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How a Secular Conservancy in Texas Does Islamic Burials, Inadvertently!

In 2001, Coastal Prairie Conservancy - what was then called Katie Prairie Conservancy - bought a piece of land that contained an agrochemical research facility and turned it into a nature preserve. The Conservancy has been saving land for the past 30 years and protects between 30,000 to 50,000 acres of the coastal prairie. Here is a quick link to the various statistics about the Coastal Prairie Conservancy.

Part of the conservation of the land develops from maintaining a cemetery that allows only green burials. This cemetery is called Nature's Burial and here is a link to their FAQ. What many non-Muslims may not be aware of is that an Islamic burial is actually a green burial. Some basic steps involved in the burial of a Muslim are as follows:

1) Wash the body with soap and water (details here), make ablution to the body, and put camphor on the key parts of the body used in prostration.

2) Dry the body and shroud in 3/5 white cotton sheets depending upon male/female.

3) Pray Janazah prayer for the dead and put them in the ground minus any casket or headstones.

4) The body has to be buried right away and cannot be embalmed.

Comparing conventional burials (vaults/headstones/caskets/embalming) vs. green aka Islamic burials:

On average, a conventional burial produces 250 pounds of carbon. A natural burial, on the other hand, actually sequesters 25 pounds of carbon. By providing 8,000 natural burial plots and restoring 240 acres of prairie, our conservation cemetery will sequester an estimated 864,000 pounds of carbon! This is equivalent to taking 313 passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year.

How cremation destroys the environment:

More than half of the dead in the United States are cremated today, according to a report from the National Funeral Directors Association, up from an industry-estimated rate of just 4% in the 1960s. The trend toward cremation happened beginning in the 1960s when 1) people began wanting simpler, more affordable funeral services and 2) Americans wanted to protect open lands from development. Green burials achieve both of these goals to an even greater extent.
Natural burials are affordable, simple, respectful to the body, and family-directed. Green burial grounds also preserve open lands and avoid the use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases and toxins which are unavoidable in traditional cremation.

Islamic Burial with its technique of washing a body and wrapping it in simple white cotton sheets is ahead of the game in Green Burials. Imagine a body being buried naturally sequesters carbon as opposed to releasing carbon. However, on the flip side, some Muslims will invest in complicated headstones and some defying the Sharia law will use caskets. Both are prohibited.

One more reason for everyone to accept Islam as the Deen of Allah on earth. May we all be guided towards the One Straight Path - Sirat ul Mustaqeem. A'meen.


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