There are two fundamental questions from The Washing. This essay addresses the first question concerning the rituals.
- What are the Muslim religious funeral rituals?
- Why would the author have the urge to wash Dadee and invite her to the wedding?
Within the Islamic religious beliefs, when a relative passes on, same gender family members are expected to bathe the corpse within a short while after death. This cleansing should be done preferably on the same day of death. In addition, they are supposed to shroud the corpse in preparation for a brief burial ceremony. However, non-relative volunteers are allowed to perform the ritual should family members be unfamiliar with the tradition or are not immediately available. This was demonstrated in the death of Dadee where relatives were not around to follow the procedures (Yaqub 1).
Moreover, since the cleansing is viewed as a major ritual, the religious doctrine dictates that the body be accorded ultimate respect so as to keep secret any deformity or marks. Clean water and soap are used to wash the corpse thrice from top to bottom. Another procedure involves right-to-left washing while tilting it carefully. Finally, fragrance oil is smeared on the body after third washing and the corpse completely wrapped in white linen. It is also notable that this cleansing ritual is associated with the righteousness of the washers who claim that this would lead to forgiveness of forty main sins from their entire life’s record (Yaqub 1).
With regard to burial rituals, the corpse should be laid in the dust without a coffin but since some laws opposed this, it can be placed in a simply made coffin for burial. The process is a brief session slightly over 5 minutes and is accompanied by short prayer. The prayers are directed to God and the deceased for forgiveness and a blessed after-life (Yaqub 2).
Yaqub, Reshma M. The Washing: In the Muslim Custom of Bathing the Dead, She Found a Deep Sense of Reward — And Shaved Off 40 Sins. The Washington Post. 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 5 Nov. 2015. < http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/12/AR2010031202891.html >