There are about six million Muslims in the United States. Immigrants represent 60% of Muslim and 40% are African American and Hispanic converts to Islam as adults, their parents, relatives and friends are usually non-Muslim, and may have strong emotions concerning a loved one who has left the religion of their birth. As service providers we must be more sensitive to the emotional issues that can arise when a Muslim requests to be buried Islamically and their non-Muslim family, friends and relatives object to burial requirements which may differ greatly from their own.
At the time of near death when the soul starts to separate from the body, those around a dying Muslim should persuade him/her to mention the Shahada (There is no God but Allah). This is based on the following hadith "Teach your departing people to say: There is no God but One".
As soon as the soul leaves the body, people around the deceased should do the following:
Mourning the deceased for three days is permitted. Uncovering the face of the deceased or kissing him is not forbidden. however, it is prohibited to express extreme emotion such as beating cheeks, tearing clothes, stamping feet, pulling the hair or express grief by wailing. It is acceptable to announce the death to increase the number of those praying for the deceased.
WASHING THE BODY
It is obligatory for Muslims to wash the body. Males should wash males and females should wash females. If the Muslim client can not identify anyone to assist in this obligation, your local masjid probably will have a established committee who will perform this service.
There is a brief Islamic service and prayer reading at the masjid, and at the grave site. The Islamic funeral procedure and practices can stir up deep emotions for non-Muslim family members. Counselors must be sensitive to the issues raised by the family. Work also with the local masjid on counseling non-Muslim family members. Most masjids have a social service member or Imam available to answer additional or complicated questions.
Most Muslims are affiliated with and attend on a regular basis a local masjid. HIV+ Muslims should have on record with their primary CBO/hospital the following information:
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