The soul of a dead believer will remain in chains until his debts have been settled. Prophet Muhammad, according to Imam Ahmad
The beginning of life for a Muslim is the diffusion of the soul in the human embryo. Death is considered to be a sad and distressing event, but not catastrophic.
Muslim philosophy is based on a doctrine of justice and equality. Consequently, salvation is determined by how people have lived their earthly lives.
Being a Muslim does not by itself guarantee entry to paradise. After physical death there will be a judgement, followed by a verdict of fair punishment or deserved reward.
Everyone should prepare for their own death to make it less traumatic for themselves and loved ones. You should settle debts, say goodbye to family and write your will,...
The following are important factors in the wellbeing of the deceased in the next life:
- To have done a charitable work.
- To have left a cultural legacy for the community.
- To have a virtuous son who can beg for divine clemency for his parents.
In addition, there should be a will that includes all debts and outlines, in accordance with Islamic law, an equitable division of the inheritance between heirs.
Islamic law is very clear on areas such as usufruct, debt, compulsory heirs, division of inheritances and length of time widows must wait before remarrying (to ensure they are not pregnant by their deceased husband),...
Caring for the dying:
Close relatives and loved ones should accompany the dying. They should calm, encourage and listen to their last wishes.
Although not obligatory under Islamic law, the following can be beneficial for the dying:
- Orienting the body towards Quibla (Mecca).
- Reciting verses from the Koran. At the moment of death the following can be whispered in the dead person's ear: "There is no other god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet".
- Mentioning the Profession of Faith (Shahada) in a quiet voice.
- All jewelry, rings and amulets (in certain countries) should be removed from the dying to ease their passage into the kingdom of shadows.
After the last breath, when the soul leaves the body, a Muslim relative should:
- Close the mouth.
- Close the eyes.
- Cover the body with a piece of cloth.
- Cover the face to avoid the sight of grieving relatives.
Deaths must be reported and dead people's last wishes must be followed as long as they are not against Islamic principles.
- Funeral bath (Gusul): The dead person is bathed in accordance with Islamic law. If this is not possible, the "Taiammum" (dry bath) is performed.
- Shrouding of the body: Three white cloths are required to shroud a man. Two white cloths, plus three other pieces, are required to shroud a woman. The cloths should be new and made of normal material.
Once the body has been shrouded, it should be placed in a simple coffin.
Using candles is not an Islamic custom.
- Funeral prayer: This, like the shrouding of the body, is a FARD KIFAIA (responsibility of the community). This prayer is essential; it comprises various sections and should be recited standing up.
- Funeral procession: The dead should be accompanied until burial.
Mourners should pray for the dead person's soul and consider the meaning of death.
Moving a dead person's remains to another city is strongly censured.
- Burial: The dead are not buried with the coffin. The head should be tilted to the right, looking towards Mecca.
Cremations, organ donations and post-mortem examinations are not allowed.
Funeral vaults and elaborate graves are similarly disallowed.
All of the above restrictions show how Islam tends toward the practical. The Earth's resources are respected and used for the common good. Money spent unnecessarily on the dead harms the living.