Manama: A Kuwaiti official has suggested opening up cemeteries for evening funerals to avoid the daytime scorching summer heat.
“There is a proposal to have evening funerals between July and September 30,” Faisal Al Awadi, an official in the funerals department, said. “Families will be able to choose when to bury their deceased relatives, especially that many people avoid going to the graveyard during the day because of the heat intensity,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Watan.
Cases of physical exhaustion related to the soaring temperatures during daytime funerals are frequent, he said as the Sabhan cemetery was opened up on Friday evening to allow the first post-sundown burial.
Special floodlights were used for the funeral and the exchange of condolences. The rituals could last more than one hour if a large number of people turn out to offer their sympathies.
“We have resorted to the evening burial because of the high temperatures during the day and we were afraid that people who would come to offer their sympathy would suffer,” the deceased man’s nephew told the daily. “We agreed to hold the funeral following the Taraweeh — late evening —prayers,” he said.
Al Awadi said that the graveyard did not have an issue with the timing of the burial.
“Graveyards are open 24 hours and funerals can be held at any time chosen by the family,” he said. “We have three shifts although people often choose to bury the dead during the daytime. Many people feel highly uncomfortable about going to a cemetery in the evening and prefer the daytime burial,” he said.
He said that his services reported a daily average of three loss of consciousness cases during funerals held in high temperatures.
The Muslim tradition requires honouring the deceased by giving them a swift and simple burial.