I have studied how a variety of Muslims ritualise death in a small-town context in the Netherlands (2009-2012). Through observations and in depth interviews I gained access to peoples’ dynamic death practices in a context of migration. Some vignettes are presented here.
Young men and women who present themselves as pious, living according to the tradition of the prophet are very articulate about the role of death and the afterlife as a guideline for their daily lives, as Mo explains:
I live with the concept of death every day, because only then I am able to live. I live with the certainty that the angel of death visits my house four times a day to see if it is my time. This way I make the most of my life, because when I am dead there is nothing left to do. Life is your chance to be a good Muslim and to live according to the teachings of the prophet – peace be upon him. This is also why I am part of a group of volunteers who perform the ritual washing of the deceased; it is our religious duty and we will be rewarded in the afterlife. (Personal interview 2010)
Interested? The full research is available at Lit Verlag: Muslims Ritualising Death in the Netherlands. Death rites in a small town context.