Question: As Muslims, we don’t delay in burying our dead… why is that so and what’s the Islaamically acceptable duration of keeping a dead body ‘waiting’ before burying it? Also, what is the ruling regarding keeping the body of a Muslim frozen at a mortuary until the time of burial comes? Lastly, why do we, as Muslims, have our own cemeteries?
1. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) instructed that the deceased be interred without delay. The Hadeeth further mentions that hastening the burial of a pious deceased is to quickly pass the deceased to its abode of peace and rest, whilst hastening the burial of an evil person is to quickly free us from the effects of the deceased’s evil.
2. There is no specific time of waiting. As soon as the mayyit has been given the ghusl and kafan the burial should commence. If, for example a person passes away in the afternoon, his burial should not be postponed till the next day. The burial should be during the night.
3. It is not permissible to keep the body in a mortuary frozen.
4. The Shariah instructs us to have our cemetery away from the cemetery of the kuffaar who are inflicted with chastisement in their graves. When we enter a cemetery we make Du’aa for the deceased. The Muslim cemetery will therefore have to be apart from the kuffaar cemetery.
Furthermore, in all aspects of life Muslims are distinguished from the kuffaar who are treacherous to their Rabb. The Aakhirat is the revelation of that treachery and of the difference between the Believers and non-believers. It is, therefore, only logical that in the first phase of the Aakhirat Muslims should be separated from the kuffaar. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.