All that being said, it’s hard for people dying these last few weeks to not expect to receive the same sendoffs from their families and loved ones.
However, there’s another type of funeral that occurs in Chester which is in stark contrast to what I described above – the Muslim funeral. With so many people in Chester practicing the Muslim faith, and witnessing how common Muslim customs have integrated within the general Black community of Chester, it’s surprising how the custom of a Muslim funeral has not.
I’m no expert on the Muslim faith but it appears they have what I’d call a graveside funeral. Their burial ritual normally takes place as soon as possible, sometimes the very next day, and include: collective bathing of the dead body; enshrouding the dead body in a white cotton or linen cloth; the funeral prayer; and the burial of the dead body in a grave. These ceremonies don’t seem to attract large crowds of people and are totally void of anything that would be considered a performance.
There’s a pandemic going around. There’s a state of emergency declaration from the state and city telling folks to stop it with the large gatherings. But, we’re still doing it.
This week in Chester there were a couple large funerals that I’m aware of right in the midst of a state of emergency. I was told one of the funerals even had Chester police officers present.
This begs to ask, who enforces the rules of a state of emergency when it comes to funerals? Should the funeral directors refuse to conduct funerals? Should families make other arrangements and settle for a memorial service when the dusts clears? Is the advice of 10 or less people attending a funeral even practical? Should the police surround the funeral home or church and forbit large gatherings like this from occurring, funeral or not?
What good is a state of emergency if there’s no urgency in enforcing it?