I’ll have a little more to say later tonight about the (delightful) death of Osama bin Laden. For now I want to address the remains of one of the world’s most notorious mass murderers. The Obama administration has announced that bin Laden’s body was dumped into the sea (think of the pollution!) and handled according to Islamic custom.
Some Islamic scholars are saying that the rotting corpse that was bin Laden can’t have been handled “according to Islamic custom” and buried at sea.
“They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam,” said Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti. “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 and that’s it … Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances. This is not one of them.”
I hate to quibble with Dubai’s grand mufti, but among the reasons for allowing burial at sea is [via Lazar Berman at AIE]:
The only cases where burial at sea could be permissible are if death occurs on a ship and there is no way to prevent decay until landfall, or if an enemy is looking to desecrate the grave of the deceased. [Emphasis added]
I can assure the grand mufti that if I was informed of the location of bin Laden’s grave, that I would make every effort to desecrate it.