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Death and Mourning, the Jewish and Muslim Way(s)


Saadia Faruqi and Shoshana Kordova tackle death, funerals and some of the Jewish and Muslim rites surrounding mourning.


Both also write about the questions their children have asked about death, and their children's fears about mortality.


"In the Islamic tradition, one offers a little greeting when one enters the graveyard: 'Peace be upon you, O dwellers of the graves,'" writes Faruqi. "It makes the dead more real, closer. I offered the greeting out loud, and asked my children to follow me. They did. We went to pray the Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Quran, at my father’s grave. My daughter, aged three at that time, couldn’t understand where Nana was. Why was he under the ground, she kept asking. How could he breathe?"


Kordova's daughter had a lot of questions too, though hers were about a dog.


"My oldest daughter was kind of obsessed with death when she was around four," writes Kordova. "Her stream of questions was set off not by a human death, but that of her friend's dog. What about his eyes, she kept asking. Can he still see? ... And a few months later, just when I thought the rounds of bedside conversation and sidewalk conversation and kitchen table conversation about death had finally exhausted themselves, she came up with a new one: When I told you I needed water last night and nobody answered me, I thought you died."


READ MORE [Catapult]

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