Following a death, Islamic burial principles are always followed. The deceased is washed, wrapped in a shroud and buried facing eastward — toward the holy land of Mecca. Prayers are recited and family members receive condolences and wives mourn their deceased husbands.
A burial can take place even if there is no body. The principles of the Quran, Hadith or Ulama (Mohammed’s teachings) are followed. But there are times when extraordinary circumstances allow for modifications to these principles.
Typically, when a Hausa man or woman is about to die, the Shahada (testimony of faith) is pronounced. This is a testament of faith in Allah and the dying one is made to face Mecca, as it is believed that there are spiritual battles to make the dying renounce the faith.
After the death of the individual, the body is washed by the spouse or the deceased’s friends. The deceased is then wrapped in shrouds, usually white, and buried within a 24-hour window without a coffin. Prayers are offerred for easy passage of the dead and dirt is thrown on the grave by those present.
Autopsies are discouraged as it is believed that there should be no physical interference with the dead. After the burial rites, the spouse is allowed to mourn the deceased for three months.