For many, an important part of the grieving process is visiting the cemetery where the loved one finds its final resting place. In Islam visiting the cemetery expresses a strong statement that the deceased has not been forgotten. Religions tend to try to balance the feelings of sorrow and grief for the loss of the loved one with the hope and assurance that comes through the commitment to the tenets of the faith.

Islam works to find that balance as well. Visiting the cemetery is accepted as an opportunity to reflect upon the life of the deceased and to contemplate the certainty of the life after death. Grieving is a natural reaction to a loss. But the expressions of that grief should be tempered with an assurance in the mercy of God and his eternal purposes.

Remembering and Respecting

When visiting the cemetery, Muslims should pause to remember the good things in the life of the departed. Time should be spent offering prayers and meditation on the mercy and goodness of God and the brevity of this life on earth. Moments can be spent in the assurance of life after this one, for the deceased and themselves.

One of the foundational teachings of Islam affirms that one brings nothing into this world and also leaves with nothing. The implication of that belief to the burial and grave site is a simple, humble representation of the final resting state. Flowers, wreaths or other memorabilia which would adorn the grave would be considered inappropriate.

Although in some Muslim traditions, it is acceptable for women to visit the graves, it is not recommended that they do so often. Islamic teaching offers warning against over-emotional outbursts of grief and the preoccupation with the dead rather than the living.

Muslims are permitted to visit the grave and cemetery of non-Muslims for a time of reflection and remembrance, and to show honor for the deceased and the relationship shared. Muslims should not, however, participate in any funeral ritual or custom of a non-believer.