CAIRO – The funeral of one of the Boston attackers is posing a new challenge for the Muslim community as several mosques are shying away from conducting the service.
"I would not be willing to do a funeral for him," Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Institute of Boston, told Huffington Post.
"This is a person who deliberately killed people."Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died Friday in a shootout with police over his alleged involvement in a twin bombing in Boston that killed three people and injured scores.
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But several mosques have reportedly refused to conduct the funeral service for the dead attacker.
Eid, whose group arranges funeral prayers and burials in Boston, believes that the attacker Tamerlan Tsarnaev is no longer a Muslim after carrying out his attack.
"There is no room for him as a Muslim. He already left the fold of Islam by doing that," he said.
"In the Qur'an it says those who will kill innocent people, they will dwell in the hellfire."
Suhaib Webb, the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Culture Center, also feels unease at conducting the funeral service for the attacker.
"I don't think I could ethically lead a prayer for him," he said.
"But I would not stop people from praying upon him."
Several mosque leaders said they would first discuss the issue of holding the funeral service for the Boston bomber if contacted.
"We have not discussed it," said a representative from Al-Marhama, an organization that shares space with the Boston Culture Center.
A similar position is taken by Masjid Al-Hoda in Kingston.
"Nobody has asked me, nobody has called me," said a man who answered the phone at the mosque.
Abdula Hameed, the imam of Masjid Al-Kareem in Providence, has the same view on the funeral.
"I'd have to talk to our board members," he said.
Islam calls for respecting human beings whether alive or dead.
A Muslim’s dead body should be immediately taken to a mortuary for washing and preparation.
Two or three adult Muslims should wash the body and then put on the shroud (kafan). Before the burial, the funeral prayer should be done.
The burial should be done as soon as possible. It is makruh (reprehensible) to delay the burial of the dead.
But some mosque officials opine the bomber should get the funeral service regardless of his action.
"We have to confirm if (Tamerlan) was a Muslim," Imam Ikram ul Haq, of Masjid Al-Islam North Smithfield, told Huffington Post.
"If that was confirmed through reliable sources, that he lived a Muslim and died as one, then we (would be allowed) to do a funeral for that person."
Imam Webb agrees.
"He should be buried according to the religious tradition he adheres to," he said.
"His case is with God. We can judge him as best we can according to the savage and insane actions he has done, but in the end, his soul is going to be brought before God."
But the prominent imam believes that Islamic teachings still place restrictions on the funeral service for the attacker.
"In fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), for somebody who has committed a major atrocity, it is recommended that the imam does not pray over him, but that someone else does," he said.
"It's meant to somehow symbolize that there is some grieving with the victims of the person's actions.
"In Islam, if someone is alive and has committed a crime, their opportunity to repent is open until they die," Webb said, referring to the bomber's brother, who is being treated at a Boston hospital after being injured in a shootout with the police.
"We hope this man would be guided first of all to help the investigation and seek the forgiveness of family members and all people he has harmed."
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