17 August 2022

A close relative of mine was buried at Al Hillal Cemetery in Overport, Durban, a few days ago. As I watched the proceedings of this burial and another one alongside, I saw many people without masks.

There is always some morbid facination for people to crowd around the grave to watch the final burial process. It is normal practice for one or two close relatives or friends to offer to go into the pit to orientate the body of the departed. They are always in close proximity of each other with absolutely no scope for the mandatory social distancing. It begs the question, ‘how many more funerals result a short time later after this particular one, due to the rife infections in all the above three phases?’ Little do they realize that their negligence could literally result in the final nail in their own coffin.

Understandably, it is a most difficult time, but I would urge Islamic bodies to advise on the best possible methods of minimising unnecessary contact, especially the crowding that happens around the graves during the burial process.

Perhaps the accurate orientation of the body in the grave can be temporarily suspended during this horrible period.

Emotions, understandably, gets the better of all of us, but do we need to return home after the burial and very possibly with this new strain, put other family members at great potential risk?

Ebrahim Essa


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