Funeral and Burial
A firm belief in life after death is an essential article of faith in Islam. Death, according to Islamic teachings, is not the end of one’s life, but a transition from a temporary life to an eternal one.
Although death can be very emotional for the loved ones of the departed, it is also a time of hope and prayers that their loved one may find peace as they transition from this life to the next. Of course, sadness and grief are normal human emotions which are expressed when one has lost a loved one. At the time that his own son passed away, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "The eyes shed tears and the heart is grieved, but we will not say anything except which pleases our Lord." Loved ones of the deceased should strive to be patient, remembering that Allah is the One who gives life and takes it away, at a time appointed by God alone. It is not for us to question God’s wisdom.
Muslim Burial Practices
In accordance with Muslim tradition, burial of the departed takes place as soon after death as is practical. In some localities, burial will often take place the same day that the person passes away. In our area, burial will often take place within a day or two of death. (In some exceptional cases, burial may be delayed for extenuating circumstances, such as a required autopsy, etc.)
In the Muslim tradition, the preparation of the deceased and the burial requirements are not complicated. Many of the requirements are symbolic of the fact that we come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing except our deeds, relying on the Grace, Love and Mercy of God to determine our final destiny. Please see Preparation of the Deceased for Burial for more details about Muslim burial practices.
What To Do When Death Occurs?
When one’s loved one passes away, those who are near to the deceased are encouraged to remain calm, to pray for the departed (Selected Supplications/Dua), and to begin preparations for burial. Please contact the Islamic Society of Milwaukee as soon as possible so that all necessary arrangements can be made.
Contact one of the following: The Islamic Center office at 414-282-1812; the Religious Chair, Mr. Salah Sarsour, Imam Ziad Hamdan or the Religious Director, Dr. Shah.
Selecting a funeral home and selecting a cemetery are two items that must be taken care of immediately.
After death, the deceased is transported from the location where the death takes place (home, hospital, etc.) to a local funeral home where the washing and other preparations take place. Any funeral home can be chosen; however, the ISM has negotiated set rates with Max Sass & Sons Funeral Homes. They can be contacted directly and informed that you are making arrangements for burial with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. They have multiple locations, with 4747 S. 60th St., Greenfield, WI being the location closest to Islamic Center. Their phone number is (414) 282-4050. (The basic fee charged , which is around $2,150, includes locally transporting the deceased to the funeral home, providing a place for washing the deceased, transporting the deceased to the Islamic Center for prayer, and then transporing the deceased to one of the two cemeteries mentioned below.)
The family of the deceased will need to decide in which cemetery they want to have their loved one buried. Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah/God), the ISM owns parcels of land in two cemeteries where Islamic burial practices are followed (for example, the deceased is laid to rest facing the direction of the Qibla/Makka).
Please let your contact at the ISM know your cemetery preference so that that the ISM can make appropriate arrangements with the cemetery of your choice.
Although prayers can be performed at multiple locations, families will usually have the deceased transported to the Islamic Center so that the Islamic Prayer for the Deceased may be completed. Once the prayers are completed, the deceased is immediately transported to the cemetery for burial.
The following are the two available cemeteries:
Arlington Cemetery, 4141 S. 27th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53221. (414) 282-6600
Wisconsin Memorial Park, 13235 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005. (414) 262-781-7474
The cost each cemetery charges to open a gravesite, supply a vault, grave marker, etc. varies. In addition, each cemetery charges overtime charges for late day or weekend burials. In general, the fee for opening a gravesite and supplying the concrete vault is between $1,100 to $1,500. (Some charges, such as grave markers, are optional). In addition there is a charge of up to $1,000 for the actual parcel of land. The cost for the parcel of land is paid directly to the ISM which has pre-purchased all parcels.
ONLY ISM STAFF CAN AUTHORIZE BURIALS IN THE PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE ISM.
(According to Muslim beliefs, the entire Muslim community has an obligation to provide proper preparation and burial services for Muslims who pass away (“Fard Kifaya”). The ISM does its best to fulfill this obligation. In Muslim tradition, anything related to death and burial cannot be a money-making business. In addition, Muslim tradition requires that the burial and all prepartions be very simple, not ostentatious and costly. For this reason, the ISM tries to negotiate costs in order to minimize all funeral and cemetery expenses.)
Arlington Cemetery Monument Wisconsin Memorial Park Monument