19 August, 2022


Final Rites & Disposal Of Corona Infected Muslims: An Open Letter To The President

By Rishad Bathiudeen

Rishad Bathiudeen

His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1

Your Excellency,

I thank you for your strong leadership in coordinating the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. We grateful appreciate the yeomen service rendered by frontline Medical, Nursing, Armed services and government staff who are risking their lives to save lives. “He who saves a life is as if he has saved all of mankind – Al-Quran 5:32

The Muslim Community is deeply distressed with the continued cremation of Muslims affected by the Corona virus.

Your Excellency, needless to say, more than 180 countries around the world and the World Health Organization as per their interim guidelines dated 24.03.2020 on ‘Infection Prevention and Control for the Safe Management of a Dead Body in the Context of COVID 19’ that recommends burial and cremation of the Corona dead. Thousands of Corona dead are buried in mass graves in countries like the USA. UK, Italy, Spain, Australia, Singapore Hong Kong etc. Sri Lanka through a Gazette notification on April 11th, 2020 has banned the burial of Muslims affected by COVID 19.

It should be noted that at the party leaders meeting held with the Hon. Prime Minister, we requested for the appointment of an expert committee of medical professionals to study the burial option from a scientific and ethical point of view. We would be pleased to nominate any number of well-recognized medical professionals to this committee. The Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) too in writing requested the Director General, Health Services to set up such a committee.

Your Excellency, it is incumbent upon the living Muslims to dispose the body of a dead Muslim as per our religious rites. Among them, burial is the only option prescribed in Islam.. It is forbidden for us to cremate our dead. We are expected to take utmost care and sensitivity in even bathing the dead.

”Breaking A Muslim’s Bones When He Is Dead Is Tantamount To Breaking Them When He Is Alive” This Hadeeth is authentic and has been ascribed both to the Prophet (PBUH) and to one of the Companions. As such there is no permissibility to burn the corpse of a dead Muslim.

Many including me have brought this to the attention of Your Excellency and the government during the earlier stages of Covid-19. The government continues to cremate Muslims who die without any regard to the objections of the family and Muslim religious leaders.

As Your Excellency is aware, the bidy of a Muslim Lady, aged 52 from Modara was cremated yesterday by the Government Officials claiming it to be a COVID-19 death but later evidence proved otherwise. The Muslims are greatly traumatized and worried about the fate of our sick.

Honouring the dead and disposing their bodies as per the beliefs and traditions is the least respect and honour that can be bestowed upon the deceased. The Gazette notification of 11/4/2020 banning burials is scientifically and ethically flawed. This forms of discriminatory action by the government has no basis as the entire world is permitting burials.

Hence, I humbly request Your Excellency to amend the Gazette and guidelines incorporating burial also as an approved form of disposal.

Thanking you,

Rishad Bathiudeen,
Leader – All Ceylon Makkal Congress

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Latest comments

  • 9

    This matter has been resolved and the government has announced its final decision. THERE WILL BE NO BURIAL whether you are Muslim, Jain, Buddhist, Parsee or anything else.
    Those pretend Muslim ‘leaders’ trying to continue to use this issue as a tool are simply trying to gain support against their impending arrest and imprisonment for corruption and terrorism offences.
    The terrorism investigation will finish soon, and arrests made. Then we will hear complaints about bail, better prison conditions etc. etc.
    Muslim cunning has no ends!

  • 8

    When 180 countries ALLOW Burial of Covid-19 victims, why is it So DIFFICULT for Sri Lanka to do so and INSIST on Cremation?

    SL will do well to heed the warning by the OIC in this regard reported in the Island of Yesterday captioned:

    OIC expresses concern over ‘escalating hate speech and hostility towards Muslims in Sri Lanka’

    See: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=222077

    • 6

      …”why is it So DIFFICULT for Sri Lanka to do so and INSIST on Cremation?”
      Because we are Sri Lanka.
      We discard mythical beliefs and believe in equality of everyone.
      There are no infidels here.

      • 4

        “believe in equality of everyone.”

        Really? When you cremate every dead body, that is Equality for you<.How Ridiculous. Don't you know this FORCED Cremation applies ONLY to those who die of Corona Virus which is just miniscule in number compared to the tens of thousands who die annually and who are buried?

  • 5

    This bastard holding the holy Quran and 5 times worshipping and telling lies and cheating others. One of the wealth robbers of the Sinhalese Country, HELADIVA (Now Sri Lanka). Find out how he became so rich. Did he bring wealth from the Moon? This man well connected to the Saharan group. Never ever trust this wealth robber of Heladiva (Sri Lanka)

  • 3

    The cremated ashes combine with mist is toxic ,possible to emit to envirment, Berial the ground provides the filtration cycle & solution from polition.

  • 2

    I believe that under normal circumstances, disposal rites of different belief systems should be respected as long as they do not pose a threat to health and security of the community at large. I also believe that Muslims in Sri Lanka claim that it is “forbidden” to donate blood in emergencies. I do not honestly know if Muslims are willing to receive a non-believer’s blood in order to save a Muslim life. Anyway, as covid-19 is trying to teach the world a lesson in what is more important for the planet’s future (including all living beings, flora and the physical environment), it is high time that people abandon mythical beliefs and adopt a pragmatic, compassionate, inclusive attitude that will serve not just one community but the planet in its entirety. No individual groups should be over-represented in particular aspects and a more common approach to matters is now a priority. Distinctions have always resulted in disharmony and conflict.

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