The Wayfarer

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Converts – reasons for using the Statutory Declaration

There have been problems in the past when families have laid claim to a Muslim convert's body and have wished to dispose of it in a non-Islamic way. The Statutory Declaration may help to prevent any disputes over disposal that occur at the time of death. A convert to Islam simply fills in the Declaration which claims that treatment of the body should follow Islamic requirements and lodges it with a solicitor or local Mosque. This can then be presented if the nature of the disposal of the body is contested.

The Declaration mentions details such as the avoidance of cremation, proper ghusl before burial, etc.  It also mentions that you want a Janazah prayer to be performed and your body must be buried in a Muslim cemetery. You may also put in a clause stating that you wish not to have an autopsy done on your body unless it is legally required.

A point that should be noted is that to attend the Janazah prayer and burial of a Muslim is Fard Kifayah, a religious obligation, which, if performed by a few Muslims absolves the rest of the community from this responsibility. If no one discharges the obligation, then the entire Muslim community is considered jointly accountable in the eyes of Allah.


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Lady Lucie Duff Gordon (1821-1869) lived in Luxor, Egypt from 1862 in the hope that the consumption she was suffering from would improve. She learnt Arabic, and often visited and prayed at the tomb of Sufi Sheikh Yusuf abu’l-Hajjaj.

Letter to her husband, Sir Alexander Duff Gordon, from Cairo 16th October 1866:

'My Reis spoke such a pretty parable the other day that I must needs write it. A Coptic Reis stole some of my wood, which we got back by force and there was some reviling of the Nazarenes in consequence from Hoseyn and Ali; but Reis Mohammed said:

“Not so; Girgis is a thief, it is true, but many Christians are honest; and behold, all the people in the world are like soldiers, some wear red and some blue; some serve on foot, others on horseback, and some in ships; but all serve one Sultan, and each fights in the regiment in which the Sultan has placed him, and he does what does his duty best is the best man, be his coat red or blue or black.”

I said, `Excellent words, oh Reis, and fit to be spoken from the best of pulpits.' It is surprising what happy sayings the people here hit upon; they cultivate talk for want of reading, and the consequence is great facility narration and illustration. Everybody enforces his ideas, like Christ, in parables.'