Burial: Delayed burial

Q82 :If a foreign worker dies, how soon should he be buried? Is it appropriate for the employer to delay burial until he receives the consent of the worker's parents or next of kin? Does this not intervene the rule which specifies a time limit for burial?

A82 : Let me first of all say that there is no time limit for burial. Islam does not say that a dead person should be buried within a particular number of hours or days after the death has occurred. Having said that, it is well known that it is more appropriate from the Islamic point of view to bury a person as soon as possible after his death. Burial is not to be delayed unnecessarily. When it is feared that the body of a deceased person could begin to decompose, preparation for burial should be started with maximum speed. On the other hand, if there is a valid reason for a delay in burial, then this is acceptable. Such delay may be necessary if a crime is suspected. A coroner may require a postmortem to be carried out in order to determine the cause of death. This will inevitably delay burial, but this is certainly acceptable. In the case you have mentioned, the employer may have felt that the relatives of the deceased worker may wish to have the body returned to the worker's home country for burial there. From the Islamic point of view, it is undesirable that a person be sent from one country to another for burial. [or, for that matter, from one town in the same country to another town.] Even when a Muslim dies in a non-Muslim area, it is perfectly appropriate for him to be buried there. There is no need for him to be taken away to a Muslim country. The whole earth belongs to Allah and wherever we are buried, He resurrects us on the day of judgment.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )