How Should I Behave at an Islamic Funeral?

An Islamic funeral is a sacred ritual that involves the entire community. The funeral often begins before the individual has passed. Friends and family stay bedside, praying and comforting their loved ones. After passing, the community gathers to pray for the decedent and others who have passed. The mosque encourages all congregation members, even those who did not know the decedent, to participate in the funeral. So, how are you expected to behave at such a solemn event?

At Callaghan Mortuary & Livermore Crematory, we have over 100 years of experience helping families of all faiths say goodbye to their loved ones. Over that time, we have learned a thing or two. Here are some handy tips and info to help you navigate a funeral for a Muslim.

What Is an Islamic Funeral Like?

As mentioned before, the funeral starts before the decedent actually passes. However, the early stages of the funeral are often private. After the passing, family members transport the decedent’s body to the mosque for a service. This is the part of the funeral you are most likely to attend.

The entire Islamic community in that area often attends the funeral. It is a quiet event, so there is no conversation. The reading and recitation of prayers is often the only sound, so there is no music. Custom does permit crying, but the community frowns upon wailing, the ripping of clothes, and sacrilegious speech.

How Long Does an Islamic Funeral Last?

Islamic traditions say that the burial of an individual must happen as soon as possible (usually within 24 hours of death). This means there are no viewings, visitations, or wakes. The prayer service at the mosque and the burial are the only public services for most Islamic funerals.

These short ceremonies usually last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. After the burial, guests go to the house of the decedent’s family. Once there, the family prepares a meal, and guests can interact. This gathering usually lasts for the entire day.

What Should I Wear to the Funeral of a Muslim?

What you wear to an Islamic funeral is also very important. White is the color of humility and is often worn by the closest family members. Darker colors like grey, brown or black are also common. However, you should avoid bright colors or flashy jewelry. Both men and women should dress modestly and avoid tight-fitting garments. For men, a shirt and trousers are acceptable. Women should wear an ankle-length skirt or dress and a shirt that covers all skin above the wrist. You should avoid wearing makeup, but if you do use some, make sure it is skin tone and not bright or colorful.

Our Livermore Mortuary Is Here With the Help Your Family Needs

As you observe the customs and rituals of friends and family, remember to be respectful. If you have more questions, we have an Islamic Traditions Page to help, or you can call the family of the decedent and ask about their mourning preferences. We are here to help you honor the loved ones you have lost.