Press Releases

CAIR: Pittsburgh Muslims to Offer Prayers, Pay Tribute to Muhammad Ali on Friday

CAIR logo(PITTSBURGH, PA, 6/9/2016) – On Friday, June 10, representatives from the Pittsburgh office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Pittsburgh), and other Pittsburgh Muslim leaders, will highlight and honor the legacy of Muhammad Ali.

Mosques across the city will hold funeral prayers honoring Muhammad Ali preceding the press conference. The funeral prayer, called “salat al-ghaib†(sa-lat all-guy-ib), is performed for Muslims who have died in a distant place.

WHAT: Prayer Service, News Conference with Pittsburgh Muslim Leaders to Honor Legacy of Muhammad Ali

WHEN: Friday, June 10, Sermon and Prayer Service 1:00  p.m. EST; News Conference to immediately follow the prayer service 2:00 p.m  EST

WHERE: Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, Oakland

CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Communications Coordinator Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601,

The Friday sermon will pay tribute to Muhammad Ali’s legacy as a champion for peace and justice. The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion was well known for his stance against racism and war.

“Ali is an inspiration for American Muslims,†said Safdar Khwaja, President of CAIR Pittsburgh chapter. “His focus and sheer hard work, and his trust in God and love for all of Gods children from all faiths, can be an infectious attitude that can lead to peace and harmony.â€

Participating mosques include:

(Funeral prayer and sermon)

– Islamic Center of Pittsburgh,

– Masjid Al Mu’min,

– An Nur Islamic Center,

(Sermon only)

– Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and

– Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Pittsburgh Communications Coordinator Zohra Lasania, 412-606-3601,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

 CAIR Backgrounder: Islamic Funeral Practices

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/5/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today issued an outline of Islamic funeral and burial rites as background information for journalists.

There are five main points for the preparation of a Muslim's body for burial.

1. WASHING THE BODY – Family members often assist in the washing. Men wash a man's body. Women wash a woman's body. Either men or women may wash a child's body. A husband may wash his wife's body and vice-versa if the need arises.

2. WRAPPING THE BODY – The shroud used for wrapping the body must be a clean (preferably white) cloth and should cover the whole body. The shroud is tied at the head and feet, with a piece of cloth (from the same shroud) in such a way that one can differentiate the head from the feet.

3. PRAYERS – Those praying stand in rows facing the direction of Mecca, with the prayer leader in front. The body (or bodies) is placed in front of the congregation. The worshipers make a personal intention to offer a funeral prayer. They say “God is Great,” then fold their hands on their chests. The opening chapter of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, is read quietly. Prayers are recited for the deceased, the Prophets Abraham and Muhammad, and for the Muslim community. Saying “peace be to you” concludes the prayer. The entire funeral prayer is performed while standing.

4. FUNERAL PROCESSION – Mourners walk in front of or beside the body. Those who are riding or driving should follow it. Silence is recommended.

5. BURIAL – The body is laid in the grave. No casket is used unless there is a need for it, e.g., if the soil is very loose or wet. Each person present shares in filling the grave by pouring three handfuls of soil.

The Prophet Muhammad said: “(Weeping) is the mercy that God has placed in the hearts of His servants.” The Prophet also said that only good things should be remembered about a person's life after he or she dies.

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