Shia Muslim scholars in the UK in a joint statement on burial of deceased during COVID-19 crisis requested “community leaders and organizations to observe their religious responsibilities and make available any existing Qosl facilities and make available the necessary PPE kits to cope with the number of deceased”.
The full text of the joint statement from Shia Muslim scholars in UK on burial of deceased during COVID-19 crisis issued on April 15th, 2020, is as follows:
Based on the jurisprudential opinioN Of our leading religious authorities it is obligatory to perform the Ghusl rituals for the deceased except in extreme circumstances such as when it poses a significant risk on the people performing the Ghusl.
In such circumstances of significant risk, the jurisprudential opinion is to perform Tayammum on the deceased and if this also poses a significant risk, then this ritual is no longer obligatory either.
Due to the dangerous nature of the Coronavirus and particularly because it is a new phenomenon, there was some uncertainty about the level of threat that it posed and this created some anxiety for those conducting Islamic death rites.
However based on the research and findings of health organizations and governmental authorities in this country and abroad, such as the World Health Organisation and others, and after consulting with medical professionals, we have reached the following conclusions:
1- The possibility of infection from a deceased body is much less than from a living person carrying the virus.
2- With the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) it is highly unlikely to get an infection from a deceased body.
With this in mind and based on the Islamic jurisprudential rulings of leading religious authorities, it remains obligatory to perform the Ghusl rituals of a deceased covid19 victims, as there is no significant risk posed to the well-being of people conducting the Ghusl who correctly use PPE kits. This means that for those who have PPE kits and use it correctly, there is no reason to do Tayammum and the religious obligation is to perform Ghusl.
In light of this, we request community leaders and organizations to observe their religious responsibilities and make available any existing Ghusl facilities at the nearest possible time and make available the necessary PPE kits to cope with the number of those deceased from our communities.
Islamic organizations need to train volunteers to conduct Ghusl or require the necessary PPE kits, then they are kindly requested to contact us for assistance.
In addition to this, due to the inability of the community to contact many of our centers, we request respected scholars to make themselves more accessible to carry out Janaza prayers whilst taking into consideration the use of correct precautions based on health guidelines.
These extraordinary circumstances require collaborations and volunteering at all levels of our community, and we would like to talk this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to assist others during this crisis.
We pray that the Almighty gives us assistance in serving the community and helps us overcome these difficult times.