in My Own Voice, Recovering Humanity

My First Muslim Funeral

So I experienced my first Muslim funeral today, and I did NOT like it!

I learned about the type of service the night before, and aside from it being a funeral, I thought it would be an amazing experience to see up close and personal the parallels between how this and the burial of Jesus. But what I experienced left me infuriated.

From the silence of the tears to the placement of the women, I left the cemetery with the notion “God is definitely not calling me to be a Muslim.”

It baffled my mind to see how pushed aside the women were; even though, they were the givers of life. It pained me to watch a mother unable to be by her son’s side while he was being placed into his final resting place. Yet, a perfect stranger earned the right to handle and cradle his lifeless body all because of the thing between his legs.

I was infuriated and angered as a mother, the vessel by which this person, this man existed, was told that “the son being placed in the ground did not belong to her anyway. That he was going into the ground to await his resurrection, and although she gave him life, he was not hers. He belonged to God. That there was no need for her to be at his graveside, for his soul had already left. What was left was being given back to God. For we all have a date and time. We are all on borrowed time. We all are on death row.”

I painfully listened to a mother cry out “Come back to me. Come back to me right now. RIGHT NOW! Come back to me! God, bring my baby back to me!” But, do so silently, soft as a whisper, because although crying was allowed, wailing and outbursts were not tolerated.

To be at the place where the life you carried, birthed, and nurtured would take his final rest but have to experience it from a distance as an outsider because 1. You do not share nor practice the same beliefs; and 2. You are a woman was the most disheartening and sickening.

She was not able to visit his gravesite until all the men left. And, all the men would not leave until he was completely buried. So by the time she got to him, she was looking at nothing more than a pile of dirt, unable to see him committed to the ground.

I experienced my first Muslim funeral today, and I did NOT like it! A mother’s tears was silenced. Her pain pushed to the side. For the child she birthed was not her own, so she need not cry for him anyway.

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