Why is Islam spreading everywhere


In the life of believers, not only do the festivities of the year play an important role, but also individual events that structure the personal life course receive their special character and validity from religion. Above all, this includes such milestones as birth, circumcision, marriage and death. Wherever people live in a non-Islamic environment and decide to accept the Islamic faith, conversion is added to these events.

It goes without saying that regional customs play a major role in all of these areas and are often closely interwoven with Islamic requirements.

“Every child is born with the disposition according to creation (to the right faith). And his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a magician. The cattle are also born as an intact, whole animal. Did you see a mutilated animal among them? " [Khoury 1988, p. 98.] This hadith reflects the basic Islamic assumption that in Islam not only the perfect but also the original religion of mankind is realized. This point of view takes every human being qua Birth into the umma, this "best community that has arisen among men" (3: 110). Being non-Muslim is consequently a degeneration of this state, although the existence of various religious groups is characterized by the Quran as a divine test: "And if God had willed, he would have made you one community, but he (divided you into different communities and) wanted you in what he gave you (i.e. each group of you) (of revelation) , put to the test. Now compete for the good things! To God (one day) you will all return. And then he will tell you about what you (in this world) disagreed about. " (5:48)

The conversion to Islam appears as a reversion, as a return to the original and actual religion of the individual as well as of all people.

Against this background it is understandable that initiation rites for acceptance into the Islamic community are obsolete. In general, it is sufficient to substantiate that šahada to speak before two Muslim witnesses.

Paradoxically, however, a form is now sometimes required to confirm membership of Islam. The Saudi Arabian authorities need a handle to regulate entry into Mecca and Medina, which non-Muslims cannot visit. Converts in traditionally non-Muslim countries therefore turn to Muslim associations in this matter, which will issue appropriate certificates. There is a bureaucratisation in this area that runs counter to the essence of Islam. But it is not only the Saudi authorities that have to recognize that the over-formal character of Islamic religious affiliation sometimes raises problems. Even German authorities cannot obtain any reliable information about how many Muslims live in this country.

That the conversion is considered meritorious is evident from a saying of the prophet: “If someone accepts Islam and his faith is sincere, God will forgive him for the wrongdoings he was previously guilty of. And the good deed he does afterwards is credited to him ten to seven hundred times, while-

The bad deed is only recorded as a single offense, unless God completely overlooks it. " [Al-Buhari 1991, pp. 40f.] The conversion is often accompanied by the adoption of an Islamic first name.

This is whispered to the newborn baby born in an Islamic family šahada in the right ear and the call to prayer in the left ear. However, this rite in no way establishes membership of the Islamic religious community, which is considered the child's birthright. The šahada should also be the last thing that is awarded to a dying person before his end. A child is usually given a name on the sixth or seventh day after the birth. This day, the ‘aqiqa, is associated with a sacrifice along the lines of the prophet. If possible, the child's father slaughters one sheep for a daughter or two sheep for a son. Their meat is distributed in the same way as that of the sacrificial animals on ‘idu-l-adhha. Another custom on this day is to shave the hair of the child's head. You weigh your hair with silver and donate it as alms. This rite also follows the sunna Muhammads.

Just as there is no formal admission to Islam, no rite is provided for leaving, but this is due to the fact that leaving is not intended per se. Traditionally, apostasy, along with adultery and murder, is one of the offenses that can be punished by the death penalty. Although the reason for this is not directly in the Koran, the Koran leaves no doubt that unbelief in God cannot remain without consequences. "Those who disbelieve, and keep (their) fellow men) from the path of God, and then die as unbelievers, God will not forgive," says Sura 47:34. These and other statements make otherworldly Penalties in prospect. Read together with 4: 88f. the demand for the death of the apostate can be deduced. [See. Khoury 1991, p. 21.] There it says: “How can you disagree with the hypocrites (two groups) when God has brought them down because of what they have committed (sins)! Do you want to guide whom God has led astray? Whom God misleads, there is no way for him. They would like you to be (or: would) disbelieve, just as they (themselves) disbelieve, so that you (all) would be the same. So don't take any of them as friends as long as they don't emigrate (on their part) for God's sake! And if they turn away (and do not listen to your invitation to believe), then grab them and kill them wherever you find them and do not take any of them as friends or helpers! "This combined reading has tradition and is made through hadiths underpinned, who ascribe statements to Muhammad such as: "Whoever changes his religion kills him!" [Cit. according to: Ibid., p. 22.] Indeed, the death penalty for apostasy has been seen and developed in the context of political loyalty and impact on society. The fact that, according to the understanding of the Hanafi school of law, the punishment of apostasy is to be assessed differently for men and women also points in this direction. While the three other schools of law provide for the death penalty for men and women, the Hanafis limit themselves to persuading the apostate woman to reject it through corporal punishment or imprisonment. In this view, the apostasy of women is ascribed a less socially damaging effect than that of men. In fact, this penalty has rarely been imposed. As far as is known, the last execution of an apostate in the "Ottoman Empire" took place in 1843. As a criminal offense, apostasy is no longer formally provided for in the legal systems of the Islamic states. " [Schwartl nder / Bielefeldt 1992, p. 28.] However, this does not yet mean that apostates

follow would be sure. Prominent victims in Sudan were Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, who was sentenced to death on January 18, 1985, and Reverend Hossein Soodmand, who was executed on December 13, 1990, in Iran. [See. ibid., p. 50.]

But even where capital punishment is disregarded, apostates face numerous disadvantages that can be of a civil or social nature. For example, marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is invalid in any case. So in the event that the husband turns away from Islam, it is marriage ipso facto divorced, especially since in many countries family law does not provide for civil marriage. Depending on the extent to which the family law ideas of the šari‘a are incorporated, hardship can arise in the area of ​​inheritance law and in questions of child custody. Opinions differ about the general legal capacity of an apostate. In some places, apostasy is fined. In addition to the "official" disadvantages, however, there are almost always considerable difficulties in the social area, because most Islamic societies find it difficult to meet an apostate without prejudice. The breaks extend into family, friends and work environment. [On the question of religious freedom see also: Bielefeldt 1999; Ders. 1994.]

The circumcision of boys chitan, is a duty of the šafi‘ite school of law, the others as sunna. The Turkish term sünnet indicates this fact. Although it is not mentioned in the Koran, it is practiced throughout.

The time of circumcision should be before sexual maturity. The ‘AqiqaDay is a recommended date, but ages between five and seven are also often chosen. If circumcision is only carried out at this age, it also has dimensions of transition into the male world. Male converts to Islam usually also have circumcision carried out in adulthood.

The circumcision of a boy is a festive occasion. Often several children are circumcised in one appointment. Festive clothing, gifts and sweets comfort the pain suffered. Turkish boys are often dressed like little princes. An ornate festival suit in bright colors, a hemmed cape and a headgear decorated with sequins and feathers and over everything a sash with the inscription masallah, the exclamation of joy about "what God willed". Popular belief ascribes these words to a defensive force against the "evil eye", which is why they are often used in connection with children. Talismans with this inscription are widespread.

The circumcision of girls chafd, like the circumcision of boys, goes back to pre-Islamic customs. In contrast to boy circumcision, however, it did not spread to all areas that came under Islamic rule. Today it is mainly used in Egypt, Sudan, the Horn of Africa and in various West African countries. Wherever female circumcision is practiced, it is not an Islamic specific; it is also common among animists, Coptic Christians, and Ethiopian Jews.

A comparison with the circumcision of boys is only possible to a limited extent, because while the removal of the male foreskin generally does not result in any health impairment, the "circumcision" of girls poses a considerable health risk.

Depending on the region, the rite ranges from piercing or scratching the clitoris to the complete removal of the clitoris and labia combined with subsequent infibulation. The procedure takes place before the menarche. It is usually carried out in a private setting among women and then happens without anesthesia, without medical knowledge and under unsanitary conditions with unsuitable instruments such as razor blades. This so-called Pharaonic circumcision is particularly common in Sudan and Egypt. It means that before the marriage is consummated and before the child is born, it is necessary to cut open the infibulated tissue again. It is not uncommon for reinfibulation to occur after the afterbirth has passed. These rites often bring serious infections. It happens again and again that girls bleed to death or that women die during childbirth. In 1997 the attempt to ban circumcision failed in Egypt.

The regional spread of circumcision is reflected in the judgments of the law schools. The Hanafis, who are widespread in Turkey, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and the subcontinent, do not practice female circumcision. The šafi‘ite law school, which is influential in the Middle East, East Africa and Southeast Asia, considers female circumcision to be mandatory. Malikites in North and West Africa and Hanbalites on the Arabian Peninsula call them at least "honorable".

All proponents of female circumcision rely on weak hadiths, i.e. prophetic words, the authenticity of which is not unequivocally established. Muhammad is said to have said: “Circumcision is a traditional duty for men and 'honorable' for women." The following tradition is given about the procedure: "When you circumcise, only take a [small] part [of the clitoris] and remove it not quite. The wife will then look cheerful and happy, and the husband will also be pleased if her lust is undiminished. " [Both hadiths are quoted from: Aldeeb 1994, pp. 64-94. ]

This hadith in particular restricts circumcision rather than promoting it, as does the statement that it is an obligation for men only. At least the drastic forms of circumcision are difficult to legitimize Islamic against this background.

Where the circumcision of girls is carried out, it represents a rite of passage to a greater extent than the circumcision of boys. The circumcised girl gains slightly in social status in the family and now orients her behavior more towards that of women, even if the circumcision does not mark the beginning of the Adulthood marked. In a world that is strongly dominated by magical ideas, she lays the foundation for the performance of all rites that have to do with fertility and starting a family. How close the connection is is shown by the fact that in some places the girl to be circumcised is dressed like a bride and is addressed as such in the recovery phase from this operation. Uncircumcised women have little chance of finding a husband in societies in which the practice of circumcision is still firmly entrenched.

The celebrations on the occasion of circumcision are less frequent for women than for boys and are limited to the radius of women. How little the ritual is at home in Islam is also shown by the fact that, in contrast to the circumcision of boys, neither the offering of an animal sacrifice nor a feast are common. [See. Boehringer-Abdallah 1987, pp. 67-76.]

In Germany, the circumcision of girls and women is a criminal offense. This is dangerous (StGB § 224) or serious bodily harm (StGB

§ 226) or, in the event that the victim succumbs to his injuries, mutilation resulting in death (StGB § 227). The women's rights organization Terre des Femmes e.V. puts the number of women who are circumcised worldwide at 150 million. Due to migration, women and girls in Germany are also affected. Circumcision is either carried out in Germany or the girls suffer it when they travel to their countries of origin on vacation. Terre des Femmes e.V. estimates that 21,000 women in Germany are circumcised, while another 5,500 girls are threatened with the operation. [These figures are taken from the association's homepage on October 27, 2000: http://www.terre-des-femmes.de/mailingfgm2000.html - Terre des Femmes eV has also, with the support of the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Health published a brochure: 'We protect our daughters', which is translated into French, English, Arabic, Somali and Kiswahili and is to be used in prevention work. Terre des Femmes eV has developed a training course for midwives and doctors, which is to be carried out as a pilot project in the City Clinics of Bielefeld.]

In Islam, marriage is the only desirable way of life and the only place of legitimate sexual relations. Premarital and extramarital relationships, especially those of the same sex, are considered forbidden and are punishable by corporal or capital punishment. Celibacy and monasticism are also rejected. [The Koran expresses itself on the monasticism of Christians: 'We have not prescribed it to them. Rather, (they) took it upon themselves (of their own accord) in the pursuit of God's good pleasure. But they did not keep it properly. "(57:27)]

The preference of marriage is based on the Koran: “And marry those of you who are (still) single and the righteous of your slaves! If they are poor, God will make them rich through his grace. "(24:32) Marriage is one of the good gifts of God, who" made you wives of yourselves ". (16:72) It is based on the love and affection of the partner and their mutual concern for the next generation. For the relationship between the spouses, the Koran uses the image of the garment that they represent for one another, as it were. (2: 187)

Islam ascribes a stabilizing effect on society to marriage in a variety of ways and is based on the model of the complex extended family. The Qur'an expresses the responsibility of generations to one another: “And your Lord has determined that you should serve him alone. And to the parents (you should) be good.If one of them (father or mother) or (both) both of you (in the house) are very old (and afflicted with the weaknesses of old age), then do not say 'Ugh!' To them and do not approach them, but speak respectfully to them, and in mercy lower the wing of humiliation for them and say: 'Lord! Have mercy on them (just as compassionately), as they raised me when I was little (and helpless)! ’" (17: 23f.) The relatives are also included in this responsibility, which is ultimately in gradations on the whole umma extends: "And give to relatives what is due to them (by right), also to the poor and to those who are on their way (or: to those who have followed (God's) way (and thereby come into need)" : 26) Care extends explicitly to the weakest members of the community.While in pre-Islamic times it was common practice to get rid of unwanted - especially female - children by killing them, the Koran shows such a practice decidedly back: “And do not kill your children for fear of impoverishment! We give them and you (the livelihood). To kill them is a grave wrongdoing. "(17:31)

Marriage is a contract under Islamic law. Although it is designed for the long term, [Sunni Islam does not recognize marriage, which is limited in advance to a certain period of time. In Shiite Islam, this institution is known as mut a. See Hartmann 1992, p. 197.] but the possibility of a divorce exists under certain conditions. In this respect, Islamic marriage is closer to the Protestant understanding of a "worldly thing" than to the Roman Catholic understanding of marriage as sacramental and indissoluble except in death.

In principle, partners in a conjugal union cannot be all people; instead, gender-specific distinctions are made, and certain degrees of kinship are excluded from admission to marriage.

For a Muslim woman, she can choose a spouse from among Muslim men alone. She can be married to one man alone at the same time.

A Muslim man has the option of being married to up to four women at the same time, subject to fair treatment. These women can be of Muslim, Christian or Jewish faith. In the area of ​​marriage there is thus a partial community with Jews and Christians, which is derived directly from the Koran: “And (you are allowed to marry) the honorable believing women and the honorable women (from the community) of those who were before you This permission was temporarily extended to members of the Zoroastrian faith. Under the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605), his syncretistic religiosity temporarily favored the opening to Hinduism. Such practices have remained exceptions.

The basic rule requires that marriages between a Muslim partner and a member of a religion other than the pre-Islamic monotheistic religion or with people without religious belief are invalid or, in the case of Muslim women, any marriage with a non-Muslim is invalid. This regulation is mostly based on the fact that children of Muslim parents should be brought up in the Islamic faith and that the apostasy of the Muslim spouse must be prevented under all circumstances.

While the Christian or Jewish wife of a Muslim may not be hindered by her husband in the practice of her religion - for example, he may not forbid her to attend church services in her community or to eat according to the dietary regulations of her religion - there is in the case of the Muslim woman who would marry a non-Muslim feared that this would prevent her from bringing up her children in the Islamic faith or make it impossible for her to practice her religion or, in the worst case, dissuade her from Islam. Mixed marriages do not have a good reputation because a Christian or Jewish wife is not obliged to live according to Islamic ideas of ritual purity and thus the difficulty for her (Islamic) family can arise in their own household, for example, ritually unclean food and drinks or also to have unpopular devotional objects such as crucifixes or icons. Such reservations have led to the possibility of marriage to a Jew and / or Christian being judged to be less than desirable in the course of time. The Safi‘ite school of law even rejects them completely; namely, the permission extends only to the members of the original revealed religions. Today's followers are not meant because Judaism and Christianity only existed in a falsified way. [See. ibid., p. 101.]

These provisions of partner choice also imply that a valid marriage is concluded ipso facto is considered divorced if one of the partners leaves the given religious framework. If the husband falls away from Islam or if the wife leaves her religious community

Most of a non-monotheistic religion or of atheism, the marriage is considered to no longer exist. The spouses must be separated from one another immediately.

The degrees of kinship within which marriage is inadmissible are listed in the Koran. “You are forbidden (to marry) your mothers, your daughters, your aunts on your father's side or on your mother's side, your nieces, your nursing mothers, your nursing sisters, the mothers of your wives, your stepdaughters who are in the lap of your families (and) of (them from) your wives to whom you have (already) entered - if you have not yet entered into them, it is not a sin for you (to marry such stepdaughters) - and (you are forbidden) the wives of your own births Sons. Also (it is forbidden) to have two sisters (together) as a wife, apart from what (in this respect) has already happened. God is merciful and ready to forgive. "(4:23) Not only blood but also milk constitutes relationships here.

The polygamy permitted by the Koran limits the number of wives in contrast to pre-Islamic law usus on four. The pre-Islamic polytheistic culture of the Arabian Peninsula had known very different types of communalization between men and women, all of which, however, were abolished by Islam in favor of Islamic marriage. This brought various innovations with it, such as the - albeit limited - legal capacity of women and the abolition of the purchase of bride. When entering into a marriage contract, the woman may not be married off against her will. However, the bride does not conclude the contract with the groom herself, but requires a male relative or guardian, the wali. If a divorced woman or a widow wishes to marry again, she no longer needs representation to conclude the contract, but can act as a contractual partner herself. In the event that underage spouses are married, the bridegroom also represents wali. In the marriage contract, the bride and groom have the opportunity to negotiate certain conditions for the marriage. For example, the bride can establish the right to remain her husband's only wife and thus circumvent the permission to practice polygamy. With the marriage, the bridegroom undertakes - unless the bride allows him to do so - to pay the more, the morning gift. This flows into the bride's private assets and is therefore no longer a "bride price" that would have to be reimbursed to the bride's family. Rather, the morning gift serves as financial security in the event of a divorce. An astronomically high protection against the divorce can be used more be agreed, which would, however, only be paid in the event of divorce. Likewise, only a symbolic amount can be paid, so that the security is completely omitted. The terms the bride can negotiate, however, depend on the negotiating position she and her advisors have with the groom's family. Social standing, personal characteristics of the bride, her reputation, the knowledge of the bride and wali of their legal possibilities at all can be responsible for whether the legal framework in which the woman will lead her married life turns out to be more or less in her favor.

The marriage contract becomes legally binding if it is dated in the presence of two innocent witnesses wali the bride and groom is closed. The involvement of an imam or kadi is optional. However, it is a suitable means of avoiding formal errors when concluding a contract.

Marriage is a festive occasion, and the hadiths are full of indications that it should be celebrated as such. The offering to the bride and a feast for relatives and friends are mandatory. [The Islamic Center Aachen formulates its ideas about an Islamic wedding celebration: `` During the celebration, the participants may be cheerful, but without exceeding the limits set by Islam. Only one type of tambourine is allowed as a musical instrument, and men and women must sit separately. Alcohol consumption, mixed dancing or that of women in front of the men are forbidden. It is not a custom in Islam to put on one another's wedding rings, even if some Muslims do so in imitation of the occidental way of life "(Islamisches Zentrum Aachen Bilal-Moschee e.V. 1994).]

In conjugal life, the notion that men and women are indeed equal - especially in a spiritual sense - but not equal in legal and social terms. The spheres of influence of man and woman differ in that the woman is responsible for the house and child-rearing, while the man is solely and completely responsible for looking after the family. He is obliged to provide for the maintenance of his wife (s) and children, while a woman's private assets only flow into the family budget if she voluntarily decides to make them available. The Koran justifies this relationship: "Men are above women because God has distinguished them (by nature before them) and because of the expenses they have made of their property (as a morning gift for women?)" (4: 34) It should be emphasized once again that this verse does not refer to the value of the sexes, which is by no means seen in such a gradation: “But those who act as is right, male or female, and who are believers in it , will (one day) go into Paradise, and they will not be wronged by a single dimple of the date (at the time of reckoning). " (4: 124)

Where the marriage has not yet brought about such a paradisiacal state, divorce is allowed as a last resort after consultation with the partner by a third party. This right is more accessible to the husband than to the wife. However, here too, Islamic law has set up some inhibitions to protect women from masculine arbitrariness. In the event of a divorce, for example, it is necessary to wait three months for the woman to determine whether she is pregnant. If a man finally separates from his wife, he cannot marry her again unless she entered into an interim marriage with another man, which would then have been divorced. This should protect against carelessly pronouncing the divorce and using it as a means of exerting pressure on the woman.

If small children need to be looked after in the event of a divorce, they initially remain in the household of the woman who returns to the family of her parents. Before reaching puberty, however, the children return to the household of their father, who is always responsible for them. If the mother enters into a new marriage in the meantime, the children return earlier so that they do not represent an obstacle for the woman to remarry. According to Islamic understanding, the children belong to the father as soon as they have reached an appropriate age.

Islamic law knows neither adoption nor the recognition of a child out of wedlock by the father.

The viability of a religion is always particularly evident in whether it can show its followers the way not only through life, but also out of this world. Islam also attaches importance to a "good death", which is surrounded by rites, which are supposed to make it easier for the soul of the deceased to enter the afterlife.

Islam shares with Christianity the idea of ​​a Last Judgment and the physical resurrection of the dead. But the individual eschatological ideas are not congruent despite all the parallels, and the rites differ in many respects.

Death occurs when the soul, which was given to the body by God at the beginning of life, is now taken from it again. This breathing in of the soul as a divine act has been repeated since the creation of the first man, [In sura 15: 28f. there is a description of the divine intention to the angels: `` I will create a person out of moist clay (?). When I have then shaped him and blown the spirit of me into him, then bow down (in awe) before him! "] which expresses the understanding that every human being, beyond parental generation, owes his creation to God. If it is foreseeable that the death of a Muslim is imminent, those bystanders ensure that the last words that the dying hears on earth are the same as those that he heard as the first words immediately after his birth: the šahada, the creed, is spoken in his ear. He should repeat them so that they are his last words.

Those present are expected to pray for the dying and recite from the Koran. One hadith on this occasion particularly suggests the sura Ya Sin, that is the 36th sura. In it, life on the other side comes up several times with heavenly reward and never-ending punishments in hell. The faithful are assured: “The messengers have spoken the truth. It is enough (w. It is only) a single scream and they will all be brought before us (to the court). And (to them it is said :) ‘Today nobody is wronged (in the least). And you will only be rewarded (for) what you have done (in your earthly life). The inmates of Paradise are busy today (in their own way) and are happy to do it: They and their wives lie in the shade (comfortably) on couches and have (delicious) fruits (to eat) and (everything) they ask for. ‘Heil!’ (Is offered to you) as a (greeting) word from a merciful Lord. But you, sinners, must separate yourselves today (from the pious). (For hell is ready for you.) "(36: 52-59)

Once death has occurred, there are a number of obligations that the Muslim community owes its dead to fulfill. Washing, clothing, funeral prayer and burial according to the Islamic rite are the duty of the community in the sense of a collective duty, fard kifaya. In the event that no Muslim is available to render these last services to the dead, the whole community is guilty. Conversely, however, the duty is considered fulfilled if only a few parishioners perform the required actions and prayers. The rites associated with the burial of the dead are hardly flexible, which distinguishes them from Christian burial rites, which open up various possibilities in terms of design, time, place and type of burial and the associated celebration, which have been possible for some time The cremation of the corpse also counts, unless it is intended as a rejection of the belief in resurrection. [See. Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference 1995.]
This difference must be kept in mind, otherwise it is incomprehensible why Muslims push so hard for their rites to be made possible.

The period of time that can lie between the occurrence of death and the burial, which must be an earth burial, should be as short as possible. Those who die in the morning should be buried in the afternoon of the same day. Whoever dies in the afternoon should be buried in the morning of the following day. This haste stems from the fact that, according to the Islamic view, the human soul, when it is separated from the body, is first brought to heaven by the angel of death Izrail for an intermediate court. There she finds out whether paradise or hell awaits her and is then brought back into the body. In the grave two other angels, Munkar and Nakir, come to her and ask her about her God, her prophet, her religion and her direction of prayer. Does the soul know the right ones

Answers - God, Muhammad, Islam and Mecca - the angels confirm her future entrance into Paradise; if the soul does not know the correct answers, torment begins even in the grave. A delay in the burial also leads to a delay in the questioning by the angels.

It is therefore important to take the necessary actions quickly. First of all, the eyes of the dead are closed and the chin is tied with a strip of cloth. In order to prevent the body from swelling, it can be loaded with a weight.

The washing of the dead corresponds to a full body washing, as it is also to be carried out by the living on certain occasions. Since the corpse is stripped for this purpose, a member of the same sex, usually with two helpers, always carries out the washing of the dead. However, spouses are allowed to wash the deceased partner. The Hanafi school of law, however, sees it differently: In the case of spouses, the Hanafis say that a widow can wash her deceased husband, but in the case of a deceased wife, the washing may only be done by women. [See. Abu Dawud 1990, p. 894 note 2614.]

The washing is laborious: “The corpse is placed on its back on a raised place from which the water can easily drain and is covered with a cloth from the navel to the knees. First, an attempt is made to empty the body by applying light pressure on the abdomen. Then the excretions and genitals are washed under the cloth, for which the washer-man wraps his hand with a cloth. Then the actual ritual washing takes place, which corresponds to that before prayer. First, the mouth and nostrils are cleaned and the hands, face, head and feet are washed, and then the whole body, washing first the right and then the left half of the body. The one-time washing of the corpse is compulsory, a second and third is recommended. Finally the body is dried off and rubbed with camphor. " [Lemmen 1999a, p. 18f.]

There is an exception to this washing; Martyrs are buried as they died.

The corpse is now wrapped in white cloths in which it is also buried. Three cloths are required for a man, and two additional cloths for the head and chest for a woman. The cloths are tied with strips of fabric and the deceased is carried on a stretcher to the burial site, which was traditionally outside the cities and settlements.

A ritual funeral prayer must be performed for dead Muslims. A hadith suggests that this also applies to children: “The funeral prayer should be performed for every deceased child, even if its parents had an illegal relationship, because every child is naturally predisposed to be a Muslim. And if both parents are Muslims or if the father believes in Islam but the mother professes another religion, prayer is to be said for the child in the event of death, provided that it cried out after the birth. The prayer is not offered if it did not cry out after the birth, because then it is a matter of a miscarriage. " [Al-Buhari 1991, p. 180.] Here, too, the martyrs are an exception, and it is assumed that they will immediately go to Paradise. The question of whether or not a prayer for the dead must be said for them is answered in the affirmative by the Hanafis, and judged negatively by the Shafi‘ites and Hanbalites. [See. Abu Dawud 1990, p. 893 note 2609.] Prayers for non-Muslims are not offered. About a prayer for the dead

There are different views on people who have committed suicide. It is recorded from the life of Muhammad that he refused such a prayer in order to set an example. [See. ibid., p. 903f. No. 3179.] For the victims of hadd- Prayer is supported by a majority of penalties.

The place of the funeral prayer is also preferred differently by the law schools, especially since the corpse should be present. Safi‘ites name the mosque as an adequate place for this. Hanbalites allow prayer in the mosque, whereas Malikites and Hanafis want prayer to be performed in an open area outside the city. [See. Lemmen 1999a, p. 20 note 23.]

Participation in the funeral prayer is compulsory for men. The participation of women is predominantly rejected. If they are present, keep away from the men. This also applies to the funeral procession, in which they may follow the men at a distance. The corpse is alternately carried on their shoulders by the participating men and brought quickly and in silence to the burial site.

There he is placed in the grave in such a way that he lies on the right side of the body with his face facing Mecca. For this purpose, a corresponding niche is prepared at the foot of the grave, which is closed with clay or wood after the burial. The participants at the funeral each throw three handfuls of earth into the grave under the words: “From this we created you; for this we will let you return, and from this we will bring you out a second time. " [Quoted from: Ibid., P. 22.] The filling of the grave is the task of the mourning community, which then says a few supplications and instructs the deceased with regard to the questioning in the grave.

In principle, Muslims are to be buried among Muslims. The dead rest is considered in aeternam and is taken so seriously that the care and decoration of the grave is perceived as a disturbance of this calm and is rejected. Any cult of the dead is alien to Orthodox Islam, which is one of the reasons for the tension that exists regarding Sufi communities. Their cult of saints, which is sometimes very pronounced, is continued in the graves of holy women and men. Contrary to the scholarly demand for simple graves, elaborately designed graves can be found everywhere in the Islamic world, the most famous of which is probably the Taj Mahal.

Mourning is supposed to separate itself from pre-Islamic mourning rites by avoiding loud complaints, tearing clothes and similar outbursts. According to the prophetic model, weeping for the deceased is permitted, provided that the mourning does not include quarreling with the divine will.

In the three days after death, it is appropriate to visit the bereaved at home and stay with them for a while as a token of condolence. Expressions of condolences after this period are frowned upon. There is a special period of mourning for widows after the husband's death, idda. For four months and ten days they dress plainly, hardly leave the house or not at all and are not allowed to make any promises about a new marriage.

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 2001