Planning for a Muslim funeral by Golden Leaves Spain

Planning for a Muslim funeral by Golden Leaves Spain

THERE are many Muslims of different nationalities living abroad all over the world and like all expats, it is important to know that your funeral needs will be met.

Islamic funerals

Islamic funerals, or Janazah, mark the transition of a person into the afterlife.

Traditionally, the community comes together to comfort the family of the departed and pray for them.

In the Islamic faith, it is important for the deceased to be buried as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours, so the mosque and funeral director should be contacted as soon as possible. Under Islamic law, cremation is not allowed.


Before the funeral, the body of the deceased should be washed (Ghusl) three times and their hands placed as if they were in prayer, usually done by relatives of the same sex. The body is covered in white shrouds (kafan), laid upon other white sheets and taken to the mosque where the Muslim funeral service will be held, usually in the largest available communal area.

The shroud is secured with ropes; one above the head, two around the body, and one below the feet. There is no viewing of the body before the funeral.


Muslim funerals are very spiritual and during the service, the body of the deceased as well as the mourners face Mecca, men at the front, followed by children and women.

The service, usually between 30 and 60 minutes long, includes prayers and readings from the Quran, led by the imam, in which men must participate. The last prayer comes from the family, asking for forgiveness for the deceased. According to the Quran, Muslims will only be allowed entry into Paradise if their good deeds in life outweigh the bad.

Non-Muslims should remain quiet and listen to the prayers. Do not take photos or videos.

The deceased will then be taken to the burial ground with a silent procession following on.


The burial itself was traditionally only attended by men, although some communities are more flexible about this. Women usually visit the burial site the following day to pay their respects. Muslim graces should be at a right angle to the direction of Mecca with the deceased placed on their right side, to face the holy city.

Attendees are invited to drop a handful of earth into the grave and sometimes plants are put near the grave which friends and neighbours will water and keep tidy in future.

Wood and stones are placed on top of the body to prevent direct contact with the earth. The grave is usually covered simply by a mound of earth and marked with stones.

There are several Muslim cemeteries throughout Spain, which you can find out more about from the local Islamic community.


After the burial, the family usually invites guests back to their home where they can express their condolences. The community provides food for the family and their guests for at least the first three days. There is a period of mourning of up to 40 days during which it is customary to send food to the family.

Mourning for a widow is four months and 10 days in which she is not allowed to remarry or interact with men they could potentially marry, and should wear black. This allows time to come to terms with the death and rule out pregnancy.

Dress code

The dress code is conservative, men should wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. Women should wear clothes which cover their arms, legs and neck, as well as a headscarf. Shoes should be removed during prayer and clean socks or tights should be worn. Wear loose-fitting, dark-coloured clothes, with no patterns. Avoid jewellery and watches.


Golden Leaves can help you to arrange all the steps of a Muslim funeral service for your loved one and have experience in funerals regardless of faith or culture. We can also arrange repatriation of the body where necessary.

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Written by

David Arias