Beliefs about death and dying, and life after death

Muslims believe in life after death when, on the Last Day, the dead will come back to life to be judged by Allah (God). Some will reside in Paradise, others in Hell. 

Rituals and customs around death and dying

Ritual washing is usually performed by the family or close friends at the Mosque, funeral directors or cemetery. They will wrap the body in a clean cloth or shroud. 

Muslims are buried, not cremated, ideally within 24 hours of the death. The deceased is buried without a coffin. If this is not possible, a plain coffin is used. 

The grave is aligned to enable the body of the person who has died to be placed on its right side facing the holy city of Mecca. Muslim graves are usually unmarked but, to meet UK requirements, a simple headstone is used.

Expressions of grief and the mourning period

Muslims believe that death is a part of Allah’s plan; grief and sadness may be expressed as long as one does not begin to wail, lament or question the decision of Allah.

There is an official mourning period of three days when the family will remain at home and be brought food by friends and relatives. 

People often confuse culture with religion. Islam actually encourages us to talk about our grief and share our emotions and experiences. However, in South Asian culture there are many barriers.

Farhana, who is a volunteer with the Muslim Bereavement Support Service

Support organisations

Our grateful thanks for their input into this resource to:

Mohammed Omer MBE, Gardens of Peace

Visit our page: How we can support you for more on our services.

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