Attending A Muslim Funeral
Muslims strive to bury the deceased as soon as possible after death therefore it is not unusual for the funeral to take place that same day or the next.
The main steps involved are washing the body of the deceased, shrouding it, performance of the funeral prayer and finally burial. The first two steps are performed only by selected relatives and community members. The funeral prayer is a Muslim ritual which must be performed by Muslims, though observers are most welcome.
Can a non Muslim attend a Muslim Funeral?
Yes indeed. There are some matters however one should be aware of when attending the funeral.
The dress code for men and women should be modest. This means a shirt and trousers for men and an ankle length skirt, which should not be tight or transparent, together with a long sleeved and high-necked top for the women. A headscarf is also essential for women. Shoes are removed before going into the prayer hall. Clean and presentable socks, stockings, or tights are therefore a good idea.
The funeral prayer
The congregation will form rows behind the deceased coffin to perform the Funeral prayer. It should be noted here that the funeral prayer is performed for the deceased and not to the deceased. Following its completion the congregation will form two lines and pass the coffin along from shoulder to shoulder taking it towards the grave site.
Visitors are welcome to follow the congregation as they move the coffin towards the grave however a short distance should be kept thereby allowing the congregation walking space to carry the coffin.
Once at the grave the coffin will be lowered, usually by members of the family, and the grave filled. The Imam will then say a few final prayers at the graveside and following this, the congregation will disperse.
The immediate members of the family will most likely remain at the graveside for a short while longer; this may be an opportune time for visitors to convey their condolences if they so wish.