What to do when a death occurs

The following persons should be contacted immediately when a death occurs:

  • The family doctor

  • The local funeral director

  • The Imam of the local mosque (for janaza prayer)

  • Close relatives and next of kin.

If you know a death is imminent:

We understand this is a difficult time for the family and one may not know what to do, we also appreciate that some of the below points may not be obvious or deemed necessary. However we do advise you consider the following points in order to make any funeral and associated paperwork easier to complete.

  • When a loved one is near death, the family should ensure and provide comfort, and reminders of God’s mercy and forgiveness. They are encouraged to recite verses from the Holy Qur’an, and the dying may also recite words of prayer. It is recommended, for a Muslim’s last words to be the declaration of faith, that is, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.” However, there should be no coercion to recite this statement. Beyond this, efforts should be made to make the last moments as comfortable for the individual as possible. Offering zam zam water and physical comfort is recommended

  • If safe and convenient do try to ensure that the loved one is facing the qibla

  • Ensure that the loved one is in a place where (should a death occur) access is easy and medical staff or a funeral director can access and remove the body without causing disrespect to the body

  • Advise the family doctor of the illness, any GP can only issue a Medical Cause of Death certificate if he/she has visited the patient no more than 14 days prior of the death occurring

  • Request friends & family members to help out in the administration, we find when someone takes charge of liaising with the various stakeholders post death, this ensures that the funeral process is smoother and quicker

    • When a death occurs the immediate family is in a state of loss, it is a right/duty on the other family that friends and other family members help out in anyway they can to ensure that the needs of the family are met. Do try to help by organising food, providing counselling, contacting other family that the death has occurred.

    • At this time we sincerely request that any differences are put aside  - May Allah swt reward you all for helping your brothers & sisters in need. Allah SWT is most forgiving and loves those who forgive.

 

Practical steps immediately after a death occurs

  • When a death occurs the eyes of deceased should be gently closed

  • Gently press the chin upward while holding the top of the head - then secure the chin with a strip of cotton material tying it at the top of the head

  • Remove any jewellery i.e. rings, ear rings, bracelets, studs especially before swelling starts to occur

  • Straighten the limbs but please do not force them as this could cause damage

  • place the toes together and tie them together with a strip of cotton material.

When a death occurs at Home

If the death occurs at home, the GP should be contacted at once to certify the death.  If the death was expected, the GP will complete the Medical Cause of Death Certificate (MCoD). The MCoD will be required by the Registrar when registering the death. If the funeral is to be a repatriation abroad, it would be helpful to notify the GP at this time. 

If a you call the ambulance, please note that although the deceased will be sanctioned to be removed and taken to the masjid, the cause of death will not be issued. This will invariably add delays when the family want to bury the deceased or repatriate it abroad.

When a death at a Hospital

If the death occurs in a hospital, the nursing staff will contact the next of kin to inform them of the death.  If this is you, you will be asked to visit the hospital and meet the Bereavement Officer.  You will be given the Medical Cause of Death Certificate which will be required in order to register the death.  You will also be given a Mortuary Release Form — this is required by a funeral director when we attend the hospital to collect the deceased to take to the masjid. If you know at this time that the funeral is to be a burial or repatriation, please let the Bereavement Officer know.  He/she will then arrange for the Doctors to complete additional medical forms for the repatriation. When convenient, telephone us in order to make the funeral arrangements.

Suddenly or as a result of an accident

If the death occurs and is sudden or unexpected, contact the doctor who will confirm the death and then contact the Coroner.  The Coroner will need to investigate the death and may request a Post Mortem to be performed.  We request a one family member is assigned as a liaison with the coroner's office. For more information and advice on dealing with the coroners office please contact the BMBC - Birmingham Muslim Burial Council.