Mir Sabeen GulrezSrinagar : “Death can come at any age, but the pride of life fools a person into thinking that day is far away.” – John ButtrickDeath is inevitable which is always near but these days death has become so costly as a lower middle class or a labor isn’t of fear that what if I die , but he fears that if his death occurs who will pay for the customs which are becoming so costly day by day. “As long as greed is stronger than compassion, there will always be suffering”,Rusty Eric had stated long back and it holds true even today.
No Government, no Organization, no NGO’s has set some limit on post death expenses especially burial of body and its washing. This is the burning issue for lower middle class, labor class or a person who doesn’t afford the unsettled amount of grave digging, ablution.
In muslims whenever anyone dies they(family members) , or relatives ,or neighbours have to follow some rules according to the shairah.Ablution( Ghusul) or Wuḍūʾ (Arabic: الوضوء al-wuḍūʼ [wʊˈdˤuːʔ]) is the Islamic procedure and In Islam its obligatory to give a corpse three ghusuls in the following order.1. A ghusul with water has been mixed with lote tree(sidr) leaves.2. A ghusul with water that has been mixed with camphor ( Kafur).3. A ghusul with ordinary water.In Islam a man cannot give ghusul to a woman who is not his Mahram( Mahram is one who is related to her father , uncle (from her maternal side especially her mother’s brother, paternal uncle(her father’s brother , brother). Similarly, a woman cannot give ghusul to man who is not her mahram . One who gives Ghusl to a corpse must have the intention of attaining proximity to Allah , and it is sufficient if he has an intention to follow the command of Allah.There is a Hadeeth about the virtue of washing the dead by Abu Raafi’ who narrated that the Prophet said: “He who washes a dead person and conceals what he sees (of defects or signs of a bad end), he will be forgiven forty times (i.e., a large number of sins). Whoever shrouds a dead person, Allah will clad him with garments of fine silk and brocade in Paradise. Whoever digs a grave and buries the dead in it, then he gets a reward as if he has provided a dwelling to the dead until the Day of judgment.”
And the person who did ablution(Ghusul) here in Kashmir is called “Saran Gur’’,and Saran Gur is the person who often does blution to the dead body. And these days unfortunately these people who do ablutions are creating chaos by demanding an handsome amount and that time the people had no choice but to fulfill their demands willingly or unwillingly.Funerals in Islam (called جنازة “Janazah” in Arabic) follow fairly specific rites, though they are subject to regional interpretation and variation in custom. In all cases, however, sharia (Islamic religious law) calls for burial of the body as soon as possible, preceded by a simple ritual involving bathing and shrouding the body,followed by salah (prayer). Burial is usually within 24 hours of death to protect the living from any sanitary issues, except in the case of a person killed in battle or when foul play is suspected; in those cases it is important to determine the cause of death before burial. Cremation of the body is strictly forbidden in Islam.Last but not least is Grave Digging for the corpse , as after ablution the corpse is ,laid to rest in a grave.The Sunnah is to put the deceased into the grave from the end, then he should be turned onto his right side in the grave, with his face facing towards the qiblah. The one who puts him into the lahd (niche in the grave) should say:“Bismillaahi wa ‘ala sunnat Rasool-Allaahi or ‘ala millat Rasool-Allaahi” In the name of Allah and according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah or according to the religion of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)).(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-Janaa’iz 967; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 836)It is mustahabb for those who are at the grave to throw handfuls of earth, three handfuls scooped up in both hands, after the lahd has been sealed.While talking to a grave digger who is a resident of Rambagh Payeen Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar told News Kashmir that ,” I have never asked a single penny from anyone for myself,if anyone willingly have given me anything then we used to give them a receipt of Bait Ul Maal which was running locally by we people under the name of Al Furqan Islamic Bait Ul Maal. The money that was collected we used to spend it on Orphans, Divorcee, widows, and most importantly the needy and helpless people. We have never used that money on ourselves or for our families. If anyone willingly give us then ok if not then we have never asked them to give”. “Not only in Rambagh even we used to go outside whenever anyone have asked for help we have neither demanded nor asked for money and why should we as we are doing this good cause Allah will reward us accordingly “ , dar said.While talking to A group of volunteers from Natipora and One of the volunteers said, I have been digging grave from past fifteen years (15years), neither I have demanded money nor anybody has given us . this should be obligatory on us , we should guide our children in a best possible way.Another volunteer said , we are guiding our children in our madrasas, for these rituals so that our next generation should be very aware what rituals should be performed to a corpse.We are doing business but if there is a doctor in our society he should come forward and should join us in this cause. As this is for akhirah and a great cause to do, another volunteer said.
While talking to News Kashmir one person (name with held) said that, when his grandmother expired I was demanded by RS Ten thousand (10,000) by grave digger ,he was astonished how death became so costly. Its curse on society how can a poor afford that.He requested administration to please look into the matter and help poor from these evils of society.Another sufferer told News Kashmir that , “ My mother died because of Covid-19 virus but if people will come to know how much I was demanded they will come to roads. How can I forget that nightmare when I pleaded to people to dig a grave for my mother and no one gave an interest in that. “
On this we talked to some Muftis from all sects Ahli Hadith, Hanafi, Shia sect , different people was having their thoughts .
While talking with Mufti Mohammad Yaqoob Baba Al Madani (Ahli Hadith), he states:” Everywhere people are different but from our side the cementeries we have and the person who bathes the corpse don’t charge. A person should learn how to bath the corpse, you can see the people of different areas themselves came voluntarily for digging a grave for the deceased, even some volunteers used to come for ablution of corpse. Even in early times the corpse had to wait for two three hours, for these rituals, even though it could take long wee hours of wait for the corpse to get buried .Nowadays , Alhamdullilah we don’t have that much issue from every area there is a said person who can perform these rituals according to the Shiarah of Islam. Yes, there can be possibility where people aren’t aware of the Islamic teachings if the people of their own will give them some amount for their hardworking they can , as there is no such bad thing in it . But, the amount should be valid or lawful. It shouldn’t be burden for a poor onwards.If a person works hard while digging a grave or in form of ablution of a corpse he / she should be given an amount for the work he/she did. But it should be valid or lawful.According to me , there can be few places from where people will ask money for digging a grave or for ablution of corpse.While talking to Aga Syed Muhammed Hadi Moosavi (Shia sect) :See in our Islam , one is Wajib,”it’s an obligation, a responsibility you have to perform it like you used to perform Salah and all”. Another one is social obligation which in Fiki term we called them Wajib-e-Kifayi . Wajib-e- Kifayi is one which obligatory to everyone till any group or a person perform the wajib. For example, in our society there are doctors, an engineer, a journalist any profession they are wajib-e-kifayi . Everyone has to try Wajib-e-Kifayi as its necessary for society as its beneficial for the society. If anyone who is a Doctor in the society then its not obligatory that there will be more doctors of the same profession. Same way the social rituals of ours Islam strictly says that these rituals are obligatory if any muslim dies, the people around in his locality its obligatory on them to look for the grave digging, ablution and the shroud(a length of cloth or an enveloping garment in which a dead person is wrapped for burial).Its obligatory on them.Look I perform Salah as its wajib on me nobody is going to pay me for that, neither I will ask anyone . In our sect Ahli tashii ( a Shia sect) they called it Haram(forbidden or proscribed by Islamic Law) if anyone will ask money for these rituals like (grave digging, ablution or for shroud) if at that time when there is a corpse lying there they arrange shroud within no time even at that time nobody cares who will buy it, for whom. See , its our social responsibility, if a muslim is no more at that time he is near Allah and we should respect the corpse. And in this case its wajib on every muslim to look for its Tajweed or taqsaam , every ritual and definitely its wajib. If a person is lying dead in a town the whole town will be sick(cursed)as they don’t look after the corpse. If we see the from Islamic point of view from our sect we categorically say that if any gives ablution to a corpse and will ask money is haram, . If the owner of the tent will ask money that’s secondary but if anyone asks money for a grave digging then its absolutely haram. Its our responsibility and we should do this.
While talking to Mufti Zia Ul Haq (Hanafi Sect) states :” Under the Islam teachings its”Almarahu yurafu bi mamlaat la bi salaat wa sou” its meaning “Ek admi ko Nimaaz or Rozu sei nai pehchana jata hai balki uskei mamlaat sei pehchana jata hai,yanai iskei mamlaat kaise hai “,(A man is not identified by prayers and fasts but by his affairs or how his affairs are ). If we want to see how are his affairs with his family, friends and even also with his relatives. We have to see how his affairs are with his Islamic brothers, how his affairs are with his non muslim brothers . Our religion is not limited to Prayers,Fasts,Zakaat and Hajj while as these things help us to improve our situation and their existence should be refelected in our day to day affairs. Likewise we teach or children our women how to pray at home. In what circumstances should we fast. In what condition our fast will be broken. Same way we should start teaching our children our women , men how to dig a grave, how a corpse should be given ablution ,how to shroud a corpse. These teachings are very necessary. If in an locality a women expires its obligatory that the next living to her should be aware how to give an ablution to a corpse. There should be people in your family , in your locality who dig graves. If its not possible because someone will say in our family no one knows how to dig a grave, then definitely there should be someone who can perform these rituals. When anyone in any family expires they do a lot of crying, then why don’t they teach their children such a thing which is beneficial to the society.Whenever we call anyone muslim they should be muslim in every aspect. If there is a group who is in profession who only perform these kind of rituals ,then likewise government fixes the price for everything, nobody can even think of just do in against of the fixed price. Likewise same if a seller and purchaser fixes an amount for any item and they do get agree on it. Same applies here as when a corpse is lying there and the people who are in that profession like grave digging, ablution they shouldn’t be very cruel by demanding the huge money of the deceased. The rate should be fixed it should be ok . The rate shouldn’t be limitless .Its in Hadith that,” if one muslim covers another muslim , Allah will reward him on the Day of Resurrection”. If anyone has faith on it no one will demand money for this better cause. But if its their profession then rates shouldn’t exceed neither there should be any demand.Shairyat has not fixed any kind of rate in it. There is not any kind fixed amount we can give hadiya for their work done by them to the deceased. We are not giving wages to them remember we are giving just a token(hadiya) to them for their work. Their shouldn’t be demand on name of hadiya.We should guide our children on time likewise its not faraway that day when we will adopt non locals for these rituals . One group will come and will say give us a buzz and we will be available for your services and likewise will demand money for their services. And we are heading towards that.And in our society we are creating havoc for ourselves by demanding money for these rituals.In nutshell, Kashmir society hopes death expenses would be minimum that is better for health of society.