“Burial in the ground”, “thrifty and simple burial” and “quick burial” of Bonan Ethnic Group

Bao’an nationality believes in Islam. For the funeral custom, they strictly abide by the basic principle of “burial in the ground”, “thrifty and simple burial” and “quick burial” provided by Islam.

Islam believes that the human being is created by the “soil” of the land. So he should be melted by the soil and return back to the soil. The burial in the ground after death is to return to the birthplace. So Chinese Muslim often says “burial in the ground after death is safe” and “burial in soil is like that in gold”. They avoid cremation, and do not use inner or outer coffins even burying the dead people in the ground.

Bao’an nationality’s mode of burial in the ground is very simple, which is to firstly select a place at the cemetery, then vertically dig a pit that is about 1 meter in width, 2 meters in length and 2 to 3 meters in depth in the direction from south to north, and then horizontally dig a wing-hole on the western pit wall. When the dead person is buried, the head of the corpse is in the direction of north, the face is faced to the west and placed in the wing-hole, and the entrance of the hole is sealed by adobes and mud, then the pit will be filled and buried with soil until a grave mound forms on the surface of the ground. The wood boards, stone boards and iron boards and other non-soil type, or baked porcelain articles are strictly forbidden at the bottom of the graves. The Bao’an nationality also forbids going in for large-scale construction of tombs, and they will not build houses on the tombs.

Islam advocates thrifty and simple burial, and holds that the funeral should conform to the principle of simplicity, eliminates the unnecessary and over-elaborate formalities, is not particular about ostentation and extravagance, and does not use funerary objects, either. Because when the human being is born, he is bare and has nothing, so after death, he should also be buried in the ground and face Allah bared. The Bao’an nationality also does as this. After the death of a person, only the imam is invited to chant scriptures, wash the corpse with clean water, and wear “kafan” for the corpse (only use white cloth to twine and wrap the corpse, for women corpses, a cloth will be added to cover the head), the corpse need no any other clothing. Then the corpse is moved into the “tabu” (the public box of carrying corpse in the mosques), and a simple and short funeral is held. Then the corpse is carried to the graveyard and buried in the prepared tomb. During the time of waiting for and holding funeral, the people are forbidden to cry loudly, make uproar, send wreaths and funeral couplets, set off firecrackers, hammer gongs and break drums, or use other instruments. It is forbidden to station spirit tablets and put up the portrait of the deceased, and sacrificial stands and offerings are not stationed, either.

About the quick burial, the prophet Mohammed ever said: “you should bury the dead people quickly, if they are happy, they should gain the happiness as early as possible; if they are not lucky, you should let them evade the fire and prison as quickly as possible.” Therefore, Islam provides that all Muslim “must be buried within three days after their death”. Islam opposes the custom of extravagance and waste and waiting for a lucky day. When the people of Bao’an nationality die, generally the funeral is held on that very day, not waiting for the next day. Only when the time of dying is very late, or some other special situation happens, or the close kin of the dead person is not at home and cannot hasten home for the funeral, can the rule be broken to wait for a day. For the aim of quick burial, they still follow the principle that “the loess in any place can bury people” and the people can be buried where they die, they do not transport the corpse across a long distance to the hometown, and do not stress to bury the dead people together with their ancestors in the hometown.

The simple funeral form of Bao’an nationality and Hui, Dongxiang, Sala and other Islam nationalities, especially the modes of thrifty and simple burial and quick burial, can not only save time and manpower, but also avoid the waste of wealth, act the positive role of preventing diseases and environmental pollution, rather have values to be drawn on.