Burial of the dead in Kuwait

In the newspaper Friday Times of Kuwait (near the page on driving in Kuwait) was the following article on burying the dead in Kuwait. I’ve almost literally plagiarized it.

According to the article Muslims believe that there is life after resurrection and that their soul will live in their graves either suffering or happy depending on the person’s good or bad deeds until Judgment Day, when they will be judged and will then live an immortal life in heave or hell.

There are five cemeteries in Kuwait presently, three for Sunni Muslims, one for Shiite Muslims and one for non-Muslims. There were some old cemeteries but they are closed and even some disappeared as buildings have been erected on them.

The Muslim way of burying starts with cleansing of the body by somebody noted in the will, or by the person’s family. There should not be more than three people at the same time. The cleansing can be done either at the hospital or at the cemetery. A special ambulance then transfers the body to the cemetery.

The deceased is normally cleaned with water and Nabk or Christ’s thorn. The washer takes off the clothes of the deceased, cuts their nails, shaves their underarms and if the deceased is a man the washer will shorten his moustache. The nose and mouth are also cleansed. The deceased face, head and body is washed with soap and water. Men wash men and women wash women. A man can wash his wife or daughter who is under seven and the same applies for a woman who can wash only her husband or son younger than seven.

The second step is wrapping the dead in a shroud which is divided into three pieces of cloth for men and five for women. Dihn Al-Oud, perfume is then dabbed on the deceased’s nose, forehead, abdomen, palms, knees and feet. After that the washers pray for forgiveness to the soul of the dead then transport the body to the gravesite.

Burial is done within 24 hours: the same day or next morning as burial is not done at night.

At the gravesite there should be two or three men inside the grave and two others outside to help them lower the body. The body is placed on the right side and a little amount of sand is put under his head. After covering the body with sand, two pieces of brick are put on the grave, one on the side of the head and one on the feet side. All present pray to God for forgiveness on the soul of the deceased before they leave.

No fees are paid for the cemetery services or the washers or the sheikh who is praying for the dead. There is a difference in genders, as men can visit the cemetery any time, but women are only allowed from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is for the Sunni cemetery but the non-Muslim cemetery is only opened if there is a burial.

There used to be a crematorium in Kuwait in Sulayibikhat near the area of tree of the cemeteries. It was closed a long time ago and there is now a restaurant on the site.

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