- 15 funerals a day due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Many of the dead are immigrants, and some don’t have family in the United States.
The impacts of COVID-19 can be found in all aspects of daily life, and unfortunately also in the rituals of death.
What is supposed to be a peaceful, reflective moment for grieving Muslim families has given way to a chaotic rhythm.
In Brooklyn, Al-Rayaan Muslim Funeral Services used to perform 20 funerals per month. After the coronavirus outbreak, it now performs up to 15 funerals a day.
Packed up with funerals, many funeral homes, like Al-Rayaan, have had to rely on refrigerated trucks to store the dead since social distancing restrictions, along with a dramatic spike in the number of deaths in the city, slowed down the pace of burials.
“The earth is waiting. Allah is asking for that person to be buried as soon as possible. You never want that grave to wait for you,” Zafar Iqbal, who owns Al-Rayaan with his brother in law, Imtiaz Ahmed, told New York Times.
Islam calls for respecting human beings whether alive or dead.
A Muslim’s dead body should be immediately taken to a mortuary for washing and preparation.
Two or three adult Muslims should wash the body and then put on the shroud (kafan). Before the burial, Muslims should perform a funeral prayer.
The burial should be done as soon as possible. It is makruh (reprehensible) to delay the burial of the dead.