Allah describes death in a number of places in the Quran.
[Qaaf 50:43] Verily it is We Who give Life and Death; and to Us is the Final Goal-
[Al Jathiyai 45:26] Say: "It is Allah Who gives you life, then gives you death; then He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment about which there is no doubt": But most men do not understand. One day we all will return to meet our creator Allah Subhan wa Tallah. As you are reading this please think and ponder how you have prepared for the moment when the angel of death will come. It is human nature not to think about this moment or prepare for it but as Allah says in surah Ankaboot Surah 20: V 57
[Al-Ankaboot 29:57] Every soul shall have a taste of death in the end to Us shall ye be brought back.
This document contains information on what to do when someone dies. It gives step by step procedure and important contact and cost information. Following topics are discussed
- Will and Estate Planning
- When a Person is Near Death
- Role of close Family and Friends
- Advance Preparation
- Funeral Homes
- Cemetery List
- Cost of Funeral and Burial
- Essentials of Funeral
- Things Recommended to Avoid
- Idah Period for the (Wife of deceased)
- After Death
For ADAMS Funeral services, please contact:
- ADAMS Main number 703 433 1325 Ext 101
- Br. Farooq Syed 703-408-4921 (cell)
- Br. Amer Ahmed 703 433 1325 Ext 113 (office)
- Br. Basir Kapadia at 703 728 5529 (cell) or
1. Will (Wasiah) and Estate planning:
Islam has strongly emphasized that each individual make a Will in his/her lifetime and have witnesses to it.
[Surah Al-Baqara 2:180]"It is prescribed for you, when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth, that he bequeaths unto parents and near relatives in goodness; (that is) a duty on those who safeguard themselves with full awareness of divine laws." 2:180 The Holy Quran.
The Prophet (SAW) has also strongly urged Muslims to do so. It is so much important, that when going to bed to sleep, it is recommended that the Will be kept under the pillow.
In these times, the Will has become extremely important. It avoids costs and complications for the heirs. It provides for the proper distribution of assets, properties and possessions, instruction for payment of debts, selection of an executor and appointment of a guardian for minor. Without a will, the state would step-in, distributing the wealth according to the state laws and the court would select an administrator for the estate and a guardian for children.
Parents with children of minor age especially must have a well written will assigning a trustee for their estate and guardian for the children. If there is no will the court will assign guardian of its choice. Not writing The Last Will and Testament, then, amounts to giving up your rights regarding your inheritance.
There are many Islamic wills prepared by scholars and Will experts that are available on the internet e.g. ISNA has a good sample of Islamic will
2. When a person is near death:
- Seek to pay out any outstanding debts
- Ask for forgiveness from family friends and acquaintances
- Assign someone as trustee to execute funeral arrangements
- Assign someone as trustee to execute condition of the will
- Remember Allah asking His forgiveness
3. Role of Close Family and Friends
Close family and friends should try to support and comfort the dying person through supplication and remembrance of Allah.
Encourage and help him or her to recite the Shahda
It was narrated that Muâ€™aadh ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: "If a personâ€™s last words are Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Paradise will be guaranteed for him." Narrated by Ahmad, 21529; Abu Dawood, 3116; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwaâ€™ al-Ghaleel, 687
It was narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) visited a man from among the Ansaar when he was sick and he said: "O maternal uncle, say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah." He said: "Maternal uncle or paternal uncle?" He said: "Maternal uncle." He said: "Is it better for me to say it?â€™ He said: "Yes." Narrated by Ahmad, 13414. Al-Albaani said in Ahkaam al-Janaaâ€™iz: its isnaad is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim.
The dying person should not be bothered with repeated requests to say shahada, if he has said it and does not say anything after that.
Upon death, the eye lids are to be closed, the body should be covered, and preparation for burial takes place as soon as possible. The whole body is washed and wrapped in a shroud. Muslims gather and a prayer is performed for the dead. The body is to buried soon after the prayer. The wrapped body is to be laid directly at the bottom of the dug grave. The body is to be laid on its right side facing the direction of Makkah. A ceiling is attached to the grave and then covered with dirt. The grave is to be marked by raising its top level of dirt above surrounding grounds. A stone may be used to mark its location, but no writings are allowed. Buildings or other forms of structures are not allowed on top of the grave.
The family of the dead has a responsibility to fulfill any debts he had as soon as possible. They have the commitment to maintain contacts and courteous relationships with close relatives and close friends. They frequently pray and supplicate for him. Charity, fasting, prayers, and pilgrimage are often performed on behalf of the dead. Visiting the graves is recommended for the living to remember death and the Day of Judgment.
4. Advance preparation
- Choose a family member or friend to coordinate and resolve funeral and burial issues.
- Ensure that death certificate is issued by a doctor/hospital. Funeral home can also arrange for it. Death certificate is required before body can be removed for washing and preparation for burial (There might be a cost of obtaining a death certificate). In Virginia police might be involved if the death happens at home. In that case please consult with your family physicians
- Unless required by law Muslims avoid autopsy on the deceased body
- Get cost estimates from funeral homes for washing and transporting the body. (Please check the list of funeral homes)
- Select funeral home, cemetery (burial site) and the Masjid where the prayers will be performed.
- Ensure that cemetery lot ownership paperwork is readily available if the family has already purchased a cemetery site.
- Funeral Directors coordinate transportation of the body from the hospital to the funeral home and from the funeral home to the Masjid for the funeral prayer and then to the cemetery. Ensure that timings are correctly adhered.
- Call the Masjid director or Imam ahead of time informing about the Janaza prayer
- Normally, cemeteries charge premium rates to arrange services after 3:00 PM. Additional charges are applied for services over weekends.
- Print directions the precession will follow. Hand out copies of directions at the funeral home/Masjid.
5. FUNERAL HOMES
1. Aden Muslim Funeral Services
1242 Easy St. Woodbridge VA 22191
Tele: 703 490 1212, 703 586 2460, 703 973 7070
Contact: Br. Abbasi or Br. Sana
2. Janazah Services
14640 Flint Lee Road, Suite C
Chantilly VA 20151
Tele: 571 490 2249
Contact: Sr. Mariam Rose AbdRahmaan
3. Alfirdaus Jinnaza Services
7903 Hill Park Court, Suite 8
Lorton VA 22079
Tele: 703 927 6917, 703 967 6311
Contact: Br. Nasir
4. Loudoun Funeral Chapel
158 Catoctin Circle, S.E.
Leesburg, VA 20177
Tele: 703 777 6000
Contact: Bill or Cathy
5. Universal Mortury Inc
411 Kennedy St NW
Washington DC 20011
202 723 1075
Contact: Br. Mateen
6. Latney Funeral Home
2831 Georgia Ave NW
Washington DC 20011
Tele 202 882 2455, or 202 882 1424
Contact: Br. Jeelani
1. All Muslim American Association (AMAA)
1112 Brooke Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
Contact Persons: Muhammad Younus 240-602-6587 (Cell), Mohammad Khan 703 717 1851, or Sikiandar 703-360-6282
2. AL-Frdaus Memorial Gardens
3845 New Design Road
Fredrick MD 21703-7930
Brother Muhammad Aslam
Administrator ICM, Gaithersburg MD
3. National Memorial Park
7482 Lee Highway
Falls Church VA
PH- 703-560-4400, 703-289-4700
4. Stonewall Memorial Park
12004 Lee Highway
Manassas VA 20109
PH- Amy Shaw 703-754-4210
5. George Washington Cemetery
9500 Riggs Road
Adelphi MD 20783
6. Mount Comfort Cemetery
6600 South Kings Highway
Alexandria VA 22306
7. BASIC COST OF FUNERAL AND BURIAL
Services provided by funeral home are:
- Transportation of body from the place of death to the funeral home, to the Masjid and then cemetery. The charges could vary if they are transporting the body to longer than average distances. The charges start from $3.50 per mile. Some funeral home also have fixed additional cost to certain cemeteries out of their normal area of service
- Storing, washing, kafan and preparing the body
- Casket /Box may be additional cost if the body is buried in the casket
- Family gathering, special viewing, or other services are usually extra charge
Cemetery Cost includes:
- Cost of plot
- Opening and closing of grave
- Vault and liner
- Processing fees
The cost of funeral and burial varies based on services requested by the family and the Funeral home or Cemetery. The total cost of funeral and burial start with $3500 and more. The cemeteries usually require one day or more notice for preparing the grave. They may charge extra for overtime for burial after 3 pm or on weekend or holiday.
8. Janaza Preprations Guidelines
When a Muslim passes away, it is a collective obligation (Fard-e-kifaya) of that particular Muslim community to arrange and participate in the funeral services for the deceased. Though only some members of the community may fulfill this obligation on behalf of the rest, the entire community would be held to account if none did it. This is a right of a Muslim even after death.
Basically the funeral procedure consists of four major steps:
1. Ghusl (washing the body )
2. Kafan (wrapping the body in white shrouds)
3. Salat-ul Janazah (Funeral Prayer)
4. Dafan (Burial)
Practices that should be avoided
- No reading of the Quran or Zikr (Remembrance of Allah) during the ghusl.
- Unless necessary, funeral services are prohibited during sunrise/sunset/noon.
- Itâ€™s prohibited to build any kind of structure on top of the grave.
- Itâ€™s prohibited to cremate the body.
- It is prohibited for non-mehrum to view the face of deceased Muslim women
- Unless required by law, autopsy is prohibited and should be avoided.
- Every effort should be made to bury the body as quickly as possible in a local cemetery.
- There are no Islamic teaching to:
- Transfer the body to another country.
- Reveal the face of the body in the grave.
- Shout with any special zikr during and after the burial.
- Read the Qurâ€™an in the cemetery.
- Place any flowers or water around the grave.
- Wear black clothes.
- Deliver eulogies.
9. Iddah (Waiting Period) for a Muslim Widow:
For a Muslim woman, who has lost her husband, the iddah period is four (lunar) months and ten days. If she is pregnant, the iddah ends at the delivery. During this period it is recommended for her to stay in her home and may leave only when itâ€™s absolutely necessary (e.g., medical or other emergency or necessary Chores that would need her to attend). Family and friends are to take care of the widow during this period of Iddah
10. Checklist: What To Do When a Family Member or Community Member Dies
It is a trial time to handle the death of a family member. Often the next of kin or friends find themselves lost asking themselves "What do I need to do now"? We have prepared a check list that will be of assistance
ACTION REQUIRED IMMIDIATELY AFTER DEATH
- We recommend selecting one person (Family member or Friend) to coordinate all funeral and burial arrangements
- He or she should have financial resources to pay for the costs that may require immediate payments
- Obtaining a death certificate is the first step. Ask your family physician for assistance or coroner in order to obtain a death certificate. Please keep in mind the cost of issuance of death certificate.
- If the death occurs at home, you may need to contact a local police officer or coroner office.
- If possible decline autopsy being done on the deceased. It should only be allowed if required by law.
- If the Decedent wished, a donation of body parts and tissues should be considered.
- Notify family and friends. You may want to consider having family members contact others to save yourself some time on the phone during a stressful period.
- Look for instructions or will which the Decedent may have left regarding preferences for funeral and burial arrangements. Obtain a list of Funeral homes and cemeteries from www.adamscenter.org or www.MCCMD.org. The cost may vary depending upon the funeral homes and cemetery and each line item requested by the family
- Contact a funeral home concerning burial. A Muslim burial home like ADEN is recommended as they have good experience in Muslim burials and can take care of washing and preparing the Janzah
- Contact Cemetery where you want your loved one to be buried (List available at www.adamscenter.org) find out about the costs and timings. Cemeteries might have time restrictions on weekends and holidays. We recommend Muslim cemeteries like Al-Firdous in Marland or AMAA in Virginia. For other cemeteries ask the grave location to make sure that is in Muslim location and they will dig it so that the deceased face is towards Qibla when laid in grave.
- Please note that cemeteries charge premium rates to arrange for services after their normal office hours (Usually after 3 pm burial)
- Contact local Mosque where Janaza prayer will be held. Arrange for Janazah prayer time according to the time given by cemetery and or regular prayer times at the masjid
- Print directions to the cemetery. Hand out copies of directions at the Masjid / funeral home (if the body is taken from funeral home directly to the cemetery)
HANDELING OF FINANCES AND ASSETS
- Contact the Social Security Administration and any other government agencies or benefit program that may be making payments to the Decedent. (Note that the payment for the month of death will not be made by the Social Security Administration and others.)
- Review the Decedents financial affairs and look for any estate planning documents, such as Wills and Trusts, along with any other relevant documents, including:
- Funeral and Burial Plans
- Bank statements, checkbooks, similar documents
- Safty Deposit Box Agreements and keys
- Stocks, bonds or mutual fund documents
- Life Insurance Policies;
- Trust documents
- Pension-retirement benefits
- Old tax returns
- Marriage, birth and death certificates
- Divorce documentation (If divorced)
- Computer records regarding books of a business or personal assets
- Titles to motor vehicles
- Rental documents (leases)
- Any documentation regarding business ownership, partnership or other business interests
- Health Insurance, make claims for the final illness and
- Unpaid bills.
- Open a bank account for the estate of the Decedent. This should be done early on and all receipts and disbursements should be recorded in that bank account, in order to account properly for the assets of the Decedent and the expenses of administration.
- Probate is a process similar to that of accounting. The Personal Representative is responsible for collecting the assets and reporting to the Court as to the amount of assets in the Estate of the Decedent. The Personal Representative then assembles the assets and, after paying debts, expenses and taxes, distributes the assets according to the wishes of the Decedent. If the Decedent left no Will, the process of administration is essentially the same, except that state law determines to whom the assets are distributed. If everything is done correctly, eventually, after the Personal Representative has accounted for and distributed the assets, the Personal Representative is discharged.
- Make an inventory of household goods, personal belongings and the like, in order that they can be accounted for and properly distributed.
- Look for insurance policies or annuities which may continue for other family members and other assets. Contact the Insurer with respect to any current policies or annuities..
- Determine if the Decedent owned any securities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
- Retirement Plans, IRA accounts and similar retirement benefits involve important choices which need to be made by certain beneficiaries, particularly in regard to IRA accounts under recent IRS regulations. If there are annuities, pension and profit sharing plans and interest of that type, they may provide for joint payment to a surviving spouse or others.
- If, after the appointment of a Personal Representative, a bank account or safe deposit box is found, then the assets in the bank account or safe deposit box need to be distributed according to the wishes of the Decedent, written will or the Islamic way. This is done after paying any outstanding debt, Taxes and funeral and burial cost.
- The income taxes of the Decedent for the year of death need to be filed, and any tax due must be paid. If there is a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse and Decedent can file a joint return for the year of death.
- In handling the affairs of a Decedent, consider that as amanah (trust). Please be extremely careful in deciding upon the asset or financial estate distribution, Be deliberate and do not be hasty with decisions or distributions. The death of someone, particularly a family member or friend, is stressful and often if there are children of the Decedent around during the course of the final illness,
- If there is a Will, take the Will to the appropriate County or City office to have it accepted for probate.
- Administering the Will - If the Will is properly drawn, it will name a Personal Representative (also known as Executor or Executrix). The Personal Representative, who can be an individual, a group of individuals or one or more institutions, or a combination of the aforementioned, will be responsible for the administration of the Estate of the Decedent.
- If there is no Will then the family should try to distribute the asset according to the Islamic way. (The family is encouraged to contact a scholar and Muslim Estate planner to assist. If no effort is made and there are sufficient assets to probate (typically, at least $15,000 or more), then the Court will appoint an administrator and the assets of the Decedent will be distributed according to state law. This situation is referred to by some as having the state write a Will for you. All states have a set of laws relating to intestate succession (transfer of property after dying without a Will), and the states decide who gets which assets if someone dies without a Will.
- Parents with children under the age of 18 must mention, who they can trust to take care of their children if they die before them reaching adulthood.
MINOR CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND
If there are minor children under the age of 18 years and the Will provides for a guardian, then the guardian needs to be informed and the children need to be placed in the care of the guardian. If there are minor children and no guardian is appointed, or if there is no Will, then based on the state laws the Court will appoint a guardian.
GOOD ADVICE FROM LAWYERS
- Make sure to have a living Will for you and adult family members.
- Advice from Lawyers is that there may be disputes regarding the treatment or other problems related to declining physical or mental abilities of the parent. Stated differently, it is a time of frazzled nerves and irritable people, so be very careful not to create schisms which can last for a very long time.
- Watch out for people who prey upon families of Decedents. There are people who look for death notices and make unfounded claims against the Decedent. Do not accept the claims of unknown individuals that lack documentation. In case of doubt consult a lawyer.