Some Sudanese Funeral Customs

by T-Knox

A mosque in Wadi Halfa, a city in northern Sudan located on the shores of Lake Nubia with a population of about 15,725 (2007).

Death is thought of in Sudan as the will of God or another spirit and surrounded by the supernatural. The burial is a means of making peace with the supernatural to prevent anyone to be harmed by the spirit of the deceased. Otherwise the spirit may wander to places frequented while alive. It is important the decreased be given a proper sendoff, or else they may be aloof in the afterlife.

The burial takes place sooner rather than later after the body has been brought to a mosque. Most of the time the burial with take place the day after the death is pronounced. At the mosque the body is cleaned and then blessed by an Iman. An Iman is a minister who performs services at the mosque. The body is wrapped in white sheets, better known as ‘kaftan’. The burial happens after days of mourning and family, friends, and others from the community have had the opportunity to come pay their respects and visit the family. For several months following the funeral female relatives of the deceased will wear black. The widow of the deceased on the other hand may wear black for the rest of her life. It is common that the widow will not remarry after the death of her spouse.

Generally in Sudan funerals are carried out reflecting Islamic traditions. Muslims avoid organ donation, and cremation. The reasoning behind these funeral rites is because Muslims believe even after death the body still ‘feels’. Cremation or organ donation, or other means of a funeral would cause harm to the body and will not be possible to resurrect.

Read more:

Culture of Sudan |

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