

Once a Muslim has passed, the eyes of the deceased should be closed and they should be covered in a clean white sheet temporarily as funeral arrangements are being made. At this time it is normal to feel grief and sorrow while one comes to terms with the death of a loved one. However, excessive wailing and screaming to the point of tearing one's clothes is not allowed. As the Prophet Mohammed (saw) once said after the passing of his own son: "The eyes shed tears and the heart is grieved, but we will not say anything except which pleases our Lord". As with all difficulties in life, one should strive to remain humble and patient and remember Allah (swt) at all times.

A Muslim should be buried at immediately, if possible. For this reason, Sher Azam Funeral Directors Limited has a seven day a week service for our users.

One should avoid disrupting the body even if an autopsy must be performed. The focus is to be careful for the body and have respect for the deceased.


There is a three day mourning period between loved ones and family members of the deceased excluding the spouse. As in accordance with the Quran 2:234, spouses observe a mourning period of four months and ten days; the term for this in Islam is called idah. During this time widows cannot wear decorative clothing or jewellery, remarry or move from their home.

Washing and Shrouding

Normally a family member or a member of the community should assist in the ablution and shrouding of the deceased. Facilities are available in our building in Preston Street, Bradford.

The deceased should be washed with clean and scented water similar to when a Muslim prepares for prayer. A Muslim is to be buried wrapped in a clean white cloth called a kafan. (The only time a Muslim is not buried in a Kafan is when they die as a martyr and they are buried in the clothes in which they died.)

Funeral Prayers

Once the body is taken to where funeral prayers will be held (also known as Salat-i-Janazah) the community gathers and the prayer leader, also known as an imam, will stand in front of the deceased as everyone in the congregation is directly behind him. In a funeral prayer there is no bowing or prostration like in the five daily prayers, but most of it is performed silently except for a few words.


Only males may attend the actual burial of the deceased. It is not encouraged for the body of a Muslim to be transported to another city or country to be buried. This is because it may cause delays and the body may require embalming. If permitted by law, the deceased is buried without a coffin facing on their right side towards Mecca. One is discouraged from erecting highly ornate tombstones or markers, or putting elaborate flowers or mementos on the grave; it is better to donate money to good causes so that the living may benefit. One should remember Allah(swt) and ask for mercy and forgiveness of the deceased.

A Muslim has only one life, and only one chance to perform acts of righteousness and faith which would please Allah(swt). However, the Prophet(saw) once advised that there are three things which will continue to benefit a person even after they have passed away: 1) charity given during their life which will continue to help others; 2) spreading knowledge from which people continue to benefit from; and 3) having a righteous child who will continue to pray for them in this world.

Inna lillahi wa inna illahi raji'oun
"From Allah (swt) we have come and to Allah (swt) we return"

More Information - Books

To learn more, please click here for books on Islamic funeral rites at Amazon UK. They stock the widest selection of titles related to the Muslim faith in the country.

For general books on Islam, go here. All of the ones in stock can be delivered to you quickly and at relatively low cost.