Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: My question is about Islamic requirements for what to do after death. I just told my mother that I’m Muslim after converting from Christianity four years ago. My sister does not even know yet.
My father died many years ago when I was young. We all miss him very much.
Before my conversion, I wanted to be buried next to my father in the family grave. Now, since I’m Muslim, I’m not sure whether that is appropriate.
This problem has caused me a lot of thinking. I don’t like that the last thing I do to my mum is making her sad … She has a very soft heart and always gave everything she could to care for us. Now I intend to write a provision for the case of my death, a kind of directive for my beloved ones and Muslim friends. I think I should define to them how my funeral should be since my family has no idea what a funeral for a Muslim would require. If I died today, I think they would simply bury my remains in a usual Catholic funeral because that’s what they know.
However, I am helpless about the grave problem. It could possibly be given that the position of our family grave is in direction of the city of Mecca. But even if that would be the case, would it be Islamically permitted to bury me there? There is a crucifix on the gravestone. Also, it is usual in our region to bury bodies in several levels inside one grave. Moreover, in Germany, burial is only permitted by placing the dead body inside a coffin.
Could you please provide me with some information about the most important aspects that I should define in my directive, and some guidance regarding the graveyard problem?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states. May Allah reward you for your concern and steadfastness, and ease this situation for you.
Regarding the burial site, you should place in your directive for you to be buried in the Muslim cemetery. I understand the sensitivity of your situation, and I can appreciate your concerns for your mother. However, being buried amongst Muslims is one of the important general symbols (sha`a’ir) of Islam: we have our own ways of burial, based primarily on simplicity. Moreover, the presence of a crucifix at your family’s burial site is a major concern, as that is a powerful emblem of polytheism.
Do this for Allah’s sake, and turn to Him with regards to your mother and her feelings. Allah alone is in control of circumstances and people’s hearts, and He alone is to be relied upon. Always treat your mother with gentleness, care, concern and love, but do not compromise your principles or the boundaries laid down by Allah Most High. No one ever sacrifices something for Allah except that He gives them much more in return, in this life and the next.
Regarding general guidelines for your directive, please see the following link for a nice template that can be used:
It might be prudent to consult an attorney in your vicinity so as to make any necessary adjustments in accordance with the local law of where you live.
Lastly, this website might prove helpful in calculation of your inheritance as well as general guidelines for your will/testament:
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani