A video has been produced to reassure families about the procedures for Muslim burials.

Blackburn with Darwen Council collaborated with the Blackburn Muslim Burial Society (BMBS) and Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) on the short video, which sets out the safe working practices that BMBS have been developed during the pandemic.

BMBS is a voluntary group that manages Muslim burials and supports bereaved families. Their volunteers have been taking extra precautions to manage Muslim burials safely, whether the deceased has passed away with Covid-19 or not. This includes ensuring funeral volunteers wear full PPE to carry out Ghusl - the washing and shrouding of the body ahead of burial. 

The video also offers advice for bereaved families on keeping themselves safe during the mourning period that follows a death, with advice on adhering to the rule of having no more than 30 people at a funeral, and not allowing Taziyat visits to the home from people offering condolences to the family, as is customary in the Muslim culture. 

The video is available in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati.

Sayyed Osman, Director of Adults and Prevention Services, said:  “Death isn’t an easy topic to tackle, but it is an important one. At some point it will affect all of us. 

“When someone from our Muslim communities passes away, whether from Covid-19 related illnesses or not, this video seeks to provide reassurance to families that their loved one will receive a proper funeral in line with Islamic practices.

“The video we’ve produced handles this topic sensitively and will hopefully provide some comfort to grieving families. Thank you to Aeman Ali Afzal at ‘ThisIs TAE’ for his hard work and expertise in making the videos.

“Of course, I cannot talk about Muslim burials without offering a tribute to the volunteers of Blackburn Muslim Burial Society. They freely give their time, expertise and most of all their compassion to support bereaved families. That’s always a tough role, but never more so than during the last eight months. My thanks goes to everyone at BMBS.” 

Here it is in Urdu

Maulana Rafiq Sufi, Chair of Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “It’s so important that we all follow the restrictions around Janazah prayers and Taziyat at this very difficult time following a bereavement. 

“We will share the videos with all mosques in Blackburn with Darwen and appeal for their help in sharing it with their communities.”

Imran Patel of Blackburn Muslim Burial Society added: “It’s been a very difficult eight months for BMBS and our volunteers. The last couple of months in particular have been harrowing as we have seen an increase in the numbers of Covid-related deaths in our community, and tragically some families losing two or three generations. 

“It is absolutely vital that we all stick to the rules around the number of people allowed at burials. The family of the deceased will invite close family only to cemetery up to a maximum of 30 people. Sadly, if you’re not among the 30, you must stay away from the cemetery. 

“We appreciate it’s hard and understand that everyone wants to pay their respects, but turning up to a funeral uninvited adds undue stress for the bereaved family and for BMBS volunteers. 

You may be asked to leave, and you also risk making measures tougher for other families if restrictions are tightened further as a result of any breaches.”

Here it is in Punjabi

Here it is in Gujarati

Coun Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to the BMBS staff and volunteers who have worked so hard under difficult circumstances since March to develop safe working practices, so that our community’s deceased can have the funerals they deserve, while everyone’s safety is maintained.”

Lancashire Council of Mosques offers a bereavement counselling service to anyone who is struggling following the death of a loved one. To make contact with one of their trained volunteers, call 07739 516239 between 10am and 5pm Monday to Friday.