Ref: ACJU/PRE/2020/004

07.05.2020

Dr. Anil Jasinghe,
Director General of Health Services

Respected Sir,

Clarification on the ambiguity on burying the ashes of a Muslim who succumbed to COVID-19 and request to reverse the stance by permitting burial

We take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to all the health care staff working at the front line, especially to your good-self, working tirelessly during these challenging times to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Indeed, you and your team are responding with courage, resolve and exemplary professionalism.

This is a kind note of clarification on any ambiguity that has surfaced on burying the ashes of a Muslim who succumbed to COVID-19.

We wish to reiterate that the Muslim community stand on this matter has always been that, a Muslim deceased due to COVID-19, should have the option of being buried, in line with the WHO guidelines and as implemented in more than 180 countries, since it is an integral part of our faith and a religious obligation of the community towards the deceased.

From the inception, we had addressed this matter in a professional and ethical manner. For the record, we wish to highlight some of the efforts made, of the many steps taken in this regard.

On 24th March a letter was sent to His Excellency the President requesting to amend the standard operating procedure issued by JMO, to include the option of burial for the COVID 19 deaths. We appreciate the authorities for considering our request along with other civil organizations and making necessary changes and issuing a new “Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients” on the 27th of March, with the provisions for burial.

But unfortunately, on the 31st of March, the above ‘Guidelines’ was revised suddenly and provision for the burial removed.  Thereafter on the 1st of April, we issued a statement expressing our disappointment on behalf of Muslim community for reversing the decision and requesting the relevant authorities to revise the decision in line with the WHO guidelines with the provisions for burial. Following which, a Team of Doctors were appointed to discuss related matters with the authorities and after these discussions, it was agreed to appoint a panel of experts to conduct a scientific study on this matter, but it did not realize.

We, the ACJU as a responsible organization, have always guided our community to obey the law of the land at all times.  In this context, responding to a query on what would be guidance in the given circumstances, that is, only cremation being allowed, it was stated the ashes of the deceased has to be buried, if given.

It is our moral and ethical duty to abide by the law of the country and to guide people towards it. But it does not imply that we endorse nor consent to this ruling as it is against our religious principles. Nevertheless, we shall continue to make ethical endeavors to make representations to the authorities on this matter.

In line with the World Health Organization guidelines and as adopted by as many as 180 countries, we re-appeal once again to your good self to reconsider the decision taken to dispose of the dead bodies of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID 19 and provide the option of the burial of bodies, while complying with all mandatory precautions and with the supervision of police and PHI.

Due to the sensitive nature of the matter we re-appeal for this provision, and wish to emphasize that we shall comply with all the required standards such as preparing the grave with the depth of 8 feet, if required to cement the grave with concrete or any other related measures shall be abided as required. We kindly request your urgent attention in this regard.

Yours Sincerely,

On Behalf of the Executive Committee of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama.

 

Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe
President - ACJU


Signatories:

Ash Shaikh A.C.M. Agar Mohamed
Deputy President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.M.A. Mubarak
General Secretary – ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.L.M. Khaleel
Treasurer - ACJU

Ash Shaikh H. Omardeen
Vice President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.L.M. Rila
Vice President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.J. Abdul Khaliq
Vice President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.L.M. Hashim
Vice President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh S.H. Atham Bawa
Vice President – ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.M.M. Murshid
Asst. Secretary – ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.S.M. Thassim
Asst. Secretary – ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.M.M. Anas
Asst. Treasurer - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.L.M. llyas
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.F.M. Fazil
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh K.M. Muksith
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Arqam Nooramith
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Hassan Fareed
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh (Mufti) M.H.M. Yoosuf
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.C.M. Fazil
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh S.L. Nawfer
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.K. AbdurRahman
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh S.A.M. Jawfar
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Abdullah Mahmood
Executive Committee Member – ACJU

Ash Shaikh A.R. AbdurRahman
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.H.M. Burhan
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Hazbullah
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Zarook
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Dr. Azwer
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Zaky Ahmed
Executive Committee Member – ACJU

Ash Shaikh Nooman
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh Dr. M. L. M. Mubarak
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.S.M. Farood
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

Ash Shaikh M.A.A.M. Bishir
Executive Committee Member - ACJU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020.04.01

ACJU expresses its disappointment with regard to revising the method of disposal of the COVID-19 bodies

We, the ACJU, along with Muslim Community, express our disappointment to the amendment made by the authorities in the “Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 Suspected and Confirmed Patients” in the revised version issued on 31.03.2020, that all bodies of those who die as a result of being infected by Covid - 19 are to be cremated, even though WHO guidelines clearly states; people who died from COVID 19 can be buried and many countries too have currently provisioned the option of burial along with cremation.

Due to the prevailing compelling situation (Darurah), it shall not be regarded as sinful upon the Muslims, if a Janaza is forcefully cremated. We urge the Muslim community to exercise patience during this testing period and to pray for the Janaza to be rewarded and compensated in the best manner.

We iterate that these are extraordinary times which has engulfed the world and the citizens of our beautiful island. The Government of Sri Lanka is taking every possible measure to prevent the spread of the deadly pandemic and it is our bounden duty to support all of these efforts uniting as one, with our fellow brethren.

We wish to iterate that the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) has at all times supported the Government in this endeavor and advocated for immediate compliance of all regulations.

However, we wish to note that we will make all endeavors to make representations to the authorities, in line with the World Health Organization guideline titled “Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19” dated March 24, 2020.

The said guideline has provisions for the “Cremation and Burial” of those who die as a result of the infection.  It is known that many other Nations have exercised this provision, due to the sensitive nature of the matter and to respect the cultural values of the other ethnicities. Thereby we kindly request the relevant authorities to reconsider this stance and to facilitate our request that are in line with the WHO guidelines.

We call upon the Muslim community of Sri Lanka to ensure compliance to the regulations and iterate to the community to ensure that any symptoms of infection must be reported to the Health Authorities immediately.

The Holy Quran and the Hadith obligates the Muslims to act toward the Greater Good of the community they live in and enjoins all Muslims to ensure Public Welfare (Maslaha) in all their actions.

In these times of strife we call on all communities to support each other and to be sensitive to human sensibilities which we all our possessed of. 

These are extraordinary times and we continue to pray to the Almighty to shower his mercy, compassion and blessings on our motherland and to guide all of us in our fight against this pandemic.

 

 

01.09.2019

Important Message With Regard To Face Cover Of Muslim Women

Asslalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu,

Wearing a dress code of one’s own choice is one of the fundamental human rights of every male and female on earth.  The constitution of this country enshrines these rights very clearly.

Followed by the deplorable incident of 21st of April, an unusual situation prevailed in the country and the emergency law was imposed by the Government. Followed by this, a temporary ban of facial cover or niqab was too imposed during the time of the emergency law.  Though,  the emergency law was lifted on the 23rd of August, a Special Gazette has been issued enabling the deployment of armed forces to maintain public order in the country. Ever since the incident, it seems that the fear psychosis among the people is still not completely detached.

In this current situation, there seems to be possibilities that the Muslim women who attire the face cover publicly, may face inconveniences. So, at this uncertain political situation, it is our responsibility to ensure all possible means to avoid paving the way to racial elements.

The ACJU requests especially the Muslim women to avoid possible inconveniences that may be caused by attiring the face cover in the public and to act in a responsible and serious manner considering the present situation. The ACJU strongly believes that our own etiquette and responsible behavior among the various communities would definitely help us to protect our own rights and privileges.

The ACJU also believes that the religious freedom, rights and privileges within our cultural diversity enjoyed by the Muslims of Sri Lanka throughout the history should still be preserved and protected.

 

Ash-Shaikh H. Omardeen

Secretary – Propagation Division

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama