The Attitude To Death In Muslim Culture

Death is seen as a normal event that happens to all people whether we like it or not. Many different cultures and religions go about death and grief in many different ways, ways some might not even understand. For instincts one culture might hold a funeral while others do not. For a few cultures, people will hold a funeral or ceremony to commemorate the person who has passed on. An example of this is death and funerals in a Middle Eastern, Muslim culture. While I could focus on just a Muslim funeral some might have slightly different ways of doing certain things even though in is somewhat still in the same category.

For example, funerals for Muslim Iraqis might be different from funerals from Muslims living in Nigeria. In my case witnessing a funeral is a very eye-opening event to attend which unfortunately I had to. This rite of passage was very different from what I understood about Western funerals, which is what an only knew about. During this rite of passage mourning and crying never stopped throughout the whole funeral this was because many of the family members could not stop the tears from pouring out at this tragic event. All the people that attended the funeral wore black as a sign of mourning for at least forty days. The most interesting part of the funeral was the way the body of the dead was treated in Islam.

My family members washed the body, wrapped it in white cloth like material and sent him away to the burial site. On the way, they stopped by a Mosque to pray which is mandatory in Islam after a person passes on. One we arrived at the burial site, the men placed the body into the earth facing Mecca-the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad. After the funeral was over the wife of the person who has passed on goes through something called an “Iddah”. This means that she cannot leave her house, re-marry, or wear any jewelry for exactly 4 months and 10 days as it is stated in the Holy Quran. There are some exemptions to this for example is the widow is in need to see a doctor or needs to attend work to help support her family. Experiencing this was very touching and emotional for someone like me who even though I was not close to the person that had passed on it still gave that raw emotion that moves you and makes you understand why people go through this kind of mourning.

Like I stated before I have never been exposed to this type of funeral which made it even more interesting to observe and take in how each individual from the wife of the desisted to the people simple working at the burial cite all came together during a time like this. I believe that this rite of passage transformed the person from a living person on earth to a soul heading to the afterlife like it is believed in the religion of Islam. Due to the fact that Muslims believe that the soul with go to either Heaven or Hell makes the rite of passage more understandable due to the body transforming from living to dead.

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