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Burial and Janazah Guidelines

Latest update for Level 3

Can Imams and other religious leaders visit people and perform last rites personally in hospitals and hospice facilities during Level 3? And can they officiate at funeral gatherings personally?

Funeral directors will work with Muslim communities to identify people who can carry out ghusl and Janaza and will advise and supervise them to ensure it is done in a safe way.

Imams can officiate at funerals during Alert Level 3. Please work with your funeral director to make sure that all Alert Level 3 requirements are met, including a maximum of 10 people at the funeral.

To find out more, please download the below attachment (correct as at 6 May 2020).

Ministry of Health Burial and Janazah Information to Funeral Directors

"Funeral directors may also allow religious rituals for the care of the body to occur. However, these must be carried out in the presence of an embalmer who will give direction to anyone present on the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements. Activities such as kissing, washing or touching the body must not occur before, during or after the viewing.

For example, Muslims have two fundamental requirements for funeral and burial, ghusl (ritual washing) and janaza (prayer over the body), that must be carried out by Muslims and within their strict rules for handling of the body. In this example, funeral directors may wish to work with their Muslim communities to identify Muslim males and females who can prepare the body of the deceased for correct funeral and burial, under the supervision of the embalming staff."

Latest update

The Ulama Council of New Zealand have released a public statement in regards to burial during COVID-19.

30 March 2019

Statement 28 March 2020

As-salāmu ʿalaykum Wa-raḥmatu llāhi Wa-barakātuhu

The COVID-19 Canterbury Muslim Leaders Group would like to reassure our community that we are working to develop guidelines for all burials during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown in the Canterbury region. 

As this matter affects Muslims throughout the entire country, the Ulema Council of NZ will be meeting with government and health officials over the next few days to consider all the relevant issues. They will be releasing a joint statement as soon as possible to outline procedures for dealing with deaths due to Covid-19 and also normal deaths during the period of the lockdown. Please be patient, there are many people working on this and once the final decisions have been made they will be shared with everyone.

We understand that there may be some specific practical requirements for different regions. For this reason, we are working directly with the Canterbury and South Canterbury District Health Boards, as well as the Christchurch City Council and Ashburton and Timaru District Councils to come up with a customised set of burial protocols for the Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru Muslim communities.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. May Allah SWT protect and guide us all during this challenging time.

Kind Regards, 

The COVID-19 Canterbury Muslim Leaders Group