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Muslims in America have advanced significantly in the last 40 years in establishing institutions to preserve our religion and lay the foundation for our next generation. We have built, Mosque, Schools, Universities and many more institutions to come.
Muslim Funeral Home is an institution, where the handling of a deceased is managed according to Sunnah and the Islamic Law. The proper handling and compassion starts from the hospital where for a female we request female nurse to handle and place on the stretcher. A Muslim female funeral director should perform any stitching as needed on a female, protect the awrah, cover, wash, and shroud according to Sunnah. The institution also serves as a platform to provide educational seminars on how to shroud a body, bury someone, and what to say when you enter a cemetery. We need to reinforce the Sunnah and take the fears out of shrouding via orientation and educational programs. I would love to see every youth reaching the age of 18 to be certified at a Muslim Funeral Home prior to High School graduation. This should be part of every Sunday School Course.
The power of an institution is that it can ease our pain during the difficult time, by offering counseling and equally import help transition the family by recommending service providers who specialize in these difficult times like probate lawyers, realtors, estate liquidators and financial advisers. My brother passed away three years ago in Maryland, and I led the effort of winding down his assets. It was so difficult to find a Muslim probate lawyer who understood Islamic inheritance laws. Then I could not even find someone to liquidate his belonging and just empty the house to setup for sale. Yes, I called masjids first, but no help. This was in a very mature State Maryland where over 500K Muslims live. Imagine a sister who has to go through all this process alone on her own when the husband passes away. As an institution Muslim Funeral home can and should provide a network of folks and counseling services to ease the pain and help transition the family.
Fundamental challenges do exists with non-Muslim staff members of a Funeral Home and it is primarily related to culture and lack of understanding of our faith on purity (pakeezah), handling, awrah protection with utmost care and respect. In the past few inappropriate handling of our females had created a sense of urgency to build and provide services through a Muslim Funeral Home.
I asked the same tough questions you are asking, we go to non-Muslims for all of our other treatments why not to non-Muslim funeral home. Let’s think about this, we protect ourselves from indecent exposure all of our lives when we are alive, and yet at the 11th hour when our love one passes away, we just simply give up and hand over to non-Muslims who do not fully comprehend how the Muslim bodies must be handled with care specially where females should only be handling deceased females. A according to our faith every Muslim deceased have a right on us to provide appropriate and most dignified last services on their behalf – “Janaza Services”.
Few quick pointers on what to do when someone passes away. 1- call 911, 2- call the primary physician 3- call the funeral home. Most important, refuse autopsy, it is not required for most of the cases and especially when you cite religious grounds. Many of our folks fall into this trap because they think it is required by law, or they are being pressured by the medical examiner during pickup. Note, calling primary physician or nurse in charge is required.
Today we have a newly created professional full service non-profit 501-c3 Muslim Funeral Home called Janaza Services of GA (JSG) in Norcross, GA. JSG has served over 71 Muslim families in the last 11 months of operations with great service, including free services for those who could not afford. It’s a one call does it all service. Everything from pickup to shrouding, to masjid to burial including salat and burial lot arrangements etc. This institution also provide education, counseling and ongoing assistance to the families in advance of, during and after Janaza services. All of these services meets all local and state laws and regulations set by State Funeral Board, Osha and County.
JSG is having their first fundraiser to acquire the 7,500 sq-ft building ($600K) on September 22nd 7:30PM at Al-Noor Banquet Hall, Norcross GA. Attend the Benefit Dinner and hear their story and spread the word. This a non-profit 501-c3 organization that belongs to Muslims and it’s a waqf. Visit janazaga.com.
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