All Praises are due to Almighty Allah. May Peace and Blessings be showered upon his last messenger Muhammad (PBUH), his family and companions!
In principle, it is not permissible for one to cremate (or burn) the body of a deceased Muslim even if it is for the purpose of containing a virus.
If a Muslim passes away it is Fardh Kifaayah upon the Muslims to bathe the body, enshroud (kafn) it, conduct the prayers, and bury it in a dignified manner at a cemetery of the Muslims. If any of these rites are not performed, all of the Muslims are bounded guilty in the court of Allah for not fulfilling the religious obligations.
Accordingly, Burial of a corpse is a mandatory religious obligation according to the teachings of Islam which has been accepted as a unanimous consensus among the religious scholars including four Madhabs from the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to the present era. The only exception to this rule is when it is not practical to reach a land for burial of a person passing away whilst on a journey in the middle of the ocean and under such circumstances the body is lowered in to the ocean preferably with a weight attached to it. This exception cannot be used for any other situation.
Burying the corpse of a person passing away due to Covid 19 is mandatory and the present day scholars cannot deviate from this rule as it is a qur’anic injunction;
“Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him.” (Surah Abasa: 21)
“From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time.” (20:55)
Further it is prescribed that ‘just as a human being is honoured during his lifetime, he should be honoured after his passing too’ by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) stating: “Breaking a dead man's bone is like breaking it when he is alive.” (Sunan Abi Dawud: 3207). Accordingly, any form of harming a body (cremating, burning, breaking etc.) is not acceptable under the Islamic teachings.
These rules apply to the body and every part of the body even when severed before the death of a person (e.g. amputation of a limb)
Under these circumstances denial of the right of burial is a clear violation of the religious obligations of persons practicing the religion of Islam.
Allah is the All Knowing!
Ash-Shaikh Mufthi M.I.M Rizwe
President All ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama
Ash-Sheikh M. M. A. Mubarak Madani
General Secretary All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama.
Ash-Sheikh I. L. M. Hashim Soori
Vice President / Supervisor, Fatwa Divisions
Ash-Sheikh M. L.M. Ilyas Binnoori
Secretary Fatwa Division