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Death and Funeral Rites of Muslims

4 politicians and a funeral --
Demirel (CHP), Ecevit (DSP), Erbakan (REFAH), Bahçeli (MHP)
4 politicians and a funeral -- (left to right) Demirel (CHP), Ecevit (DSP), Erbakan (REFAH), Bahçeli (MHP)
Thanks to Hürriyet Gazetesi

The Muslim Way of Death -- and Funeral Rites

Funeral ceremonies occur as soon as possible the day after death. (They are usually public and simple -- but rich folk's funerals can be elaborate.)

On the morning of the funeral, the body is brought to the cami where it is given a final wash. It's then placed in a white cloth 'body bag', and from there into a simple casket (or an elaborate one, depending). The closed casket is placed on a special stone slab in the garden of the cami. Funeral attendees gather in the garden and the hoca/imam says some prayers (~15 minutes), the attendees wipe their faces with their hands at the completion of the prayers. (Notably, women are not allowed into the first rank of mourners nearest the casket -- even if the deceased is a woman.) Then, the chosen non-women pallbearers come forward and lift the coffin onto their shoulders, and start off for the graveyard. Non-women friends of the deceased line up in back of the 'original' pallbearers and take turns carrying the casket on the way to the burial ground (The goal is that each friend of the 'deceased' should carry the casket part of the way to the gravesite).

Once there, the hoca/imam says some additional prayers (~15 minutes), the attendees wipe their faces with their hands at the completion of the prayers. (Once again, no women are permitted in the first rank of mourners.) The body is lowered into the grave, family members (and close friends) throw dirt onto casket, and then everyone goes on his/her way. When no one remains, the gravedigger fills the rest of the grave full with dirt.


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