What are the funeral rites of a Muslim during the pandemic of Covid-19?
Maintaining the dignity of a human being is a fundamental right that is preserved even after the individual has died. In order to ensure that the deceased is accorded dignity and respect, the Sharia has commanded the observance of funeral rites including the washing, shrouding and burial of the body.
However, in light of the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Muslims should strictly adhere to the guidelines provided by the local authorities for the funeral rites of anyone who dies during the pandemic. If the situation demands, it is obligatory to dispense with the Sharia stipulated funeral rites (Quran 2:185; 22:78). National guidelines given to contain the virus must be strictly adhered to throughout the funeral process. This is because of the Quranic stipulation which states, “Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction.” (2:195)
NHS guidelines have explained the risk in clear terms saying, ‘since there is a small but real risk of transmission from the body of a deceased person, mourners are strongly advised not to take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of a person who has died from or with symptoms of COVID-19’.