Osama Bin Laden’s body has been buried at the Arabian Sea less than 24 hours after US Navy Seals killed him.
The decision to bury him within 24 hours was made with Muslim practices in mind, according to US officials. Before the burial, his body was washed and wrapped in a white sheet, in accordance with Muslim tradition. Moreover, a religious ceremony was held aboard a US aircraft carrier before his body was dumped into the sea.
This unusual manner of burial has already caused considerable controversy, including within the Muslim community.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical cleric in Lebanon, said “the Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don't think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration,” reported the Associated Press.
“They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam. If the family does not want him, it's really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers… Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances. This is not one of them,” said Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's grand mufti.
In Islam, a swift burial is required, so Muslims who die on a boat far away from land may be buried in the sea. In Bin Laden’s case, however, a sea burial isn’t justified.
Muslims in al-Qubaisi’s camp think the US should have given the body to Bin Laden’s family or a Muslim country willing to give him a more proper burial.
Harvard scholar Azeem Ibrahim, a Muslim, was also critical of the sea burial, but for different reasons.
“Bin Laden, the enemy of Islam, did not deserve an Islamic funeral or burial in a Muslim graveyard,” said Ibrahim in an op-ed in Conservative Home.
Ibrahim said Bin Laden “unofficially declared war on Islam and all Muslims who did not subscribe to his perverse beliefs” when he issued his fatwa against the United States.
He thinks US officials should have followed the lead of India.
In 2008, Muslim extremists in India killed 166 people in Mumbai. When the killers were captured, the Muslim Council of India refused to give them a proper Muslim burial, stating that “people who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.”
The killers’ bodies were therefore allowed to decay for three months before burial.
Ibrahim said the US should have buried Bin Laden “in the dirt and let his body rot just like his name.”
Many Americans, still angry over the crime Bin Laden perpetrated on 9/11, essentially agreed with Ibrahim and believe Bin Laden should not have received any type of proper burial, Islamic or otherwise.