Original Research

Resolving the interfaith conflict over burial preparation: Who has the right to bury the dead?

Ansori Ansori, Karimatul Khasanah, Mohamad Sobirin
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7900 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7900 | © 2022 Ansori Ansori, Karimatul Khasanah, Mohamad Sobirin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2022 | Published: 11 November 2022

About the author(s)

Ansori Ansori, Faculty of Islamic Law, Universitas Islam Negeri Prof. K.H. Saifuddin Zuhri, Purwokerto, Indonesia
Karimatul Khasanah, Department of Islamic Economics Law, Faculty of Islamic Law, Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, Pekalongan, Indonesia
Mohamad Sobirin, Department of Qur’anic Sciences and Tafsir, Faculty of Islamic Theology, Literature and Humanities, Universitas Islam Negeri Prof. K.H. Saifuddin Zuhri, Purwokerto, Indonesia


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Abstract

The body of the deceased is not an object but still a person. It deserves to be treated respectfully, and often this respect is expressed through religious rites. However, problems arise when the family of the deceased follow different faiths and disagree over the burial rite. Such a scenario is examined in this study where the immediate family of the deceased professed different faiths and could not agree on the burial rites to be performed. This research is intended to examine the issue of burial rights as a reason for interfaith conflict. Who has the right to prepare the body of the deceased for the burial? Which rites should be followed? Using the theological and legal approaches, we found that the conflict was caused by (1) belief in an afterlife and (2) law, culture and religion give the right to decide the burial or disposal of the body to living parties. The legitimate way to determine how to treat the body of the deceased and according to which religious rite the burial is to be performed is by confirming the religious identity of the deceased as stated in the legal document. In other words, the burial rites to be followed by the family of the deceased depend on the proven religious identity of the deceased, whether Christian or Muslim.

Contribution: This article attempts to justify the right of the deceased to be buried according to their personal faith, which may not be identical with the faith practised and professed by their family. In cases of religious conversion, both parties claim their right to bury the deceased according to their own religious rites, and it is often difficult for both sides to reach an agreement. Nevertheless, this conflict can be resolved peacefully if the rights of the deceased are respected by the bereaved.


Keywords

nterfaith; conflict resolution; corpse; right; religious burial rite.

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