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Law on Mourning Ceremonies - 1949


8 Hamal 1336


The provisions of this Law shall be clearly explained to the people and properly put into effect, in order that mourning ceremonies shall be carried out in accordance with Divine Law, and so that all improper customs, unless expense and unlawful usages and habits which are detrimental to the morale and the economy of the people shall be completely stopped. The Governors-General, Governors, the alakadars and the mayors of cities shall organize meetings of religious authorities and local dignitaries, personally take part in these meetings and give useful and profitable instructions to the religious authorities and dignitaries of every locality concerning the detrimental effects of certain mourning customs, the uselessness of the expenses connected therewith, and their superstitious character. They shall strictly recommend the dissemination of proper information among the people of their respective regions and villages to the end that the people shall be well informed concerning the harm done by these customs, the competition and the XXXX spectacles connected therewith, the sole effect of which is to cause moral and economic damage, and to the end that they shall completely depart from these customs. The governors, alakadars, heads of villages, mayors of cities, and governmental functionaries in the provinces shall also arrange for copies of this Law to be distributed among the population of their respective localities. They shall elucidate the problem in such a way that the people, having become well aware of their duties and responsibilities according to Divine and Civil Law, shall not behave the act against these laws. After all these explanations have been duly given to the people, the property authorities and officials shall see that persons who act against the provisions of this Law shall be properly investigated and referred to the appropriate Sharia courts for punishment.

ARTICLE 1: Mourning consists in praying for the deceased and expressing words of comfort and condolence to the mourners. The period of mourning for men and women shall be three days, unless some one of the relatives of the deceased is absent or the mourner, is not present or has not been informed of the death of the deceased. In such a case it shall be permissible to perform the mourning ceremonies more than three days. The repetition of mourning ceremonies is disapproved but is not absolutely unlawful.

NOTE: The repetition of mourning ceremonies is done by reciting the Fatihah (the first sura of the Koran) once in the presence of the heir. The next day again the same person recites the same prayer for the same heir. According to this custom, each person recites the Fitihah every day for three days. However, such repetition is forbidden by the Sharia.

ARTICLE 2: The time for reciting prayers for the deceased has been fixed at not later than 12 A.M. in the mosques for men, so they might not be kept from their work or private occupation. As for women, they may attend these prayers in houses form noon until sunset, provided that they do not have to XXXX meals or take direct part in the mourning ceremonies.

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ARTICLE 3: Mourning is expected of all relatives of the deceased, of little children and grown-ups, men and women, except for young women, who are not permitted to attend mourning ceremonies for the deceased when the latter was not closely enough related to them, and therefore, did not have access to their apartments.

NOTE: Men are not permitted to attend mourning ceremonies for a young women unless they are so closely related to the deceased young women that during her life they sued to have free access to her apartments according to the Sharia. Similarly, young women are not permitted to attend mourning ceremonies for men to whom, from the viewpoint of the Sharia, they were not closely enough related.

ARTICLE 4: It shall be prohibited to spend the night at the home of the mourners, except for the nearest relatives, who shall be permitted to stay there for thee days and three nights. It is advisable that food for the mourners be supplied from the homes of close relatives or neighbors out of their personal funds, so that the mourners shall not be burdened with this duty.

NOTE: Close relatives shall mean the father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband. In their absence, the peternal uncle, maternal uncle, and others who, from the standpoint of the Sharia, are recognized as kinsmen and heirs of the deceased. In the same way, these relatives may include the peternal and maternal aunt, sister, father-in-law, or mother-in-law, brother-in-law, their sons and daughters.

ARTICLE 5: Cooking food and preparing tea, etc., in the house of the deceased shall be prohibited during the three days of the mourning prayers. In the same way the following shall be prohibited, bringing food to the cemetery, organizing dinner parties in memory of the deceased on Fridays, on the fortieth day after death, on holidays or annual public commemorations and other traditional celebrations, because in most cases these can be considered as hypocritical acts, especially in case some of the heirs of the deceased happen to be minors or are absent and their shares are being wasted. In this particular case, the above ceremonies are categorically prohibited by religion.

NOTE: Charitable acts which do not bear the above-described ostentatious character are in the way of God are always lawful and fully recommended, especially if these acts are performed by charitable institutions.

ARTICLE 6: To tear one’s garments to scratch one’s face, to wall and to recite tragic, mournful songs at mourning ceremonies is religiously unlawful and prohibited.

ARTICLE 7: The expenses connected with the preparation of the dead body, its shrouding and burial shall be provided from the XXXX of the deceased in accordance with the Sharaia. The winding sheet shall be made of lean cotton cloth. If no white cloth can be found, it shall be permissible to use cloth or other colors, even black. It is forbidden by religion to delay the burial of the dead because of the impossibility of finding the property white cloth in time. If no cloth can be found at al, the deceased can be shrouded in his own clothes or in somebody else’s clothes, provided they are clean.

ARTICLE 8: In some localities there is an ostentatious and hypocritical custom according to which the relatives of the deceased throw some valuable things on top of the corpse during the burial, or bring them to the cemetery, and then, after the burial, distribute them among the poor. This XXXX is XXXX prohibited.

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ARTICLE 9: If the deceased had stated in his last will that a part of his property should be given to the poor for prayer, fasting and other religious acts, and if the estate he left exceeds the amount necessary for these acts, then a third of the amount will be taken from the shares of his heirs without their authorization and the rest with the authorization of his adult heirs in accordance with religious law and to the extent of the sum mentioned in his will. The paying of the portion donated by the deceased to the poor is obligatory from the standpoint of the Sharia. The heirs and executors of the will shall, in accordance with the principles of the Sharia and the will of the deceased, first distribute the donated sum among the poor who are crippled, infirm, or weak; and are not able to earn their livelihood, and not until then, among those who are in good physical condition.

NOTE: The donation given to the poor according to the Sharia is three large measures and three and a half small measure of wheat, or the equivalent in cash, for each prayer, each fast and each oath.

ARTICLE 10: If a person makes his will during his illness, according to which a certain amount of his property is to be given in cash or in goods to some charitable institutions, and if the cash sums or the value of goods donated by his will do not exceed a third of his property, then he heirs must act in accordance with the will of the deceased and pay sum in question to the charitable institution indicated in the will.

ARTICLE 11: It is not necessary to give away the holy Koran among the things left by the deceased, because it may be acquired by one who might sell it at a bazaar, and such an act is a profanity.

ARTICLE 12: If the deceased does not include in his will a donation for the poor for them to pray, fast or perform other religious XXXX in his memory, then the payment of such donation and the distribution to the poor of possessions left after his death is not necessary. If the adult heirs do make such a donation, they do it voluntarily.

ARTICLE 13: If the mourners, next of kin, neighbors and relatives of the deceased act contrary to the provisions of this law, they shall be subject to a penalty.

ARTICLE 14: The local population living near a masjed, in a section of a bazaar, or in a village, must prepare a board for washing the dead body and a bench or a coffin for its transportation in accordance with local usage. The mullahs, muezzins and imams shall be responsible for the safekeeping of these articles.

ARTICLE 15: The mayors of the cities, the governors-general, the alakadars, the maleks of villages, and the heads of all districts, sections and villages, shall be held responsible for the property execution of the provisions of this Law. All persons acting contrary to the provisions of this law shall be investigated by the above-mentioned authorities and subjected to a penalty by the appropriate courts of the first instance.

ARTICLE 16: If the officials who, in accordance with the preceding article, are responsible for the execution of the provisions of this Law prove to be negligent with respect to their duties, or if they apply the provisions of this Law improperly or without sufficient proof of guilt, or commit such acts XXXX the population as can be recognized as maladministration of this Law, XXXX as acts involving their personal interests, they shall be judged by the XXXX authorities in accordance with the disciplinary regulations for royal functionaries and punished with penalties according to the extent of their offense.

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ARTICLE 17: The Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and XXXX XXXX of the cities are hereby ordered to observe and to enforce the executions of the provisions of this Law. After the publication of this Law the provisions of the Law Regulating Mourning Ceremonies dated 26 Hamal 1313 shall be considered abrogated.

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