Muslims issue new guidelines for burial procedures
Muslims who die of Covid-19 will not be subjected to the ritual washing procedures to prevent possible infection and spread of the virus.
This follows a resolution by the National Muslim Covid-19 response committee as part of new measures to be adopted by its faithful during the coronavirus crisis in handling of the bodies, conducting of the funeral prayers and burial procedures.
The Committee’s chairperson Prof Muhammad Karama said that Ghusl (ritual washing of the deceased) should not be undertaken to bodies of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
He also said that all Covid-19 home deaths must be reported through the toll free number 719 for government assessment before the team engage in the burial procedures.
“It has been unanimously agreed that Muslims who die as a result of Covid-19 will not be subjected to the ritual washing procedures (ghusl) to prevent possible infection and spread of the disease,” said Prof Karama in a statement, as he appealed to Muslims across the country to adhere to the government directive to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
To effect the new directives, the chairman said that a team of volunteers in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Bungoma have been identified and trained on handling deceased cases of Covid-19 victims.
He explained that the volunteers, who will be in appropriate personal protection equipment, will provide assistance in the handling of the deceased cases and will ensure that the bodies of Muslims will be wrapped in white sheets and placed in a biodegradable sealed body bags before being transported to the burial areas.
Prof Karama said the committee will be at hand to provide necessary assistance, in the event of a Covid-19 death either at the hospital or at home, regarding the handling of the bodies, transportation and burial procedures.
Mr Karama pointed out that the Committee is coordinating with scholars and Imams in Mombasa with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) set to play a coordinating role in ensuring that the information will be cascaded to the counties.
The chair stated that the Response Team has put in place various teams to facilitate preparedness and management of the effects of the pandemic with the committees including body handling, janazah (burial) welfare and resource mobilization, home based care, and psycho-socio support.
He pointed out that a team of psychiatrists and psychologists have been put in place to provide counselling and psycho-social support to the families of the deceased.
The Committee lauded the efforts by health workers who are in the frontline in trying to save the lives of those afflicted by Covid-19 calling them, “heroes and heroines of this country”.
“Their laudable actions of sacrifice are akin to saving the whole of mankind as the Qur’an states, whoever saves the life of one human being, it shall be as if he had saved the whole of humankind,” he said.
At the same time, the Committee appealed to the government to provide special consideration to Muslims to feed the less fortunate during the forthcoming holy month of Ramadhan which is due in less than two weeks.
“While we are cognizant to the ban on food distribution due to the vulnerable members of the society due to the arising concerns on the spread of Covid-19, Muslims already have in place structures for food distribution which is normally done directly to the homes of the beneficiaries,” said Prof Karama.
He said the distribution will be undertaken by volunteers who adhere to protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of Covid-19.