Nasir Abdi was shrouded in the simplicity and spirituality shown during Muslim burials when his body, wrapped in white cloth, was lowered into the ground without a casket.

It is a minimalist practice that focuses on the soul and spirit of the deceased, said Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, president-elect of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Ohio.

“Traditionally, Muslims are not buried in caskets and coffins,” she said. “The idea is, from dust we are created and to dust we will return, and from dust we will be brought back again. In that remembrance there is not a need to preserve the physical shell.”

Abdi, a Muslim Somali, was buried Thursday after being fatally shot by Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Evans. Deputies said Abdi threatened them with a kitchen knife while four deputies were trying to take him to a mental-health care facility.

His customary burial without being enclosed in a casket is legal and increasingly common here, said Scott Zinn, manager of the Rutherford Funeral Home.


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