UK cemetery adopts new way of burying Muslims amid rising coronavirus deaths. The saff burial method has been approved by local Muslim scholars to accommodate the volume of deaths in the Muslim community.
A Muslim burial ground in Greater London has adopted an unprecedented method of burying the deceased that is compliant with Islamic law to cope with the growing number of people dying from COVID-19.
The method, which involves burying up to 10 people in individual chambers within one plot after a single funeral prayer is performed for all of them, is being used by Eternal Gardens, which is located in Chislehurst, in southeast London.
Eternal Gardens decided to adopt the saff burial method after consulting local Muslim scholars on the best way to deal with the spike in demand for burials that meant families would have to wait for over a week to see their loved ones buried.
The second of such “saff” burials took place on Saturday. Saff means row in Arabic, and the name reflects the method of laying the deceased to rest in rows within a plot.
Usually buries a maximum of ten people per week at the grounds under normal circumstances. On average it is about eight people per week. Three weeks ago that figure had doubled, and the following week it trebled. Last week the cemetery had to bury buried 54 people, with 45 of them being Covid-19 deaths.
These are extraordinary times for the country as a whole and Muslim community is having to adapt to the rising death toll.
Muslims bury their dead as soon as possible, and the deceased is washed and shrouded in cloth according to Islamic guidelines.
A funeral prayer is then performed, and the person is laid to rest in a grave on their right side facing Makkah. The grave should be perpendicular to the holy city.