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 For Baha'is, here's what you need to know


                              More on how to prepare and shroud the body 

AS WELL AS  a link to a site with Prayers for the Departed (including the obligatory Prayer for the Dead). As with most things Baha'i, there are guidelines and even laws but simplicity is key. We are cautioned to try to avoid rituals and imposing traditions on each other. It's a big world and Baha'is come from every culture, ethnicity and background so most aspects of a funeral are left up to those involved.Most people start by choosing from the many beautiful Baha'i Writings on the immortality of the soul. Then, they add  favorite music and borrow from other traditions or create something unique. Often, friends and family people share their thoughts and memories. It's all good if you apply the guidance below as your basis.The following information on Baha'i burial law is adapted from: bahai-library.com/compilations/burial.html  so, for more detail you might want to go there."In brief, the Bahá'í law for the burial of the dead states that it is forbidden to carry the body for more than one hour's journey from the place of death; that the body should be wrapped in a shroud of silk or cotton, and on its finger should be placed a ring bearing the inscription "I came forth from God, and return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate"; and that the coffin should be of crystal, stone or hard fine wood. A specific Prayer for the Dead is ordained, to be said before interment. As affirmed by `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, this law precludes cremation of the dead. The formal prayer and the ring are meant to be used for those who have attained the age of maturity, i.e. 15 years of age (Q and A 70)"("The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, Bahá'u'lláh", Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1992, p. 229)"The Prayer for the Dead (see Some Texts Supplementary to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas) is the only Bahá'í obligatory prayer which is to be recited in congregation; it is to be recited by one believer while all present stand in silence (see note 19). Bahá'u'lláh has clarified that the Prayer for the Dead is required only when the deceased is an adult (Q and A 70), that the recital should precede the interment of the deceased, and that there is no requirement to face the Qiblih when saying this prayer (Q and A 85)."("The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, Bahá'u'lláh", Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1992, pp. 169-170)


"Regarding the Bahá'í funeral service: it is extremely simple, as it consists only of a congregational prayer to be read before burial. This prayer will be made available to the friends when the "Aqdas" is translated and published. In the meantime your National Spiritual Assembly should take great care lest any uniform procedure or ritual in this matter be adopted or imposed upon the friends. The danger in this, as in some other cases regarding Bahá'í worship, is that a definite system of rigid rituals and practices be developed among the believers. The utmost simplicity and flexibility should be observed, and a selection from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings would serve the purpose at the present time, provided this selection is not rigidly and uniformly adopted on all such occasions."(From a letter dated 10 January 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada) [See also Directives from the Guardian no. 85]
"There is no objection whatsoever to non-Bahá'ís being present when the long prayer for the dead is read, as long as they respect our manner of reading it by rising and standing as the Bahá'ís do on this occasion. Nor, indeed, is there any objection to non-Bahá'ís being present during the reading of any Bahá'í prayer for the departed."(From a letter dated 20 July 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada) [Also quoted in part inDirectives from the Guardiansection 86
"Under the Bahá'í teachings it seems clear that the body is not to be embalmed. The burial should take place within an hour's travel time from the place of death. The preparation for the body for burial is a careful washing, and placing in a shroud of white cloth, silk preferably. There is nothing in the teachings with regard to turning the body over to Scientific Institutions for scientific research, and therefore the individual may do as he wishes, until such a time as the Universal House of Justice may legislate on this matter, if they ever do. The practice in the Orient is to bury the person within 24 hours of the time of death, sometimes even sooner, although there is no provision in the teachings as to the time limit."(From a letter dated 2 April 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)
"There is nothing in the Teachings against leaving our bodies to medical science. The only thing we should stipulate is that we do not wish to be cremated, as it is against our Bahá'í Laws."


"The Universal House of Justice advises that the place of death may be taken to be the city or town in which the believer passes away, and therefore the hour's journey may be calculated from the city limits to the place of burial. However, it should be borne in mind that the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's law is to be buried near where one dies."


(From a letter dated 20 February 1978 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil)