MIRI: Muslims who die due to Covid-19 cannot to be buried according to the usual funeral rites.
The Ministry of Health has strict guidelines that allow only specially-trained personnel to handle funeral arrangements for Muslims whose deaths were caused by infectious diseases.
A specialist in this area, Muhammad Hanafiyah, said it is really heartbreaking to carry out the standard operating procedures required for victims of infectious diseases.
“It is no doubt that the worry is always there when it comes to the effort to carry out funeral arrangements for such death cases related to infectious diseases.
“However, the burial rite is part of the Muslim community’s obligation of Fardu Kifayah. We will give our best by following the given specific guidelines to carry out the funeral service as last respects to those who gave their last breath due to Covid-19,” he told The Borneo Post on Tuesday.
Muhammad and his team were tasked on Monday with burying the first Covid-19 death reported at Miri Hospital — a 51-year-old woman from Limbang, who had close contact with a participant of the Tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque in Selangor.
Her body was laid to rest at Sungai Belubuh’s Muslim cemetery in Tukau.
“I couldn’t hold back my tears upon seeing the immediate family only able to witness the funeral service and reciting some prayers for their loved one from afar,” Muhammad revealed.
The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) has issued strict guidelines for the special funeral team on how to prepare the bodies of Muslim victims of infectious diseases.
The guidelines are based on the Ministry of Health’s advice, where the body is not allowed to be brought home or to the mosque for Solat Jenazah.
The specialist funeral team can only carry out dry ritual purification while the deceased is still encased in a body bag and without the need to dress the body with a shroud.
Family members are only allowed to witness their loved one’s burial ceremony at the cemetery from afar, with no reciting of the talkin (funeral rites) during the burial.
Meanwhile, Muhammad called on the public to do their part by staying at home to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Like the others, it is now a crucial time for all of us to play our role to stop the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. Members of public do not have to be the front liners, and the most important thing that the people should do is to obey the current movement control order by staying at home as well as following the health advisory guidelines on personal hygiene and social distancing,” he said.