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.
It is also widely believed that the deceased can mediate for the living, as they have more direct access to God now. So personal problems of the living are brought to the grave, and when the grave is too far other solutions are found.
The graves of my deceased relatives are not in Venlo, they are far away in our village in Turkey. I know where they are and I can be in contact with them. You can pray to God to give a message to your departed loved one. It is really a strong connection that I feel. I do this almost every Thursday evening – that is the best day for it. When I read from the Qur’an I say out loud the names of those who are no longer here… I am one hundred per cent sure that my messages will be given to them by God. I think they are waiting for my prayers on Thursday… (personal interview 2012)
Interested? The full research is available at Lit Verlag: Muslims Ritualising Death in the Netherlands. Death rites in a small town context.