Beyond COVID-19 Sri Lanka Must Cremate All Dead
Posted on April 4th, 2020

Dilrook Kannangara

In Islam, a martyr need not be buried to go to heaven. Muslims who die in the COVID-19 epidemic, for no fault of theirs, must be considered martyrs by the Muslim community. If terrorists including suicide bombers can be treated as martyrs, why not innocent Muslims who died from COVID-19? Therefore their dead bodies need not be buried. Cremation is suitable. This is the only amicable way to resolve the dispute and Muslims must extend their cooperation.

The cremation or burial debate is a needless one. Local medical professionals know the condition of local affairs and they must make decisions. The decision to allow burial is not in the hands of Amnesty International, Muslim Congress, Ulema Council or even the WHO. Local capabilities and conditions are only known to locals. Without a doubt, cremation must be compulsory for all dead who died from a communicable disease.

However, cremation must be made compulsory even without and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Given the extremely high population density of over 320 persons per square kilometer, Sri Lanka is fast running out of safe burial grounds. Existing burial grounds are either too expensive or too costly for the environment. The water table is polluted with burial especially in the Wet Zone and catchment areas.

All Abrahamic religions originated in deserts. Burial was less damaging to their desert environments as there are no water sources it could pollute and the land was aplenty.

This is not the case beyond deserts. Christians and Jews around the world have wisely moved away from desert practices into the 21st century but some Muslims unfortunately still cling on to destructive burial practices that suit deserts.

Cremation is not without cost. It burns fuel and emits carbon dioxide. However, it is the cleanest way to dispose of a dead body.

Sri Lanka cannot always bend backward to appease tribal demands. The government must take into account the health, economic, environmental and public concerns of all, not just one community. Cremate all dead in Sri Lanka.

That will lead to more people opting to donate organs at the end of life as they realize the absurdity of clinging on to a dead body.

Sri Lankans must not tolerate selfish and outdated desert practices that put everyone’s health in danger.

2 Responses to “Beyond COVID-19 Sri Lanka Must Cremate All Dead”


    100% agreeable suggestion.

  2. jay-ran Says:

    Yes Ms.,Dilrook Kannangara, YOU ARE EXACTLY CORRECT AND I TOO AGGREE WITH YOU 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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