Rights & Customs

How to Organize a Muslim Funeral

The Taj Mahal is a famous Islamic mausoleum.

The Taj Mahal is a famous Islamic mausoleum.

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by Contributing Writer

Organizing a Muslim funeral requires strict adherence to Islamic funerary traditions. Following the pre-established guidelines will ensure the washing of the body, service, and funeral are carried out in the appropriate Muslim manner.

Step 1

Immediately upon the death of your loved one, contact an Islamic leader, or Imam, to conduct the funeral service. If you do not know a leader, call your local Islamic community center for guidance.

Step 2

Wash the body of the deceased. Washing the body will cleanse it in preparation for burial. Begin by removing all clothing except what is covering private areas. Wash the body with clean water and a cloth, beginning on the right side of the body and moving toward the left. Clean the teeth and the nose. Wash the hair and brush it thoroughly; braid it in two separate braids for women and leave loose for men.

Step 3

Cleanse the body three times; however, if the body needs more cleansing, wash the body an odd number of times.

Step 4

Dry the body with a towel. Add perfume to various parts of the body, including the neck, armpits, hands and knees.

Step 5

Wrap the body entirely. Make sure each piece of cloth covers the body. Tie the ends, being sure that you can differentiate between the head and the feet. Apply perfume to the cloth.

Step 6

Pray for the deceased, following the Imam's guidance. Burial prayers must be done while standing. Mourners should pass by the body without crying.

Step 7

Bury the body. Deceased Muslims are buried in a deep grave with two pits, one inside the other, with the body facing Mecca. It is customary to cover the small pit with bricks and three shovels of dirt, and the second pit with dirt.


  • Only use clean, warm water to wash the body.
  • Use three pieces of wrapping cloth for men and five for women.


  • Only men are allowed to wash a deceased male's body, and only women are allowed to wash a deceased female's body. Minors are exceptions to this rule. A spouse may perform the washing only if the need arises.

About the Author

Natalie Chardonnet began writing in 2006, specializing in art, history, museums and travel. In 2010, she presented a paper on those subjects at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research. Chardonnet has a Bachelor of Arts in art history and a minor in Italian studies from Truman State University, in addition to a certificate in French from Ifalpes University in Chambery, France.

Photo Credits

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