Islam, death, burial and vanities of life, by Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo, SAN

May Allah accept the homecoming of Hon. Akinremi, forgive his shortcomings and admit him into aljannah fridaus. Amin. May Allah also comfort and uphold all those he left behind. Amin. I learnt that his burial (janazat) was not done yesterday but would take place today. 

The Islamic way of conducting burial remains the best and one of the finest beauties of Islam. 

The undeniable truth is that that is how we shall all be exiting this temporary world in turns. 

While I pray that Allah (swt) should grant us long lives with good health, kindly let us prepare ourselves ready at all times for our last day. Death is inevitable for all living souls. 

May tomorrow never be too late for us. Ameen.

But I love and I am always fascinated with the Islamic way of burial and that is the way I want to be buried whenever I die. 

The simplicity is so grand and superb. With less than N10,000 ( Ten thousand naira) ( excluding the cost of the burial ground at the cemetery)  a Muslim corpse would be interred in under 30 minutes. It can even be less or cheaper for some of us who already have our white haram wrappers at home. 

My favourite musician, Dr Sikiru Ayinde Balogun, MFR, popularly known and called Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in one of his several evergreen live plays brought out another beauty in Islamic burial style when he sang at the night party in honour of Late Chief Popoola Onifade when he was installed as the Mogaji Onifade family, Ibadan in 1982 as follows:

” Be fe, be o fe, E o beru Olorun 3x, Lojo ti e ba foju kan oku, ti won ba gbe si saare. Be fe, be o fe, E o beru Olorun”

In simple paraphrase or translation as follows-

” Be you love it or loath it, you will tremble and fear Allah with great trepidation whenever you witness a human corpse when it is being lowered into his grave. “

That song I submit with great respect and with all sense of responsibility and humility is not applicable to a Christian corpse or burial. 

The reason being that a Christian corpse is never buried with simplicity or the way the corpse came to the world. I have attended several Christian burials and have seen many Christian corpses buried with expensive wears and apparel including gold or diamond jewellery all packed in equally expensive casket!!!.

 To compound it all, some of the corpses have been consigned and kept in the morgue for months so that they don’t even resemble the deceased any longer. Most of them would have become dead black. 

There was even the case of the deceased Dad of a top CEO of a commercial bank in this country whose burial was to take place in one of the South-South States. It was during the lying in state for the deceased that the children discovered that the wrong corpse or cadaver was released to them at the morgue as their father’s corpse. 

Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, MFR in his other evergreen record, Fuji Fantasia further expatiated on Death and the futility of life when he sang that-

” Bi a o dorun ri, a darafa ri”

That ” Though we don’t know what heaven or the world beyond looks like, but surely we have been to the Mount in Arafat in Mecca”

In short, Hajj Agba was saying that on Mount Arafat, all the pilgrims are equal no matter your rank or station in life, everybody (all pilgrims) will lie on bare ground in his or her haram wrapper or cloth. It exemplifies equality before Allah. Arafat is a leveller. So also is death. With nothing, we have come to this sinful world, and with nothing, we shall return unto our Creator. 

The practice or culture of preserving corpses by depositing it in the morgue originated with the preservation of the body of King Pharaoh who perished in the Red Sea while he was pursuing the Israelites when they moved out from Egypt. 

The Holy Quran said that Allah preserved King Pharaoh under the Red Sea perpetually as a punishment for him and to serve as a lesson to mankind that Allah prohibits man’s inhumanity to fellow human(s). 

The Holy Quran said King Pharaoh would be there preserved forever until some people would emerge thereafter and people will doubt and want to test the veracity of Allah’s assertion.  Surah Yunus verse 92

Several years after, some people went under the Red Sea in search of the corpse of King Pharaoh and truly he was found intact with his horse and all apparels ( undecayed). 

Truth is indeed the words of Allah (swt) 

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The Holy Quran mentions the preservation of the corpse of Pharaoh in the Red Sea in Surah Yunus, verse 92:

“This day We shall save thee in thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee. But verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs.”

(Translation: Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

This verse refers to the story of Pharaoh’s drowning in the Red Sea while chasing Moses and the Israelites. According to Islamic tradition, Allah preserved Pharaoh’s body as a sign and a lesson for future generations, demonstrating His power and wrath against those who reject and oppose His prophets.

In Islamic exegesis and historical accounts, it is believed that Pharaoh’s body was miraculously preserved and remained intact, serving as a testament to the truth of Moses’ prophethood and the divine punishment that befell Pharaoh for his arrogance and disbelief.

Mind you, those who want to bury their cadavers with silver or gold or diamond and even all the three combined together or even more are at liberty to do so and I have nothing against it. But speaking for myself, I want to be given that simple Islamic burial whenever it pleases Allah to call me home.

My sincere appreciation to my learned colleagues, Ola Bada Esq and Kehinde Adegbite Esq for their robust and intellectual engagements and discourse on Ibadan Bar Connect that culminated into this piece. 

This piece has no religious undertone at all. My wife is a devout Christian and I also have a blood Sister who is a Christian. 

Dated this 11th day of July, 2024

JCI Senator Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo, SAN

Asiwaju of Ita-Ege & Idi- Aro, Ward 5, Ibadan South-East Local Government, 

& Agba Ofin of Orile-Igbon Kingdom, 

Oyo State, Nigeria.

+2348033275495

+2348181585848

Email: adebayoojo90@gmail.com

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