There are many rituals that are performed whilst the body is being prepared for burial and when it is buried. Firstly the body is washed in scented water. It is a complete wash of the body and is called ghusl. Men prepare a deceased man’s body and women prepare a deceased woman’s body due to modesty. This takes place at the mosque or at home. Next, the body is anointed with scents and is dressed in a white robe of unsewn sheets. Men are wrapped in three sheets and women are wrapped in five sheets.
If the person has been on pilgrimage to Mecca then the sheets, the ihram that they wore and were dipped in the waters of the holy well of zam zam and is usually used. The head is left uncovered and prayers are said. Both the rich and the poor are treated the same as they are equal before Allah. The body is then taken in procession to be buried in a cemetery. In Muslim countries a coffin is not used and the grave is therefore dug to fit the size of the body. This is because muslims believe that it is important to be in contact with the earth.
However, if the body is buried in a non Muslim country and a coffin is used, the lid is usually left off. The body is buried with the right side of the face turning to the right and facing Mecca and the kaaba. Muslims are only allowed one body per grave and it is therefore preferable if muslims have their own cemeteries. Muslims do not believe in cremation and therefore the body is not cremated because muslims believe that the dead will have their bodies restored on the day of judgement.
As the body is lowered into the grave they say, ‘In the name of God we commit you to the earth according to they way of the prophet of God’. As the grave is filled in and earth is thrown down, passages from the Quran are recited in Arabic. Prayers are then said for the family of the deceased. As mourners walk away from the grave, they turn and recite the kalimah to ensure the dead person does not forget their religion. Muslims believe that life has two parts; they are life on earth and life after death. Life after death or akhirah is when the body is brought back to life by Allah.
Muslims believe that life on earth is a test. Whilst on earth, every action that a muslim does and every word that a muslim speaks is recorded in by the two angels that sit on the shoulders of a muslim. This affects the way a muslim lives because muslims try and stay on the right path and try not do any bad deeds that may lead them astray. On the day of judgement, muslims will stand before Allah, who will present a book to each person. If the book is in the right hand then the person will enter heaven, jannat and if the book is in the left hand then the person will enter hell, jahannum.
This also affects the way a muslim lives their life because a muslim will pray more, read the Quran, go to the mosque more often do the five pillars and follow the example of Muhammed all so that they can show submission to Allah and enter heaven. Life after death is eternal and there are only two outcomes after being judged by Allah. Everyone will be judged only on their deeds and their faith and this affects a muslim because it encourages them to believe and have faith in Allah as they believe that in doing so they will hopefully live in heaven for eternity.
Muslims have been given guidance through the prophets, especially Muhammed and all have been shown they way to Allah so this affects the way a muslim lives their life as they have to resist temptation and try to stay on the right path. Some muslims would agree with this statement because once you are dead your life is over so there is no point in dwelling on what may or may not happen once you die and live life to the full.
Also, many muslims find it had to think about what is actually going to happen as no one is sure what will occur on the day of judgement. No one can expect to know what jannat is going to be like or what jahannum is going to be like. On the other hand some muslims would disagree with this statement because life on earth is very short compared to life after death, eternity. Life on earth is a test and muslims believe that they were born for a reason. This reason is to test and see how much faith a muslim has in Allah and whether they show submission to Allah.
Also, it is a test to see whether muslims can resist temptation and stay on the right path so by thinking about life after death, a muslim can be aware of their actions and can stick to the right path in order to avoid an eternity in hell. However I think that thinking about life after death is not a waste of time because by thinking about it, it means that you have faith and believe in Allah but at the same time thinking about life after death all the time is a waste as muslims should be concentrating on the good deeds that they can do in order fro them to spend eternity in heaven as life after death is unknown.