Posted on April 18, 2020
UPDATED: 2 APRIL 2020
NOTE: This document is updated as the national regulations for the lockdown are amended.
For the purpose of deaths occurring from COVID-19, which is also known as the novel coronavirus 2019, these are the Muslim Judicial Council’s guidelines.
- REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
- The Identification Document (ID) of the deceased person
- The Identification Document (ID) of the person taking responsibility for the janaza
- The proof of address of the deceased person
- The ghusl (washing of the deceased’s body) must only be performed if the necessary precautions, as set out by the Western Cape Department of Health, are adhered to. These include the wearing of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by those washing the body and the disinfection of the ghusl facility, bier, and hearse.
- In the absence of these requirements, the ghusl must NOT take place. The mayit will only be placed in two plastic body bags and, thereafter, be wrapped in a kafan (white cotton shroud).
- If the requirements are met, after the completion of the ghusl, the body must be placed in two plastic body bags, thereafter, be wrapped in a kafan.
- All cotton, cloths, swabs and the deceased’s clothing, which was worn before passing, must be discarded as medical waste.
- The ghusl must only be performed by a registered Muslim undertaker and a COVID-19 trained ghaasil/ toekamanie (person washing the body) in full PPE.
- Two people in full PPE will be allowed to conduct the ghusl (the washing of the deceased’s body).
- A maximum of two people in full PPE will be allowed to assist those washing the body for the purposes of arranging the necessary items required for the procedure.
- Family and friends will not be allowed to be present unless they are part of the ghusl team.
- In cases where the COVID-19 status of the deceased is unknown or negative, the ghusl team should, as far as possible, wear PPE. If this is unavailable, they should take the necessary precautions that are applicable for any other infectious diseases, i.e. wear gloves, an apron, boots and wash their hands thoroughly.
- A deceased person’s body is still able to spread infectious diseases in the week after death. Disinfection is, therefore, vital after the ghusl (washing) of the body.
- The registered Muslim undertakers and the COVID-19 trained ghaasil must adhere to confidentiality norms and trust when conducting the ghusl. A member of the ghusl team should document the entire process for record purposes.
- Three male officials and two female ghaasil are on standby from the Western Cape Muslim Undertakers Forum. (Contact Ebrahim Solomon 072 827 0983)
- Only two masaajid with ghusl facilities are available for the purpose of COVID-19 deaths:
- Husami Masjid (Moulana Ebrahiem Karriem 061 410 1401)
- Taronga Road Masjid (Moegsien Wise 083 261 8045)
- JANAZA SALAH AND BURIAL
- The janaza must proceed directly from the ghusl facility to the maqbara (cemetery). The body of the deceased must under no circumstances be taken to a family home.
- The janaza salaah must be performed at the maqbara as all masaajid are closed for the duration of the lockdown.
- The deceased must be lowered into the grave by a maximum of three people in full PPE.
- REGULATIONS FOR ATTENDEES
A maximum of 20 (TWENTY) people are allowed to attend the janaza, including the imaam and the members of the burial service.
- People who need to travel between provinces to attend a burial must obtain a permit.
- The permit may be obtained from a magistrate or a station commander of a police station.
- In order to obtain a permit, a magistrate must be provided with a death certificate or a certified copy of a death certificate.
- A permit holder may stay at a hotel, lodge or guesthouse for the duration of the funeral. The permit must be presented to the owner or manager of the establishment.
- Only the following people may travel outside of a province to attend a funeral:
- Spouse or partner of the deceased
- Children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepchildren
- Children-in-law of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepparents
- Siblings, whether biological, adopted or stepbrother/sister of the deceased
- Grandparents of the deceased
- Individuals closely affiliated to the deceased
- A register of all attendees at all janaa-iz, including immediate family, must be recorded even where the COVID-19 status of the deceased is unknown or negative. It must include:
- Contact numbers
- ID Numbers
- SOCIAL DISTANCING
Whilst the world is in the midst of the pandemic, families should assume that any attendee to both COVID-19 and normal funerals may be infected with the virus. Physical distancing measures should, therefore, be observed:
- Limit the number of people attending the janaza.
- No touching or kissing of the forehead or any other part of the mayit is allowed.
- Social distancing of at least 1.5 metres must be adhered to throughout the procession.
- Handshaking or hugging should be avoided.
- Only a driver and one passenger are allowed to travel in each vehicle.