As the Muslim community in Cape Town sees a surge in coronavirus related deaths and with the expected peak of the virus, the Muslim Judicial Council has trained 40 new toekamanies/ undertakers to assist families during this time. The group had attended specialized workshops on how to safely handle the body of a person who died whilst being COVID-19 positive. Held at Masjid al-Khair in Mitchell’s Plain on Sunday, the graduation ceremony was attended by Western Cape MEC for Health Nomafrench Mbombo as well as the panel of doctors who conducted the workshops.
“The training was targeted at people already qualified as toekamanies and who have been doing it for many years. The training was about dealing with PPE, what happens at the hospital and how to handle the deceased and the burial process. The doctors have said there’s always new information as things change with the coronavirus,” said MJC second deputy president Shaykh Riad Fataar.
The training was conducted by Dr Reza Abrahams, Dr Moosa Paruk and Dr Salim Parker under the guidance of Dr Zameer Brey and Dr Saadiq Karriem of the Western Cape Department of Health.
MJC first deputy president, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie acknowledged the sacrifice and commitment of the toekamanies who perform an essential service. Dr Kariem, from the Western Cape COVID-19 Command Centre, thanked the MJC, the Islamic Medical Association and the toekamanies whose combined efforts offer a tremendous service to the community.
The MJC will be having follow-up workshops with the toekamanies starting Sunday, 19 July 2020.
According to Muslim Stats SA, 395 Muslims, of which 172 are in the Western Cape, have died as a result of COVID-19 (as of 14 July 2020). This amounts to 9.9 percent of the national death toll.
Meanwhile, the MJC has issued an updated list of guidelines in the event of a COVID-related death.
-The ghusl must only be performed if the necessary precautionary measures, as set out by the Western Cape Dept Of Health, are adhered to. This means that PPE and the disinfection of the ghusl facility, bier and the hearse must be carried out.
-In the absence of these requirements, the ghusl must be suspended.
-No Tayyamum to be done while water is easily available to perform the ghusl (washing of the body).
– Ghusl must only be performed by a Covid-19 trained Ghaasil/ Toekamanie (person washing the body) in full PPE.
– The Covid-19 trained Ghaasil/ Toekamanie (person washing the body) must apply full confidentiality and trust when doing the ghusl and have a person record the whole process for record and reporting purposes.
– Two Masaajid with Ghusl facilities is available ie: Husami Masjid Ml. Ebrahiem Karriem 061 410 1401 – Taronga rd Masjid Mr. Moegsien Wise 083 261 8045.
– The MJC (SA) Medical Advisory Team advised that one set of PPE is sufficient for the whole Janaza, from the time of collecting the deceased from the hospital/home/mortuary to the burying of the deceased.
– A maximum of two people in PPE will be allowed to assist those washing the body in arranging the necessary items required for the procedure. (Family and friends will not be allowed to be present unless they are part of the ghusl team.)
– After completion of the ghusl, the body has to be wrapped in the Kafan (shroud) and thereafter the body is to be placed in one plastic body bag.
– All cotton, cloths, swabs, and deceased clothing to be discarded as medical waste.
– No touching or kissing of the forehead of the deceased will be allowed
– The Janaza to proceed directly from the ghusl facility to the Maqbara (cemetery). The deceased will not be taken to the home.
– Janaza Salaah to be performed at the Maqbara (cemetery).
– A maximum of 20 people will be allowed to attend the Janaza, including the Imaam and the members of the burial service.
– The deceased will be lowered in the grave by a maximum of three persons in PPE and in the qabr (grave) the plastic body bag zip to be opened for decomposition to take place since the plastic body bag is not biodegradable.
– The social distancing of 1.5m to 2m must at all times be applied
– No handshaking or hugging allowed
– Driver and one passenger per vehicle
– A register of all attendees to the Janaza should be kept for tracing purposes
– Cost of Janazas can be reduced by purchasing PPE packs at a cost of R120.00 from brother Enayat 083 445 4222
A list of trained undertakers below: