The FEDERATION OF MUSLM COUNCILS (FMC) supports the establishment of mortuaries to cater for the Muslim dead in accordance with Islamic tradition.
The provision of mortuaries in line with Islamic practices and management for Muslims has been at the centre of a raging banter between the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for some two weeks now – a development the FMC has been following with keen interest. Both parties have issued public statements in their banter.
As a non-partisan and a-political umbrella Muslim organisation, what matters most to the FMC in the on-going debate is only that which is in the best interest of Muslims in line with the tenets of the religion. Islamic tradition demands that Muslims are buried at the earliest possible time after being pronounced clinically dead. Islamic tradition also demands that men handle corpses of men and vice versa, without unnecessarily exposing the private parts of a Muslim corpse, except to the extent that is inevitably necessary.
However, situations arise wherein the burial of corpses cannot be effected immediately as desired by Islam. For instance, incessant raining, or a corona’s inquest in the matter of the death of a Muslim may hinder earlier disposal of the dead body. In any of such scenarios, it would be necessary to preserve the dead bodies while waiting for autopsy and/or burial.
Even during preservation at the morgue or wherever, before burial, Muslim dead bodies must be accorded decent and dignifying last respect. Often times Muslims blame hospital and mortuary staffs for treating their loved dead ones in a manner not commiserate with Islamic practices. Sadly, too, male and female Muslim dead bodies are combined in the mortuaries in their nakedness, without observing the Islamic moral practice of women handling the corpses of women and vice versa. Any facility to address these concerns should be welcomed.
It is therefore disingenuous for any Muslim or group of Muslims to stand in the way of Islam by impugning on the promise to provide decent and dignifying last respect to the Muslim dead regardless who is making the promise.
Indeed, the FMC has taken cognizance of the NDC’s manifesto pledge to “facilitate the establishment of mortuaries in accordance with Islamic customs and practices and collaborate with the Ministry of Health to set up focal teams responsible for procedures that are compliant with Islamic Customs and practices at all public mortuaries” (Page 82 of the Peoples Manifesto, 2020). This promise undoubtedly smacks of good thoughts for Muslims in Ghana and must be embraced.
It is in the light of this that the FMC supports the establishment of mortuaries in our hospitals or the creation of special sections for Muslims in the public mortuaries in order to keep and handle the Muslim dead in accordance with Islam before burial.
Al-Hajj Muhammad Amir Kpakpo Addo
Federation of Muslim Councils, Ghana
Email: [email protected]