Frequently Asked Questions

Please Note: Due to the diversity of cultural traditions within each faith community, the answers below should be taken only as guidance, and not assumed to be authoritative. Should a situation present itself that is not covered by the below questions, or whenever a doubt arises, respectfully ask the guidance of the person/s involved or contact the relevant community leaders.

Which gifts should I avoid giving a Baha’i?

As Baha'is do not drink alcohol, it is generally recommended that presents such as a bottle of wine or whisky are avoided. Chocolates containing liquer or other foods containing alcohol should also be avoided. Other than this prohibition, gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context.

Do Baha’is have a birth ceremony?

Many Baha'is will chant the following prayer three times into each ear of a newborn child, revealed by Baha'u'llah to an early believer: "Verily, thou hast come by the Command of God! Thou hast appeared to speak of Him, and thou hast been created to serve Him Who is the Dear, the Beloved!"

If invited to a Baha’i dinner/lunch/feast how should the male dress?

There is no specific dress code for either men or women in the Baha'i Faith. If invited to dinner, one should dress modestly and line with the cultural norms of the time - imagine being invited to dinner with friends, family or colleagues. Baha'u'llah's teachings emphasise moderation, and He left dressing to an individual's discretion, calling on his followers not to transgress the bounds of propriety and to exercise moderation in all that pertains to dress.

If invited to a Baha’i dinner/lunch/feast how should the female dress?

There is no specific dress code for either men or women in the Baha'i Faith. If invited to dinner, one should dress modestly and line with the cultural norms of the time - imagine being invited to dinner with friends, family or colleagues. Baha'u'llah's teachings emphasise moderation, and He left dressing to an individual's discretion, calling on his followers not to transgress the bounds of propriety and to exercise moderation in all that pertains to dress.

In the Baha’i Faith, is there a prayer before eating?

Praying at mealtimes is not a prescribed practice in the Baha'i Faith.

In the Baha’i Faith how do you address a priest?

There is no clergy within the Baha'i Faith. Every year, within every local community, a Local Spiritual Assembly of 9 people is elected by silent, anonymous ballot, and without campaiging or electioneering, to serve the community and tend to its needs. These representatives of the Local Spiritual Assemblies do not hold any particular honorifics or titles and can be addressed normally.

If invited to a Baha’i dinner/lunch/feast should I take a gift?

If you are invited to a Baha'i dinner/lunch/event, there is no need to bring a gift. Barring the prohibition on alcohol however, most gifts will be warmly welcomed. If one does not wish to turn up at an event empty handed, flowers, chocolate, fruit or a small potted plant are all considered appropriate gifts.

If I am a female how do I greet a Baha’i male?

There are no restrictions when a Baha'i is greeted or is introduced. Bahá'ís believe that all interactions with other people should be performed with kindness and politeness. If you are a female, you can greet a male Bahá'í like you would greet any other male, and you can also shake hands with him. The phrase Bahá'ís use when they greet each other is: “Alláh-u-Abhá” and it means “God is the Most Glorious”.

If I am a female how do I greet a Baha’i female?

There are no restrictions when a Baha'i is greeted or is introduced. Bahá'ís believe that all interactions with other people should be performed with kindness and politeness. A female can greet a female Bahá'í like one would greet any other female, and one can also shake hands. The phrase Bahá'ís use when they greet each other is: “Alláh-u-Abhá” and it means “God is the Most Glorious”.

If I am a male how do I greet a Baha’i female?

There are no restrictions when a Baha'i is greeted or is introduced. Bahá'ís believe that all interactions with other people should be performed with kindness and politeness. If you are a male, you can greet a female Bahá'í like you would greet any other female, and you can also shake hands with her. The phrase Bahá'ís use when they greet each other is: “Alláh-u-Abhá” and it means “God is the Most Glorious”.

If I am a male how do I greet a Baha’i male?

There are no restrictions when a Baha'i is greeted or is introduced. Bahá'ís believe that all interactions with other people should be performed with kindness and politeness. If you are a male, you can greet a male Bahá'í like you would greet any other male, and you can also shake hands with him. The phrase Bahá'ís use when they greet each other is: “Alláh-u-Abhá” and it means “God is the Most Glorious”.

When do members of the Baha’i community fast?

The Baha'i period of fasting is the Baha'i month of `Ala', which falls around March 1/2 to March 19/20. During this time, Baha'is abstain from all food and drink between sunrise and sunset, breaking the fast each day with the recitation of a prayer, often done as a family or in groups. A Bahá'í starts fasting at the age of maturity, which is the age of fifteen (15) and they fast until the age of seventy (70). Baha'is are exempt from fasting if they are ill, pregnant, nursing, performing heavy manual labour, travelling for extended periods of time or declared medically unfit to fast.

If invited to a Baha’i wedding what attire is appropriate?

At a Baha'i wedding, one would ordinarily wear whatever is culturally appropriate, observing conventional bounds of decency. If in doubt, consult the dress code listed on the invitation or double-check with the bride and groom.

If invited to a Baha’i wedding which gift is customarily expected?

Barring the prohibition on alcohol, most conventional wedding gifts would be considered appropriate. The couple may have a wedding list or may have asked for cash gifts instead. Baha'i inspired artwork or jewellery, often found online, may also be an appropriate gift.

if invited to a Baha’i wedding where does the main ceremony take place?

Baha'i wedding ceremonies can vary greatly in presentation, as the obligatory and structured part of the ceremony is very short. The rest of the ceremony is often designed by the bride and groom, incorporating personal, cultural and historical elements such as music and recitations of prayers and poetry. Baha'i weddings will often take place at a private venue hired for the occasion, but it is not entirely unheard of for small-scale weddings to be held in a private home or garden.

Who are the main celebrants at a Baha’i wedding?

The main celebrant at a Baha'i wedding is often somebody appointed by the couple to oversee proceedings and ensure that the transition between different parts of the ceremony goes smoothly. The core of a Baha'i wedding ceremony is when the couple, having obtained the consent of all living parents, recite their vows: "We all, verily, abide by the will of God". Two witnesses authorised by the Local Spiritual Assembly should be present, whereupon the couple and the two witnesses sign the marriage license.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Baha’i wedding?

Often, a Baha'i wedding will be followed by lunch, dinner or a standing reception. Alcoholic drinks, or food containing alcohol, will probably not be served.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at a Baha’i wedding?

There is no traditional greeting for the family at a Baha'i wedding.

How long does a Baha’i funeral last?

The sole ceremonial requirement of a Baha'i funeral is the recitation of the Prayer for the Dead by an appointed member of the community. The nature and duration of the rest of the funeral rite is up to the family of the deceased, but will often include the recitation of other prayers and the performance of appropriate music.

Where does a Baha’i funeral take place?

A Baha'i funeral will usually take place at a cemetery or at a private venue.

Where are Baha’is in Malta buried?

Baha'is in Malta are buried in private graves. In the event of the death of a Baha'i, contact should be made with the family and the National Baha'i Institution who will coordinate things accordingly.

How do you greet a Baha’i upon hearing of the death of a family member?

There is no traditional greeting for the family members of a deceased Bahá'í . You can offer them your sympathy and support.

When is a Baha’i funeral normally held?

A Bahá'í funeral should take place soon after the death (the ideal is 24 hours after death) and the memorial services usually take place within two or three days of death. According to Bahá'í precepts, the body should be buried within one hour's travel from the location of the death (the means of travel is not specified). Bahá'í funeral law does not require that the deceased’s body be embalmed, except if the local/state law requires it.

What is the appropriate attire at a Baha’i funeral?

The attendees of a Bahá'í funeral should be dressed according to their prefences and the local cultural customs. The family members of the deceased Bahá'í usually wear clothes in dark colours, although they may express the wish for attendees to dress otherwise.

In a Baha’i funeral is it appropriate to send flowers?

Yes, it is appropriate to send flowers and/or a card.

Who presides over the Baha’i funeral service?

As there is no clergy in the Baha'i Faith, the funeral service is presided by a person appointed by the family of the deceased.

Will there be an open casket at the Baha’i funeral?

No, Baha'i funerals are not usually open casket funerals.

Can I attend the Baha’i funeral ceremony at the graveside?

This is at the discretion of the family of the deceased. Always remember to be respectful during the recitation of prayers.

Should I attend the Baha’i funeral ceremony at the graveside?

This is at the discretion of the family of the deceased. Always remember to be respectful during the recitation of prayers.

Is cremation obligatory in the Baha’i Faith?

Cremation is forbidden in the Baha'i Faith.

Is cremation allowed in the Baha’i Faith?

Cremation is forbidden in the Baha'i Faith.

In the Baha’i Faith, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

There is no prescribed duration for mourners to abstain from work or other activities after the death of a loved one. As in all cultures, the passing of a close friend or family member is a sensitive issue and should always be approached with care and sensitivity.

In the Baha’i Faith, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to their social schedule?

There is no prescribed duration for mourners to abstain from work or other activities after the death of a loved one. As in all cultures, the passing of a close friend or family member is a sensitive issue and should always be approached with care and sensitivity.

Are there rituals for observing the anniversary of a death in the Baha’i Faith?

Memorial services are not mandatory within Bahá’í communities. There are no regulations or laws which orescribe or prevent any memorial services that may be arranged later by the family of the deceased.

What is the Baha’i position regarding abortion?

The practice of abortion in order to get rid of unwanted children is prohibited in the Baha'i Faith, as the deliberate taking of human life is forbidden. The Baha'i texts envisage certain possible exceptions to this rule and allow for the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon them. However, as of yet, the Universal House of Justice has not legislated on the matter of abortion, so the matter is left to the consciences of those concerned to weigh the advice of medical professionals in the light of the guidance given in the Teachings of the Baha'i Faith.

What is the Baha’i position regarding euthanasia?

As of yet, the Universal House of Justice has not legislated on the matter of euthanasia. Until such time as it does, decisions in this matter must be left to the consciences of those responsible, including, where possible, the patient.

What is the Baha’i position regarding blood transfusion?

There is no objection to blood transfusion in the Baha'i Faith.

What is the Baha’i position regarding IVF?

As of yet, the Universal House of Justice has not legislated on the matter of IVF. Until such time as it does, decisions in this matter must be left to the consciences of those involved.

What is the Baha’i position regarding surrogate motherhood?

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly: “The spiritual and social implications involved in the use of surrogate mothers to provide for the gestation of the embryo, even when the embryo results from the fertilization of the husband's sperm and the wife's egg cell which is later implanted into the womb of the third party, are too far-reaching for such a procedure to be permissible to Bahá’ís”.

What is the Baha’i position regarding adoption?

Bahá'í are not against adoption. However society should as much as possible avoid separating a child from his or her natural parents. According to Bahá'í teachings, it is also evident that in some instances the child's real segregation might be better than continuing to live with a parent whose behavior and personality render him/her incapable of the sacred function of raising and educating a child. For Bahá'ís, the creation of a family is the main objective of marriage, whether through procreation or adoption.

What is the Baha’i position regarding fostering?

Bahá'í are not against fostering. However society should as much as possible avoid separating a child from his or her natural parents. According to Bahá'í teachings, it is also evident that in some instances the child's real segregation might be better than continuing to live with a parent whose behavior and personality render him/her incapable of this sacred function. For Bahá'ís, the creation of a family is the main objective of marriage, whether through procreation or adoption.

What is the Baha’i position regarding divorce?

Baha'is disapprove strongly of divorce, but it is not prohibited. If the two partners feel that there are irreconcilable differences between them, they may declare their intentions to seek a divorce, and must go through a 'year of waiting' where they live apart, but do not engage in any extra-marital relationships and also attempt reconciliation with the help of the Local Spiritual Assembly. A divorce can only then be pursued once this year of waiting has elapsed.

What is the position of Baha’i regarding polygamy?

Polygamy is forbidden in the Baha'i Faith.

Are any prayers said in the Baha’i Faith for a dying person?

A near-death Bahá'í does not need a religious caregiver's intervention, but they will want their family members and their loved ones around them. There is no ritual or prayer related to those who are near-death.

Which food is allowed in the Baha’i Faith?

It is only alcohol that is explicitly forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. Otherwise, a moderate diet is suggested.

Which drinks are allowed in the Baha’i Faith?

Drinking alcohol is prohibited for Bahá’ís. Baha'is can drink any beverages that do not contain alcohol, depending on personal preference.

What is the Baha’i position on female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation is forbidden in the Bahá’í Faith.

Who do I call when a Baha’i person dies?

When a Bahá’í dies you should call his/her family members. In an area where a Local Spiritual Assembly is present, it should also be notified. If there is no Local Spiritual Assembly, then the National Spiritual Assembly or other relevant national body should be notified.

What is the Baha’i position regarding female contraception?

Each Bahá’í married couple can choose the size of their family and may choose the appropriate contraceptive technique for them. Abortion is not considered lightly and is not considered a measure of female contraception.

What is the Baha’i position regarding contraception?

Each Bahá’í married couple can choose the size of their family and may choose the appropriate contraceptive technique for them. Abortion is not considered lightly and is not considered a measure of contraception.

What is the Baha’i conception of the after life?

Bahá’ís understand that our soul continues to advance through God's spiritual worlds when our physical body dies. In the next world, there is no “good” or “bad” spot for souls such as a physical or distinct heaven or hell. 'Heaven' is understood as being closer to God, while 'hell' is understood as separation from Him.

What is the Baha’i position regarding the Morning after Pill?

As of yet, the Universal House of Justice has not legislated on the matter of the Morning After Pill. Until such time as it does, decisions on this matter must be left to the consciences of those involved.

What is the position of Baha’i regarding hysterectomy?

Sterilization is not permitted in the Bahá’í Faith, except for medical or health reasons decided by a competent medical authority.

What is the position of Baha’i regarding vasectomy?

Sterilization is not permitted in the Bahá’í Faith, except for medical or health reasons decided by a competent medical authority.

At what times do Baha’is pray?

Baha'is over the age of 15 must recite one of three Obligatory prayers daily. A Baha'i may choose which one to recite, and is not bound to recite the same one every day. When reciting their Obligatory Prayer, Baha’is must face the Qiblih, which is the Shrine of Baháʼu'lláh in Bahji, Israel. Baha'is also recite the Greatest Name (Alláh-u-Abhá) 95 times each day. Baha'is under the age of 15, over the age of 70 and in ill health are all exempt from reciting the Obligatory prayer, as are women who are menstruating. Baha'is may also gather to pray together in devotional meetings, which are usually open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

What do Baha’is need in order to pray?

Before reciting their Obligatory Prayers, Baha'is should perform ritual ablutions (washing of the face and hands). When they recite their Obligatory Prayers, Baha'is should face the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, in Bahji, Israel. Baha'is are forbidden from performing their Obligatory Prayers in a congregation, preferring a quiet, private and serene environment instead to do so.

Do Baha’i women cover their head?

Female Bahá'ís do not need to wear headgear. They can wear it if they visit a place, an area or another county where the covering of a woman’s head is mandatory.

Does the Baha’i Faith allow organ donation?

There is no objection or prohibition to giving or receiving organ transplants in the Baha'i Faith.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware of when a Baha’i patient is dying?

There are no specific religious demands for dying Bahá'ís, but they may want their family members or friends nearby to pray with them and read Bahá'í Writings.

Does the Baha’i Faith allow post-mortem?

There is no opposition to any post-mortem examination that may be required, provided that it does not interfere with the prescribed treatment of the body after death.

By when should the body of a Baha’i be buried?

A Bahá'í funeral should take place soon after the death (the ideal is 24 hours after death) and the memorial services usually take place within two or three days of death. According to Bahá'í law, the body should be buried within one hour of travel from the location of the death (means of travel not specified).

In the Baha’i Faith what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

There is no prescribed ritual to be held on the birth of a child, however many families might organise a celebration based on personal tastes or local cultural customs.

What does Baha’i require in the event of a miscarriage

Bahá'ís believe that life begins at conception and therefore a miscarriage is a big loss.The miscarried fetus should be treated with respect not carelessly discarded into an incinerator. There is no prescribed practice for the treatment and burial of a pre-born child,and possibilities may vary depending on local health and medical regulations, so this is left to the discretion of the parents or their delegate. Prayers should be provided for the advancement of the child's soul in the next world with the certainty that loved ones would be reunited in the spiritual realm with the child.

Where can Baha’is pray?

Bahá'ís can pray in all clean, respectful environments. They have no problem praying in a temple or building that belongs to another faith group. When they pray, you should not disturb them or speak to them. You should be respectful, and you should wait until they finish their prayer.

If a Baha’i is praying, what is not appropriate for me to do?

Bahá'ís can pray in all clean, respectful environments. They have no problem praying in a temple or building that belongs to another faith group. When they pray, you should not disturb them or speak to them. You should be respectful, and you should wait until they finish their prayer.

What is the position of Baha’i with regards to pornography?

Pornography and indecent images are forbidden in the Baha'i Faith.

What is the position of the Baha’i Faith with regards to sex before marriage?

Sex before marriage is prohibited within the Baha'i Faith, though it is not actively punished in any way. It is a transgression of Divine Law by which a person must bring themselves to account before God.

What is the position of Baha’i with regards to sex outside marriage?

Sex outside marriage (adultery) is not accepted within the Baha'i Faith, though it is not actively punished in any way. It is a transgression of Divine Law by which a person must bring themselves to account before God.

What are the rights of the Baha’i mother in case of separation or divorce?

It is preferable that the couple amicably agree on the custody of the children and submit their agreement to the Spiritual Assembly for endorsement. Normally, in the case of very young children, custody is given to the mother unless there are compelling reasons which make this inadvisable.

Are men and women equal in the Baháʼí Faith?

The equality of men and women is a key teaching of the Baha'i Faith.

Which foods are prohibited in the Baha’i Faith?

There are no prohibitions on food in the Baha'i Faith, save the prohibition on the consumption of alcohol. Food preferences are determined by local diet and/or personal taste.

Which are the main Religious festivals in the Baha’i Faith?

Baha'is celebrate 11 Holy Days throughout the year. On 9 of these days, work should be suspended. Nine of the Holy Days occur on fixed days of the Badi calendar, while the other two are fixed according to the lunar calendar, and as such, vary each year. The Badi calendar is fixed to the vernal equinox in Tehran, Iran, and the exact date of many Holy Days varies slightly when transposed to the Gregorian Calendar. The 11 Holy Days of the Baha'i Faith are: Naw-Rúz (Bahá'í New Year) - March 20/21; First day of Riḍván - April 20/21; Ninth day of Riḍván - April 28/29; Twelfth day of Riḍván - May 1/2; Declaration of the Báb - May 23/24; Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh - May 28/29; Martyrdom of the Báb - July 9/10; Birth of the Báb - First of the Twin Holy Birthdays; celebrated on the first day after the eighth new moon following Naw-Rúz (mid-October to mid-November); Birth of Bahá'u'lláh - Second of the Twin Holy Birthdays; celebrated on the second day after the eighth new moon following Naw-Rúz (mid-October to mid-November); Day of the Covenant - November 25/26; Ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá - November 27/28

Towards which direction do Bahá’ís pray?

During ordinary prayer, there is no requirement to maintain a particular facing, and Bahá’ís may pray facing any direction. When reciting their Obligatory Prayer, Baha’is must face the Qiblih, which is the Shrine of Baháʼu'lláh in Bahji, Israel.

Image by harmeet9000 from Pixabay

Which gifts should I avoid giving a Buddhist?

There is no particular item that should be avoided when giving a gift to a Buddhist, although if unfamiliar with the person or the Buddhist tradition they follow, it may be wise to steer away from food gifts containing alcohol and/or meat. Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the context.

Do Buddhists have a birth ceremony?

In Buddhism, there are no specific rituals on the occasion of a birth. Practices and rituals differ between countries and cultures and it is absolutely the couple's choice whether to follow or not the traditions pertaining to their country of origin and their culture.

If invited to a Buddhist dinner/lunch/feast, how should the male dress?

There is no specific dress code for Buddhists, whether men or women, other from individuals who are monks or nuns. If you are invited Buddhist dinner, lunch, or feast you can wear whatever is generally considered appropriate.

If invited to a Buddhist dinner/lunch/feast, how should the female dress?

There is no specific dress code for Buddhists, whether men or women, other from individuals who are monks or nuns. If you are invited Buddhist dinner, lunch, or feast you can wear whatever is generally considered appropriate.

In Buddhism, is there a prayer before eating?

"The Precious Buddha is the Supreme Teacher, The Precious Dharma is the Supreme Protection, The Precious Sangha is the Supreme Guide. To these three jewels, the objects of refuge, I make this offering of food".

In Buddhism, how do you address a priest?

In the Tibetan tradition, the form of address 'lama-la' is used generously with anybody wearing maroon robes. 'Rinpoche' is used for recognized reincarnations, otherwise known as 'tulku.' The wife of a lama or tulku is often addressed as 'Khandro'. 'Abbot' in Tibetan is 'Khenpo' so an abbot named Tashi, for example, would be 'Khenpo Tashi.' There is also, within Nyingma and Kagyu, another tradition of 'yogis" sometimes referred to as 'Ngakpa' (m) or "Ngakmo" (f). 'Your eminence' or 'your holiness' is usually reserved for the heads of the traditions, e.g.  the Dalai Lama.

 

If invited to a Buddhist dinner/lunch/feast, should I take a gift?

Dana, or generosity, is highly valued, and in certain Buddhist societies it is often considered bad form to turn up without something to offer, especially if one is visiting a dignitary, or lama.

As a female, how do I greet a Buddhist male?

There is no greeting that is specific to gender when greeting a Buddhist person. The traditional Buddhist greeting is Anjali Mudra greeting. This is the gesture when you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and greet the other persons in your language or his/her language.

As a female, how do I greet a Buddhist female?

There is no greeting that is specific to gender when greeting a Buddhist person. The traditional Buddhist greeting is Anjali Mudra greeting. This is the gesture when you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and greet the other persons in your language or his/her language.

As a male, how do I greet a Buddhist female?

There is no greeting that is specific to gender when greeting a Buddhist person. The traditional Buddhist greeting is Anjali Mudra greeting. This is the gesture when you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and greet the other persons in your language or his/her language.

As a male, how do I greet a Buddhist male?

There is no greeting that is specific to gender when greeting a Buddhist person. The traditional Buddhist greeting is Anjali Mudra greeting. This is the gesture when you press the palms of your hands together in front of your chest and greet the other persons in your language or his/her language.

Is there any period during the year when Buddhists fast?

Although not mandatory, in Buddhism fasting is considered as a good method for practising self-control. Buddhist monks do not normally eat solid food after noon. Many lay Buddhists take only one meal and abstain from taking solid food after noon on new and full moon days.

If invited to a Buddhist wedding what attire is appropriate?

Guests can usually wear whatever is considered appropriate in the country where the wedding is held, observing conventional bounds of decency. Guests should be informed that they must honour the Buddhist monks in the temple and take off their shoes before they reach the sanctuary for the wedding ceremony.

If invited to a Buddhist wedding which gift is customarily expected?

A monetary gift is always a safe option. Monetary gifts, preferably in denominations ending in 1 are believed to carry good luck. Putting the money, or cheque, in a traditional red envelope with red lettering would be even better. Should one prefer not to give money, a statue of a Buddhist deity such as the Goddess Laxmi, goddess of prosperity, or the traditional meitreya Buddha, would be well received.

If invited to a Buddhist wedding where does the main ceremony take place?

A Buddhist wedding normally takes place either in the temple or at the bride's home where a shrine with a statue of the Buddha is usually erected. However there is no specific ritual the needs to be followed. A monk may bless the marriage but will not conduct any actual marriage ceremony. There is no set wedding service in the Buddhist faith, as the Buddha considered marriage a social rather than a sacred ceremony.

Who are the main celebrants at a Buddhist wedding?

A Buddhist wedding essentially consists of the couple pronouncing their marriage vows. A monk may be asked to participate by blessing the wedding.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Buddhist wedding?

Usually, a Buddhist wedding is followed by lunch, dinner or a standing reception. There are no hard‐and‐fast marriage traditions in the Buddhist faith and what type of celebration is done after the marriage ceremony is entirely up to the couple.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at a Buddhist wedding?

There is no traditional greeting for the family at a Buddhist wedding.

Ηow long does a Buddhist funeral take?

The Buddhist funeral is simply a solemn and dignified expression of sorrow and filial piety. The Buddhist funeral typically takes place within a week of death. Buddhist funeral rites are performed on the morning of the burial/cremation service,. A Buddhist funeral lasts between forty – five to sixty (60) minutes.

Where does a Buddhist funeral take place?

Funeral practices vary between Buddhist traditions, but most services are held at a monastery or at the family home.

How do you greet a Buddhist upon hearing of the death of a family member?

There is no traditional greeting for the family members of a deceased Buddhist. You can offer them your sympathy and support.

When does the Buddhist funeral normally take place?

A Buddhist funeral is typically held within a week of death.

What is the appropriate attire at a Buddhist funeral?

Normal, smart casual dress code applies to a Buddhist funeral. Most Buddhists prefer dressing in white at a funeral although the practice may vary from one Buddhist culture to another.

In a Buddhist funeral is it appropriate to send flowers?

Sending flowers, preferably white, to a Buddhist funeral is appropriate. Making a donation to a charity on the deceased behalf is also appropriate.

Who presides the Buddhist funeral service?

If a Buddhist monk is available, he will be asked to perform the Buddhist ritual. If not, a family member will organize and conduct an appropriate ceremony.

Will there be an open casket at the Buddhist funeral?

A simple casket, surrounded by flowers and candles, is normally left open at the funeral ceremony to allow the family and friends to pay their last respects to the deceased.

Can I attend the Buddhist funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside/crematory?

You may attend the service at the graveside if invited by the family.

Should I attend the Buddhist funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside/crematory?

You may attend the service at the graveside if invited by the family.

Is cremation obligatory in Buddhism?

Most Buddhists prefer cremation for their funeral rather than burial, as the Buddha himself was cremated. However many Buddhists are more likely to be buried.

Is cremation allowed in Buddhism?

Most Buddhists prefer to be cremated rather than buried, as the Buddha himself was.

In Buddhism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

There is no set period during which mourners are not expected to return to work.

In Buddhism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return social schedule?

Although there is no set period, the norm is for mourners not to take part in social events that occur too near the death of a close family members. Usually this period is not longer than three months.

In Buddhism are there rituals for observing the anniversary of the death?

Buddhists memorial religious services for the deceased are traditionally on the third, seventh, forty-ninth, and one hundredth day after the death, although these dates are flexible if not convenient for the family. In the absence of a monastery, the services may be held at home and the family may choose to limit participation to only family members or to extend it to the community.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding abortion?

Buddhists generally consider abortion as morally wrong but there is no single Buddhist view on the issue. Views on abortion vary a great deal between different regions, reflecting the influence of the various Buddhist traditions, as well as the influence of other religious and philosophical traditions and contact with Western thought.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding euthanasia?

Buddha's teachings do not deal directly with the issue of euthanasia. While the great majority Buddhists oppose euthanasia without the express wish of the person concerned, there is no consensus of whether voluntary euthanasia should be permitted or not. However, The most common position is that voluntary euthanasia is also wrong, because it shows that the mind of the person requesting it is not in the state it should be.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding blood transfusion?

There are no religious objections to blood transfusion in the Buddhist faith.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding IVF?

Buddhism does not forbid the use of IVF. However, since the Buddha teaches that life begins shortly after conception, the destruction of unused fertilized eggs is generally considered a violation of this precept. On the other hand, Buddhism has liberal views on the use of IVF, not restricting its use to married couples only and sperm donation is also permitted within many Buddhist viewpoints.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding surrogate motherhood?

Unlike most Western religions, Buddhism does not have a position of central authority and Buddhists do not necessarily share the same views about surrogate motherhood practices. Buddhist thought on the subject of surrogacy is also inconclusive. The apparent assumption is that Buddhism supports surrogacy completely, as there are no Buddhist teachings that imply the immorality of infertility or alternative treatments. The common view that surrogacy is an act of love aligns naturally with Buddhist ideals.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding adoption?

Buddhists believe that adoption is a positive act as it involves giving love and care to another human being.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding fostering?

In Buddhism, there are no objections against fostering.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding divorce?

Buddhism considers marriage a secular issue and therefore has no restrictions on divorce.  Generally, since Buddhism puts love and compassion at the centre of its teachings, it is generally agreed that if a husband and wife cannot live serenely together it is better for them to divorce rather than lead a miserable life full of anger and hatred.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding polygamy?

Buddhism considers marriage a secular issue and, as such, is silent on the issue of polygamy and monogamy.

Are any prayers said in Buddhism to a dying person?

When a Buddhist person is approaching death, family and friends stay with him to make him feel calm and peaceful and accept the inevitable life cycle. A small statue of the Buddha may be placed at the dying person's head and protective verses may be chanted. Tibetans will engage monks or nuns to read out the Bardo Thodol - The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Which food is allowed in Buddhism?

There is no proscription on food of any kind in Buddhism, including meat. Those who choose a Buddhist life are expected to make wise decisions about what to eat and how to live. Buddhism's first moral precept is "Do not kill", and many Buddhists consider the killing of animals to be against this precept. For this reason, many Buddhists choose not to eat meat. However, not all Buddhist traditions require the followers to practise vegetarianism.

Which drinks are allowed in Buddhism?

The fifth precept of practicing Buddhists is "Do not take intoxicants", but the precept does not say that drinking alcohol is a sin. Some Buddhists choose to abstain from alcohol altogether; others accept that it may be taken in moderation as long as it does not lead to intoxication.

What is the position of Buddhism on female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation is forbidden in Buddhism. Buddhists strongly believe that no harm should be caused to any other human being.

Who do I call when a Buddhist person dies?

When a Buddhist dies, the medical staff should call his/her family members, if they were not already with him/her at the moment of passing away. They should also call the person’s spiritual teacher.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding female contraception?

Generally, Buddhists accept the use of contraceptives if used to prevent conception but are against methods that stop the development of an already fertilized egg.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding contraception?

Generally, Buddhists accept the use of contraceptives if used to prevent conception but are against methods that stop the development of an already fertilized egg.

What is the conception of Buddhism of the after life?

Buddhists believe that death is a natural stage in the cycle of death and rebirth called samsara. Buddhists do not believe in a personal God and neither in eternal damnation for the wicked. Instead , Buddhists believe that after death, the spirit is reincarnated into another life form, depending on the state of perfection reached by the spirit at that time. Every rebirth is temporary and occurs in either one of the three good realms (heavenly, demi-god or human)or one of the three evil realms (animal, ghost, hellish) depending on one's karma: a person’s actions during his lifetime and therefore the spirit's stage in its quest for Nirvana. The cycle of Samsara can be ended if the person attains Nirvana, the final goal where all desires are completely suppressed, 'blown out", and true understanding of non-self reality is gained.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding the Morning after Pill?

Generally, Buddhists accept the use of contraceptives if used to prevent conception but are against methods that stop the development of an already fertilized egg. The morning-after pill may therefore be problematic.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding hysterectomy?

Generally, Buddhists accept the use of contraceptives if used to prevent conception but are against methods that stop the development of an already fertilized egg. Thus hysterectomy is acceptable to Buddhists, more so if performed for medical reasons.

What is the position of Buddhism regarding vasectomy?

Generally, Buddhists accept the use of contraceptives if used to prevent conception but are against methods that stop the development of an already fertilized egg. Thus vasectomy is an accepted method of contraception.

At what times do Buddhists pray?

Buddhists do not pray to a Creator God, but they do have meditation practices that resemble prayer. There is no fixed time for meditation or prayer but they meditate regularly, which can be several times a week or daily. During meditation, or prayer, Buddhists may recite or chant certain words and sounds, called mantras, repeatedly. These meditations may be done in front of an image of the Buddha (sometimes appearing as praying to the Buddha). Forms of meditation/prayer vary depending on the Buddhist denomination/tradition concerned.

What do Buddhists need to pray?

Buddhists like to have a quiet place to meditate or pray. They sometimes carry small wheel prayer devices, prayer beads, or a book with holy texts around with them.

Do Buddhist women need to cover their heads?

Buddhists women do not cover their heads, not even when they go to the temple.

Does Buddhism allow organ donation?

The majority of Buddhists do not have religious objections to organ donation, because serving others is central to the Buddhist faith, and organ donation seems widely regarded as a supreme generosity and compassionate act. Nevertheless, some Buddhists may refuse to donate organs after death because they believe that the spirit stays in the body for a while after the heart stops. The taking of internal organs immediately after death may be considered to impede optimum consciousness dissolution. Thus, in Buddhism the decision for or against organ donation relies very much on an individual's decision.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware when a Buddhist patient is dying?

Death for the Buddhist is natural and inevitable and therefore should be a smooth and peaceful process. It is the moment when the spirit moves on to the next life. It is not important for the Buddhist to prolong or extend life when death is imminent. Some dying Buddhists may wish to lie on their right side, as this is the posture of the Reclining Buddha, so as to better contemplate him. Some individuals may want to have an image of the Buddha by their side. Buddhist dying patients may want to minimize drugs that cloud their mind and feel involved in all phases as part of their preparedness for death. A dying Buddhist would, ideally, be moved to a private area and his relatives be allowed to be near to meditate with him/her and radiate loving kindness that helps minimize his suffering, as well as to reassure him/her of the good karma he/she has accumulated.
In the event that a Buddhist asks for the following elements, they should be helpedto sit in a meditation posture and have their teacher brought into their presence. Some may want to die with their head pointing west.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Buddhist?

After death, the medical staff should delay moving the dead body as long as possible as Buddhist believe that consciousness (the spirit) is still in the body for some time after clinical death. Medics should treat the wishes of the family of the deceased with respect. In particular, they may need time, four hours or more after death, for prayers. Some Buddhists may request that the dead person's head be not touched by medical staff before the family give their permission as it is believed the spirit leaves the body slowly through the head. If possible do not touch the body at all. Tibetans agree that the head should not be touched, but are also worried about touching the feet or anywere below the waist. This is because it might distract the consciousness to leave from the "lower orifices" which guarantees a bad rebirth. In the case of realized lamas, the corpse is often left alone for three days or more to allow the process of transforming the body into light (aka rainbow body). Such cases are extremely rare however . The treatment of the body is very important for the spirit to leave properly and a calm and compassionate environment should be kept. Buddhists consider this very important for making it easier for the soul to leave the body.

Does Buddhism allow a post-mortem?

Since Buddhists believe that the spirit remains in the dead body for a considerable period of time, most would object to a post-mortem to be done soon after death. In such cases, if at all possible the post mortem examination should be postponed to such time when, according the family of the deceased beliefs, the spirit would have left the body. This could be anything between four hours and fours days, depending the teaching followed by the family.

By when should the body of a Buddhist be cremated/buried?

The body of a Buddhist should be buried/cremated within a week of death.

In Buddhism what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

There is no particular ritual that is prescribed by Buddhist teaching for the occasion of a birth to a Buddhist family. Customs vary between one country/region and another.

What does Buddhism require in the event of a miscarriage?

Since Buddhists believe that life begins at conception, they may wish that a miscarried foetus is treated with respect but there are no set rules laid down in Buddhist teachings.

If a Buddhism is praying what is not appropriate for me to do?

As with any other religions, a person who is praying should not be disturbed unnecessarily. Buddhist can pray anywhere but generally prefer to meditate/pray in a quiet environment.

What is the position of Buddhism with regards to pornography?

The third precept in Buddhism is not to engage in wrong sexual behaviour. The Buddha accepted that it is legitimate for lay people (not monastics) to indulge and enjoy the pleasures of the senses, he pointed out that sensual desire is a hindrance to mental calm and weakens wisdom. Buddhism is not about whether an action is sinful but rather whether is helps or hinders one in the quest towards the state of nirvana. Use of pornography is therefore frowned upon by Buddhists, also because it most often involves the exploitation of other human beings.

What is the position of Buddhism with regards to sex before marriage?

The attitude of Buddhism is that the sex between two love-bearing people, whether married or not, is moral. Sex before marriage, conducive to spiritual development from the Buddhist viewpoint, does not violate the third Precept (not to engage in wrong sexual behaviour).

What is the position of Buddhism with regards to sex outside marriage?

The third precept in Buddhism is not to engage in wrong sexual behaviour. Adultery is considered to infringe the third precept. Adultery violates the vows of loyalty the couple make to each other when they marry; it often includes lies, deceit and does harm to the perpetrator's partner in marriage. The Buddha said “Being dissatisfied with his wife, if one is seen with prostitutes or the wives of others, this is a cause of one's decline".

Are male and female equal in Buddhism?

Not all Buddhist teachings consider women to be equal to men. The male gender is considered higher than the female gender in Theravada Buddhism. It is said that one must be reborn as a man in the last step to the enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhism holds that the male mind is superior to the female mind. However, Dalai Lama once mentioned that in Tibetan Buddhism women should be better treated because the times and human rights now demand this. Nichiren Buddhism, based on the Lotus Sutra, is the only branch of Buddhism that acknowledges the equality of women.

Which foods are prohibited in Buddhism?

There is no proscription on food of any kind in Buddhism, including meat. Those who choose a Buddhist life are expected to make wise decisions about what to eat and how to live. Buddhism's first moral precept is "Do not kill" and many Buddhists consider the killing of animals as being against this precept. For this reason many Buddhists choose not to eat meat. However not all Buddhist traditions require the followers to follow a vegetarian diet.

Which are some of the major feasts celebrated by Buddhists?

This is a list of some holidays celebrated within the Buddhist tradition. (source: Wikipedia)
Vesak: The Buddha's birthday is known as Vesak and is one of the major festivals of the year. It is celebrated on the first full moon day in May, or the fourth lunar month which usually occurs in May or during a lunar leap year, June. In some countries this has become an occasion to not only celebrate the birth but also the enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha.
Parinirvana Day: also known as Nirvana Day, a Mahayana Buddhist holiday celebrated in East Asia, usually on February 15.
Magha Puja: Magha Puja is an important religious festival celebrated by Buddhists in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos on the full moon day of the third lunar month (this usually falls in February or March)
Buddha's Birthday: Also known as "Hanamatsuri", it is celebrated April 8 and in Japan baby Buddha figurines are ceremonially washed with tea.
Asalha Puja Day: Also known as "Dharma Day" celebrates the Buddha's first teaching on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month, approximately July.
Uposatha: This day is known as observance day, there are four holy days on the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days every month.
Abhidhamma Day: According to Burmese tradition, this day celebrates when the Buddha went to the Tushita Heaven to teach his mother the Abhidhamma. It is celebrated on the full moon of the seventh month the Burmese lunar year which starts in April.
The Elephant Festival: The Buddha used an example of a wild elephant which is harnessed to a tame one to be trained. He said that a person who is new to Buddhism should have a special relationship with an older Buddhist. This festival takes place on the third Saturday in November.
The Festival of the Tooth: In Sri Lanka there is a temple that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. It can't be seen, but once a year there is a procession for it on the full moon in August.
Bodhi Day: The holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment.

How do Buddhists pray?

Buddhists do not pray to a Creator God, but have meditation practices that resemble prayer. There is no fixed time for meditation or prayer but regular meditation, which can be several times a week or daily. During meditation, or prayer, Buddhists may recite or chant certain words and sounds, called mantras, repeatedly. These meditations may be done in front of an image of the Buddha (sometimes appearing as praying to the Buddha). Forms of meditation/prayer vary depending on the Buddhist denomination/tradition concerned.

Photo by Sadaham Yathra from Pexels

Which is the greatest feast day for Catholics?

Even though Christmas seems to be the most popular amongst the many feast days celebrated, the greatest feast day for Catholics is actually Easter, because it celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus from death and thus the victory over death and sin. Easter falls on the Sunday succeeding the first full moon after March 21st.

What do Catholics celebrate at Christmas?

At Christmas, Catholics, together with all other Christian Churches, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God becoming man.

When do Catholics celebrate Easter?

Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon following March 21st. If the 21st is a Sunday, then Easter will be celebrated on the following Sunday.

Why do Catholics have so many feast days for saints?

Catholics venerate saints as humans who led a holy life. They are held as role models for believers. Catholics pray to saints to intercede for them in terms of God’s help. In Malta and many Mediterranean countries, it is a tradition for each town or village to have their own patron saint. This creates the opportunity for big celebrations at least once a year. These feasts have increasingly become more of a cultural tradition. However, within the Church’s liturgical Calendar, Catholics pray to a specific saint nearly every day.

Are saints like gods?

No, saints are not gods. A saint is a person who is recognized as having had an exceptional degree of holiness or closeness to God. Thus, it is clear that Catholics revere one God and that Catholicism is not polytheistic.

What should I wear if invited for a Catholic funeral?

Generally, black, white or dark colours are worn to a funeral. Family members generally dress completely in black. Some may choose to continue wearing only black for some months. However, one must be aware when invited for a funeral that sometimes the family may make special requests, for example that participants wear white or not to wear black, especially when it is a funeral of a child or someone young.

What gift should I give Catholics at a wedding?

There is no typical gift for a Catholic wedding and gifts with a religious connotation are not commonly given.  If one wishes to give such a gift, one may look in a Catholic bookshop; religious icons in silver may also be an appropriate gift. However, most couples nowadays prefer monetary gifts.

If invited to a Catholic dinner/lunch/feast is a prayer said before eating?

If the hosts are practising Catholics it is customary for a dinner to start with a brief prayer which the persons present recite together before they start eating.

How do you address a Catholic priest?

Generally, priests are celibate men who have dedicated their life to being ministers of the Church. You normally address them as 'Father', followed by their name or surname when formally addressed.

Do Catholics fast?

For Catholics, there is a distinction between fasting and abstinence. Fasting is the reduction of food, usually considered to be eating only the main meals and thus not between meals. Abstinence constitutes refraining from eating meat. Sometimes individuals might decide to fast from other foods as a sacrifice of their own account during Lent. Others choose to fast or abstain from meat on all Fridays.  Fasting and abstinence is considered to be a form of penance and should be accompanied by spiritual fasting from sin. The Catholic Church obliges Catholics to fast and abstain only on two days in the year: Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent, and Good Friday, the day on which Catholics commemorate Jesus’s death. These fasting days are obligatory for adults between the ages of eighteen and sixty. Persons who are not in a position to fast due to health reasons are exempt. Abstinence is expected from children of over 14 years of age.  Catholics also observe what is called the Eucharistic fast, which involves taking nothing but water or medicine into the body for 1 hour before receiving the Eucharist.

What happens in Catholic weddings?

Most Catholic weddings start off with a mass within a Church. The marriage ceremony, whereby the bride and the groom make their marriage vows in the presence of a minister of the Church - a priest and two witnesses - is held during the mass. They also exchange blessed rings, which they wear on the fourth finger of their left hand as a sign that they are married. Most Catholics wear their ring throughout their lives. Others, especially healthcare workers, might not wear it due to safety reasons.  After mass there is usually a reception for family and friends.

What is the Holy Communion celebration for Catholic children?

The Holy Communion celebration is the celebration when Catholic children receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time. This means that they receive the host, which Catholics believe to be the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. From after this celebration, the children will be able to receive the Eucharist every day. There are various ages at which children receive this Sacrament, usually varying between 6 and 10 years of age, depending on the country. The First Holy Communion is usually celebrated during a mass within the parish or community that has been preparing the children for this day. The children wear white as a sign of purity and a reminder of the white gown given during Baptism.

How do Catholics regard other religions?

During the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church issued a Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate, 1965), acknowledging the importance of discussion and its stance with regard to other faiths and major world religions. Nostra Aetate asserted that humanity is one community with a common destiny in God. It acknowledged that people turn to different religions in search of the same answers to questions as fundamental as: What is the purpose of life? What is good and evil? Where does suffering come from and what is its meaning? What leads to happiness? What lies beyond death? Then the document makes its boldest claim: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions” (no. 2). While holding firmly that Christians are bound to witness to “Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6),” the declaration also seeks to “acknowledge, preserve, and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians.”

Is there a reception or dinner after a Catholic wedding?

Usually there is always some form of celebration after a Catholic wedding mass. However, the format depends on the choice of the bride and groom. In most cases it is a stand-up reception, because many guests are invited to the wedding. Sometimes, when weddings are smaller, there is a sit-down meal.

How long is the ceremony of a Catholic funeral?

A Catholic funeral normally starts with the transportation of the corpse of the deceased from the place where the deceased was resting, normally either the home or the hospital morgue to the Church where Mass will be held. Only the closest family together with a priest accompany the hearse on its journey to the Church. Once at the Church, there is a normal Mass including a homily normally mentioning the deceased good qualities and with a special rite at the end of the Mass when prayers are said over the coffin. The whole ceremony lasts about one hour. After Mass, there is usually a very short time when the family is greeted and consoled by those gathered for the Mass on the parvis of the Church. The body is then taken for burial to a cemetery where final prayers are said before burial. Usually the burial is attended only by the closest family and friends and it is a very quiet solemn moment.

Where are Catholics buried in Malta?

Most villages in Malta have their cemetery, and many families have their own family grave. There is also the main national cemetery, the Addolorata Cemetery, in Paola. If families do not have their own graves there are common graves which can be used.

Is there a time of mourning for Catholics?

Up until 50 years ago, there were norms of behaviour for mourning for Catholics depending on the relation to the deceased. The person wore certain types of mourning clothing for certain lengths of time and participated less in social events. Nowadays these norms are no longer adhered to. However, some Catholics still feel that it is respectful to wear black or black and white clothing for the first few days or months after the death of a close relative. They also refrain from going to large public functions, balls or dinner parties. They do not dine out in restaurants or host parties or social functions in the home of the deceased during the mourning period.

How do I greet a Catholic who has lost a loved one?

Usually, a Catholic who has lost a loved one is greeted either by a handshake or a light hug, depending on one's closeness, whilst saying 'I'm sorry, may he/she rest in peace' or 'My condolences!'. Sometimes one might wish to send flowers to the funeral or a  sympathy card to a relative. Some families ask for donations to be given to a charity instead of sending flowers. Usually, this request is made explicit in the obituary notice on the newspapers or radio announcements.

Will there be an open casket at the Catholic funeral?

Normally, the casket is kept closed during a Catholic funeral. Sometimes it is opened briefly only at the end of the funeral mass and/or before burial, for the family or friends to say one last goodbye. In the case of funerals of important figures for the country or the community, sometimes the body of the deceased is laid in a public place for the last respects of the community, a few days before the funeral ceremony is held.

Does one send flowers for a Catholic funeral?

It is customary for close family, friends or organisations related to the deceased to bring bouquets or rings of flowers  to the Catholic funeral mass. Some families ask for donations to be given to a charity rather than being sent flowers. Usually, this request is made explicit in the obituary notice on the newspapers or radio announcements.

Can I attend a burial ceremony for a Catholic?

Everybody is welcome to attend the Catholic funeral mass. However, the burial ceremony held at the cemetery after mass is usually attended by the closest family and friends only. It is a very quiet and solemn ceremony.

Is cremation allowed in the Catholic Church?

Yes, cremation is allowed in the Catholic Church, but the ashes need to be buried in cemeteries or other sacred locations only that encourage the Catholic community to pray for and remember the dead. They cannot be scattered over the sea, air or ground, or kept in the home. This is founded on the Biblical belief which teaches respect for the human body, both in life and death.

What is the position of Catholicity on abortion?

Catholics believe in the sanctity of life from its very beginning and therefore the Catholic Church does not permit abortion at any stage.

What is the position of Catholicity on euthanasia?

Catholics believe that God is the Creator of life and no human being has the right to terminate life at any stage. Thus, euthanasia is also not permitted. Catholics, however, ensure that everybody is entitled to receive palliative care, including any pain relief, as necessary. Every terminally ill patient has the right to a dignified death, but the actual termination of life is not permitted.

What is the position of Catholicity on blood transfusion?

Catholics accept blood transfusions and encourage the faithful to donate blood as an act of generosity and solidarity.

What is the position of Catholicity on IVF?

The Catholic Church generally opposes in vitro fertilisation for two reasons. First, the Church teaches that human dignity is best respected when the beautiful sexual union of two people conceives a child. This does not happen when a human being is created in a laboratory. The Church is wary of the power of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Secondly, Catholics believe that human life begins at conception, and, at this moment, a unique identity of the human person is created. Unfortunately, in in vitro fertilisation normally more than one egg is fertilised, and thus more than one embryo created, with the possibility that some are destroyed in the process. The Catholic Church seeks to accompany infertile couples, encouraging them to adopt and use technologies which are safe and respect human dignity. In cases where the infertile couples still choose to use IVF, Catholic ethicists recommend that the sperm is always that of the father and not that of a donor. Besides, if possible, the lowest number of eggs should be fertilised, and all the eggs implanted.  Under no circumstances is the wilful destruction of fertilised eggs permitted.

What is the position of Catholicity on surrogate motherhood?

The Catholic Church stands firm against our culture’s understanding that children can be created by technology and distributed via a market. Children are a gift from God and the fruit of a loving, sexual relationship, and should not be procured as a product or thing. Thus, any reproductive procedure that involves something other than aiding sex and pregnancy within the context of a married couple is not permitted. This includes anything from creating a child in a laboratory to the use of another person as a surrogate to carry someone else's child through the gestation period.

What is the position of Catholicity on adoption?

Catholics consider adoption as a generous act, a covenant, and not just a legal transaction. When a child is abandoned, orphaned or born to parents who decide that they are unable to fulfil a promise to God about the care of the child, adoption could be the best alternative. The responsibility of the adoptive parents is to work for the good of the child, not only in the physical or economic dimensions, but also the spiritual one. For Catholics, the creation of a family is not a biological function, but is grounded in the belief that God creates each of us in His image and likeness, to be fully human and to share in God's life.

What is the position of Catholicity on fostering?

Similar to their views on adoption, Catholics consider fostering a great act of generosity and solidarity with children who are abandoned, orphaned or born to parents who cannot bring them up.

What is the position of Catholicity on polygamy?

Catholics do not permit polygamy, because they consider marriage to be a permanent, lifelong covenant between a consenting man and woman.

Is there any food not allowed in Catholicity?

No, there is no particular food which is not allowed in the Catholic religion except for the two days of abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Are there any drinks not allowed in Catholicity?

No, there is no particular drink which is prohibited in the Catholic religion. However, it does advocate moderation, especially in terms of the consumption of alcohol, out of respect for one's own body and dignity.

Who is exempted from fasting during the Lent?

There are only two obligatory days of fasting for Catholics during Lent: Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent, and Good Friday, the day commemorating Christ's passion and death. Some Catholics maintain a fast from particular foods, such as sweets, as a form of penance and sacrifice. Children are invited to do some form of fasting that is meaningful to them. Only children above sixteen and adults of up to 60 are obliged to fast on obligatory days. Children over 14 years of age are obliged to abstain from the consumption of meat.

What is the position of Catholicity on female genital mutilation?

The Catholic Church considers female genital mutilation as a degradation of the female's body. In some parts of the world, such as Kenya, where FGM is a rite of passage, the Catholic Church is working to find other alternatives to female circumcision.

What is the position of Catholicity on contraception?

The Catholic Church has always maintained that it is not morally good to use artificial contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence. It, however, accepts natural methods of birth control. This, however, is a strongly debated issue within the Church, especially when it comes to couples who already have a family and cannot risk having any more children.

What is the teaching of Catholicity on the after life?

Catholics' belief in an afterlife stems from their belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and thus his triumph over death. Catholics believe that after the body dies, the soul is judged. The righteous and free of sin enter Heaven to be united forever with God, whilst those who die in a state of sin go to hell. In the 1990s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defined hell not as a punishment imposed on the sinner but, rather, as the sinner's self-exclusion from God. The Catholic Church also teaches that those who die in a state of grace, but still carry venial sin, go to a place called Purgatory, where they undergo purification before entering Heaven. A Catholic's life on earth is lived in view of the afterlife and the ultimate desired destination of eternal existence in heaven.

What is the position of Catholicity on the morning-after pill?

The position of the Catholic Church on the morning-after pill was clearly stated in the "Statement on the so-called "Morning-After Pill" published by the Pontifical Academy for Life . According to this statement, "It is clear, therefore, that the proven "anti-implantation" action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion." and "Consequently, from the ethical standpoint the same absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill." (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_20001031_pillola-giorno-dopo_en.html)

What is the position of Catholicity on sterilization i.e. tubal ligation, hysterectomy or vasectomy?

The Catholic Church makes a distinction between direct sterilization and indirect sterilization. Direct sterilization means that the purpose of the procedure is simply to destroy the normal functioning of a healthy organ so as to prevent the future conception of children. Such direct sterilization is considered morally wrong.  On the other hand, indirect sterilization is morally permissible.  Here surgery, or drug or radiation therapy is not intended to destroy the functioning of a healthy organ or to prevent the conception of children.  Rather, the direct intention is to remove or to combat a diseased or malfunctioning organ.  Unfortunately, surgery or therapy may “indirectly” result in the person being sterilized.

At what times do Catholics pray?

Catholics do not have set times of prayer during the day. Practising Catholics meet in communities in churches to celebrate the Eucharist together every week on Sundays. However, the Eucharist is celebrated every day too in churches, but there is no obligation for attendance on a daily basis. Some Catholics meet in groups or movements to pray or organise activities for their communities.

Does Catholicity allow organ donation?

Organ transplants are in conformity with the Catholic moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is considered to be a noble act and an expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent.

Are there any special considerations that medical staff should be aware of when a Catholic patient is at the point of death?

Catholic patients who are very sick usually ask to be accompanied by a priest through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. This sacred ritual is administered to bring about spiritual and even physical strength during an illness. Those who are close to death normally receive the Last Rites. These are the main sacraments administered at the end of one's life to accompany one on the journey from life to eternity. These include, amongst others, the Sacrament of Penance (Confession), the Liturgy of Anointing, and Holy Communion.

Does Catholicity allow post-mortem examinations?

The Catholic Church does not have any religious objections to a post-mortem being carried out. However, the body should be carefully restored, because it is Catholic tradition to open the coffin for viewing at the burial.

By when should the body of a Catholic be buried?

Normally funerals take place any time between two days and one week after death, depending on the circumstances of death, but typically, they occur within three days or so. However, while burying the dead is one of the Acts of Mercy promoted by the Catholic Church, there is no set time limit by when a body should be buried.

How does Catholicity deal with miscarriage?

Catholics believe that life begins at conception and that the baby also has a soul. Normally, in Malta holy mass is said for all miscarried babies once a year, and they are buried in a grave at the Addolorata cemetery.

What is the position of Catholicity on pornography?

Catholics view the human body as being created by God, and therefore deem that it should be treated with dignity. Hence, any form of pornography which is considered to exploit the human body and treat it as an object is not permissible for Catholic believers.

What is the position of Catholicity on sex before marriage?

Catholics consider sexuality to be a gift from God meant to be an expression of the intimate love between two persons who are committed to each other in marriage. Besides the relational aspect, sexual intercourse also has the biological procreative purpose of giving life to children. The Church has always maintained that the family is the best place for children to be brought up. Thus, sex before marriage is not permitted because of the lack of the permanent bond between the two consenting adults and moreover, if children are born as a result of such an act, they are not brought into a stable environment. However, many practising Catholics generally make a distinction between permissive sexuality which involves the sexual activity with different partners simply for pleasure and not within the context of a loving relationship and a sexual relationship between two persons who are seriously committed to each other but are not yet in a marital relationship.

What is the position of Catholicity on sex outside marriage?

Catholics consider sexuality to be a gift from God meant to be an expression of the intimate love between two persons who are committed to each other in marriage. Besides the relational aspect, sexual intercourse also has the biological procreative purpose of giving life to children.  The Church has always maintained that the family is the best place for children to be brought up. Thus, sex outside marriage, i.e. between married persons and someone other than their marriage partner, is considered to be adultery. The latter is regarded as a sin because it is a betrayal of the commitment to the eternal love that should exist between two spouses.

How long is Lent in the Catholic religion?

Lent for Catholics is 40 days long.

What is the position of Catholicity on divorce and separation?

Catholics believe that when a man and a woman marry, they commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. Their love is a sign of the permanent love of God towards humans. Thus, the bond of a Catholic marriage is indissoluble. Even if a civil divorce is obtained, it does not annul the sacramental marital bond. Thus, the Catholic Church does not allow persons to divorce. However, if there is proof enough that a marriage was not valid in a sacramental manner, then there is the possibility of annulment.  The conditions for a marriage to be valid concern a person’s freedom to marry, their readiness to make a marriage commitment, their understanding of – indeed their very capacity to understand and live out – what marriage involves, their openness to having children, the proper process for witnessing a marriage, and so on. The process of annulment is a long one that takes place in the Ecclesiastical courts, whereby the bond of marriage needs to be proved to have been null, i.e,. never to have existed. If the marriage is valid but the persons cannot live together, there is the possibility of separation. In separation, the martial bond is still there.

Are male and female equal in Catholicity?

In the Catholic religion, men and women are considered to be equal in dignity, whilst their differences are acknowledged. These differences lead to complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere. Some women do argue that they are considered to be inferior, especially since they are not allowed to the priesthood, a role which is biblically based on the figure of Jesus Christ. However, even if women may be precluded from certain roles and ministries, they are held to be equal in moral value and of equal status. They are increasingly also being given more space in the hierarchy of the Church.

Why do Catholics bless animals?

There are certain feast days dedicated to the blessing of pets, such as the celebration of the feast of St. Francis and St. Anthony Abbot. A procession of animals may be led to churches for them to be blessed. This is usually a celebration of the beauty of creation, since Catholics believe that God is the supreme Creator. Particularly at the present time, the Catholic Church emphasises the importance of stewardship over creation.

Why do Catholics bless objects?

Catholics can ask a priest to bless practically anything. There are special prayers that are said during the blessing, depending on the object being blessed. The blessing is actually asking God's blessing of the object and asking His help to be able to use it properly and safely.  Religious objects or symbols, when blessed, are considered sacramentals. Examples of sacramentals include rosary beads used during the recitation of the rosary, a cross necklace blessed by a priest for daily use, blessed candles, blessed Christian art etc. Such sacramentals help Catholics to be reminded of their faith and increase their devotion to God.

Are all animals regarded in the same way in Catholicity?

Yes, all animals are regarded in the same way. Cruelty to animals is not accepted, but animals are still considered to be inferior to the human being. Catholics are thus allowed to eat all animals and their products, because they believe they are God's gifts to humanity. Nevertheless, Catholicism still insists human beings are to be stewards of all creation and, thus, should live sustainably and simply.

What should I do if I happen to be in a meeting that starts off with a Catholic prayer time?

Catholics are open to the presence of persons from other faiths or non-believers in their midst. If you happen to be in the midst of a gathering that starts off with prayer, respect the atmosphere of the place which might be solemn or quiet. Feel free to adopt any position which you feel comfortable in, even if it is not what the Catholic persons present are doing.

Why do Catholics have crucifixes in every room?

Catholic homes will commonly post a crucifix above the doorway to indicate that the residence belongs first to Christ, and his sacrifice is accepted by those who live within. It is also a reminder that Jesus is welcome in the home. The presence of the cross in the room is a powerful reminder of the faith and is a focal point during private prayer.

Is Halloween a Catholic celebration?

Halloween is celebrated on the eve of the Catholic feast of All Saints Day on the 1st November. The 2nd November is the feast of All Souls’ Day, also known as the feast of the deceased. Throughout November, it is customary for persons to visit their relatives' graves more frequently. Parishes also hold masses at cemeteries more often. Decades ago, children used to go round houses collecting fruit and sweets on behalf of their dead. These customs have been Westernised and changed into a cult of death, which is a distortion of the celebration of the life of the deceased. The tradition of the collection of food has also been distorted into the trick or treating custom. In Malta, especially in the central and northern parts, many have adopted the secular feast of Halloween, and many children visit different houses asking for sweets or playing tricks. Such people consider the fun aspect of the occasion and do not normally do so in defiance of their Catholic religion.

Are Father’s and Mother’s day Catholic celebrations?

No, Father's Day and Mother's Day are not particularly Catholic celebrations. They are secular Westernised celebrations. However, Catholics do emphasise the need to respect and honour one's parents. The fourth commandment taught by the Catholic Church is "Honour thy father and mother". So, these celebrations might be mentioned also within churches.

Is Carnival a Catholic celebration?

Carnival is the season that occurs before the Catholic liturgical season of Lent. Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including elaborate costumes and masks. Participants often indulge in the consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that they will deprive themselves of during the upcoming Lent. Nowadays few celebrate Carnival out of this religious standpoint, and it has become another secular festival.

What is a Catholic parish?

In the Catholic Church, a parish is a stable community of the faithful, usually considered within a geographical territory. The parish's pastoral care is entrusted to a parish priest under the authority of the diocesan bishop. If you live within the territory of a Catholic parish, you might expect to receive news from the parish, and, once a year, the parish priest might visit all the houses within the parish territory to offer to bless the house and the persons living there.

What is the importance of the Rosary for Christians?

This is a prayer to the Mother of God, Mary. The prayer contemplates scenes from the life of Christ whilst reciting  5 decades of the prayer 'Hail Mary' each time, followed by the Lord's Prayer and 'Glory Be'. The prayer ends with a litany of praise to Mary, the Mother of God, praising her under different titles.  Catholics tend to recite the rosary often and on different occasions. Mary is not a goddess but the Mother of God, so the prayer is to God through her intercession.

Why do Catholics pray with beads?

Catholics recite the rosary using rosary beads. This is a prayer to the Mother of God, Mary.  The prayer contemplates scenes from the life of Christ whilst reciting 5 decades of the prayer 'Hail Mary' each time followed by the Lord's Prayer and 'Glory Be'. The rosary beads are used as a help to keep count of the number of times the Hail Mary is recited. The prayer ends with a litany of praise to Mary, the Mother of God, praising her under different titles.  Catholics tend to recite the rosary often and on different occasions.

Is Mary, mother of Jesus, a goddess in Catholicism?

No, Mary is not a goddess in Catholicism, but is revered since she was the Mother of Jesus Christ - God made man, thus Mary is the mother of God. She is believed to have been born and to have lived without sin. Mary was given by Jesus to humanity as the Mother of the Church and believers too. Thus, many Catholics have strong faith in Mary as their own spiritual mother and pray to her for protection and for her intercession with God. Catholics also believe that the Holy Virgin Mary has appeared in various places throughout the world, and many miracles have been obtained through her intercession.

What is the role of Mary, Mother of Jesus?

Mary is revered as the mother of God. She is considered to have been born and to have lived without sin. Mary was given by Jesus to humanity as the Mother of the Church and of all believers too. Thus, many Catholics have strong faith in Mary as their own spiritual mother, and pray to her for protection and for her intercession with God. Catholics also believe that there have been several Marian apparitions in various places throughout the world and many miracles have been obtained with her intercession.

What is the position of Catholicism on sterilisation i.e. tubal ligation, hysterectomy or vasectomy?

The Catholic Church makes a distinction between direct sterilisation and its converse. Direct sterilisation means that the purpose of the procedure is simply to destroy the normal functioning of a healthy organ so as to prevent the future conception of children. Such direct sterilisation is considered morally wrong.  On the other hand, indirect sterilisation is morally permissible.  Here, surgery, or drug or radiation therapy is not intended to destroy the functioning of a healthy organ or to prevent the conception of children.  Rather, the direct intention is to remove or combat a diseased or malfunctioning organ.  Unfortunately, surgery or therapy may “indirectly” result in the person being sterilised.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Which gifts should I avoid giving an Orthodox Christian?

If you want to give a gift to an Orthodox Christian friend you can buy anything you want. There are no restrictions with regard to foods, fruits, flowers or alcoholic drinks and beverages. If you would like to buy them a traditional gift you can give an Orthodox Religious Icon of a Saint, an icon of the Mother of God or a Jesus Christ icon. During the fasting period, you should avoid giving food items as gifts.

Do Orthodox Christians have a birth ceremony?

Orthodox Christians call a priest when a baby is born. The priest goes to the home or hospital to perform special prayers for the mother and the new-born. On the fortieth day after birth, the mother and baby are called to the church for a prayer service, called churching, that brings the family together and introduces the child into the community of the Orthodox Christian faith. This practice follows what must have occurred when Jesus was born, because, according to the ancient Jewish Rite, the mother and the child did not go outside the house during the first forty days after birth. This service for the new-born child lasts around ten minutes and is normally planned to be held either exactly forty days after the birth or on the first Sunday following the fortieth day.

What is the Mystery (Sacrament) of Baptism in the Orthodox Church?

Holy Baptism in the Orthodox Christian Church is the first of seven sacraments. Through Baptism, the individual joins the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, and opens the door to all the other sacraments. In Eastern orthodox churches, Baptism is normally immediately followed by the sacrament of Chrismation (also called Confirmation) by which the Holy Spirit descends on the individual through anointing with blessed oil. Baptism can be bestowed on an individual at any age. The word 'baptism' means 'immersion into water'. In the Orthodox Christian ritual, the person being baptised is immersed three times in blessed water. Being immersed three times into the water symbolises Christ's the three days that Christ was in the grave and His resurrection. Thus the person who is baptised dies with Christ and is re-born as a member of the Body of Christ.

What is the ritual of the Mystery (Sacrament) of Baptism Ceremony?

In the early Church , people were baptized, usually in groups, as adults. Child baptism became the norm In the sixth (6th) century. The ritual of Holy Baptism, as it is celebrated today in Christian Orthodox Churches, is split into three components . A) The prayers before the Baptism, B) The main Baptism ceremony, C) the prayers after Baptism. When, as is usual, the person to be baptised is a baby, the god parents answer questions on behalf of the child to renounce the devil and to request admission as a member of the Church. The baptism ceremony includes immersion in blessed water three times.

If invited to dinner/lunch/feast offered by Christian orthodox friends, how should the male dress?

There isn't a specific dress code among Orthodox Christians. You can wear anything considered suitable for such an occasion by society in general.

If invited to dinner/lunch/feast offered by Christian orthodox friends, how should the female dress?

There isn't a specific dress code among Orthodox Christians. You can wear anything considered suitable for such an occasion by society in general.

In Orthodox Christianity, is a prayer said before eating?

In Orthodox Christianity there are short prayers (grace) which are said before and after meals. The most common grace prayers before a meal are:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ our God, bless the food, drink, and fellowship of Thy servants, for Thou art holy always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

And the most common prayers after a meal are:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Blessed is God, Who has fed and nourished us with His bountiful gifts by His grace and compassion always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

How is an Orthodox Christian priest addressed?

You should use the title “Father” when you speak to deacons or priests of the Orthodox Church. A Bishop is addressed as “Your Grace”.

If invited to a dinner/lunch/feast offered by an Orthodox Christian, should I take a gift?

Invitees at a dinner/lunch/feast offered by an Orthodox Christian are expected to bring a gift with them.

Is there a special greeting that should be used when meeting an Orthodox Christian?

Orthodox Christians believe that all interactions with other people should be performed with kindness and politeness. There are no special greetings that are used. You can greet Orthodox Christians in the same way as any other person as customary in our society, irrespective of whether one is male or female.

Is there any period during the year when Orthodox Christians fast?

In Orthodox Christianity, there are four main periods of fasting: a) The Great Lent, which is six weeks. It starts on Ash Monday and finishes on Easter Day. b) The Nativity Fast which lasts forty days, from the 15th of November until the 24th of December, Christmas eve. c) The Fast of the Apostles, which begins on the Monday after All Saints and lasts until the feast of St Peter and Paul (29th of June). d) The Dormition Fast, which lasts for two weeks. It begins on the 1st of August and lasts until the 15th of August (on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos). Also, there are some fasting days. These days are a) The Eve of Theophany (on the 5th of January), b) The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (on the 29th of August), c) The Elevation of the Holy Cross (on the 14th of September), d) every Wednesday (except Fast Free Weeks) in memory of the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot, e) Every Friday (except  Fast Free Weeks) in memory of Christ’s Crucifixion. Orthodox Christians do not fast on and after certain feasts. During the days of fasting, the most stringent observance would be a twenty-four hour period without consuming meat, eggs, cheese, and even fish or alcohol. In less strict observance the fast can last until 3 pm during Wednesdays and Fridays or fasting only from meat and alcohol.

If invited to a Orthodox Christian wedding, what attire is appropriate?

The Orthodox Christian marriage ceremony is lovely and distinctive and relatively formal. Normally the invitation indicates the suggested dress code, most often lounge suit for men, formal gown for ladies. Ladies should take care that if they wear a sleeveless gown with too much cleavage, they should put on a shawl if they attend the wedding ceremony at the church.

If invited to a Orthodox Christian wedding which gift is customarily expected?

It is customary for guests to an Orthodox wedding to give a wedding gift to the bride and groom. However, there are no gifts that are particularly more traditional than others. Monetary gifts are also very commonly given. You can give a cheque or cash with a wedding. If you are attending a traditional Greek Orthodox Christian wedding, you will notice that guests pin money on the bride and the groom during the reception.

Where is an Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony held?

The ceremony has two parts. The ceremony commences at the church entrance and ends at the altar. The first part is the betrothal which includes the blessing of the rings and the reciting of the marriage vows. The second part culminates with the crowning when the priest places a crown of flowers over the bride's and groom's heads. Traditional music is used throughout the ceremony.

Who are the main celebrants at an Orthodox Christian wedding?

The main celebrant of an Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony is the priest of the Church. Also, the koumbaros (the best man) plays a significant role during the wedding ceremony.

Is there a reception or dinner after an Orthodox Christian wedding?

There is always a reception after an Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony. The reception can take place anywhere the new married couple desires. Wedding receptions are a lively affair with music, dancing and plenty of food and drink. There are wedding customs and traditions that depend on the particular couple's community.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at an Orthodox Christian wedding?

There are many traditional greetings for the family at an Orthodox Christian wedding, but they depend on the geographical area. There are different traditional greeting in Greece, Russia, and Serbia. At a Greek Orthodox wedding, for example, the newly married couple is greeted with “May you live long”, the family of the bride and the groom with “May they live long for you”, the best man (koumbaros) with “May you always be worthy”, to any unmarried member of the family with “Also looking forward to yours”. In a Russian Orthodox wedding, one can use such greetings as “Wishing both of you all the happiness in the world”, “Congratulations on tying the knot!”, “Congratulations to the bride and groom”, and “Be happy, stay together”, “May God bless the two of you on your journey”, “May you always walk together in happy ways of love, while trusting in the grace of God to lead you from above”, or “May God bless and carry you through a lifetime of blessings and happiness”.

How long does an Orthodox Christian funeral take?

A typical Orthodox Christian funeral lasts between forty-five minutes and an hour.

Where does an Orthodox Christian funeral take place?

The Orthodox Christian funeral ceremony is held in the Church. to where the deceased is brought in a casket after the body has been cleaned and clothed according to the Christian orthodox tradition. During the period, which could be one to three days, before the body is taken to church, there is the wake at the deceased family's house. During the wake, family and friends read the Psalter (Book of Psalms) aloud. Traditionally the body is carried processionally to the church, with the priest repeatedly chanting the Trisagion (three invocations: "Holy God, Holy One, Holy Immortal have mercy on us") at the front. When the body arrives at the Church, the family members open the casket which stays open during the funeral ceremony. A kolivian bowl (a boiled wheat dish with honey) with a light candle on top, is placed next to the head of a dead person symbolizing the cyclical nature of life and the heavenly sweetness. A small icon of the Christ or a cross is placed in the deceased’s hand inside the casket. Lit candles are spread throughout the church. After the service, mourners are invited to approach the casket to bid farewell to the deceased and may kiss the icon in the casket. Then the casket is closed and transported to the cemetery. A short burial service is usually performed by the priest reciting the Trisagion again.

How do you greet an Orthodox Christian upon hearing of the death of a family member?

When one dies, the deceased's friends may call or visit the family at the wake before the funeral ceremony to offer one's condolences. You can greet the family members with the phrases “May his (or her) memory be eternal” or "Memory eternal".

When does the Orthodox Christian funeral normally take place?

The Orthodox Christian funeral ceremony is held in the Church, normally between one and three days following the death. During the period, which could be one to three days, before the body is taken to church, there is the wake at the deceased family's house.

What is the appropriate attire at an Orthodox Christian funeral?

Traditionally, black or dark, modest formal clothing is worn at orthodox funerals. The family members always wear black during the funeral services. You should also choose clothes in dark colours to show your respect to the family of the deceased.

Is it appropriate to send flowers to an Orthodox Christian funeral ?

Sending flowers to a funeral is a way of showing respect for the person who has passed away, particularly if one cannot attend the funeral ceremony. Flowers are an appropriate token of respect to the family in the Orthodox Christian tradition and can be sent to the funeral home or church before the funeral. In many Orthodox Christian funerals, there is the tradition to place flowers inside the deceased’s casket, but other flowers can also be sent as a sign of sympathy. White flowers are regarded the most suitable for sending to a funeral in the orthodox tradition.

Who presides the Orthodox Christian funeral service?

The Orthodox Christian Priest presides over the funeral services.

Will there be an open casket at the Orthodox Christian funeral?

The casket is always open during the Orthodox Christian funeral services in the church. According to tradition, the casket will face east with feet toward the altar and is always made of dark wood. If the deceased is a child, the casket is always white, representing innocence. A kolivian bowl (a boiled wheat dish with honey) with a lit candle on top is often placed next to the head of a dead person, symbolising the cyclical nature of life and the heavenly sweetness.

Can I attend the Orthodox Christian burial ceremony?

You can attend the burial ceremony after the Orthodox Christian funeral ceremony. The priest and mourners gather at the cemetery after the funeral services. Burial is accompanied by chanting of the Trisagion, (three invocations: "Holy God, Holy One, Holy Immortal have mercy on us"). The priest gives final blessings on the casket after the hymns. Mourners can remain during the casket’s lowering in the grave. They often throw flowers and soil in the tomb .

Should I attend the Orthodox Christian burial ceremony?

You can attend the burial ceremony after the Orthodox Christian funeral ceremony. The priest and mourners gather at the cemetery after the funeral services. Burial is accompanied by chanting of the Trisagion, (three invocations: "Holy God, Holy One, Holy Immortal have mercy on us"). The priest gives final blessings on the casket after the hymns. Mourners can remain during the casket’s lowering in the grave. They often throw flowers and soil in the tomb .

Is cremation allowed in Orthodox Christianity?

Cremation is forbidden in Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox Church does not accept or acknowledge it as a means of disposal for the dead Christian Orthodox. Cremation, by the purposeful destruction of the body, is considered as a denial of the belief that the body is a temple of God. Orthodox Christians believe that their body is a gift from God, and that it should always be treated with dignity and respect.

Do Orthodox Christians cremate their dead?

Cremation is forbidden in Orthodox Christianity and the Orthodox Church does not accept or acknowledge cremation as a means of disposal for the dead Christian Orthodox. Cremation, by the purposeful destruction of the body, is considered as a denial of the belief that the body is a temple of God. Orthodox Christians believe that their body is a gift from God. and that it should always be treated with dignity and respect.

In Orthodox Christianity, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

The burial is followed by an official mourning period of forty days for the immediate family. It is not advisable to take flowers or sweets to the family during this period. Usually, the bereaved does not return to work before a week from the funeral. During the forty days of mourning, the widow or widower and the immediate family members wear black as a sign of mourning. Widowers and widows often wear black for one year, or even for two years, if they belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.

In Orthodox Christianity, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to normal social life?

The burial is follows by an official mourning period of forty days for the immediate family. During these forty (40) days mourners avoid any social event and the immediate family members wear black as a sign of mourning. Widowers and widows often wear black for one year, or even for two years, if they belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.

Do Orthodox Christians hold memorial services after the death of a loved one? Do they commemorate death anniversaries?

The priest and family members visit the grave on the third day after the relative’s passing. Orthodox Christians believe that the soul remains with the body for three days after the death of a person. Next to the grave, the priest blesses and scatters in the wind a plate of boiled wheat called koliva. The plate on the tombstone is then ritually broken, symbolising the release of the soul from the body. After nine days, there is also a simple memorial service. Another memorial service is held at the cemetery on the last Sunday of the forty-day mourning period, marking the soul’s ascent to heaven. Friends and family gather for coffee, brandy, and cakes together with koliva mixed with parsley, nuts, pomegranate seeds, and sugar after this service. Each koliva dish ingredient has a symbolic meaning. Memorial services are held again after one, three and seven years. In order to celebrate certain milestones or when desired, the family may hold a Trisagion Service (three invocations: "Holy God, Holy One, Holy Immortal have mercy on us") beside the grave.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on abortion?

The Orthodox Christian Church is against abortion because according to orthodox faith, life begins at conception, Abortion is considered as ending the life of a human being.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on euthanasia?

Orthodox Christian morality does not accept euthanasia. It is considered as murder if it is carried out without the patient's understanding and approval, and suicide if the patient requests it.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianism on blood transfusion?

Blood transfusion is allowed in Orthodox Christianity. There are no religious objections against it as it is considered in the same way as any other life-sustaining therapy.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on IVF?

In Vitrio Fertilisation (IVF) raises many ethical and moral issues for Orthodox Christians, as it does in many other religions. However, the general principles that are considered before a Christian Orthodox couple reaches a decision guided by their spiritual director, are “Married couples may use medical means to enhance conception of their common children, but the use of semen or ova other than that of the married couple who both take responsibility for their offspring is forbidden.” (1992 OCA Synod of Bishops’ Affirmations, “On Marriage, Family, Sexuality and the Sanctity of Life”—The Procreation of Children), and no zygote or embryo can be wilfully destroyed. Furthermore the IVF procedure raises questions that may, or do, go against tenets of Orthodox Christian faith. Such issues include that IVF excludes the conjugal act and should therefore not be considered as normal practice; in IVF generally involves fertilising a number of eggs and choosing the most viable embryos and discarding the rest is fraught with moral dangers - destroying unused embryos is strictly prohibited; the freezing of unutilised embryos may also be problematic since the frozen embryos are in danger of being destroyed.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on surrοgacy?

Surrogacy, whether it using or being a surrogate mother, is forbidden by Orthodox Christian churches, as is also the donation or selling of ova and sperm.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity regarding adoption?

Whether or not parents can conceive their children, adoption for Orthodox Christians is an acceptable and honourable practice as it offers children without parents the possibility of a real family.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on fostering?

Orthodox Christians are open and positive towards fostering.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on divorce?

The Orthodox Church considers marriage as a sacrament that should be entered into with a sincere life-long full commitment. The Orthodox Church is opposed to divorce but recognises that due to the moral frailty of humans, there may be circumstances when out of concern for the spiritual well-being of the persons concerned, the Church may exceptionally suspend the non-dissolubility rule, and allow a couple to divorce. For the same reason a divorced person may be allowed to marry a second time and even a third time, but never a fourth time.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on polygamy?

Polygamy is not permitted in Orthodox Christianity. If someone who is married to more than one wife converts to Orthodox Christianity, he automatically will be considered the husband of the first wife only and could only share his life and his house with his first wife.

Are any prayers said in Orthodox Christianity for a dying person?

There are many different prayers in preparation for death in Orthodox Christianity. They vary from country to country. There are different prayers for death in Greece, in Russia, in Serbia, in Bulgarian, etc. One common prayer in preparation for death is the following: “O Lord, look upon me, Your creature, and the work of Your hands. Take away my fear, and send Your angel to comfort me with the strength of Your presence, even as You were comforted in Your agony. I commend everyone I love to Your providence and care, knowing that You will do more for them than I could ever desire. O Lord, You know my sins; have mercy on me, and in Your wealth of love and compassion for mankind, let heaven be opened to me. May I see the angels rejoicing over me, an unworthy sinner, as I am received into Your Kingdom. I am not worthy of Your love for me, but I trust that You will not abandon me to the eternal death of hell. By the prayers of Mary, Your Mother, and of all the saints, may I be counted among those who behold the light of Your face. May I offer You the praise and worship which are my eternal life and joy. For You are my life and my resurrection, and Your arms will receive me in love, O Jesus, and I glorify You, with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your most holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen”.

Is there any food or drink that is prohibited in Orthodox Christianity?

There are no dietary restrictions in Orthodox Christianity. It is only during the fasting period that Orthodox Christians are required to not consume meat, eggs, and dairy products and to avoid consuming alcohol.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation is not permitted and is condemned the practice in Orthodox Christianity.

Who should I call when a Orthodox Christian person dies?

When an Orthodox Christian dies, you should call his/her family members and a priest. A priest should be called when an Orthodox Christian approaches death, as the dying person may wish the priest to hear their final confession and administer Holy Communion. The priest will guide those present in prayers for the liberation of the soul after death.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on female contraception?

Orthodox Christianity continues to debate about the morality of contraception. The Orthodox Church strictly allows abstinence-only as a contraceptive technique. Sex is procreation’s only objective. Increasing agreement in orthodox theology confirms a more liberal line of thinking that children are not prohibited from the regulation of birth to conceive in the sacrament of marriage. Contraception can only be applied in weddings, but a child excluding mentality is inappropriate in theory. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially did not ban contraception. Any method of contraception that does not damage the product of conception can be used. The choice on the contraceptive technique shall be left in the hands of the couple. Permanent types of birth control may not be used unless there are amorally legitimate reasons, such as inevitable genetic disorder, circumstances that render it difficult to raise children or unacceptable risk of maternal morbidity or death. When talking about contraception, healthcare professionals should know that some orthodox Christians might have problems with intrauterine contraceptive devices, and they should discuss how these devices can prevent conception. An official Russian Orthodox Church document prevents contraception except where, it is explicitly approved by a priest, does not include the option of abortion of a conceived child, is for purposes of incapacity to raise a baby and is performed with the approval of the spouse. Furthermore, to increase fertility, the Russian Orthodox Church bans the use of contraceptives. Abortion and emergency contraception are forbidden within the Orthodox religion.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity regarding contraception?

Orthodox Christianity holds that, except in cases of infertility, having children is the natural outcome of the love that should exist between a married couple. Using contraceptives as a means to wilful prevent procreation is not a decision that can be taken lightly and should never be resorted for selfish reasons. It should only be resorted to when the birth of child would cause serious hardship or danger. The Orthodox Christian Church only "permits the use of certain contraceptive practices within marriage for the purpose of spacing children, enhancing the expression of marital love, and protecting health".

What is the conception of Orthodox Christianity of the after life?

The Orthodox Christian Church teaches that immediately after death the soul that is separated from the body is judged individually and lives in a middle state, either in Hell or with the saints in the heavenly paradise, until it is reunited with the body on Final Judgement Day. After the final judgement everyone will either enter body and soul into eternal life or be condemned to eternal punishment.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity regarding the Morning after Pill?

Orthodox Christian Church is against the Morning after Pill as it is considered as a type of drug-induced abortion.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on hysterectomy?

Orthodox Christian Church is against hysterectomy, except when it is needed for health or medical reasons. Any permanent sterilization is regarded as morally unacceptable. Orthodox literature considers sterilization as the moral equivalent to self-killing because life is rejected.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on vasectomy?

Orthodox Christian Church is against hysterectomy, except when it is needed for health or medical reasons. Any permanent sterilization is regarded as morally unacceptable. Orthodox literature considers sterilization as the moral equivalent to self-killing because life is rejected.

At what times do Orthodox Christians pray?

Daily prayer is very important for Orthodox Christians. Three (3) types of prayer are mentioned in the traditional catechism of the Orthodox Church, a) for asking, b) for thanking, and c) for praising. Most of the times, for Orthodox Christians, prayer is an open dialogue with God. The Christian Orthodox Church has formal prayers according to the hours of the day and Orthodox Christians are encouraged to pray in the morning, evening and at mealtimes, as well as to have a short prayer that can be repeated in all circumstances throughout the day.

What do Orthodox Christians need to pray?

Orthodox Christians need a quiet place to pray. They may also need Orthodox prayer beads or the Bible.

Are orthodox Christian women required to cover their head?

Some Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches require females to cover their heads but only while they are in a church. Otherwise, Orthodox Christian females are not expected to wear a veil to cover their heads.

Does Orthodox Christianity allow organ donation?

The Orthodox Church is not opposed to donation as long as the organs and tissues are used to improve human life.

Are there anything the medical staff should be aware of when an Orthodox Christian patient is dying?

When an orthodox Christian is at the point of death, his closest relatives should be informed. Moreover, a priest should be called as the dying person may wish the priest to hear their final confession and administer Holy Communion. The priest will guide those present in prayers for the liberation of the soul after death.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Orthodox Christian?

When an Orthodox Christian dies, the medical staff should treat the body with respect. The body should be covered with a white sheet the family members are to be informed if they are not present. Most of the times, the family members of a dying Orthodox Christian would want to be with him/her at the time of passing. The health staff can remove the personal items of the dead persons and give them to his/her family members. Then the family members would normally want to prepare the dead body it for the funeral.

Does Orthodox Christianity allow post-mortem?

Post mortem is permitted in Orthodox Christianity. However, a dead body should not be donated exclusively for medical or experimental purposes . The Orthodox Church expects the medical staff who carry out autopsies to give the utmost respect to the body because the human body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

By when should the body of a Orthodox Christian be buried?

The dead body should buried between one (1) to seven (7) days after the death. Christian orthodoxy forbids cremation and will withhold an Orthodox funeral if the body of the deceased is to be cremated.

In Orthodox Christianity, what happens on the birth of a child?

Orthodox Christians call a priest when a baby is born. The priest will come at the home or at the hospital to perform special prayers for the mother and the new-born. On the fortieth day after birth, the mother and the baby are called to the church for a prayer service, called churching, that brings the family together and introduces the child into the community of the Orthodox Christian faith. This practice follows what must have occurred when Jesus was born, because, according to the ancient Jewish Rite, the mother and the child did not go outside the house during the first forty days after birth. This service for the new-born child lasts around ten minutes and is normally planned to be held either exactly after forty days after birth or on the first Sunday following the fortieth day.

What does Orthodox Christianity require in the event of a miscarriage?

Orthodox Christianity teaches that life and the soul begin at the time of conception. In the event of a miscarriage, parents, and especially the mother of the child can experience a great deal of grief and sadness. The miscarried embryo or a stillborn baby should be treated with the same respect as any dead person and if feasible, the remains should be buried with great care and respect.

If an Orthodox Christian is praying what is not appropriate for me to do?

Orthodox Christians can pray everywhere, in their home, at place of work, at church, etc. When they are praying, you should not be disturb. You should be respectful, and you should wait until they finish their prayer.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity on pornography?

Orthodox Christianity teaches that sexual intimacy is a significant component of the marriage sacrament and does not consider sex as inherently profane. As with any other sacrament, that which is sacramental should not be used for vulgar purposes. The Orthodox Christian Church thus condemns the production and the use of pornography as a misuse and abuse of something good created by God.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity with regards to sex before marriage?

Orthodox Christianity teaches that sexual intimacy is a significant component of the marriage sacrament and does not consider sex as inherently profane. However, The Holy Scriptures, Church Fathers’ texts and present theologians are all in agreement that sexual relationships should only exist only within marriage. Premarital sex is considered sinful as it is not done in the context of a commitment to each other made in the Church before God.

What is the position of Orthodox Christianity with regards to sex outside marriage?

Orthodox Christianity teaches that sexual intimacy is a significant component of the marriage sacrament and does not consider sex as inherently profane. However, The Holy Scriptures, Church Fathers’ texts and present theologians are all in agreement that sexual relationships should only exist only within marriage. Sex outside marriage is considered sinful in Orthodox Christianity.

Are males and females equal in Orthodox Christianity?

Orthodox Christianity distinguishes between gender parity and equality, and this means that men and women have different roles in life that are of equal value. The Orthodox Church thus explains that while Orthodox women cannot become priests, or enter the altar and that they submit to their husbands in marriage does not signify discrimination but is a reflection of the fact that man and women have been assigned different roles. The Church points out that women have equally important and sacred roles such as motherhood that are not available to men. The Church teaches that man and women were both created in God's image and are both equally called to sainthood.

How do Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas?

Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is one of the most important religious feasts in Christian Churches and denominations, whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Many Orthodox Christians, particularly Russian celebrate Christmas on 7th January, rather then on 25th December like the rest of Christianity. This is because the Christian Orthodox Church traditionally follows the Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar in 45BC, rather than the Gregorian Calendar created by Pope Gregory in 1582. So, actually they do celebrate Christmas on the 25 th December on the Julian calendar which corresponds to the 7th January on the Gregorian calendar. In some orthodox countries, including Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria that have adopted the Gregorian Calendar, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December. Many Orthodox countries use the Gregorian calendar for the administrative purposes and social life but revert to the Julian calendar for religious festivities and celebrations. On January 6th, Christmas eve, orthodox Christians traditionally fast until the appearance of the first star in the sky symbolising the birth of Jesus Christ, after which they partake of the Christmas Eve dinner which does not include alcoholic drinks and consists in twelve traditional dishes symbolising the 12 apostles. Midnight Mass is celebrated with great pomp in Orthodox churches but those who do not go to midnight Mass go to the morning one. Orthodox Christians do no normally give Christmas presents; instead they give gifts on the feast of St Nicholas on 19th December or on New Year's eve.

When and how do Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter?

The Easter period is the most sacred and important time in the calendar of the Christian Orthodox Church. It is a moveable feast as it falls on a different date each year. Easter Sunday, similar to Christmas, is not held on the same day as celebrated by Catholics and Protestants. The Orthodox Church follows the early Christians that commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, or the first day of the Jewish Passover because, according to the Gospels, it was during the Passover period that Christ dies and rose from the dead. The Easter period in Orthodox Christianity begins with Lent which is a 40 day period of fasting starting seven weeks before Easter on "Clean Monday" and ends on "Lazarus Saturday". I first day after Lent is Palm Sunday and for the next week, known as Holy week, devout Orthodox Christians fast up to the morning of Easter Sunday. Throughout the week, starting from Palm Sunday, Church liturgy commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ with many beautiful and spiritual liturgical ceremonies at Church, which culminate with Paschal Divine Liturgy in the early hours of Easter Sunday. This is a most joyous event at which worshippers greet each other with "Christ is risen!" to which the traditional response is "He is risen indeed!" (Fairchild, Mary. "Orthodox Easter Dates." Learn Religions, May. 21, 2019, learnreligions.com/orthodox-easter-dates-700615.) Easter is a joyous day for Orthodox Christians and is normally also celebrated at home with a special Easter meal and the decorating and giving of eggs (real eggs) in bright colours.

Which are the Seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church?

The Seven Sacraments, traditionally also called Mysteries in the Orthodox Christian Church, are 1) Baptism, which admits Orthodox Christians to the Body of Christ (Orthodox Church). 2) Chrismation, which immediately follows the baptism is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the baptised person 3) Confession, by which the sins of the repentant Christian are forgiven 4) Holy Communion - Eucharist, also referred to as Divine Liturgy , considered the important Sacrament of Orthodox Christianity, when participants receive the true Body and Blood of Christ, 5) Holy Unction, the anointing of the sick 6) Holy Orders, by which selected men are ordained priests 7) Marriage.

What is the Divine Liturgy?

Christians of the Orthodox Church worship unites people with God and with the Church, the body of Christ. The Divine Liturgy, during which individuals receive bread and wine, is the principal service and has three the main three parts: a) The Proskomedia, in which takes part the “offering”. In this part, the priest prepares the bread and wine. b) The Liturgy of the Catechumens, which focuses on the word of God in the Bible. c) The Liturgy of the Faithful, which focus on the Eucharist.

What is the Pentecost?

Orthodox Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. It is celebrated the first Sunday following the fiftieth day after the Easter Sunday.. The name comes from the Greek language and means fiftieth. Pentecost is the commemoration of when the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit and is celebration of birthday of the Christian church and the beginning of its mission in the world. The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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Do Protestant women wear religious headgear?

Female members of the Protestant Churches do not wear headgear inside or outside the church.

What is Christmas and how do Protestant Christians celebrate it?

Protestants believe that the twelve (12) days of Christmas are a turning point in the Advent season. For several Protestants, the period between Christmas (25th of December) and the Epiphany (6th of January) is a fasting period. The day of Christmas Lutherans celebrate the birth of Christ. These twelve (12) days remind Protestants of the difficulties and hardships of religion, but also of the many reasons for celebrations, as the church's heroes and heroines are remembered.

How and where do Protestants pray?

Protestants of the various groups can pray everywhere, in their home, at church, etc. When they pray, you should not disturb them or speak to them. You should be respectful, and you should wait until they finish their prayer.

What do Protestants need to pray?

The majority of Protestants do not need something specific during their prayer. They need a quiet place, and some of them may carry the Bible or a copy of the Psalms, which they may incorporate into their prayer.

In the Protestant Church how do you address a priest?

There are some differences to the priest’s ministry through the Protestant faith groups. In Lutheran Protestantism you can address the Archbishops as Most Reverend or Archbishop, the Bishops as Reverend Bishop or Right Reverend, the Pastors as Reverend, or Pastor, the Deacons as Deacon, the Vicar as Vicar, and Seminarians as Reverend Seminarian. In Methodism Deacons, Ordained Elders and Licensed Priests are addressed as Reverend, Bishops as Bishop or Your Grace, and religious brothers and sisters as Brother (following his name), or Sister (following her name). When in doubt, simply ask politely.

Who do I call when a Protestant person dies?

The priest/pastor can coordinate the funeral with the deceased's family and plan the funeral service.

Are any prayers said in Protestantism to a dying person?

Every Protestant Church has a variety of different prayers, which can be said to a dying person. Some Methodist priests may choose the following prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, deliver your child  from all evil and set him/her free from every bond; that he/she may rest with all your saints in the joy of your eternal home, for ever and ever. Amen”. Several Lutheran priests say the Lord’s Prayer to a dying person. In the Baptist Church the dying person can say the following prayer from his/her heart: “Dear God, I know I am a sinner and I deserve to go to Hell. Please come into my heart, forgive me of all my sins, and give me that gift of eternal life. Today, the best I know how, I trust You alone as my Saviour. Amen”.

Is cremation permitted in Protestantism?

While most Protestant faith groups do not forbid cremation, burial remains the most popular technique of securing the deceased’s final rest location.

In the Protestant Church is there a prayer before eating?

In Protestant Christianity, there are short prayers (graces) said before and after meals. The most common graces before the meal are: “Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. Thy people bless, and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee”, “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly Grateful/Thankful, Amen”, and "Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen".

Is there any period during the year when Protestants fast?

The various groups of Protestants fast at different periods of the year. Most Methodists fast on the first Friday after New Year’s Day, Lady Day (also known as the feast of the Announciation), Midsummer Day, and after Michaelmas Day. Methodist priests usually fast on Wednesdays in memory of Christ’s betrayal and on Fridays in memory of His crucifixion and death. Good Friday is traditionally a fasting day for Methodists. During fasting days Methodists normally avoid eating meat.

Do Protestants have any dietary restrictions?

In the majority of Protestant denominations, there are no dietary restrictions concerning food or drink, though members of a Baptist Church, among others, may avoid consuming alcohol.

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What is the Christening in Anglicanism?

The Sacrament of Baptism is the religious ceremony that introduces the individual to Christianity in the Anglican tradition. If the child dies before baptism, a naming ceremony may be provided by a chaplain or priest of the Anglican Church.

How do I recognise an Anglican priest?

Anglican priests are often recognized by the violet shirt and cassock. In general, bishops also wear a pectoral cross and an Episcopal ring.

How do you address a priest in the Anglican Church?

The Anglican Communion, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, maintains the triple ministry of deacons, priests, and bishops.  Bishops are addressed as The “Right Reverend”, while senior bishops and archbishops are addressed as the “Most Reverend”.  Priests are addressed as "Reverend”.

Is there any period during the year when Anglicans fast?

In Anglican Christianity, there is one main period of fasting: a) The Great Lent, which lasts for forty (40) days. It starts on Ash Monday and finishes on Easter Day. Also, there are some fasting days. Some Anglicans also fast on a) The Ember Days in the Four Seasons, which are every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday in Lent, Pentecost, and Holy Cross Day, b) every Friday, except Christmas Day, the Epiphany, or any Friday which may intervene between these feasts.  Anglican Christians should always fast in ways which do not harm their health.

If invited to a Anglican wedding what attire is appropriate?

The Anglican Christian marriage is a relatively formal ceremony. You should wear something modest and respectful while inside the church.

How long does an Anglican funeral take?

An Anglican funeral ceremony usually takes about one (1) hour, and the standard procedure is to follow the funeral service according to the Book of Common Prayer or Common Worship, or Requiem Eucharist.

What is the appropriate attire at an Anglican funeral?

Anglican funeral attire usually consists of traditional formal clothing, usually black or dark, although in some instances, families may give different instructions.

Is it appropriate to send flowers in an Anglican funeral?

You can send flowers for an Anglican funeral. Alternatively, you can bring them with you to the place where the funeral is taking place and put them on the casket.

Who presides over the Anglican funeral service?

The priest/vicar directs the service by reading the scripture, while hymns and praises are sung/ read out by family members or friends.

Will there be an open casket at the Anglican funeral?

Traditional Anglican funerals usually make use of closed caskets.

Is cremation allowed in the Anglican Church?

Cremation is permitted in the Anglican faith group.

What is the position of Anglicanism regarding euthanasia?

The Anglican Church is opposed to euthanasia. Anglicans believe it is a sin to assist someone to die and make sick or dying persons vulnerable. Euthanasia violates the role of palliative care. Palliative care is connected with pain relief.

What is the position of Anglicanism regarding IVF?

The Anglican Church does not give the embryo a moral status and thinks that only a person with a well-established character can be granted a moral status. It, therefore, enables aided reproductive methods, such as IVF, and enables physicians to use sperm collected after masturbation.

What is the position of Anglicanism regarding divorce?

Whereas the Anglican Church does not promote divorce, it has the framework to assist and sympathize with those in such a predicament. The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. However, it also acknowledges that some marriages unfortunately fail, and seeks to be accessible to all concerned if this should occur. The Church recognizes that, in special circumstances, a divorced individual may marry in church again during a former spouse’s lifetime.

What is the position of Anglicanism regarding contraception?

The Anglican Church accepts the use of contraception. In 1930, the Lambeth Conference accepted the possibility of ethical reasons for not having children. Should this be the case, it is, nonetheless, deemed appropriate for the individuals concerned to continue to have sex. The Conference decided that certain techniques could be used to prevent pregnancy, subject to Anglican Christian values.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware of when an Anglican patient is dying?

The priest or appointed religious contact provided by the individual should be called in the case of impending death to provide the individual and family with religious and spiritual assistance. Hospital patients can find specific comfort from Holy Communion, even if they are essentially non-practising Anglicans.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Anglican?

The patient or his/her family members may ask for a priest as death approaches. The priest will listen and speak, pray as necessary and anoint with oil if required.  A cross may be worn by some deceased Anglicans. This should be handled respectfully and not be removed without the family’s approval.

What does Anglicans require in the event of a miscarriage?

There are no particular religious demands for fetal, infant, and baby deaths. In these sensitive situations, the priest can offer special ceremonies based on the needs and wishes of the parents. The priest may conduct a Blessing or Naming Ceremony in the situation of a stillbirth. In case of miscarriage, these rituals can also be carried out according to the parents’ requests. The nature of the service is based on the parents’ desires and needs. The priest tends to work in the preparing of funeral services with the bereaved family. In these matters, the priest will be a person of contact and a resource. Parents will appreciate the understanding and respect that is being given to the remains.

What is the position of Anglicanism with regard to pornography?

In 1998 the Resolution of the Lambeth Conference stated that certain expressions of sexuality are contradictory and are inherently sinful. These unacceptable expressions included promiscuity, prostitution, incest, pornography, paedophilia, violent sexual behaviour, sadomasochism, adultery, violence towards women, and the circumcision of women. These sexual expressions are considered and remain sinful in all contexts from the Christian point of view.

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Which gifts should I avoid giving an Evangelical?

There re no specific gifts that should be avoided. Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context.

Do Evangelicals have a birth ceremony?

The birth ceremony depends the Evangelical group to which the parents of the new baby belong. Evangelicals do not celebrate infant baptism

What is the Baptism in Evangelism?

Evangelicals get baptised in adulthood. The practice may differ because of the movement’s trans-denominational nature. The majority of Evangelical Christians are unlikely to baptise babies, even if a newborn's life is in danger. There is no specific age at which a person should be baptised but one many be baptised when after the pastor is satisfied that the person seeking baptism understands fully the meaning of Baptism and truly desires it. Normally the baptism of adults in the New Evangelical churches is by bodily immersion.

If invited to dinner/lunch/feast by someone of the Evangelical faith how should one dress?

What one wears depends on the occasion, what is customary and according to the dress code indicated on the invitation. If the occasion involves a church ceremony, lady guests should not wear a dress with a hemline above the knee and if wearing a sleeveless dress with a low neckline they should wear a shawl to cover the arms and cleavage.

Do Evangelicals recite Grace before eating?

The majority of Evangelicals say a brief pray before their meals. The type and content of their prayer depends on their faith group.

How should one address an Evangelical priest?

An ordained person may be referred to as minister, pastor, deacon, elder or bishop. There may be differences depending on the denomination of the particular church. With respect to ecclesiastical address, most are called "Reverend", or "Pastor" as a title. When in doubt, ask politely and respectfully.

if invited to dinner/lunch/feast by someone of the Evangelical faith, should I take a gift?

There is nothing particular to Evangelists with regard to gift giving or receiving. Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context.

How should a female greet an Evangelical Christian male?

There are no restrictions with regard to gender in the way Evangelical Christians greet each other. You can greet an Evangelical Christian, whether male or female, as is customary in your culture.

How should a female greet an Evangelical Christian female?

There are no restrictions with regard to gender in the way Evangelical Christians greet each other. You can greet an Evangelical Christian, whether male or female, as is customary in your culture.

How should a male greet an Evangelical Christian female?

There are no restrictions with regard to gender in the way Evangelical Christians greet each other. You can greet an Evangelical Christian, whether male or female, as is customary in your culture.

How should a male greet an Evangelical Christian male?

There are no restrictions with regard to gender in the way Evangelical Christians greet each other. You can greet an Evangelical Christian, whether male or female, as is customary in your culture.

Is there any period during the year when Evangelicals fast?

The majority of Evangelicals fast. Their fasting periods are different and depend on the denomination of the Church to which they belong

If invited to a Evangelical wedding what attire is appropriate?

The wedding ceremony for an Evangelical Christian couple can be different, depending on which Church denomination the couple belong to. However the ceremony is always held in a church, is conducted by an ordained Minister and the couple always recognise that the wedding ceremony is a sacred worship service of God in front of whom they pronounce their wedding vows. For the wedding ceremony itself, one should dress respectful of the fact that the ceremony is held in church and therefore, ladies in particular should use a shawl to cover arms and cleavage is necessary. What one wears at the wedding reception depends on the dress code suggested in the invitation.

If invited to a Evangelical wedding which gift is customarily expected?

There is nothing particular to Evangelists with regard to gift giving or receiving. Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context.

Is there a reception or dinner after an Evangelical wedding?

Evangelical couples, like any other couple, normally invite guests to their wedding to a reception or lunch/dinner after the wedding ceremony as customary in their cultural context.

How long does an Evangelical funeral take?

An Evangelical funeral is a solemn and dignified occasion but also a joyful occasion as the congregation believe that the death of an good Evangelical is the beginning of a new life in Heaven. The length of the service which normally includes appropriate readings from the Scriptures, singing of Hymns a sermon by the Pastor and possibly eulogies and remembrances, varies depending on the customs of the particular church community and the arrangements made by the family with the Pastor.

Where does an Evangelical funeral take place?

Not every Evangelical congregation has its church, but if the Church has its building, the funeral services normally take place there. If the deceased belonged to a church that did not have its building but, for example, hired a local place for its Sunday services, funeral services are likely to be held in another local protestant church building.

How does one show support to the family upon learning of the death of a member of an Eveangelical Christian family?

On learning of the death of an Evangelical Christian, the deceased friends often visit the family before the funeral, or right after interment, to offer their condolences and remember the life of the deceased.

When does the Evangelical funeral normally take place?

Evangelical funerals and burial/cremation services are usually performed within five (5) days of death to provide the possibility for families and visitors to attend the funeral.

What is the appropriate attire at an Evangelical funeral?

Black clothes are the most common at Evangelical funerals but other appropriate colours such as a combination of black and white, may also be worn.

Is it appropriate to send flowers to an Evangelical funeral?

It is customary for flowers to be sent to an Evangelical funeral service. In several Evangelical Churches the funeral flowers on the alter or the flower arrangements stay at the Churches after the funeral service, for the Sunday Worship. They remind the church members of the passing of one of their members to Christ. The congregation also prays for the deceased and his/her family during the Sunday Worship.

Who presides the Evangelical funeral service?

In the majority of the Evangelical Churches, the funeral and burial services are conducted by the Pastor.

Will there be an open casket at the Evangelical funeral?

It is not usual that there be an open casket at an Evangelical funeral service. It is possible that the casket will be open at during the visitation period before the funeral.

Can friends of the family attend the Evangelical funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside?

Friends of the deceased may also join the family for Evangelical burial ceremony at the graveyard. The burials ceremony is always brief. At the graveyard, the priest/pastor usually stands at the top of the tomb, and recites the final service as the guests gather around the grave.

Is cremation allowed by Evangelical Church? Is it obligatory?

It is permitted for Evangelical Christians to cremate their dead loved ones, but not obligatory. The remains of the deceased may be buried, placed in a mausoleum or scattered.

In Evangelicalism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

The majority of Evangelical Christians do not have a prescribed period of time for mourning. Normally, depending on the closeness of the relationship with the deceased, they return to their normal duties soon after burial.

In Evangelicalism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return social schedule?

Like for any others, the loss of a family member or a friend is a distinctive and personal experience, based on several factors, including the depth of the mutual relationship and one’s abilities in dealing with grief. The length of time required to proceed through the stages of grief to the point of acceptance will vary from one individual to another and depends on one's personality as also on one's faith.

Are there rituals for observing the anniversary of the death of an Evangelical Christian?

There are no set rituals for commemorating a death anniversary.

What is the position of Evangelicals on abortion?

The majority of Evangelical churches hold the belief that human life should be protected from conception and promote pro-life attitude.

What is the position of Evangelicalism on euthanasia?

The majority of Evangelical Churches are opposed euthanasia.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding blood transfusion?

In Evangelical Churches, there are no religious objections to blood transfusion.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding IVF?

The majority of Evangelical Churches have grave reservations on the use of In Vitrio Fertilization (IVF), with most condemning the procedure outright on the grounds that the process includes the destruction of embryos. Some Evangelical theologians accept the use of IVF as long as no embryos are destroyed in the process. Both positions are consonant with the belief that human life begins at conception.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding surrοgate motherhood?

Evangelical Churches are generally against Surrogacy which includes IVF which most condemn because the procedure normally involves the destruction of embryos and additionally involves a third party besides the couple.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding adoption?

The Evangelical Churches have no objection and generally approve of adoption.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding fostering?

Evangelical Churches generally accept fostering and encourage their members to become foster parents and help children to find a warm and safe family environment.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding divorce?

Evangelicals generally discourage divorce but positions vary between the different churches, with some being more rigid than others. Generally they all agree that divorce is permitted in case of adultery and that divorce for no reason is not acceptable. The more liberal views accept divorce also for many other reasons besides adultery.

What is the position of Evangelicalism regarding polygamy?

Most Evangelical Churches are against polygamy but in some contexts, especially in Africa, polygamy is tolerated. A very small number of Christian Evangelicals actually promote polygamy, pointing out that the Bible.

Are any prayers said in Evangelicalism for a dying person?

Many Evangelical Churches have forms of ministering to the sick. They usually just involve prayer and Scripture readings.

Which food is allowed in Evangelicalism?

The majority of Evangelical groups have no dietary restrictions.

Are Evangelicals allowed to drink alcoholic drinks?

The drinking of alcoholic drinks is not prohibited by most Evangelical Churches as long as one drinks in moderation.

What is the position of Evangelicalism on female genital mutilation?

All Evangelical Churches condemn the practice of female genital mutilation.

Who do I call when a Evangelical person is at the point of death or dies?

When a member of an Evangelical Church is at the point of death or dies, health care staff should contact the family immediately. The family may then wish to call a Minister of their church.

What is the position of Evangelical Churches on contraception?

The doctrine of Protestantism from the reformation to about 1930 strongly condemned contraception. In modern times the views of the different Evangelical Churches on contraception vary widely, ranging from absolute condemnation by the conservative Churches to acceptance in special circumstances and to the view by the more liberal that the couple has the duty and the right to decide prayerfully and responsibly on matters of conception.

What is the conception of Evangelicals of the after life?

All Evangelical Churches believe in an afterlife, in the reward of Heaven for the righteous and punishment in Hell for the wicked. Most Churches do not believe in Purgatory, a place where soul is purified before proceeding to Heaven. They also believe in the resurrection of the body on Judgement Day.

What is the position of Evangelicals regarding the Morning after Pill?

Those Evangelical Churches that are against contraception also oppose the use of the Morning After Pill. Other Evangelical Churches would be against its use if its effect could be considered an abortifacient.

At what times do Evangelicals pray?At what times do Evangelicals pray?

The various Evangelical faith groups worship in various ways, but there are also some prevalent characteristics. The majority of Evangelicals pray both privately and publicly.

What do Evangelicals need to pray?

The majority of Evangelicals do not need something specific during their prayer. They need a quiet place, and some of them may carry the Bible or a copy of one of the Gospels.

Do Evangelical women dress a headgear?

Women who belong to one of the Evangelical faith groups do not cover their head inside or outside the Church.

Does Evangelicalism allow organ donation?

In Evangelical Churches, there are no religious objections about organ donation.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware when a Evangelical patient is dying?

Rituals to prepare an individual for death differ depending on the Evangelical denomination they belong to. The appointed religious representative will assist if needed in the event of imminent death. Usually, Evangelical Christians don't pray for the dead. During this time prayer often centres around being thankful for the persons’ life and the family’s comfort. Some Evangelicals may wear a simple cross or have at hand a copy of the Bible.

How should medical staff treat a deceased Evangelical?

The corpse of a deceased Evangelical person should be treated with the same respect as any other deceased person. If the deceased is wearing a cross, inform the family members before removing it.

Do Evangelical Churches allow post-mortem?

Evangelical Churches have no objection to the performance of a postmortem examination.

By when should the body of a Evangelical be cremated/buried?

There is no prescribed time when to hold the funeral after the death of a member of an Evangelical Church. The burial/cremation services are usually performed within five (5) days of death to make it possible for families and friends to attend the funeral services.

In Evangelicalism what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

The birth ceremony depends on the Evangelical faith group to which the parents of the new baby belong.

What do Evangelical Churches require in the event of a miscarriage?

There are no specific religious rites to be performed in the event of a miscarriage. However, since most Evangelical Churches teach that human life begins at conception, the medical staff should ensure that the parents' wishes with regard to the disposal of the dead foetus are respected.

If an Evangelical is praying, what is not appropriate for me to do?

Evangelicals of the various groups can pray everywhere, in their home, at church, etc. When they pray, you should not disturb them or speak to them. You should be respectful, and you should wait until they finish their prayer.

What is the position of Evangelicalism with regards to pornography?

Most Evangelical Churches are against pornography which is regarded a sin against sexula purity.

What is the position of Evangelicals on sex before marriage?

Evangelical Churches teach that sex outside marriage is wrong.

What is the position of Evangelicalism with regards to sex outside marriage?

Evangelical Churches consider that if a person has sex with anyone who is not his/her spouse would be committed adultery. This is strongly condemned and is considered a valid reason for permitting divorce.

Are male and female equal in Evangelical Churches?

Most Evangelicals would say that Man and Women are equal but, traditionally, Evangelicals considered that Man and Women have different and distinct roles: Men are the breadwinners and Spiritual leaders while Women are the nurturers of their offspring. The Man is still generally considered the head of the household. The structure of Evangelical Churches is still patriarchal. However today these views are changing and some Evangelical Churches are allowing the ordination of women. Many Evangelical women are arguing for more equality between genders. The question of gender equality in the family and society is still the subject of discussion amongst many Evangelical circles.

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Which gifts should I avoid giving a Coptic Christian?

There are no specific gifts that should be avoided. Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context. Should one wish to give a gift related to the Coptic Faith, there are many Coptic icons that can be bought. The Coptic Church advocates complete abstinence from drinking alcohol because the possibility of abuse

Do Coptic Christians have a birth ceremony?

A Coptic Christian mother takes her baby to the church to be baptises forty days after birth, if the child is a boy, and eighty days after birth if the child is a girl. The Baptism ceremony is held in the Baptistery of the church and includes first the absolution and anointment of the mother who receives Holy Communion before her child is Baptised. The ceremony of Baptism of the child includes Special prayers renouncing Satan and the use of different oils for anointing the baby and the baptism of the child in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by immersion in Holy Water three times by which the child is baptised . The ceremony also includes the naming of the child.

What is the Baptism?

Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments and is the admission of the believer into the Church and gives the right to receiving the other Sacraments. Through Baptism, done by immersion in water three times, the newly baptised person is born again spiritually, after the first birth of its mother. Baptism is a redemptive Sacrament necessary for entering into the Kingdom of God.

If invited to a Coptic Christian dinner/lunch/feast, how should the male dress?

According to Coptic society, in church and secular life, clothing should be modest. What to wear depends on the occasion, what is customary and according to the dress code indicated on the invitation. It is important, however, that what you wear is modest.

If invited to a Coptic Christian dinner/lunch/feast, how should the female dress?

According to Coptic society, in church and secular life, clothing should be modest. What to wear depends on the occasion, what is customary and according to the dress code indicated on the invitation. It is important, however, that what you wear is modest. If the occasion involves a church ceremony, lady guests should wear clothes that cover the legs and arms and not wear clothes with a low-cut neckline, or use a shawl to cover the arms, if necessary.

In the Coptic Church, is there a prayer before eating?

Like most other Christian denominations Copts say grace before eating thanking God and asking for the blessing of the food and the people receiving it.

How do you address a Coptic priest?

A Coptic priest is addressed as "Father", a deacon as "Deacon", a bishop as "your Grace".

If invited to a Coptic Christian dinner/lunch/feast, should I take a gift?

Gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context. Should one wish to give a gift related to the Coptic Faith, there are many Coptic icons that can be bought and given as a gift. The Coptic Church prohibits spirits and alcohol abuse. Wine is allowed, but not in excess.

If I am a female, how do I greet a male Coptic Christian?

If you are a female and meet a male Copt for the first time, a light handshake is common, but you should extend your hand first. When meeting agroup of Copts, greet the elders first out of regard and respect. Between family members and relatives, kissing on the cheek is acceptable.

If I am a female, how do I greet a female Coptic Christian?

If you are a female and meet a female Copt for the first time, a light handshake with the right hand is common. When meeting agroup of Copts, greet the elders first out of regard and respect. Family members and friends, while shaking hands, tend to kiss on both cheeks.

If I am a male, how do I greet a female Coptic Christian?

If you are a male and meet a female Copt for the first time, a light handshake is common, but the female Copt should extend her hand first. If she does not offer to shake hands, the male should nod as a sign of acknowledgment. Between family members and relatives, kissing on cheek is acceptable.

If I am a male, how do I greet a male Coptic Christian?

If you are a male, meet a male Copt for the first time, a light handshake with the right hand is common . When meeting agroup of Copts, greet the elders first out of regard and respect. Family members and close friends can kiss on both cheeks or sometimes hug each other or give a back slap.

Is there any period during the year when Coptic Christians fast?

Fasting plays a key role in the Coptic Christian Church. Copts often fast between 180 and 210 days per year but will not make a show of it. It is considered a greater sin to advertise one's fasting than to not participate in the fast. There are a number of periods when Copts are expected to fast, including, amongst others, the fasts of the Great Lent, the Holy week, of the Apostles (beginning on the Monday after Pentecost), of the Dormition of the Mother of God (between 7th and 22nd August), and the Wednesdays and Fridays weekly fasts. The intensity of the fasts varies between each. In general, Coptic fasting means adhering to a vegan diet, thus abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and other animal products, although fish may be eaten in some of the fasting periods.

If invited to a Coptic Christian wedding what attire is appropriate?

What to wear depends what is customary and according to the dress code indicated on the invitation. It is important, however, that what you wear is modest. If the occasion involves a church ceremony, lady guests should wear clothes that cover the legs and arms and not wear clothes with a low-cut neckline, or use a shawl or wrap to cover the arms and cleavage, if the dress to be worn at the reception is short sleeved and with a low neckline.

If invited to a Coptic Christian wedding which gift is customarily expected?

There are no specific gifts that are more appropriate than others to give to a Coptic couple on the occasion of their wedding.

If invited to a Coptic Christian wedding where does the main ceremony take place?

The Coptic marriage ceremony, which involves interesting meaningful rituals, is held in a Coptic church and usually lasts about 45 minutesand it is deeply symbolic. A Coptic wedding ceremony includes the following stages. a) Matrimonial prayers and hymns, b) Readings from the Bible, c) Exchange of rings, d) Anointing bride and groom with Holy Oil, e) Blessing of the Crowns, f) Admonition of the Priest and g) end of service. The priest and the deacons bless and celebrate the marriage Sacrament with the crowns and ceremonial capes.

Who are the main celebrants at a Coptic Christian wedding?

The main celebrant of a Coptic Christian wedding ceremony is the priest of the Church. The Deacons also play a major part in the wedding ceremony.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Coptic Christian wedding?

There is always a reception after a Coptic Christian wedding ceremony.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at a Coptic Christian wedding?

Some well-known traditional greetings are: “May God bless and carry you through a lifetime of blessings and happiness”, “May God bless this wedding and your marriage”, “As you become one in Christ, we wish you more joy and blessings”, and “May God bless the two of you abundantly in love, joy, and happiness”.

How long does a Coptic Christian funeral take?

A typical Coptic Christian funeral service lasts around forty-five minutes.

Where does a Coptic Christian funeral take place?

The Coptic funeral service is held in a Coptic church.

How do you greet a Coptic Christian upon hearing of the death of a family member?

When meeting Copt family members of a person who has passed away, the usual phrases that are said are, “May his (or her) memory be eternal” or "Memory eternal".

When does the Coptic Christian funeral normally take place?

Traditionally, the Coptic funeral was held in the afternoon of the same day when death occurs, if the person dies in the morning and if local laws permit. Otherwise, the funeral takes place the next day. However, these guidelines have been relaxed and families are now allowed to have the funeral later. After the burial service, friends and family members go to the deceased’s home, and they break the fast observed since the death. Family, friends, and neighbours usually provide the food after the funeral, a custom that is particularly observed in rural regions.

What is the appropriate attire at a Coptic Christian funeral?

Traditional dark, formal clothing will be appropriate for Coptic funerals , unless you are informed otherwise by the bereaved. Arms and legs should be covered. The family members always wear black clothes during funeral services. You should also choose clothes in dark colours to show your respect to the deceased. Ladies should cover their head during the funeral service.

In an Coptic Christian funeral, is it appropriate to send flowers?

Sending flowers to a funeral is a way of showing respect for the person who has passed away, particularly if you cannot attend the funeral ceremony. Flower can be sent to the funeral home or the church before the funeral. Usually, close family members take care of big flower displays, with extended family and friends sending smaller flower displays such as flowers in a basket or cross-shaped. White flowers are regarded the most suitable for sending to a funeral, in the Coptic Christian tradition.

Who presides at the Coptic Christian funeral service?

A Coptic funeral service happens at church and is conducted by a priest or a number of priests.

Will there be an open casket at the Coptic Christian funeral?

The casket is closed during the Coptic Christian funeral services in the church. According to tradition, the casket will face east with feet toward the altar and the casket is always wooden. If the deceased is a child, the casket is always white. On top of the casket, there is normally a cross and a photo of the dead person, and sometimes flowers.

Should I attend the Coptic Christian funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside?

Anyone, whether family member or friend, can attend at the burial ceremony.

Can I attend the Coptic Christian funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside?

Anyone, whether family member or friend, can attend at the burial ceremony.

Do Copts cremate their dead?

The Coptic Church is against cremation, considering it as being against the teachings of Christianity.  Burying and not cremating is considered respectful and in line with the Holy Scripture.

Is cremation allowed in Coptic Christianity?

The Coptic Church is against cremation, considering as being against the teachings of Christianity since the very beginning. Cremation is disrespectful of the dead body; Burying and not cremating is considered respectful and in line with the Holy Scripture.

After how many days following the funeral of a close relative will a Copt mourner normally return to work?

Traditionally, the mourning period for close relatives was rather long and in the event of a death in the household, the close relatives would not return to work for forty days. In modern times, a Copt should not be expected to return to work before three days after the funeral.

In Coptic Christianity, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return social schedule?

The period of mourning is more cultural than religious. Copts holding to strong cultural traditions who experience the death of a close relative will probably wear black and refrain taking part in social festive occasions for a year after the funeral. Nowadays this period is normally much less and depends a lot on the locality where the family resides.

in Coptic Christianity, are there rituals for observing the anniversary of the death?

Popular traditional Coptic beliefs include a number of rituals that are observed after death. These include the belief that the souls stays in the house until the third day and so a priest performs the ceremony of release at about noon of the third day. Other brief ceremonies were held on the 7th, the 19th and the 40th day after death. However these practices have continued only in rural areas, if at all. The 40th day ceremony that used to be held at church in the afternoon was actually banned by patriarch Shenouda III.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding abortion?

The Coptic church teaches life begins at the moment of conception and that abortion is an interruption of human life and is therefore regarded as murder.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding euthanasia?

The Coptic Christian Church opposes euthanasia because God is the giver of life and all life belongs to God. The Coptic church equates active euthanasia with suicide which it considers a sin.

What is the Baptism?

Baptism is the first of the seven sacraments and is the admission of the believer into the Church and gives the right to receiving the other Sacraments. Through Baptism, done by immersion in water three times, the newly baptised person is born again spiritually, after the first birth of its mother. Baptism is a redemptive Sacrament necessary for entering into the Kingdom of God.

After how many days following the funeral of a close relative will a Copt mourner normally return to work?

Traditionally, the mourning period for close relatives was rather long and in the event of a death in the household, the close relatives would not return to work for forty days. In modern times, a Copt should not be expected to return to work before three days after the funeral.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding blood transfusion?

In the Coptic church, there are no religious objections to blood transfusion.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding IVF?

The Coptic Church does not object to the use of IVF for a married couple to have children, as long the egg and the sperm are taken from the married couple and the fertilised egg is transferred to the woman who gave the eggs for fertilisation. Fertilised eggs should not be destroyed. Artificial insemination by the husband's sperm is also accepted.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding surrοgate motherhood?

Surrogacy is not acceptable to the Coptic Church because it involves a third person in the equation.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding adoption?

The Coptic Church approves of Coptic married couples adopting children but does not approve of adoption by unmarried couples or single persons.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding fostering?

Coptic Christians are open and positive towards fostering.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding divorce?

Currently, Copts are allowed to divorce only if one of the partners has committed adultery. It may also be allowed if one of the partners converts to another religion.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding polygamy?

Polygamy is not permitted in the Coptic Church. Coptic marriages are strictly monogamous.

Are any prayers said in Coptic Christianity for a dying person?

When a Copt is nearing death, a priest is called to administer the last rites. Relatives may be present and join in the prayers.

Which food is allowed in Coptic Christianity?

There are no dietary restrictions imposed by the Coptic Church. During fast periods, they follow a vegan diet except during a few fasting periods, where fish is also eaten.

Are Copts allowed to drink wine and alcoholic beverages?

The Coptic Church frowns upon the consumption of alcoholic drinks and does not condone the consumption of alcohol. While having an occasional glass of wine is not considered a sin, this does not mean it is approved.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity on female genital mutilation?

The Church is against Female Genital Mutilation but this is still widely practised in Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as by some Egyptian Copt.

Who do I call when a Coptic Christian person dies?

When a Copt is on the point of death or actually dies, the family should be informed immediately, and a Coptic priest called to administer the appropriate religious rites.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding female contraception?

Female contraception is allowed within marriage as part of responsible family planning and as long as the method used does not cause the abortion of the foetus whose life begins the moment the sperm fertilises the ovum. Contraception outside marriage is not allowed as sex outside marriage is not allowed.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding contraception?

Contraception is allowed within marriage as part of responsible family planning and as long as the method used does not cause the abortion of the foetus whose life begins the moment the sperm fertilises the ovum. Contraception outside marriage is not allowed as sex outside marriage is not allowed.

What is the conception of Coptic Christianity of the after life?

The Coptic Church teaches that the soul does not die with the body. After death the soul is judged the person lived and is either rewarded or condemned.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding the Morning after Pill?

The Coptic Church does not endorse nor encourage the use of the morning-after pill because of the possibility of its preventing the development of the fertilised egg and also since the pill is a remedy after the sexual act, rather than a preventive measure. The Church has however not yet pronounced itself with a definitive official position.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity regarding hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy for medical reasons is allowed.

At what times do Coptic Christians pray?

Copts celebrate the liturgy (Holy Mass), including Holy Communion in churches. Copts also pray in private, and prefer to set up a special prayer corner for prayer in their homes. The Coptic orthodox prayer book of the hours called the 'Agpeya' includes seven prayers to be said at certain hours of the day: on rising, then at 9am and every 3 hours thereafter till midnight. Most Copts learn these prayers at a very early age.

What do Coptic Christians need to pray?

Copts do not require anything in particular to pray, except for a quiet place.

Do Coptic Christian women cover their heads?

In Islamic countries, Copt females generally follow the tradition of covering the body in public, even though they sometimes wear western style clothing in cities. In rural regions, Copt females will wear black headscarves and lengthy, loose-fitting clothes that drape the whole body. Copt women cover their heads when in church and when they pray.

Does Coptic Christianity allow organ donation?

Coptic Church considers organ donation an act of charity, brotherly love, and self-sacrifice.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware when a Coptic Christian patient is dying?

When a Copt is nearing death, medical staff should, as much as possible, allow family members to stay with the patient. A priest is called to administer the last rites. The dying persons may feel the need to wear his/her baptismal cross during his/her last moments. Medical staff should not try to remove it.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Coptic Christian?

When a Copt Christian dies, the medical staff should treat the body with respect. The body should be covered with a white sheet and if not already present, the family members should be informed. The medical staff should ask the family members before removing any personal item of the dead body. Then the family members should be allowed to prepare the body for the funeral.

Does Coptic Christianity allow a post-mortem?

A post mortem is permitted in Coptic Christianity.

By when should the body of a Coptic Christian be cremated/buried?

Traditionally, the funeral was held in the afternoon of the same day when death occurs, if the person dies in the morning and if local laws permit. Otherwise, the funeral takes place the next day. However, these guidelines have been relaxed and families are now allowed to have the funeral later.

In Coptic Christianity, what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

A Coptic Christian mother takes her baby to the church to be baptises forty days after birth, if the child is a boy, and eighty days after birth if the child is a girl. The Baptism ceremony is held in the Baptistery of the church and includes first the absolution and anointment of the mother who receives Holy Communion before her child is Baptised. The ceremony of Baptism of the child includes Special prayers renouncing Satan and the use of different oils for anointing the baby and the baptism of the child in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by immersion in Holy Water three times by which the child is baptised . The ceremony also includes the naming of the child.

What does Coptic Christianity require in the event of a miscarriage?

In case of a miscarriage, the parents, may wish to have a special service of prayer. They will discuss the matter with a priest. The miscarried embryo should be treated with respect.

If a Coptic Christian is praying, what is not appropriate for me to do?

Copts pray either at their home (private worship) or at church (public worship). As much as possible, they should not be interrupted or disturbed when praying.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity with regards to pornography?

Using pornography is considered sinful by the Coptic Church.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity with regards to sex before marriage?

Sex before marriage, like sex outside marriage, is considered sinful by the Coptic church.

What is the position of Coptic Christianity with regards to sex outside marriage?

Sex outside marriage is considered sinful by the Coptic church and can even lead to divorce.

Are male and female equal in Coptic Christianity?

The Coptic Church does not consider women to be inferior to man, but she is complementary to man, as Eve was not subordinate to Adam but was one with Adam. Women can be ordained as Deacons in the Coptic Church and can be nuns and members of parish councils, counsellors or administrators, but cannot as priests. They do not read scriptures aloud in church and although they can teach boys, girls and other women in a catechism class/Sunday school, they cannot teach men.

When do Copts celebrate Christmas and how is it celebrated?

Copts celebrate Christmas on 7th January. Devout Copts fast for 43 days, called the Nativity fast, in preparation for Christmas. Coptic Christians go to church for a special liturgy on the Christmas Eve (6th of January). Normally, the services begin around 10:30 pm, and is normally completed shortly after midnight. When Christmas service finishes, individuals go home to consume the large Christmas meal including food containing meat, eggs, and butter. “Fata” is the popular Christmas course which is a lamb soup with bread, rice, garlic and boiled lamb meat. On Christmas Day (7th of January), individuals gather for parties and celebrations with family and friends in the homes. People bring with them sweet biscuits (their name is “Kahk”) as gifts.

What is Easter and how do Coptic Christians celebrate it?

Easter is one of the holiest days of the Coptic Calendar, and it takes place on the Sunday following the first complete moon after the vernal equinox, which falls later (normally about 7 days later) than Easter day in western Christian churches. Like the rest of Christianity, at Easter, Copts celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. The Easter period starts with Lent beginning 40 days before Easter during which Copts fast. During the Holy week, the seven days from Palm Sunday to Easter, which therefore includes the commemoration of Christ's passion and death, many Copts go to church to pray and participate in the ceremonies. On Palm Sunday, churches are decorated with white cloth and palm leaves that welcome Jesus Christ for His entrance into Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday many churches celebrate with rituals, during which a priest washes the feet of select congregation members. A special all night Liturgy takes place on Good Friday and finishes on Saturday morning with a Mass.

What is the Coptic Liturgy?

There are three 'versions' of Divine liturgy, namely: A) The Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, B) The Divine Liturgy of Saint Cyril, and C) The Divine Liturgy of Saint Gregory. Most Sundays it is the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil that is used. The Copt Divine Liturgy includes many rituals and readings. The most important part is the blessing of the chosen bread (referred to as 'the lamb') and of the wine which become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and Holy communion of the faithful. Easter Sunday is then a joyful day which Copts like to celebrate with family and friends.

Which are the Seven Sacraments in the Coptic Church?

There are seven sacraments in the Coptic Church: 1. Baptism which opens the door to the other sacraments, 2. Confirmation also called Chrismation, which is administered immediately after Baptism, 3. Confession or Repentance, 4. the Holy Eucharist; the Coptic Church accepts the doctrine of transubstantiation, i.e. that the bread and wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, 5. Unction of the sick, 6. Matrimony, 7. Priesthood.

What is the Pentecost?

Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after Easter and is one of the principal feasts in the Coptic Calendar. It commemorates the event when the apostles received the Holy Spirit and the feast is celebrated as the birthday of the Church. At Pentecost, Copts decorate their churches with flowers and green branches, because the church is “never grows old, but is always young”.

How do you greet a Coptic person?

A light handshake is common, but the female Copt should extend her hand first. If she does not offer to shake hands, the male should nod as a sign of acknowledgment. When meeting a group of Copts, greet the elders first out of regard and respect.

Are male Copts circumcised?

Copts as well as Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Christians normally circumcise their male babie.

Who is exempt from fasting?

Children, the sick, pregnant and nursing women and the very old are exempt from strict fasting.

Image by Stephanie Gottschalk from Pixabay

Which gifts should I avoid giving a Hindu?

Gift giving in Hindu culture is a way of expressing friendship and affection, and, according to their religious belief, a manner of moving on to the next life . It is vital to understand the traditional gift-giving customs practiced by the majority of Hindus in constructing a powerful connection with others, whether friendly or professional. The Hindus are very conventional and they remain loyal to their age-old convictions despite worldwide modernization. Hindus firmly believe in karma, so it is always necessary to reciprocate if you receive a gift from a Hindu. You should avoid offering them costly presents because they will feel compelled to give back the favour, and it may trigger misunderstandings. Hindus will never open a present in front of you, so you should avoid opening a wrapped present in front of them. Avoid giving them a present with your left hand as it is regarded as “unclean” in the Hindu culture. Avoid giving them a gift that is made from leather. It is considered insulting to give them something that is made of or includes leather as cows are considered sacred animals in Hindu culture. Avoid giving alcohol as the majority of Hindus do not drink alcoholic beverages. Many Hindus are vegans, so ensure that if you give them food products, they should be free of meat and egg products. Avoid wrapping your present in a black or white paper. These two colours are considered unlucky colours in Hindu culture. You should never give them Frangipanis as a gift as this flower is associated with their funeral ceremonies. Also, avoid giving any jewellery as it is considered an intimate gift, and if it is coming from a male to a female may represent other desires.

Do Hindus have a birth ceremony?

Hindu rituals for newborns start before the babies come into the world. A prayer called “Garbhadana” (conception) is recited to the new married couple to help them fulfil their parental duties. The “Punsavana” ceremony (fetus protection) is conducted during the third (3rd) month of pregnancy and is meant to aid the fetus's powerful physical development. At the seventh (7th) month of pregnancy, another ceremony takes place, which is called “Simantonnyana”. This ceremony is for the fulfilment of the pregnant mother's wishes for her baby, and is equivalent to the Western "baby shower". For the mother and baby, there are prayers with an emphasis on the unborn child's good mental development. Hindus believe a pregnant woman's mental situation impacts on her unborn baby. The “Jatakarma” ceremony takes place after the birth of the child to welcome child as a new member of the family. During this ceremony, parents put honey on the newborn’s mouth and whisper the name of god into the baby’s ear. Other ceremonies that take place are the “Namakarna” (naming ceremony), the “Nishkarmana” (the baby’s first trip out) and the “Annaprasana” (the baby’s first taste of solid food). Two other important ceremonies are the “Karnavedha” (ear-piercing ceremony) and the “Munda” (first haircut). These two ceremonies are performed irrespective of whether the child is a boy or a girl.

If invited to a Hindu dinner/lunch/feast how should the male dress?

There is no dress code if you are invited to a Hindu dinner, lunch, or feast. You can wear your western style clothes. Do not wear something that is normally considered inappropriate for dinner, lunch, or feast.

If invited to a Hindu dinner/lunch/feast how should the female dress?

There is no dress code if you are invited to a Hindu dinner, lunch, or feast. You can wear your western style clothes. Do not wear something that is normally considered inappropriate for dinner, lunch, or feast. Avoid wearing very short skirts or dresses, shorts, and leggings, as Hindu women avoid drawing attention to their legs.

Do Hindus say a prayer said before meals?

Food is regarded as sacred in Hinduism and it is necessary to worship food before eating it. A prayer is said before eating in Hindu households, and god is thanked for providing food. According to Hinduism, saying a prayer before meals attracts divine awareness to the individual who is eating that food. Food also carries a spiritual power; consequently, there is an increase in the life force in the body after taking food.

How should you address a Hindu priest?

A Hindu "priest" is called a Pujari and his principal responsibility is to conduct services of worship, known as “Puja”. Hindu priests also conduct various rites of passage for their community members.

If invited to a Hindu dinner/lunch/feast should I take a gift?

If you are invited to a Hindu place for dinner, lunch or a feast is common that you will receive a gift from the host/hostess, especially if this is your first visit to their place. You should be ready to return the gesture, and for this reason, you can bring them a gift of flowers or sweets. Gifts are generally given at a host/hostess’s house upon arrival and given to the household’s head. You should give the gifts to the host/hostess with both of your hands. You can also bring gifts for the host/hostess’s children. They will find your gesture kind and gentle. Choose a bright colour for the wrapping paper of your gifts. You can use paper in green, yellow and red, which are considered lucky colours.

How should a female greet a Hindu male?

In Hinduism, the greeting is “Namaste”. Hindus put their hands in the Namaste greeting and touch their forehead as a sign of respect. During the “Namaste” greeting, one should keep the palms of both hands together with the fingertips at chin level, nod and say “Namaste”. “Namaste” means “bowing to you” or “I bow to you”. This type of greeting is a sign of respect in Hindu communities, and is used by both men and women when they greet other members of the same or opposite sex. The addressed person’s caste often defines the bowing degree in a “Namaste” greeting. A low-caste Hindu is expected to lift his hands high and bow profoundly to a high-caste Hindu while a high-caste Hindu often scarcely recognizes a low-caste one. Hindus do not usually shake hands with, or touch, people of the opposite sex. If you are a female, do not greet a male Hindu by offering to shake hands and avoid touching him. You can use the “Namaste” greeting.

How should a female greet a Hindu female?

In Hinduism, the greeting is “Namaste”. Hindus put their hands in the Namaste greeting and touch their forehead as a sign of respect. During the “Namaste” greeting, one should keep the palms of both hands together with the fingertips at chin level, nod and say “Namaste”. “Namaste” means “bowing to you” or “I bow to you”. This type of greeting is a sign of respect in Hindu communities, and is used by both men and women when they greet other members of the same or opposite sex. The addressed person’s caste often defines the bowing degree in a “Namaste” greeting. A low-caste Hindu is expected to lift his hands high and bow profoundly to a high-caste Hindu while a high-caste Hindu often scarcely recognizes a low-caste one. Hindus do not usually shake hands with, or touch, people of the opposite sex. Females can shake hands with a female Hindu. In Hindu culture, handshakes are usually on the limp side. The "Namaste" greeting is also appropriate.

How should a male greet a Hindu female?

In Hinduism, the greeting is “Namaste”. Hindus put their hands in the Namaste greeting and touch their forehead as a sign of respect. During the “Namaste” greeting, one should keep the palms of both hands together with the fingertips at chin level, nod and say “Namaste”. “Namaste” means “bowing to you” or “I bow to you”. This type of greeting is a sign of respect in Hindu communities, and is used by both men and women when they greet other members of the same or opposite sex. The addressed person’s caste often defines the bowing degree in a “Namaste” greeting. A low-caste Hindu is expected to lift his hands high and bow profoundly to a high-caste Hindu while a high-caste Hindu often scarcely recognizes a low-caste one. Hindus do not usually shake hands with, or touch, people of the opposite sex. If you are a male, do not greet a female Hindu by shaking hands and avoid to touch him. You can use the “Namaste” greeting.

How should a male greet a Hindu male?

In Hinduism, the greeting is “Namaste”. Hindus put their hands in the Namaste greeting and touch their forehead as a sign of respect. During the “Namaste” greeting, one should keep the palms of both hands together with the fingertips at chin level, nod and say “Namaste”. “Namaste” means “bowing to you” or “I bow to you”. This type of greeting is a sign of respect in Hindu communities, and is used by both men and women when they greet other members of the same or opposite sex. The addressed person’s caste often defines the bowing degree in a “Namaste” greeting. A low-caste Hindu is expected to lift his hands high and bow profoundly to a high-caste Hindu while a high-caste Hindu often scarcely recognizes a low-caste one. Hindus do not usually shake hands with, or touch, people of the opposite sex. If you are a male, you can shake hands with a male Hindu. In Hindu culture, handshakes are usually on the limp side. Sometimes Hindus of the same sex embrace each other. Hindus also use the phrase “Ram! Ram!” (an invocation of a Hindu deity) to greet a friend on the street. Also, you can use the "Namaste" greeting".

Is there any period during the year when Hindus fast?

There are various types of fasting, and they differ according to family and community beliefs. There are several fasting periods in Hinduism. The most common fast in Hinduism is called “Ekadashi”. It takes place on the 11th (eleventh) day of each ascending and descending moon and is observed approximately twice a month. Another significant occasion for fasting is the celebration at the start of the year in Shiva’s honour. Many Hindus embrace a vegan diet during July and August and fast until night on Mondays and Saturdays.

If invited to a Hindu wedding what is the appropriate dress code?

While Hindu weddings do not have a particular dress code, modest dressing is a must. Therefore female guests should avoid bare arms and bare ankles. A traditional sari or lehenga is perfect for female wedding guests to show some respect for the rituals of the religious wedding, but if you do not have one, you can wear a long skirt and a top. For male guests, suits and sherwani (length coat-like attire) is the right choice. Western clothing is also appropriate for a Hindu wedding ceremony. Male guests can wear a coloured shirt rather than a white one, and female guests should avoid short dresses and skirts and tight fitting tops. Female guest can also decorate their appearance with colourful accessories. Try to wear in bright colours that are always welcome at this propitious occasion. Avoid wearing something in bright red as in Hindu culture this colour traditionally belongs to the bride. Also, avoid wearing anything in white or black as these two colours symbolize mourning and bad luck. Accessories and jewellery are very important parts of your appearance at a Hindu wedding. You can wear bindis and bangles, a pair of hand balis or jhumkas on your ears. You can wear a necklace with a Hindu touch, or you can wear a simple gold necklace with a gold pendant. Male guests can also wear a gold chain or jewelled shirt buttons.

If invited to a Hindu wedding which gift is customarily expected?

The most traditional gift at a Hindu wedding is money given in an envelope. Money is a traditional donation in Hindu culture, while at some Western weddings it can be considered inappropriate. You can choose an amount of money that matches your budget but the amount should end with 1 (one). For example, you can give them 51, 71, or 101 euro, as the numbers ending in 1 (one) are considered as auguring success in Hindu culture. Since money is a common wedding present, many Indian online stores sell specially made envelopes for this occasion. In Hindu culture, silver is a symbol of future success. Silver jewellery is suitable if you want to offer a present to the bride or the groom, although gifts to both members of the future couple are more important for their union. Silver family utensils like cutlery or serving clothes, salt and pepper grinders or barware are all appropriate presents to the Hindu couple.

Where does the main ceremony of a Hindu wedding take place?

A Hindu wedding takes place under a canopy called a “Mandap”. The Hindu wedding ceremony begins with the “Kanya Daan”, where the parents of the bride give her away to the groom. Then the new couple joins hands and circle around a tiny, enclosed fire (the Agni)in a ritual called the “Mangal Phera” . After this, the couple takes the “Saptapadi” (or seven steps) as they vow to help each other and live happily together. At the end of the ceremony, the groom puts a little red powder on the center of the bride’s forehead and ties a black beaded necklace around her neck, symbolizing that she is now a wife.

Who are the main celebrants at a Hindu wedding?

A "Pandit" is the marriage officer in Hindu weddings. They may also turn to ministers who do not follow any particular religious tradition.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Hindu wedding?

There is always a reception after a Hindu wedding. The reception after the wedding is not a formal one, and it is more like a fun party with a lot of dancing and is usually organized by the family of the groom. The reception celebration also provides the bride the chance to get to know the relatives of the groom and his work colleagues. This is the moment when the bride becomes a significant member of her new family. Therefore, reception celebrations are organized from the groom’s side to let their friends and relatives know that they have a new member in their family, and they celebrate the bride’s arrival. The reception party is an expansion of the festivities of marriage. Sumptuous food is served at Hindus reception parties. There are no rituals during the reception party. The new couple, their relatives and their guests usually dance the “Bhangra”, a Punjab folk dance which steps can be learnt easily. At a Hindu reception party, contemporary Western music is also common.

How long does a Hindu funeral take?

Cremation is the rule for Hindu funerals, but the body stays in the home of the family until it is taken to the place of cremation. A Hindu funeral ceremony includes three parts : a) The funeral which takes places in the home of the family, b) The cremation ceremony and c) the “Shraddha” ceremony. The official funeral ceremony takes place at home, although the event could be deemed a wake in terms of Western customs due to its brief duration. The cremation ceremony is held at the cremation place after the ceremony at home and it is also a short ceremony. A third Hindu funeral ceremony (“Shraddha”) may also be held about 10 (ten) days after death.

Where does a Hindu funeral take place?

Cremation is the rule for Hindu funerals, but the body stays in the home of the family until it is taken to the place of cremation. A Hindu funeral ceremony includes three parts : a) The funeral which takes places in the home of the family, b) The cremation ceremony and c) the “Shraddha” ceremony. The official funeral ceremony takes place at home, although the event could be deemed a wake in terms of Western customs due to its brief duration. The cremation ceremony is held at the cremation place after the ceremony at home and it is also a short ceremony. A third Hindu funeral ceremony (“Shraddha”) may also be held about 10 (ten) days after death, and it also takes place at the family’s home.

How do you greet a Hindu on the occasion of the death of a family member?

During the Hindu funeral ceremony, guests should avoid exchanging greetings with the family members, a non or a hug without saying anything is the most appropriate.

When does the Hindu funeral normally take place?

The preparations for a Hindu’s funeral start immediately after a person's death. A funeral should take place as quickly as possible, normally by the next dusk or dawn, whichever takes place first. The funeral ceremony and the cremation ceremony should take place 24 hours after death. Traditionally, the ashes are spread in the river Ganges on the day after a Hindu funeral, deemed sacred by the Hindus. Hindus who live outside of India scatter the ashes in a local body of water or a preferred location of significance.

What is the appropriate attire at a Hindu funeral?

While in most cultures, wearing black for a funeral is the rule, the majority of mourners wear white during a Hindu funeral ceremony. White signifies purity in the Hindu culture and is used to demonstrate consideration for the dead and the family. It is also very prevalent for dead males to be buried in wear white clothes. However, for participants at a Hindu funeral, the dress code is more casual for both male and female mourners. It is customary for both male and female mourners to cover their heads during the ceremony. The female mourners often also cover their arms and knees. If you are a male guest at a Hindu funeral you can wear something casual and it is not necessary for you to cover your head. If you are a female guest you can also dress casual, but avoid wearing clothes that expose your arms and knees. You can wear simple jewellery but avoid flashy ornaments. You can wear open toe shoes or closed shoes with socks. Do not wear anything black as it is considered inappropriate at a Hindu funeral. If you do not want to wear something white, you can choose a set of clothes in pastel, pale colours.

Is it appropriate to send flowers at a Hindu funeral?

Sending flowers is a common tradition for a Hindu funeral. You can send flowers to the family, or you can bring them personally before the funeral ceremony. During the ceremony, you should go empty-handed as flower garlands and seasonal flowers are put at the foot of the casket Hindu before the ceremony. Do not bring food before or during a Hindu funeral because it is considered inappropriate. During the “Shraddha” ceremony, which is held ten (10) days after the funeral ceremony, you can visit the family, and you should bring fruits as a gift but not flowers.

Who preside sat the Hindu funeral service?

A Pujari or the senior son or another male of the family can preside at the ceremony service.

Will there be an open casket at the Hindu funeral?

Yes, there is always an open casket as guests are expected to view the body, but you should avoid touching it

Can I attend the Hindu funeral ceremony at the graveside?

Hindu funeral ceremonies are not held at the site of a grave. A Hindu funeral consists of three (3) parts: The funeral which takes places in the home of the family, b) The cremation ceremony and c) the “Shraddha” ceremony, which also is held at the family home about 10 (ten) days after death. During the funeral ceremony, non-Hindus are supposed to sit silently, although they are welcome to engage in the ritual chanting of mantras. Some guests can also attend the cremation ceremony; however, non-Hindus do not take part in the “Mukhagni”, the Hindu word for the cremation ceremony. The cremation ceremony involves a ritual burning of the body, attended by a Hindu priest and members of the male family. The “ last food” is offered, and flowers arranged around the body before the cremation ceremony.

Is cremation obligatory in Hinduism?

Traditionally, Hindus cremate their dead because a burning dissolution of the body gives swifter, fuller liberation of the soul than the burial which maintains the psychic link of the soul to its just-ended earthly existence. After death, the deceased soul in its ethereal form soars close to the earth’s surface emotionally connected to the physical body and its previous environment. The Hindu funeral rites and the burning of the body are meant to give spiritual liberation, and they inform the soul that death has come. Several funeral prayers, which address the dead person, urge the soul to give up its attachments to the body and to proceed on its spiritual voyage. The Deities and Devas are invited to help the transformation of the soul. Hindus do not believe in the bodily resurrection and the reunion of each soul with its physical body, so they do not place any significance on the preservation of the corpse, which in Christianity and Islam is buried. The Hindu faith concerning reincarnation provides certainty that death is simply the release of the soul from its present life. Most of the times, family and friends are actively involved in the release of the dead soul. They prepare the body, join the rituals, carry the dead body to the cremation place, and light the pyre. The ashes are dedicated to a river (often the Ganga), lake or sea, along with garlands and flowers after cremation. Whereas the rites enable a dignified goodbye for the family and an opportunity to express grief, they all know that there will be new bodies and new lives for the soul of their dead relative.

Is cremation allowed in Hinduism?

Hindus believe the soul is not exclusively destined to one body, but it will simply live in a number of bodies (human or not) before it achieves its ultimate destination of liberty. To achieve the final stage, Hindus should practice to liberate themselves from attachments and wishes and live a life that will release them from the cycle. Hindus give little importance to the body. They believe that the body is a temporary prison for the soul, and that the body creates attachments and wishes that stop advancement towards liberty. Furthermore, the function of cremation in Hindu funerals is to terminate the soul's connections to the body it leaves, allowing it to move towards liberty. The only Hindus that are not usually cremated are babies, children, and those who are thought to be pure and unattached to their bodies. They can be buried instead of cremated. Hindus are customarily cremated across the River Ganges as part of the funeral rites. The cremation ceremony and the funeral rituals prepare the soul to leave the body and get ready for its journey towards liberty.

After how many days after the funeral will a Hindu mourner normally return to work?

Normally there is a thirteen day period after death during which the family members follow Hindu customs of mourning. They should avoid visiting the shrine of the family and are forbidden to enter a temple or any other sacred place. Throughout this time of mourning, they are deemed to be spiritually impure. Except for funerals, they are not to participate in any religious service. During this period, they mainly remain in their family home. They should not read or memorize anything from the holy scripts. Although the relatives may visit the families of the dead, they may not visit other family or friends. They should avoid attending any social functions, such as marriages, birthday parties, or religious celebrations. Also, certain foods should not be consumed by them during this moment, such as sweets or festive fruits. After the “Shraddha”, around thirteen days after the death of their relative, the members of the family can typically return to their work. If they need more time for mourning, they can return to their workplaces thirty days after the death of their family member.

After how long following the funeral will a Hindu mourner normally return to his/her social schedule?

The family members can return to their social schedule one year after the death of their relative. According to Hindu traditions, family members should avoid participating in festivals and social activities during this period. Also, they should avoid taking life-changing decisions, such as altering employment or moving to a new place. During this year, some traditions would not allow a wedding of a family member to take place.

In Hinduism are there rituals for observing the anniversary of a death?

One year after the death, the family members host a memorial ceremony called “Sraddha”. Members of the family can attend the ceremony. Close friends can also be invited and they are expected to participate. Normally, this ceremony is conducted by a local priest and includes prayers, readings from the holy scripts and chanting. After the ceremony, food is served to the guests.

What is the position of Hinduism on abortion?

Abortion is forbidden in Hinduism. It is permitted only if the mother’s life is in danger. In traditional Hinduism and many contemporary Hindu scholars state that abortion is an infringement of the duty to produce children in order to continue the family and create n members of society. However, in reality, abortion is practiced in India’s Hindu culture because the cultural preference for boys sometimes overrides the religious ban on abortion. Such an abortion that prevents the birth of a female baby is called “female foeticide”. According to the reincarnation doctrine, a fetus is not simply developing into an individual but is an individual at a early stage of its existence. It includes a soul and should be properly handled. So, if a fetus is aborted, a significant karmic setback is suffered by the soul within it. It has not the opportunity to become a human being and to earn good karma, and it returns immediately to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Therefore, abortion prevents the spiritual advancement of a soul.

What is the position of Hinduism on euthanasia?

According to Hinduism and its beliefs about karma, moksa, and ahimsa, euthanasia is not acceptable for the majority of Hindus. A patient’s application for euthanasia should not be accepted by a doctor as this will force the soul and body to be separated at unnatural times. As a result, euthanasia damages the karma of the patient and the doctor. Also, Hindus hold that euthanasia can never be permitted as it violates ahimsa’s teaching (never do any damage to other beings). Killing (euthanasia, assassination, and suicide) stops the advancement of freedom of the murdered soul. It also gives the murderer bad karma due to the breach of the non-violence principle. When the soul is resurrected in another physical body, because the same karma is still present, it will suffer as it did before.

What is the position of Hinduism on blood transfusion?

In Hinduism, selfless giving is a virtuous act. Hindus believe that blood transfusion is a generous act of giving both for the giver and the receiver. Many years ago there were some worries based on Hinduist beliefs, but nowadays Hindus accept blood transfusion. For some Hindus, blood donation is acceptable but not desirable. Blood transfusion does not damage the donor, and it is not subject to the normal non-violence rules as the donor choses to offer his/her blood out of his/her own will.

What is the position of Hinduism on IVF?

In Hinduism, having children is seen as one of the most significant elements of marriage. Infertility can also be seen as a consequence of karma, and Hindu infertile women often experience various stages of social and psychological suffering. Hinduism it is not against scientific medical reproductive techniques. Treatments for infertility are generally acceptable under certain rules. In infertility treatment, the sperm should be either from the husband or a close relative. In vitro fertilization is more acceptable when the sperm and the eggs come from the husband and the wife and not from donors. Hindus believe in Karma. Some Hindus think that giving a child a home and a family environment are healthy actions, so they would prefer adoption over fertility therapy. Others hold that being childless is subject to the karmic debt, so they think it is useless to use fertility treatments because, at some point, such persons have to pay their debt.

What is the position of Hinduism on surrogate motherhood?

Infertility treatments are allowed in Hinduism under specific circumstances. Children are essential for Hindu families, and if a couple cannot have children, medical assistance is permitted. Hindus rarely use surrogacy to have children but it is seen as a medical treatment rather than a violation of religious convictions. Surrogacy also exists in Hindu mythology. The most known and interesting story in Hindu mythology is that in the Bhagavata Purana which explains the practice of surrogate motherhood. “In the Bhagvata Purana, there is a story that suggests the practice of surrogate motherhood. Kan(sh) the wicked king of Mathura, had imprisoned his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva because oracles had informed him that her child would be his killer. Every time she delivered a child, he smashed its head on the floor. He killed six children. When the seventh child was conceived, the gods intervened. They summoned the goddess Yogamaya and had her transfer the fetus from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini (Vasudeva’s other wife who lived with her sister Yashoda across the river Yamuna, in the village of cowherds at Gokul). Thus the child conceived in one womb was incubated in and delivered through another womb”.

What is the position of Hinduism on adoption?

Hinduism accepts adoption, as this is even found in Hindu texts.  For example, the Wealth goddess was not born of a human mother. Janak and Radha Vrishvanu embraced her as Sita, and she was raised with love and care. In Hinduism, adoption is not incorrect or contrary to social standards. Parents without male children are urged to adopt because of religious convictions. Hinduism suggests that having male children is essential for post-funeral rituals to guarantee that the soul moves up to the ancestor areas. Male children give the pinda and tarpan (support) during their life to their ancestors’ souls. Hindus can adopt a male child to carry on pinda and tarpan if they are unable to have sons of their own. If Hindus want to adopt male children, adopting their brothers’ or cousins’ male children is ideal. This way, their son(s) come from the same pool of genes and have ancestral associations. Hindus also have the freedom to adopt other children who are in need or difficulty.

What is the position of Hinduism on fostering?

Hinduism accepts fostering as it is also connected with its religious roots. Krishna and his brother Balarama were given to foster parents to be saved from the demon Kansa.

What is the position of Hinduism on divorce?

Hindus' attitudes and ideas towards divorce differ from community to community. Divorce occurs rarely but is not prohibited. It is uncommon because of cultural variables and attitudes, and because of arranged marriages. The basic belief of Hinduism is the Karma. Some Hindus disagree with divorce because they feel that it can traumatise their offspring and families and upset them. Others agree with divorce because living together in hatred sets a bad example to the children and has bad karmic implications. Marriage can break down for different reasons. Many Hindus who have marital issues will attempt to solve them because they want to maintain the family together and because they hold that ending a marriage implies that they have failed to fulfil dharma. Some Hindus may choose to remain in marriages despite being dissatisfied because they believe that abandoning the vow of the life-long union will have bad karmic effects, or because they feel socially pressured by the family or the Hindu community.

What is the position of Hinduism on polygamy?

In Hinduism, polygamy is forbidden, and is also prohibited by law. A Hindu marriage is indissoluble in life, according to Hindu Holy Scriptures. However, in ancient Hindu society, polygamy was rampantly practised. Since polygamy is forbidden by law, for Hindus, monogamy is the only option.

Are any prayers said in Hinduism for the dying?

Preferably, a Hindu should die at home accompanied by his/her friends and family who sing sacred hymns, pray, and read or chant sacred verses. All this is intended to keep the focus of the dying person on Brahman. The most common pray is:
Goodness, love, grace, and gentleness,
Courtesy, friendship, and modesty,
Honesty, penance, and chastity,
Charity, respect, reverence, and truthfulness,
Purity and self-control,
Wisdom and worship –
All these together are perfect virtue,
And are the word of the loving Lord.

Also, the most common verse is from Bhagwad Gita:
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही
vāsānsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya navāni gṛihṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śharīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānya nyāni sanyāti navāni dehī
As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.

What food is allowed in Hinduism?

The Hindu diet depends on three basic Ayurvedic “vibrations”: a) Tamas, b) Rajas, and c) Sattva. These three terms define the various foods and influence the physical and astral bodies. Hindus can eat anything that belongs in the Sattvic category, which includes fruits, vegetables, water, and whole grains, nuts and in some sects fish, as it is considered the fruit of the sea. In general, Hindus follow a lacto-vegetarian diet. Hindus generally avoid foods that belong in the Tamasic category which includes meat (pork, beef and poultry), refrigerated foods (eggs, cheese and every food that needs to be cooled and stored during the night), mushrooms , onions, garlic and all other members of the Allium genus (chives, leeks, etc).

Which drinks are allowed in Hinduism?

In Hinduism, alcohol consumption is not recommended, but for unique occasions and occupations, it is reluctantly permitted. It also depends on the sect that a Hindu belongs to. Ayurvedic mixtures containing alcohol are not very common, but do exist, and Ayurveda acknowledges that some alcoholic beverages (such as herbal wine) may have health advantages.

Who do I call should a Hindu friend or colleague die?

When a Hindu dies, you should call his family and his/her children. If his/her children live in another place, the other family members keep the body until the children come to perform the death ceremony rituals. Only a male family member (such as a husband, dad or son) can conduct the last rites according to Hindu tradition and its sacred texts.

What is the position of Hinduism on female contraception?

Birth control, in general, and female contraception in particular are not prohibited in Hinduism. Some Hindu scriptures provide guidance to married couples should do to promote conception - thus indirectly giving contraceptive counselling to those who want it. Moreover, most Hindus recognize it is the duty of a married couple to procreate and have a family at some stage during their married life, and so contraception is unlikely to be used to prevent having children at all. Because India has such a large population, much of the birth control debate has focused on overpopulation and environmental issues rather than or more private moral issues, and birth control is not a significant ethical problem.

What is the position of Hinduism on contraception?

Hinduism has no dogmatic attitude toward contraception. Some Hindu Sacred texts seem to promote a favourable attitude towards it. Nevertheless, Hindus opinions and ideas about contraception tend to vary with some holding that it can encourage extramarital sex, especially premarital sex and this undermines family values. The general context in which contraception is encouraged becomes crucial. Thus the Hindu’s interests may be subordinated to those of the family, the country, and the region. Furthermore, if population growth results in overpopulation, which in turn presents a danger to the ecosystem, then the case for contraception is reinforced. All methods of contraception are permitted in Hinduism.

What is the Hindu concept of the after life?

Hindus believe in “Samsara”, which is the cycle of death and rebirth. When a Hindu dies, his soul (Atman) is reborn in a new body. Atman is imperishable and immortal. The soul is part of a restricted being, a jiva, which is subject to the contaminants of attachment, delusion, and karma. Some Hindus think that regeneration occurs straight at death, others think that an atman may exist in other realms of the universe. Hindus believe that an atman may become swag or narak for a period before rebirth. Therefore, death is not a great tragedy, it is not the end of everything, but a natural phenomenon in the presence of a jiva (being) as a distinct entity, a period of rest during which it recovers, reconstructs its resources, adapts its path and returns to earth to continue its journey. In Hinduism, the good or bad actions in a Hindu’s life can determine the rebirth of the soul (Atman). Some Hindus believe that the soul (Atman) can be reborn in animals and that it only happens when the souls have constantly failed to learn in their human being form. Therefore, the soul (Atman) requires to be born again and again until it overcomes its delusion state, achieves the equanimity state and understands its completeness.

What is the position of Hinduism on hysterectomy?

In Hinduism, voluntary sterilization is permitted, but a forced one is forbidden. So, hysterectomy is allowed in Hinduism, and it is socially acceptable in India.

What is the position of Hinduism on vasectomy?

In Hinduism, voluntary sterilization is permitted, but a forced one is forbidden. So, vasectomy is allowed in Hinduism. Vasectomy is less common than hysterectomy because women believe that it causes their husbands to lose their strength and virility. They also believe that through vasectomy, their husbands will become unable to work and earn a living. Vasectomy is considerably less well understood and known than hysterectomy.

At what times do Hindus pray?

Many Hindus say a short prayer when waking up in the morning. The majority of Hindus have a little temple (shrine) in their homes as worship is more of a private than public act. After the morning bath or shower, every Hindu performs the Puja. Puja is the cleaning of the temple, the statues and pictures of the gods, as well as the offering of food and flowers to the gods. A short chanting accompanies all the above activities. It is also important for the members of the family to pray together, and a lamp to be lit near the temple every night. Hindus pray every evening before they go to bed. In addition, there are times where holy books are read. Hindus also tend to worship collectively at their community temples.

What do Hindus need to pray?

Prayer is primarily an individual act which can take place in any location. Hindus may wish to have religious statues or icons close by. Even though there are no fixed times for prayers, most Hindus prefer to pray in the morning.

Do Hindu women wear a headgear?

Traditionally, women wear saris and married women wear a kumkum on the forehead: a red dot in the centre between the two eye-brows. When visiting a religious place, Hindus, men and women, cover their heads. It is also a tradition for Hindus to cover their heads when in front of their elderly relatives.

Does Hinduism allow organ donation?

No religious law prevents the donation of organs by Hindus. Life after death, through the continuing rebirth process is Hindus’ most powerful conviction . Karma chooses how the soul will go into the next life. However, a minority of Hindus believe that if someone donates a core organ of his/her body, (ex. his/her heart) the recipient will have to give back the favour in the next life of the donor according to the principles of the Karma. This means that the soul of the donor should have another cycle of life. Since Hindus hope to be freed from the rebirth cycle, this is considered a drawback. The majority of Hindus believe that the body is nothing more than a machine after the soul has left it and they can share its parts with others. Every Hindu can decide if he/she wants to make an organ donation, but there are many references in Hindu Holy scripts that support organ donation. “Daan” (or selfless giving) is third in the list of ten Niyamas (or virtuous acts) in the Hindu scriptures and is considered to be very important for the Hindu faith. It accepts and promotes the “Dharma” (righteous living). This could also be seen as promoting the donation of organs. However, to be dharmatic, the donation needs to have beneficial results.

Are there any special considerations that medical staff should be aware when a Hindu patient is dying?

In the last stages of life, a Hindu patient or his/her relative may request the services of a Hindu priest (pandit) to perform holy rites. The pandit can tie a beaded thread around the dying person’s neck or wrist. Health and medical staff should not remove this from the patient before or after death without asking the patient's family members. A family member can read the Hindu Scriptures to the patient. The dying Hindu may want to have a small statue or a picture of the family god, blessing beads and blessings (ex. flowers) placed in close proximity to him/ her. A Hindu may express the wish to offer food, money, and other items for the use of the needy to a religious individual or a temple before his/her death. Family members can place a tiny piece of this sacred grass underneath a dying patient’s bed. Relatives may want to put a sacred basil leaf on the patient’s tongue and pour a few drops of blessed water from the Ganges River on the patient. Also, they may want incense or oil to be burned. If a Hindu patient asks to lie on the ground during his/her last moments, every feasible step should be taken to fulfil his/her desire.

How should medical staff treat the corpse of a Hindu?

The body of the Hindu patient should not be left uncovered after his/her death. Before the body is handled, the family should be consulted. Non-Hindus can handle the body but ensure that female employees handle a female body, and male employees handle a male body. The medical and health staff should leave any jewellery, sacred threads, and other religious objects on the body and should not remove anything. They can close the eyes of the dead Hindu and straighten his/her limbs. Ask the relatives of the dead Hindu about what they want to do and whether they want to wash the body before they take it out of the hospital. Usually, the elderly members of the family wash and prepare the body for the funeral. After death, within 24 hours, the body should be cremated. The hospital should attempt to release the body as quickly as possible for the funeral rituals.

Does Hindusim allow post-mortems?

Post mortems are often regarded as disrespectful and should only be carried out if needed legally. If one is inevitable, Hindus will be concerned that all organs will be transferred back to the body before being cremated so as to preserve peace in the after life journey.

By when should the body of a Hindu be cremated/buried?

After death, within 24 hours, the body should be cremated. Hindus can bury infants and young children also within 24 hours after their death.

What ritual is performed on the birth of a child in Hinduism ?

Hindus believe in the rebirth of the soul in a different body after its release from the body of a dead person. During pregnancy, the mother is urged to read the Hindu scriptures and meditate, as the unborn baby should be conscious of the new environment that he/she will be born into. After birth, the baby is washed ceremonially, and the parents dip a golden pen in honey, and they write the word “AUM” on his/her tongue. The priest will subsequently propose an appropriate syllable for the new-born's name. The naming ceremony will take place on the tenth day after birth. Hindu mothers like to consume hot foods, nuts, and hot drinks (ex. milk) during their pregnancy and delivery. Family members will be sure that the mother has complete rest for 40 days after she has given birth, and they will worry if she has to get up in the first few days. This approach is based on the belief that during this period of 40 days, the new mother is most vulnerable to illness. Body massages with almond, coconut, and jasmine oil are traditionally provided to mother and new-born. After a couple of weeks, the mother and the new-born are taken to the Temple for thanksgiving to the gods.

What are the Hindus beliefs in relation to miscarriage?

Hinduism believes that all souls are connected to other souls via an extensive and complicated system of karma (actions), vasana (wishes) and runa (debt). Firstly, the soul should have the correct runaubandh (karmic debt bonds) with the male and female (of any species) that are about to mate to create a body for the souls to be born. The soul should be prepared to be born emotionally. If the soul is not ready at the time the male and female have sexual intercourse, no life will enter the sperm and egg. For the soul to be born in a new individual, it should have enough karmas to use in this world. Many fertilized eggs never grow into a baby or live to the complete term, as their karmic bonds only last for a short period. In Hinduism, miscarriage happens when the karmic relationship between the soul and the body ends and the soul moves apart of the body before the baby comes to the world.

What should I do if I see a Hindu praying?

Worship is private for Hindus. There is no need to be in a temple to pray. They can pray at their home, where they usually have a temple (shrine). Avoid disturbing or stopping Hindus during their worship. It is not appropriate to speak to a Hindu or try to attract his/her attention during his/her worship.

What are the vies of Hinduism on pornography?

Hinduism is not strict towards pornography. A lot of Indian temples have erotic carvings that may cover their exterior walls (Khajuraho temples). Also, the well known “Kama Sutra” scripture (Vatsyayana wrote it between 400 BC - 200 AD) contains illustrations, which can be considered pornographic.

What are the views of Hinduism on sex before marriage?

There is no simple answer to this question. The answer depends on the individual's situation. For Hindus, premarital sex is a social taboo and not a religious one. Sex after the marriage has been recommended for male and female Hindus in the Grahasta portion of life, but sex is also considered as one of the attachments to this universe that would stop you from getting Moksha readily or early. It was regarded as the same as people's wealth, anger, or attachment. It's not a taboo, but it's better to avoid it if one is pursuing moksha. Gandharva Vivaha (marriage by Love) happened when the man was captivated by the beauty of women. Hinduism believes that the wife is somebody who assists her husband with his responsibilities towards his family and society. So, a wife should be selected to help him carry out his tasks and not only because of her appearance. In Hinduism, the purpose is to determine whether a person’s sexual behaviour is legitimate (dharma) or illegitimate (adharma) and whether the sexual desire is for the correct purposes. It is regarded as evil and illegitimate if an individual pursues it solely for pleasure and selfish enjoyment. On the contrary, if, as part of one's responsibilities, it is pursued for reproduction, tradition upholds it as dutiful, moral, and legal. The world cannot continue to exist without reproduction, and gods cannot be served. Sexual desire, therefore, has a godly objective. Hinduism also allows the use of sexual activity for self-realization or the sublimation of sexual energy into spiritual energy in certain tantric practices. In Hinduism, therefore, sex is not evil as long as it is pursued as the means for justified ends, and is not regarded as an end in itself. Hindu law books consistently use this definition as the norm for determining human behaviour's legality or unlawfulness. Hinduism distinguishes clearly between ordinary sexual desire and lust. While one of the main goals of human existence is the development of a sexual desire for reproduction, lust is regarded to be one of the main enemies of human existence.

What are the vies of Hinduism on sex outside marriage?

In Hindu Puranas, the well-known case of sex outside marriage is that of Ahalya. Indra tricked her and dragged her into an unlawful partnership, and she took the brunt for that. In ancient India, there are no recorded cases of women who cheated on their husbands or men who had illegal affairs with other women. Narratives around this topic were component of Indian folklore. Hinduism, however, does not support relationships outside marriage. In Hinduism, adultery is a sin. People caught in adultery or illegitimate relationships have to cope with a lot of social ridicule and disgrace, especially in the rural regions where society is still based on traditional rules. The effects of adultery are even worse, especially for women, and such activities are seldom forgotten or forgiven. Hindus believe that marriage is a sacred connection that spans for several lives. The sanctity of marriage should be retained and preserved all the time. The vows of marriage are intended to guarantee that both spouses fulfil their compulsory responsibilities of upholding dharma and stay loyal to one another. Marriages are not intended for pure sexual pleasure, but they are intended to raise children and ensure family and social balance. It is a sacrilege and bad karma to break the sacred obligations of a marriage.

What are the rights of a Hindu mother in case of a separation or divorce?

The Guardian and Wards Act of 1890 and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956 govern custody of children in case of separation or divorce between a Hindu couple. These two acts also apply to Jain, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956, the Hindu child under the age of 5 should stay under the mother’s custody. The custody of boys and unmarried girls is given to the father. If the father's custody is found to be not appropriate for the child’s welfare, or worse than that of the mother’s, then no right can be claimed. Custody of a child is given depending on the child's welfare and safe future.

Are males and females equal in Hinduism?

Hindu scriptures exalt the characteristics of the divine feminine as well as the spiritual sameness of masculine and female deities while emphasizing their gender distinctions. The principles of female and male are defined as two halves of a whole. It also highlights the unity of male and female. Emphasis is put on the divine gender equality as well as the ambiguity of men’s and women's differences. Teachings in Hinduism claim that every human being consists of different degrees of both feminine and masculine characteristics. Many religious texts also highlight that, as far as the right to execute Vedic rites is concerned, there is no distinction between man and female, and they often use gender-neutral language when they talk about god. Hinduism has always worshiped deities in a female nature, such as Shakti. From ancient times until now, women have performed important roles in Hindu society.

What food is prohibited in Hinduism?

Hinduism does not lay down strictures. Ever Hindu can behave according to his/her conscience, as long as he/she does not hurt anyone. There is a variety of food that the majority of Hindus try to avoid. These foods are a) Beef. Beef consuming is completely antithetical to nearly every Hindu. Hindus believe that the cow as a maternal being, one that nourishes by its milk. Also, its dung is used as fuel, and it is said to have the characteristics of disinfectants. Therefore, beef is taboo in Hinduism. b) Alcohol. Hindus try to avoid alcohol for social and spiritual reasons. c) Any meat. The majority of Hindus are vegetarians, and they avoid eating any meat. d) Eggs. As the majority of Hindus are vegetarian, they also avoid consuming eggs. e) Roots of vegetables. Several Hindus avoid the consumption of vegetables grown under the soil, including onion, radish, potato, and turnip. They believe that these type of vegetables are Tamasic and that if they consume them they will harm their spiritual life.

Are there any medicines that are not suitable for Hindus?

Medicine derived from animals such as insulin, heparin type medicines and pancreatic enzyme supplements may not be suitable for vegetarian or vegan patients. It is advisable for the doctor to discuss whether there are suitable alternatives and help the patient make an informed decision.

How should I greet a Hindu?

In Hinduism, the greeting is “Namaste”. Hindus put their hands in the Namaste greeting and touch their forehead as a sign of respect. During the “Namaste” greeting, one should keep the palms of both hands together with the fingertips at chin level, nod and say “Namaste”. It means they bow to the essence of the divine, or the deity, in another person.  Hindus do not usually shake hands or kiss when meeting other people. They greet each other by saying Namaste and folding hands together.  Some would show respect by touching their feet if they are older.

What is done to the body of a deceased Hindu person?

A deceased Hindu’s body is usually washed by family members. The family may wish to light a small lamp or burn incense near the body with sacred threads and religious objects being left in place. Traditionally, Hindus cremate their dead because a burning dissolution of the body gives swifter, fuller liberation of the soul than the burial which maintains the psychic link of the soul to its just-ended earthly existence.

Designed by Freestockcenter / Freepik

Designed by Freestockcenter/Freepik

How do you greet a Muslim at the beginning of Ramadan?

The most well-known greeting at the beginning of Ramadan is “Ramadan Mubarak”, and it translates as “blessed celebration” or “have a blessed celebration.” It also has the same meaning as “Happy Ramadan”. When someone will greets you with “Ramadan Mubarak” you can reply with “Khair Mubarak”, which means that you reciprocate the good wishes, you can also say “Ramadan Kareem”, during the period of the Ramadan celebration, which means “Generous Ramadan” and is another way to wish “Happy Ramadan”. In response to your wishes, someone can reply, “JazakAllah Khair” which is a way to say thank you and means “May Allah reward you with goodness.” At the last day of Ramadan (Eid-al-Fitr), the greeting that you can use is “Eid Mubarak.” Some other wishes that you can say to people over the month of Ramadan are: “May this Ramadan be as bright as ever”, “Wishing you all the blessings of the holy month”, and “As you fast and offer prayers to Allah, may you find your peace and happiness. Have a peaceful and happy Ramadan”.

How do I respond to As Salaam Alaikum?

As-Salaam-Alaikum” is the most common greeting among Muslims and means “Peace be upon you”. The most common response that you can give is “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam”, which means “Peace be also with you”. The proper reply by Muslims is “'Wasalamualaikum warahmatullahi”. This response is both a greeting and a proclamation of faith that can be used in response to anyone who professes Muslim faith. “As-Salaam-Alaikum” is a routine greeting used whenever and wherever Muslims are gathered or interact, whether socially or within worship as well as other contexts, gathered. At the beginning and end of lectures and sermons, Muslim ministers and audiences regularly exchange this greeting.

How do I greet a Muslim?

Try to greet a Muslim as they greet one another. Use the well – known greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum” which means “Peace is upon you”. You can also use the longer greeting “As-Salamu-Alaikum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh”, which means “Peace is upon you and so may the mercy of Allah and his blessings”. Have in mind that the greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum” is used when you arrive or leave a meeting and has the meaning of “Hello” and “Goodbye”. When you receive the “As-Salaam-Alaikum” you can respond with the “Wa-Alaikumussalam wa-Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu”, which means “May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah are upon you”. If you greet a Muslim, he/she will return the greeting regardless of the religion of the other person. It's against their religion to refuse to greet you back.
Another issue that accompanies the greeting is the handshake. You can shake hand with a male Muslim only if you are male. It is common between male Muslims to shake hands. If you are male, do not shake hand with female Muslims, unless she starts the handshake. Female Muslims avoid the handshake and the physical contact with any man outside of their family (husband, brother, father) due to religious restrictions. Some female Muslims, especially those who work in business environments, prefer to wear gloves, to bypass the restriction on touching a male who is not a relative. Also, if you are a female do no shake hands with male Muslims. They avoid touching any women outside their family (mother, wife, and daughter). For male Muslims to avoid the touching of women is a gesture of respect and modesty.

Which is Islam’s greatest feast day?

“Eid – Al – Adha” is the holiest and greatest feast day for Muslims. The feast is also known as “Feast of the Sacrifice”. Eid al-Adha’s origin dates back to Prophet Abraham’s story, as it is told in the Quran. Abraham and his wife were given a son in their old age after years of waiting for a child. But Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son as a testament of his love of Allah. The couple went to Mecca to accomplish the task. But before the sacrifice, Allah replaced his son (traditionally identified with Ismail) with a lamb. So, the day celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to the command of Allah. In celebration of the love of Abraham for Allah and this ultimate act of devotion, Muslims honour this by annually sacrificing an animal on Eid al-Adha. This animal can be a lamb, a goat, or a cow. The animal is divided into three parts. One part goes to the poor; one goes to a relative, and the last part remains with the family for cooking. During the morning of the “Eid – Al – Adha” and before the sacrifice, Muslims attend a special prayer which goes by the name “Salat al-Eid”. The purpose of this celebration is to make a Muslim more virtuous in his/her actions. It should not only be intended to offer sacrifices but also to learn hidden lessons of freedom from personal desires and to protect a Muslim from everything that hinders his/her ability to perform his duties as a Muslim.

What do Muslims celebrate on Eid al-fitr?

“Eid – Al – Fitr” is one of the major holidays for Muslims and means “Feast of Fast-Breaking”. It is held on the last day of Ramadan and celebrates the end of the fasting period. This holiday comes on the first day of the 10th month in the Islamic lunar calendar. It is usually celebrated over a three-day period, and the first day of the celebration marks the end of Ramadan. “Eid – Al – Fitr” is an expression of true joy and gratitude for the opportunities given to Muslims by Allah to fulfil their duty of fasting and to do other good deeds during the month of Ramadan. The Muslim community expresses this joy and gratitude collectively by recalling, praising, and glorifying Allah in the form of congregational prayer (Salat-ul-Eid). During the month of Ramadan, Muslims avoid eating while the Sun is up. On “Eid – Al – Fitr” they celebrate the end of fasting with a sweet snack, and then they prepare themselves for a celebration day. On “Eid – Al – Fitr” they dress up in their best clothes, adorn their homes with lights and decorations, and attend a special Eid prayer in their mosque. Before prayer, Muslims make a donation (the Zakat al Fitr) for the period of Ramadan. The donation could be food or cash and is distributed to the poor. After the prayer, gifts are distributed, especially for children, who receive many gifts. Women also accept gifts from the members of their family. On this day, people are also encouraged to settle feuds or disputes, especially among members of the family.

What do Muslims celebrate on Eid al-adha?

“Eid – Al – Adha” is another major holiday for Muslims. “Eid – Al – Adha” celebrates Abraham’s intended sacrifice of his son when he was ordered to show his commitment to Allah. After Allah was convinced that Abraham would indeed sacrifice Ismail in order to prove his faith, the angel Gabriel replaced him with a lamb according to the command of Allah. The name of the holiday means “The Feast of the Sacrifice”. A lamb or an animal is sacrificed in the same way that Abraham sacrificed the lamb. The meat of the lamb or the animal goes to the poor, to relatives and family members. The sacrifice (together with the distribution of the sacrificial lamb) is an expression of generosity; it is one of the five pillars of Islam, symbolizing obedience to Allah. On this day children receive gifts in order to commemorate the holiday, and special prayers are recited during the feast. “Eid – Al – Adha” begins on the 10th day of Dhu'l-Hijja, which is the last month of the Muslim calendar. It lasts for three days, and it takes place at the end of the annual Hajj or the celebration of the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. For this celebration, Muslims from around the world make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims are required to try to perform Hajj at least once during their lifetime.

How do I greet a Muslim on Eid al-fitr?

You can greet a Muslim on “Eid – Al – Fitr” using the phrase “Eid Mubarak” which means “Blessed Eid” and it is used by Muslims around the world to greet each other on this day of celebration, and has a formal tone. You can also use the greeting “Eid Saeed”, which means “Happy Eid”, and it is a more informal greeting, which is exchanged between friends and family members.

How do I greet a Muslim on Eid al-adha?

The main and most common greeting for the “Eid – Al – Adha” is “Eid Adha Mubarak”, which means “Blessed Eid Adha” or “Have a blessed holiday”. The translation of the word “Eid” is “feast” or “festival”. The reply to the “Eid Adha Mubarak” is “Khair Mubarak” and with this response, somebody sends to you also good wishes that you also have a blessed day.

Is male circumcision obligatory for Muslims?

Circumcision in Islam is one of the rules of cleanliness. It is connected with the religious rituals of praying. Islam recommends the performance of circumcision at an early age, preferably the 7th day after birth, but it can be accomplished up to 40 days after birth or up to age seven (7) depending on the child’s or infant’s health. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur'an, but it is emphasized in the Sunnah (words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). Circumcision, in Islam, is not part of a religious ceremony, and therefore, unlike Judaism, any suitably qualified person can perform it.

Which gifts should I avoid giving a Muslim?

You can give a variety of things as gifts to Muslim friend, and colleagues. If you are planning to give them a food-related gift keep in mind “halal” and “haraam”. Avoid food if you are not sure that the type of food that you would like to buy is permitted in the Muslim diet. Alcohol is “haraam” and is insulting if you offer it to a Muslim as a gift. Avoid perfumes as they also contain alcohol, and are not a good choice as a gift. Also, avoid any gift that includes a representation of the human body. For little girls, avoid buying dolls in a swimsuit or short dresses. If you would like to give candies as a gift make sure that they do not contain alcohol or gelatine (unless it's kosher/halal, i.e., non-pork based) which is also found in marshmallows, gums, and chewy candies like taffy, gummy bears and jelly beans. It is important for Muslims that one respects their privacy and modesty, so avoid giving clothes or other personal items (such as make up) as gifts, especially if you are not particularly close to the person. Always give your gift to a Muslim friend or colleague with both hands or with your right hand. Giving a gift with the left hand is regarded as insulting.

Do Muslims have a birth ceremony?

Muslims have certain birth customs. The mother and father should perform some rituals after the birth of a child. A female doctor is preferable for the birth of a Muslim child.
The first words that a child should hear after his/her birth is an adhan. The father of the child whispers in the child’s right ear an adhan (call to prayer). The most commonly used adhan after birth is “There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God”. It is religiously important for Muslim women to breastfeed their children soon after they are born. Shortly after the child’s birth, Muslim women receive ratb dates that are thought to enhance their breast milk quality. Some Muslims also believe that newborn boys should be circumcised on the 7th day.

If invited to a Muslim dinner/lunch/feast, how should a man dress?

If you are invited to a Muslim dinner, lunch, or feast, you should put on something casual and modest. It is important that male visitors cover up the areas of the shoulders and above the knees. Try to expose as less skin as possible. Wear long trousers and a dress shirts with full-length sleeves. Any clothing that is too tight around the body should be avoided. When you enter in a Muslim home, you should take off your shoes at the door.

If invited to a Muslim dinner/lunch/feast, how should a female dress?

If you are invited to a Muslim dinner, lunch, or feast, you should wear modest clothes. It is important that female visitors cover up their arms, their wrists, their knees, and their ankles. Try to expose as less skin as possible. You can wear a long dress with no cleavage and with long sleeves, , or a long pair of trousers with a loose top reaching underneath your hips or a long jacket. You can also wear a long western style dress that falls past your ankles and a cardigan to cover your arms. Avoid also everything that is extremely tight around your body. For headwear, you can take a long scarf with you and you can wrap it around your head if you see other women doing that. When you enter in a Muslim home, you should take off your shoes at the door.

In Islam, is there a prayer said before eating?

Before any meal, Muslims recognize that all of their blessings come from Allah. Around the world, Muslims say a personal prayer (Du’a) before and after their meals. The Islamic Du’a intercession for meals is not communal, unlike most of the “grace” prayers said before meals in many cultures and religions. Each Muslim can say his/her personal Du’a silently, whether eating alone or in a group. This type of Du’a is said whenever food or a drink pass a Muslim’s lips regardless if it is a sip of water, a full meal, or just a snack. The most common Du’a before food is “Bismillah”, which means “In the name of Allah”. Another one is “Bismillahi wa barakatillah”, which means “In the name of Allah and with the blessings of Allah”.

In Islam, how do you address the Imam?

A Muslim Imam is addressed as “Imam”, and you can add his name after the honorary title. You should avoid calling him by his first name unless you know him well personally. In Islam, the term Imam refers to the prayer leader, who may also serve as a spiritual counsellor and Islamic law expert. Traditionally, the Imam is always a man. Avoid physical contact (handshake) with the Imam if you are a female.

What is the Shahada?

The Shahada is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam. In Arabic, it means testimony or witness. The shahada is the Muslim path of faith, articulating the two basic beliefs that make somebody a Muslim: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his servant and messenger”. The first part, “there is no god but Allah”, is a confession of monotheism, the oneness of God upon which Muslim theological discourse is based. The second part, "Muhammad is his servant and messenger”, is testimony of one's the faith in Muhammad’s prophethood from which flows the entire ethical system of Islam. Muslims hold that repeating the Shahada is the first and most significant of Islam’s Five Pillars, since understanding and accepting it means fully understanding and accepting the essential nature of Islam. Muslims retain that belief in the Shahada’s content is the primary distinctive feature that determines a Muslim as a Muslim. In its original Arabic, a single sincere public recitation of the Shahada is all that is needed to convert to Islam.

If invited to a Shahada, should I take a gift with me?

Belonging to the Muslim religion is considered to be identical to human nature. Shahada is therefore the public proclamation of this state. One may demonstrate good wishes on this solemn occasion by offering a token of friendship.

If invited to a Muslim dinner/lunch/feast, should I take a gift?

When you are invited to a Muslim dinner, lunch, or feast, it is not always mandatory to bring a gift. But the gift giving would be considered a wonderful gesture from your part as a visitor and it is appreciated. Muslims are usually very modes, and they value generosity. So when you visit a Muslim family for dinner, lunch or feast, you can take a small gift such as fruit or soda.

How should a female greet a male Muslim?

If you are a female and would you like to greet a male Muslim avoid using the “As-Salaam-Alaikum”. Muslims use “As-Salaam-Alaikum” when men greet men, women greet woman, and a man greets his female family members. All the above groups can use the greeting of salaam, and the other has to return the greeting. However, there is a unique rule that refers to a man who greets a woman (non-family member) because of the possibility of “fitnah” (temptation) that in certain cases may result from it. You should not start the salaam greeting either because if you do, he will not greet you back because according to Islam, you do not deserve a response. If he returns the greeting to you, then this is makrooh ("detestable" or "reprehensible”). If there is a group of men, a woman can greet them as a group with salaam, as there is no fear of temptation.
Females should not shake hands with male Muslims and they should not reach for a male Muslim’s hand unless he starts the contact. Male Muslims avoid touching women outside their family (mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters), out of respect and modesty.

How should a female greet a female Muslim?

Muslim women can greet other women like men greet other men. Greetings between women is more affectionate and can involve hugs. If you are a close friend with the female Muslim, you can exchange three kisses on each cheek. But some women may be less physically affectionate in a public place or if they are in the view of men who do not belong to their family. It is also appropriate if you do not know the female Muslim well to greet her verbally with a respectful nod and a smile if you feel that she is not keen to be touched.

How should a male greet a female Muslim?

If you are a male and want to greet a female Muslim avoid the “As-Salaam-Alaikum” greeting. Muslims use “As-Salaam-Alaikum” when men greet men, women greet woman, and when a man greets his female family members. All the above groups can use the greeting of salaam, and the other has to return the greeting. However, there is a unique rule that prohibits a man from greeting a woman (nonfamily member) because of fitnah (temptation) that in certain cases, may result from it. So, if the woman is a stranger, the man should not greet her with the salaam greeting, and if he does by mistake, she should not greet him back. If she is an elderly woman and there is not the fear of temptation, then a male can greet her with salaam, and she can return the greeting. You can greet a female Muslim, place your hand on your chest and make a polite gesture/nod. If there is a group of women, a man can greet them as a group with salaam, as there is no fear of temptation.
Do not shake hands with female Muslims unless she starts the contact. Muslim women avoid physical touch with men outside of their family (father, brother, husband, etc.) due to religious reasons. If the female Muslim is married, she is not permitted to touch any other man, in respect to her husband and means that only her husband is allowed to touch her.

How should a man greet a male Muslim?

Males can simply greet other male Muslims by wishing them peace. You can use the “As-Salam-u-Alaikum” greeting, as it is the minimum phrase required when greeting a Muslim. It is permitted to use this short greeting phrase when you have no time, such as when you meet somebody on the street. You can add the phrase “wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuhu” in order to complete your greeting. If you are a male, you are allowed to shake hands with male Muslims. it is generally not prohibited in Islam for men to shake hands with other men. If a Muslim refuses to shake your hand, do not be offended as most of the times, it is not a personal issue but a reflection of their religious beliefs. Some basic rules regarding greeting Muslims are: a) The one who arrives greets the Muslims present, b) The one who greets first is the one who walks, c) The one who walks greets the one who sits, d) The smaller group greets the larger group, e) The youngest greet the elders, f) Use the salaam greeting when you arrive and leave a meeting or a gathering.

At what age do Muslims start fasting during Ramadan?

It is not necessary for Muslim children to fast during Ramadan before they reach mature age (puberty, around 14 years old). At 14 years of age, they are considered adults, and should make their own decisions regarding their religious responsibilities. During Ramadan, Muslim family routines and mealtimes are changed, and there is more time for community gatherings and family visits. In many Muslim families, young children are encouraged to participate in fasting in a way that is suitable for their age. It is common for them to fast for a part of a day, for example from 5 am until lunchtime. It is not common for young children to fast more than a short period during the day; some older children may push themselves to try a bit longer. However, this is generally left to the child, as children are not put under any pressure.

If invited to a Muslim wedding, what attire is appropriate?

If you are invited to a Muslim wedding, you should keep in mind that Muslims are conservative in what to wear. If you are a female, you should cover your body as much as possible. Your arms, wrists, legs, ankles, and your upper body should be covered. It is good to cover also your head with a scarf if the wedding takes place in a mosque. Preferably wear thick tights or socks to cover your feet when you enter inside the sacred part of the mosque. Before entering a mosque, you should remove your shoes. You can wear jewellery and accessories. The most representative outfit for a Muslim wedding could be a long dress with long sleeves or a long skirt with a loose shirt with long sleeves and high neckline.
If you are a man, you are freer to wear what you choose. You should cover the area of your shoulder and your knees. A man attending a Muslim wedding can wear the same outfit that he would wear to any other wedding, such as a suit. Men, like women, should also remove their shoes before they enter into the sacred part of the mosque. So you may want to cover your feet for your comfort, though it is not mandatory.

If invited to a Muslim wedding, what gift is customarily appropriate?

Any Islamic artwork is an appreciated traditional wedding gift. Islamic artwork generally includes Arabic calligraphy of God's name, Muslim prophet Muhammad's name, or Quranic verses. Tapestries, paintings, framed canvases, vases, and other household items can contain Islamic calligraphy.
Many Islamic cultures deeply appreciate poetry, and particularly religious poetry, which reflects the connection with God or the beauty of His blessings. Many Muslim couples will appreciate a book with Islamic religious poetry. A good gift is also a coffee –table book about Islamic art, architecture, history, inventions, or cultures.
If the groom or the bride is a close friend, you can ask him/her what they need or would like as a gift. If you do not know what to give the couple as a gift, you can give cash as it is also a tradition at Muslim weddings. You can put the money in an envelope or a card with your name on it.
In some traditional Muslim weddings, the gifts are more cultural rather than religious. For example, in South Asian and Arab weddings, guests commonly give jewellery or clothes to the bride. At African Muslim weddings, traditional sweets are given with the wedding gifts.
You should avoid buying any gift that contains alcohol or related to it (champagne or wine glasses). Muslims do not give or serve alcohol, so you should avoid giving them anything that is related to it.

Where does the main Muslim wedding ceremony take place?

A marriage contract is the only requirement for a Muslim wedding. Many marriages are not held at mosques. If a ceremony is held in a mosque, men and women, have to sit separately. The average wedding ceremony is short (less than an hour) and consists of three parts. The first part, called "Sadaq" or “Mahr” is the ceremony during which the groom offers his gift to the bride. Many times the engagement ring is part of the “Mahr” ceremony. During “Mahr”, the bride and groom are not able to see each other. “Mahr” is followed by “Nikah”, which is the actual Muslim marriage contract which the groom and bride sign in front of their guests. Before they sign it, it should be read aloud in Arabic. Then, both the groom and the bride need to agree to this marriage by saying "qubool hai" three times each when asked by the Imam or the religious official. Also “Nikah” consists of reading from the Qur'an, and the exchange of the vows in front of witnesses for both partners. “Savaqah” is the last part of a Muslim wedding ceremony when the bride is showered with coins in celebration as the couple exit from the ceremony. Muslim marriage has to be done in public and should never be undertaken in secret. The publicity is usually achieved by having a large celebration, or walimah - a party specifically intended to announce publicly that the couple is married and entitled to each other.

Who are the main celebrants at a Muslim wedding?

A Muslim wedding can be officiated by any Muslim who knows the Islamic tradition. No special religious official is mandatory, but often the Imam is present and performs the ceremony. Couples who wish to get married in a Mosque can make use of the marriage officers that are generally called “qazi” or “madhun” to officiate their wedding.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Muslim wedding?

A Muslim wedding is often followed by a reception or dinner, called “Walima”. “Walima” is a wedding celebration that may last for two days after the wedding. During “Walima” food is served such as fish, chicken and rice (which are ancient symbols of fertility) together with candy-covered almonds that are considered to be aphrodisiacs. Family members, relatives, friends, colleagues and associates are usually invited. It is wrong for somebody to invite only rich people or only people that come from the upper class. Relatives and guests come to the “Walima” with their gifts for the new married couple. At “Walima” men and women usually dine separately. After the dinner the new married couple sit together for the first time.

How long is the service of a Muslim funeral?

A Muslim funeral is short due to the requirement that the body be buried as soon as possible. The ceremony usually lasts between half an hour to an hour and includes prayers, chants, and funeral rituals.

Where does a Muslim funeral take place?

Normally, a Muslim funeral takes place at the mosque, but a funeral ceremony can also be held at home.

Where are Muslims buried in Malta?

After a Muslim funeral, the body is taken to the cemetery for burial. By tradition, only men are allowed to attend the burial. No conversation is permitted at the time of burial, and the guests pray for the soul of the departed. The grave should be at right angles to the direction of Mecca and the deceased wrapped in a shroud is placed on their right side facing the Muslim holy city. The corpse is not buried in a coffin but wood and stones are placed on top of the body to prevent direct contact between the corpse and the soil. All mourners pour handfuls of earth on top before it is filled in. Muslims in Malta are buried at the Muslim Cemetery at Corradino.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at a Muslim wedding?

If you are invited to a Muslim wedding, you wish the new couple “Shadi Mubarak” or “Nikah Mubarak”. Both of them are used when we want to congratulate someone for his/her wedding.

When does the Muslim funeral normally take place?

According to Islamic law (Shariah), the body should be buried as soon as possible after the time of death. This means that preparations for the funeral begin immediately after death. It’s typical to bury a male or female Muslim within three days, although most strive for within 24 hours. Before a Muslim funeral, the body should be washed (Ghusl) three times and shrouded (Kafan). Most of the times, the same sex family members perform the Ghusl on the body. In some Muslim communities, the husband or the wife of the dead person can take part in the preparations. Once the body is cleansed and prepared, it is covered with a white sheet and is laid upon three large white sheets. Before the body is transferred to the mosque for the funeral, it is wrapped in the sheets and secured with ropes. Any viewing of the body is not permitted before the funeral.

What is the appropriate attire at a Muslim funeral?

Both males and females may attend a Muslim funeral ceremony. As in any other faith, anyone who attends the mosque is expected to dress modestly, and this applies to both men and women. This means a shirt and trousers for men and an ankle length skirt or dress, which should not be tight or transparent, with a long sleeved and high-necked shirt for the women. Women must cover their head during the funeral ceremony. Shoes are removed before entering the mosque. Therefore, clean and presentable socks or stockings are always a good idea. Only men normally attend the burial at the cemetery.

Is it appropriate to send flowers Muslim funeral?

There are mixed feelings regarding taking flowers for a Muslim funeral. Some hold that the Islamic emphasis on simplicity makes presenting flowers inappropriate. Others contend that it would be appropriate to send flowers after a Muslim funeral and during the mourning period. The best you can do is to ask the family if flowers are appropriate for this occasion. If the answer is positive, you can send fragrant flowers, such as roses or palm branches.

Who presides at a Muslim funeral service?

An Imam always presides over the funeral service.

Will there be an open casket at the Muslim funeral?

There is rarely an open casket during a Muslim funeral and the deceased’s eyes and mouth are always closed.

Can I attend the Muslim burial ceremony at the cemetery?

Yes, you can, but only if you are a male. Females are not permitted to attend the burial ceremony that takes part at the graveside.

Should I attend the Muslim funeral ceremony by the graveside?

Yes, you should, but only if you are a male. Females are not permitted to attend the burial ceremony at the cemetery.

Is cremation allowed in Islam?

Cremation is forbidden to Muslims due to religious reasons.

In Islam, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

The length of the mourning period required in Islam depends on the relationship with the deceased. The normal amount of time dedicated to mourning is three days after death. After these three days, Muslims can also return to their work. Friends and family together mourn their loved one during the three-day period . The responsibilities for the immediate family are kept to a minimum during these three days. Most will stay together in a family home and receive friends and more distant relatives. Mourners will take care of the family's basic needs during this time, including meals and food. Extended mourning periods might be necessary for extraordinary circumstances concerning death or if relatives need to travel long distances to visit.

In Islam, after how many days after the funeral will mourners normally return to their social schedule?

The period of mourning for a relative under Islamic funeral customs is typically three (3) days. However, widows have additional behavioural rituals and customs. They are expected to spend four months and ten days in a period of mourning after the death of their husband. The widow will have limited involvement with the outside world, and she should stay at home during this time. For special needs, such as a doctor's visit or a business transaction, she is permitted to leave the house. During this time, family and friends will take care of the woman’s basic needs. During this period widows should also avoid contact with any man who might be considered a potential candidate for a marriage relationship.

In Islam, are there rituals for observing the anniversary of a death?

Given that Islam does not recommend observing anniversaries of someone's death, it is important that such observance (of anniversaries of death) should not be given religious meaning, nor should it involve any religious rituals. There is no death anniversary in Islam. The mourning period is for three days only. In Islam, one can read the Quran at any time as a prayer for the repose and forgiveness of a dead person. Also, one can pray or make Omra (lesser pilgrimage to Mecca) with the same intention.

What is the position of Islam on abortion?

The Hadith and the opinions of legal, religious scholars, and commentators shape Muslims views on abortion. The Quran does not specifically address purposeful abortion, leaving this authority to each country’s laws. In Islam, it is believed that the foetus becomes a human life after 120 days of pregnancy and abortion after this period is forbidden. In general, Muslims believe that abortion is “Haram”, but there are many who accept it under certain circumstances. Muslim Law accepts abortion if the pregnancy puts the life of the mother in real danger . This is the only reason that can justify abortion after four (4) months of pregnancy.

What is the position of Islam on euthanasia?

Euthanasia is forbidden for Muslims. Islam teaches that Allah gives life and also has the absolute power to take it. Allah has allocated a term for each soul to which no one can add a second when it expires. Only Allah controls death, and He alone decides how long each person will live. Humans should not play any role in the death of another person. According to Islam, life is sacred, and euthanasia is not permitted. It is incorrect for any person, even a patient or a doctor, to end a life because it would be contrary to the plan of Allah for that soul. In Islam, people who break this rule will not go to Paradise. Suffering should be accepted and dealt with as Muslims believe that Allah will not permit anyone to suffer more than they can. Suffering is seen as a test from Allah, and those who handle their suffering will be rewarded in Heaven.. Euthanasia is defined as suicide, which is also contrary to Islam’s beliefs. Everyone who encourages euthanasia or motivates someone to end his/her life commits "Zulm" (sin) because the dying person is denied his/her right to life.

What is the position of Islam on blood transfusion?

Blood transfusion and blood donation are permitted in Islam. Blood donation is permitted since it does not harm the donor, and it is necessary to help other human beings. Islam accepts blood transfusion if the recuperation of the injured or sick person depends on a blood transfusion and it is necessary for the saving of the patient's life and when no other medicines or food can help him/her. Since there is no evidence that blood transfusion is prohibited by Islamic law, there is no harm in it. It is better if a man transfuses blood to another man and if a woman to another woman. While blood spilled is considered unclean, donated blood is not spilled, and the status of uncleanness does not apply to it. The transfusion of blood between a man and his wife will not disrupt their marriage. Selling blood is prohibited. Donating blood may not invalidate fasting, as giving blood to a fasting person by transfusion does not invalidate his/her fasting.

What is the position of Islam on IVF?

As it is in human nature to want to have children, IVF is not forbidden in Islam. Muslims acknowledge that all death and life occur according to God’s Will. It is not considered a rebellion against the will of God to strive for a child in the face of infertility. All assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are permitted under Islamic law, as long as sperm, ovum, and uterus are all of a legally married couple and the procedure is done during their marriage. Thus if a Muslim married couple choose to have children with the IVF method, fertilization should be done with the husband’s sperm and the wife's eggs, and the embryos have to be transplanted into the wife’s uterus. No third party should interfere with marital sex and procreation functions. It is forbidden to use the sperm of anyone other than the woman's husband’s. An abundance of fertilized embryos can be maintained by cryopreservation and transferred in a successive cycle to the same wife while the marriage is unharmed. It is not allowed to use the husband’s frozen sperm after his death.

What is the position of Islam on surrogate motherhood?

Islam is against surrogacy because it is an obvious way of using donor sperm, a foreign element, in a woman's womb, resulting in lineage mixing. The implementation of male sperm into the womb of a woman to whom he is not married transgresses Allah’s boundaries. Also, Islam has banned adultery (zina) completely, and all that leads to it. Islam attaches great importance to the preservation of the lineage. The protection and preservation of progeny (hifz al-nasl) is one of Shariah’s five universals. The introduction of a third party (surrogate mother) into the family equation would therefore, confuse the lineage. The use of a third person’s sperm or eggs would develop doubt and uncertainty about the identity of the child. By surrogacy, the lineage and identity of the child will not be preserved and protected.

What is the position of Islam on adoption?

Adoption is allowed in Islam. It is permitted to raise a child who is not your genetic child and it is even encouraged in the case of the adoption of orphans, yet it is not allowed to change the family name of the adopted child.

What is the position of Islam on fostering?

Islam attaches great significance to the appropriate care, well-being, and education of children, particularly in vulnerable situations. Quranic Law has well-defined rules governing a child’s different situations, whether he or she is an orphan or abandoned and neglected. So, fostering is allowed in Islam.

What is the position of Islam on divorce?

Islamic divorce can take many forms, some initiated by the husband and some initiated by the wife. Talaq (repudiation, see Q. 2:229), khul (mutual divorce, wherein the wife requests the husband to proclaim talaq, see Q. 229), judicial divorce, and oaths are the main traditional legal categories. In Islam, traditionally, divorce rules were controlled by Sharia, as construed by classical Islamic jurisprudence, although they differed according to legal schools, and traditional practices often varied from legal principles. According to the Quran, marriage is designed to be timely, as stated by its description as a "strong bond" and by the divorce rules. Ideally, the connection between the husband and wife should be based on love and mutual respect and the important decisions should be taken by agreement. The Quran allows and even advises the husband and wife to bring the marriage to an end when marital harmony cannot be achieved. However, this choice should not be taken lightly, and the community is called upon to take action by appointing arbitrators from both families to try to reconcile the couple.

What is the position of Islam on polygamy?

Polygamy is permitted in Islam under certain circumstances and can be practised only under certain conditions and with limitations (see Q. 4:2-3). A man is allowed to marry again if his wife is chronically ill and is unable to fulfill their marriage commitments, or unable to give him children. Under certain circumstances, such as in times of war, it may be necessary to protect the principles of society by marrying widows so as to care for orphans. A Muslim husband can have up to four (4) wives. Women married to a chronically ill, sterile or impotent husband are allowed to divorce if they consider their marriage to be unbearable.

Are any prayers said in Islam for a dying person?

Most Muslims exercise specific rituals to prepare the dying person for his death. The Talqeen is carried out for those who are ready to die, to make sure that they are spiritually ready for the journey to death. The leading person of the Talqeen recites to the dying person:
In the name of Allah and on the creed, religion, and faith of Rasulullah. O! Allah, ease upon him his matters, and make light for him whatever comes hereafter, and honour him with Your meeting and make that which he is going to be better than that which he is leaving.
Those who are present have the opportunity to share their prayers and the leader of the Talqeen motivates the dying person to remember the Shahada before his/her last breath:
I bear witness that (there is) no god except Allah; One is He, no partner hath He, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

Which food is allowed in Islam?

Only “Halal” food as defined by Islamic nutritional laws is allowed in Islam. In Arabic “Halal” means lawful or permitted. “Halal” foods are those that are free from any component that Islamic law (Shariah) prohibits Muslims from eating, and they are processed, manufactured and stored using utensils, equipment, and machinery purified under Islamic law. Products with a “halal” symbol on their packaging have been authorized by an agency and are certificated free of any elements or ingredients that are prohibited. Examples of “halal” food include the following: cereal products not containing haram ingredients, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables, cheese, yogurt and ice cream with bacterial culture without animal rennet, certified meat, and poultry, seafood, nuts, eggs, and tofu. “Haram” is the opposite of “Halal” and means unlawful or prohibited. In Islam, these two terms are used in relation to to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and food contact materials. Muslims are forbidden to consume foods and drinks that are “haram”. Examples of “Haram” food: Cereal products containing haram ingredients (alcohol animal fats, vanilla extract), fruits and vegetables containing haraam ingredients (alcohol, animal fats, gelatine, bacon), cheese, yogurt and ice cream made with animal rennet, vanilla extract, gelatine, pepsin or lipase, pork and its products, non-certified meat and poultry and any product prepared with alcohol or animal fats.

Which drinks are allowed in Islam?

The drinks that are allowed in Islam are “Halal” drinks, and the forbidden ones are “Haram” drinks. “Halal” drinks are fresh juices (from fresh fruits and vegetables), milk and water. “Haram” drinks are alcoholic beverages, and this even involves sauces or liquids that may include alcohol, such as soy sauce, for food preparation. Also, it is considered “Haram” when a Muslim eats or sits at a table where people drink alcohol.

Who is exempted from fasting?

As with the case of other faith groups, several groups are exempt from the duty of fasting during Ramadan, which in each case is not considered to be mandatory. These groups include:
1. People who suffer from any type of physical illness, temporary or permanent, where there is the possibility that fasting may worsen their health condition or slow their recovery. Such persons should be careful and protect themselves. Furthermore, if a sick person feels that fasting can slow down the recovery process or cause more damage to the body, he/she is also exempt from fasting. But if healthy persons feel tired or find fasting difficult, they are not allowed to halt their fast, and there is no excuse for them to break their fast.
2) Travellers, but only under some special conditions: a) The journey duration and distance should be such that it falls within the category that allows shortened prayers. b)  The traveller should not intend to settle at the place he is traveling to. c) The traveling purpose should not be sinful. That is because such exemption is considered a concession and a relief that the sinner doesn't deserve on his journey leading to sin. Two things can terminate this travel concession: a) When the traveller returns to the place where he/she is a resident and b) When the traveller decides to remain in a location, permanently or for a long time, and the location is suitable for settling in.
3) Women during pregnancy or nursing. This group cannot participate in Ramadan, since fasting can harm the mother or the child’s health. However, women have to do qaza and pay fidya for every day of fasting, after their pregnancy or child weaning.
4) Women who have a monthly period cycle. They can continue their fasting when their period has ended.
5) Senility and old age. This group includes people who are old and have lost their strength, or who are near death. Old age implies weakness, terminal illnesses, loss of mental abilities, and extreme fragility; so it is believed that the elderly do not have to fast at the expense of their health.
6) Children who have not reached puberty. Fasting for children who have not reached puberty is not compulsory. Once they do, it becomes necessary.
7) People who have a mental illness. Individuals who are mentally challenged or victims of any mental illness that affects their entire cognition are not required to fast during Ramadan.

What is the position of Islam on female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is neither an Islamic requirement nor practice. In the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, there is no reference that states that women and girls should be circumcised. One of Islam's fundamental principles comes from its Prophet and says: “Do not harm yourself or others”. Most Muslims around the world do not practice female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation practice predates, and it also disreputes the religion of Islam. The mutilation of the body is prohibited in Islam. In the above context, female genital mutilation is reprehensible because it irrevocably harms the women. Although female genital mutilation may not be an Islamic procedure, some Muslims believe it is Islamic. Official statements by prominent religious leaders who condemn female genital mutilation and declare it as “un-Islamic” are therefore an essential part of the fight against the practice.

Who do I call when a Muslim person dies?

You should call the family and an Imam. The Imam will arrange everything that is needed for the funeral ceremony, which should normally take place within 24 hours after the death of a Muslim.

What is the position of Islam on female contraception?

Islam is strongly family oriented, and Muslims believe that children are God’s gift. Muslim sexual morality prohibits premarital sex, so its contraception teachings should be understood in the context of marriage. Most Muslim authorities allow contraception in practice to preserve the mother’s health or the family’s well-being. Contraceptive methods which do not prevent conception but cause very early abortion are not accepted. Also, contraception is not accepted for the purpose of having a permanently child-free marriage. Sterilization is forbidden because it permanently prevents the begetting of offspring, and because of a text that prohibits the castration of men. Hormonal and other methods (pill, patch, IUD, etc.) - These work by combining fertilization prevention and implantation interference. Most scholars do not look favourably on the use such methods except when done under medical supervision — especially if such methods can harm the woman who uses them.

What is the position of Islam on contraception in general?

Islam is strongly family oriented, and Muslims believe that children are God’s gift. Muslim sexual morality prohibits premarital sex, so its teachings on contraception should be understood within the context of marriage. Most Muslim authorities allow contraception in practice to preserve the mother’s health or the family’s well-being. Contraceptive methods which do not prevent conception but cause very early abortion are not accepted. Also, contraception is not accepted for the purpose of having a permanently child-free marriage. Sterilization is forbidden because it permanently prevents the begetting of offspring, and because of a text that prohibits the castration of men. Islamic law includes various rulings regarding contraception: a) Natural family planning - This was widely practiced during Prophet Muhammad's period, and he did not object to it universally. However, spouses must be sensitive to the needs of fulfilment of each other and should only use this method when there is mutual agreement of the married couple. b) Barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, etc.) - These are intended to prevent conception, which is why most Muslim scholars accept them. c) Hormonal and other methods (pill, patch, IUD, etc.) - These work by combining fertilization prevention and implantation interference. Most scholars do not accept such methods except under medical supervision — especially if such methods can harm the woman who uses them. d) Surgery (vasectomy, tubal ligation, hysterectomy) - Islam prohibits a couple from selecting to be indefinitely child-free by using irrevocable surgeries, except for medical reasons.

What is the teaching of Islam on the after life?

Islamic beliefs about life after death are essential. Muslims believe in the soul's continuing existence and a transformed physical existence after death. Islam teaches that there will be a day of judgment when all people will be divided between those who merit an eternal life in Paradise and those who merit eternal fire in Hell. The Last Day is one of the Quran‘s and the prophet Muhammad most important teachings. On the Last Day the world will witness cosmic upheaval and Allah will raise all the people from dead for their judgment. The Last day is also known as the Day of Judgment, Day of Separation, the Day of Reckoning, or Day of Standing Up, . Until that day, the souls of dead people remain in their tombs and wait for their resurrection, although, they begin to feel a taste of their destiny. They, who are destined to hell, will suffer in their graves and those who are destined to heaven, will stay in their graves in peace until the Last Day.

What is the position of Islam on hysterectomy?

In normal circumstances, hysterectomy is forbidden by Islam. Hysterectomy is a type of irreversible contraception. Hysterectomy is surgery by which women have their ovaries or their womb removed. Muslims should not undertake sterilization, except when necessary for serious health reasons such as if the wife’s life will be in danger if she gets pregnant again or if she has a disease in her womb that might spread and kill her (such as cancer).

What is the position of Islam on vasectomy?

Vasectomy is also one of the irreversible contraception methods and is not allowed in Islam. With irreversible contraception methods, men and women will be sterilized forever, and this is something that goes against Islam’s beliefs.

What should I know if I see the Quran placed on a table or other piece of furniture?

If there is the Quran on a table or another piece of furniture you should not put any books on top of it.

At what times do Muslim pray?

Muslims are required to pray five times every day. The sequence of these prayers is at dawn (Fajr), at noon (Zuhr), late afternoon (Asr), after sunset (Maghrib), and in the early part of the night (Isha). Muslims should perform these obligatory prayers as early as possible. The most important prayers are the one at dawn and the one in the forenoon.

What do Muslims need in order to pray?

Muslims can pray anywhere. They should clean themselves before they pray. Bathing facilities are important. Muslims need a mat if they are not praying in a mosque and knowledge of where to face when praying (for Malta it is East southeast, circa 116⁰ on the compass).

If water is harmful for a Muslim patient what would he need to purify himself before prayer?

If water for ablution is detrimental to a patient, he/she may need a flat smooth stone to purify him/herself for prayer.

Can a Muslim patient take essential medicine during Ramadan?

Muslim are permitted to take essential drugs and medications during Ramadan.

Why do different Muslim women wear different types of head covering?

In Islam, dress codes are known as a hijab, a term that relates to the concept of modesty and involves both behavior and clothing (see Q. 24:31). In the Quran, it relates to concepts of literal and metaphorical sense of separation, security, and coverage. The term has subsequently lost its original meaning and now generally indicates the veil of a Muslim woman or the concept of gender separation. In Islam, the dress rule for female Muslims is modesty. The term hijab implies “cover”, “screen” or “curtain”, referring both to the particular shape of a veil worn by some Muslim women and to the humble Islamic clothing in particular. Modest dress code is open to a variety of interpretations. Some female Muslims prefer to wear clothes that cover the whole body including the face, leaving only their their eyes exposed, although there is no Quranic text to require this. “Hijab” is the name for the most common headscarf that most Muslim women prefer to wear, and it covers the head and neck, but leaves the face open. This scarf is available in different colors and shapes, and most times its color compliments the woman’s clothes. The “Niqab” is a mixture of a head cover and a scarf that protects the whole face of a woman apart from her eyes. It flows down to the middle of the back to cover the hair, and it can flow down to the front at the middle of the chest. It is most common in Arab countries, and it is more tied to culture than to a religious requirements. Most scholars agree that the hijab is compulsory, but only a minority say this about the niqab. “Burqa” covers the entire body from top to bottom. It is the most strict of all Islamic types of head covering. The “Chador” is an exterior, generally black, body-long garment worn primarily by women in Iran. Buttons or fasteners do not protect it at the front, so the women keep it closed with their hands.

What is the position of Islam on the morning-after pill?

The Morning after Pill is a way of oral contraception. Contraception is acceptable in Islam but under certain circumstances and for serious reasons, which have been formed by Shariah. There are two methods of contraception 1) Reversible contraception, and 2) Permanent contraception. Muslim you can use reversible contraception (Morning after Pill) in case of illness or physical weakness, the married couple is on a journey, the wife lives in a different place from the husband, the couple intend to separate soon, and if the wife is not a moral person. In Islam, one can use permanent contraception only if the wife's health is in danger if she becomes pregnant. It is not allowed to use any contraception for reasons of being poor and therefore not able to create a large family.

At what age does a Muslim girl start covering her hair?

The age at which female Muslims start to wear the veil differs with culture. In some cultures, the veil is restricted to married females, and in others, Muslim female teenagers start wearing the veil at puberty as part of the rite of passage that indicates that they are now adults. Some Muslim girls start from a younger age as a type of practice in Islam. Some Muslim women stop wearing the hijab after menopause, while others keep wearing it throughout their lives.

Does Islam allow organ donation?

Organ donation is acceptable in Islam, but a Muslim cannot donate the whole body after death.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware of when a Muslim patient is at the point of death?

When Muslim patients are on the point of death, medical staff should allow them to lie on their right side facing Mecca. Also, they should allow their family and friends to sit near them reading the Quran. The reading of the Quran, when a Muslim is ill, brings some spiritual healing, and also works as a means of feeling close to Allah. They can call an Imam if the patient feels the need to see one. They also should help the patient if he/she wishes to perform the five daily prayers. When a Muslim is dying, or is sick, a large number of visitors will come to visit him/her during the day, as for Muslims, it is a religious duty.

What should medical staff keep in mind if they have a Muslim patient under their care?

A Muslim patient will carry his/her Holy book, the Quran, which the medical staff should treat with respect, and they should avoid putting anything on top of it. A Muslim patient may have the desire to pray five times per day and should therefore be allowed a private space; alternatively, the patient may pray beside his/her bed on a mat. If there are curtains around their bed, they prefer them to be closed. Muslim patients may bring their prayer mat for the duration of their stay in hospital, but if they do not have one, the medical staff can provide them with a large towel to help them with their prayer. Before prayer, a Muslim patient should wash with running water. For this reason, washing facilities are important for Muslim patients. If there are no washing facilities, the medical staff may provide them with a jug or cup with water. Muslim patients also follow the modest dress code of Muslims. Male Muslim patients should be covered from the navel to the knee, and female patients are permitted to expose only their hands and feet. Hospital robes should be flowing and make the patients feel comfortable and safe. Medical staff should also avoid putting a female or male patient in the same room with patients of the opposite sex, as mixing the sexes is not allowed in Islam. Medical staff should also  avoid shaking hands with Muslim patients of the opposite sex with whom they should also limit eye contact and touching while talking. It is preferable that if the patient is female, the doctor who examines her is also a female, and if the patient is a male, the doctor is also a male. If the Muslim patient need to uses a bedpan, the medical staff may also provide them with a jar of water for washing. Medical staff should avoid giving Muslim patients treatments that contain any ingredient derived from pigs (ex. porcine insulin).

Does Islam allow post-mortem?

As is the case with many religions, Muslims may reject post mortems, but if it is required, there are no religious limitations. Before burial, the members of the family would probably want all the organs to return to the body of their relative.

By when should the body of a Muslim be buried?

The dead body of a Muslims should be buried as soon as possible and not later than 24 hours following death.

If a Muslim frail or weak patient wishes to carry out the ablution (ritual washing) before praying, what should the carers/medical staff know?

Ablution is the ritual washing that every Muslim should do before he touches the Quran as well as before prayer. It begins with the washing of hands, rinsing the mouth and nose, cleansing of the face and the arms, running moist fingers over the hair , and finally washing of the feet. In the mosques, there is a special area where the Muslim can perform their ablution before prayers. In hospitals, it is desirable that a wash hand basin be provided for Muslims to perform their ablutions, but if patients are old or weak, they may require assistance. Muslims also tend to clean the parts of their body in running water, and for this, a bucket and jug would be a good solution to help them. Women are required to clean their entire bodies after menstruation.

What should medical staff consider before operating on a Muslim female?

Modesty in clothing is essential for Muslims, and the body of female Muslims should be covered except for their feet and hands. Also, clothes must not be transparent or tightly fitted and must hide the body’s form. Consequently, it is essential to use operational gowns that meet the above necessities. This issue can be a source of worry for female Muslim patients during the transit from their bed to the operating theatre. The garment should cover the female patient’s body in order to prevent any discomfort and embarrassment. Women are required to reveal only a part of their body during the physical examination. Gender mixing is not permitted in Islam, and a Muslim patient will feel very uneasy if his/her bed is close to another patient who is not of the same sex. If available, Islam requires that male patients to be seen by male doctors and nurses and woman patients by woman medical staff. If there is any female doctor to examine a female Muslim patient, a female medical member staff should also be there during the medical examination.

In Islam, what ritual is performed at the birth of a child?

In Islam, when a baby is born, the birth ceremony involves the rituals of Adhan and Iqamat, the shaving of the head, the choice of the name, and circumcision. Newborn Muslim babies should be bathed and the father of the newborn should whisper in the right ear the Adhan (a prayer) and the Shahada. Then he should whisper in the left ear the Iqamat. After the birth, the parents should put something sweet into the baby’s mouth (honey or a tiny piece of date). On the 7th day, the parents should give a name to their newborn. Also on the same day, the baby's head should be shaved, and the males are circumcised.

If a Muslim needs a bedpan, what should medical staff also provide?

When a Muslim patient requires a bedpan, the medical staff also should provide him/her with a beaker or flask of water. Islam's beliefs about personal hygiene have physical and religious connotations. Muslims should cleanse themselves with water after urination or defecation.

What does Islam require in the event of a miscarriage?

Rituals pertaining to miscarriage, stillbirth and death among Muslim children depend on age/stage of development. In all cases Muslim relatives or a religious representative will manage the process. There is no washing ritual for a foetus that has not developed to the point that body form is evident. The opinion of an iman needs to be sought to confirm the stage of development of a foetus at the earlier stages of pregnancy.

What should not be done when Muslim is praying?

It is not appropriate to interrupt a Muslim when he/she prays. Also, one should avoid walking in front of him/her during his/her prayer. One may only interrupt a Muslim during prayer in case of an emergency.

What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims?

The meaning of the word “Sunni” is “ pertaining to the Sunnah", being the way of the Prophet Muhammad, while the term “Shia” comes from a political faction called the Party of Ali. “Sunni” Muslims believe that it had been Prophet Muhammad's wish that the choice of a successor after his death should be by way of an election with the participation of his Companions (Ashab al-Nabi). “Shia” Muslims believe that it had been Prophet Muhammad's wish that the next leader be Ali bin Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law. Approximately 85% of Muslims are “Sunni” and reside all over the world. The majority of them hail from Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. About 15% of Muslims are “Shia”. They hail from Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Conflicts may occur in regions around the world where Sunni and Shiite communities are close to each other. Other differences between these two Muslims groups exist with regard to their rituals of marriage and prayer as well as the interpretation of the Quran. All Sunni Muslims pray five (5) times a day. Some of the Shia Muslims pray only three (3) times a day. The Sunni marriage ceremony lasts longer than the Shia one. For a wedding ceremony between Shiites, no witnesses are required, something which is essential for a Sunni wedding ceremony. Sunni Muslims believe that their leaders should continue to be (and are) elected. Shia Muslims believe that the Islamic leaders should continue to be Prophet Muhammad's immediate descendants and they choose to disregard the elected Sunni leaders, and follow their own leaders.

What is the position of Islam on pornography?

In Islam, pornography is considered “Haram” and a clear sin. For a Muslim to watch naked men and women in sexual positions and engaging in multiple types of foreplay and dirty jokes, unacceptable. Pornography and its culture includes all three aspects that Allah has forbidden in the Quran: a) Fuhsha (meaning anything shameful), b) Munkar (meaning that something is immoral and bad), and c) Baghi (meaning transgression and infringement of others’ rights and freedoms).

What is the position of Islam on sex before marriage?

Pre-marital sex is forbidden in Islam. Also, male Muslims are not permitted to have sex with a prostitute. Sex before marriage is deemed immoral and against the wishes of Allah. Pre-marital sex is considered irresponsible sexual behaviour given that in such interactions, there are no obligations and no commitment. Sex before marriage is punishable by Islamic law.

What is the position of Islam on sex outside marriage?

Muslims are not permitted to have physical or sexual relationships outside marriage. Therefore, it is an obligation of Muslim families and of society to promote marriage, particularly for those above normal marriageable age. If for some reason, a male or female Muslim cannot marry, he/she should follow abstinence and be patient in imploring Allah Almighty to remove the barrier that is preventing marriage.

How long is Ramadan?

Ramadan can last for 29 or 30 days, with the new moon determining the end of the month of fasting.

What are the rights of the Muslim mother in case of separation or divorce?

In Islam, the father is primarily responsible for supervising the upbringing of the children, but motherhood has always been considered as important as regards nurturing. In the Quran, the mother’s right to her children is emphasized due to the major role she plays in the nurturing and upbringing of their kids, if a female Muslim is separated from her husband, she is automatically provided custody over the children unless she remarries or is deemed unsuitable. Also, when children are mature and become adults, they are obliged to take care of their mothers. However in some divorce cases mothers are frequently deprived of the right to care for their children and are left penniless.

Are male and female equal in Islam?

The Quran states that women and men are equal in human dignity, but this religious or ethical equality is not necessarily always followed in Muslim practice or customs. According to the Quran (9:71): “The believers, men and women, are allies (awliya) of one another. They enjoin the ‘common good’ (al ma‘ruf) and forbid the bad (al munkar), they observe prayers (salat) and give charitable alms (zakat) and obey God and his Prophet”. Munkar relates to everything that is dismissed by all the members of a specified community and to a series of moral procedures that are inappropriate. Gender roles are manifested in Islam, partly because males and females sometimes have distinct freedoms and distinct social requirements. According to different interpretations of the Quran, different sects of religion, and different cultures and geographical areas, perspectives on gender roles vary within Islam. In many Islamic societies, however, gender relations can be said to be based on keeping personal distance between the sexes. CHECK Q. 2:228; 4:34a

What should a teacher keep in mind when teaching Physical Education to Muslim female students?

In Islam, both male and female physical training is extremely appreciated. Islamic dress code and communication between male and female students are the main problems of interest to Muslim parents concerning physical education. The significance of Islamic dress code specifications in physical education must be preserved and maintained. If an organization provides a dress code for physical activity, such as a standardized sports gear, that group can adjust the dress code to suit both Islamic demands and safety. With regards to the female sport uniform, the whole body should be covered except for the face and the hands. Clothes should also be comfortable and loose. For many female Muslims, by enabling them to wear tracksuits or sport shoes and long sleeved sports shirts they are allowed to engage in sports activities while fulfilling the modest demands of their practice. Teachers should encourage female students to wear contemporary sports hijabs, which are made of versatile, breathable textiles. For swimming, modest swimming suits should be accepted. Muslims are not allowed to undress or take a shower in front of others of the same or the opposite sex. For many Muslim students changing rooms and showers are spaces that cause them dismay and anguish. For those students who demand privacy, facilities should be made accessible. Females students should be permitted to wear adequate coverage if private showers are not available. In physical education, female educators should supervise female students, especially after puberty.

What is the difference between Sunni Islam and Ahmadiyya Islam?

“Ahmadiyya” Islam believes that Mohammed was not the last prophet. “Ahmadiyya” Muslims also believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian is the next prophet and plays a pivotal role in Islam’s resurgence and advocacy. “Sunni” Muslims believe only in Prophet Mohammed. “Sunni” Islam has a long history, while the “Ahmadiyya” group was only established in 1889 but the name was only accepted a decade later. The name “Ahmadia” comes from Ahmad, one of the Prophet Mohammed’s names. “Ahmadiyya” Islam dismisses the notion of any earthly punishment for apostasy. Faith is an issue between a person and his Creator. While “Sunni” Muslims have generally held that Islam’s penalty for apostasy is death, “Ahmadiyya” Muslims think that all individuals must have the freedom to choose and alter their religion, including the decision to reject religion completely. “Sunni” Muslims are by far the largest community in Islam, and “Ahmadiyya” is a small minority.

Which issues does the school that includes Mulsim pupils need to keep in mind when planning the blessing of animals?

Muslims generally avoid contact with pigs and dogs, as both of these animals are regarded as impure. Schools need to take this into consideration when inviting people with dogs (e.g. police dog handlers or blind people with guide dogs) into the school, or when organising activities such as the blessing of animals, farm visits or work experience placements likely to involve contact with pigs or dogs.

What is the view of Islam regarding dogs?

Dogs are regarded to be impure animals so Muslims generally avoid contact with dogs. However they are allowed for hunting, farming, securityand service to the disabled. Muslims, a much as possible keep dogs outdoors and in any case do not allow them in areas designated for prayer.

Which issues does the teacher need to keep in mind when planning an outing to a farm/petting farm for a class that includes Muslim pupils?

Muslims generally avoid contact with pigs and dogs, as both of these animals are regarded as impure. Schools need to take this into consideration when inviting people when organising activities such as farm visits or work experience placements likely to involve contact with pigs or dogs. A Muslim who touches a dog is required to wash him/herself seven times.

Do Muslims keep eye-contact?

Muslims have strict rules regarding eye contact between sexes. These rules are connected to religious laws about appropriateness. Only a brief moment of eye contact would be permitted between a man and a woman, if at all. On the other hand, intense eye contact between those of the same gender—especially between men—can mean “I am telling you the truth! I am genuine in what I say!" Maintaining eye contact when talking might make Muslim women and the elderly uncomfortable. A better way is to look into their eyes briefly every so often and then look away (perhaps at the collar, or an imaginary spot on the side) at the same time tilting the head and/or nodding now and then to show interest in the conversation. Most of these people now living in Western societies are used to this and don’t mind direct eye contact at all. Children in some Muslim and Asian societies are taught not to stare into the eyes of elders, or authority figures, as it is considered disrespectful or challenging. In Western cultures, this expression of respect may be erroneously interpreted as a sign of guilt.

What do we have to keep in mind when organising a school concert?

Drama or role-playing as an educational exercise is usually acceptable. However some Muslim parents may not want their children to take part in any drama that contradicts basic Islamic principles, e.g. performing in nativity plays or other dramatisations involving gods or figures from the Bible or Qur’an considered to be prophets. Reservations might also arise with performances that involve physical contact between boys and girls, or cross-dressing (i.e. boys performing as girls and vice versa). However, it should be stressed that there will be many Muslim pupils who will not want to be excluded from these activities. Some Muslims might object to music too.

What should a PSCD teacher keep in mind in her lessons?

There are many issues which a PSCD teacher needs to keep in mind: i) sex education: Muslims place the responsibility for sex education firmly within the family. It is likely that Muslim parents might want to withdraw their children from those aspects of sex education within pscd. Homosexual relationships are strictly forbidden in Islam. This issue will need sensitive handling. Preferably do not schedule within Ramadan and possibly they are discussed within gender-specific groups. ii) eye contact: Children in some Muslim and Asian societies are taught not to stare into the eyes of elders, or authority figures, as it is considered disrespectful or challenging. In Western cultures, this expression of respect may be erroneously interpreted as a sign of guilt. So this might go against all the training given to children in Western schools on keeping eye contact for better communication, confidence etc. see more on eye contact (hyperlink). iii) drawing human faces or figures: teachers need to be aware that Muslims do not accept the portrayal of the human figure or face. Thus, exercises where drawing this may find resistance. If a pupil is not feeling comfortable with being asked to draw or produce three-dimensional images of humans or animals, teachers may wish to provide alternatives.

What should the teacher keep in mind when teaching sex education to a class that includes Muslim pupils?

Muslims place the responsibility for sex education firmly within the family. It is likely that Muslim parents might want to withdraw their children from those aspects of sex education that are not strictly Science. Homosexual relationships are strictly forbidden in Islam. This issue will need sensitive handling. Preferably do not schedule within Ramadan.

What is the view of Islam on discipline?

For Muslims discipline with children might be considered to be stricter or more severe than that accepted in most Western cultures. In cases where the school believes that domestic conflict is causing problems for a Muslim pupil, the involvement of a suitably qualified and experienced staff from bodies within the Education Department may often enhance the possibility and process of finding a satisfactory solution. Essentially, however, issues of child protection should be dealt with in accordance with school policy.

Can Muslim pupils enter a church or religious building for cultural purposes?

Although there is no valid religious reason preventing Muslim students from taking part in educational visits to other places of worship, it would be ethical to inform the parents about where the visits will be so that they can decide about whether their child will participate. If there are statues of Christ going through his passion, Muslims may find them particularly disturbing. Thus, they must be informed. Every effort should be made to reassure parents by making them aware of the educational rewards of such exposure.

Are Muslim students allowed to draw the human figure?

Students should not be expected to fulfil the brief of the lesson. If a pupil is not feeling comfortable with being asked to draw or produce three-dimensional images of humans or animals, and especially any figures considered messengers in Islam (e.g. Jesus, Muhammad, Noah), teachers may wish to provide alternatives. There is a wealth of Islamic art forms that can be celebrated, e.g. architecture, calligraphy, geometric representations.

Are Muslim students allowed to draw the human face?

Muslims believe that it is haraam to make images of animate beings such as humans or animals. However, sometimes it is permissible to draw the human face if they do not have the complete features such as the nose and the eyes because they are not imitating the creation of Allaah.

Are Muslim students allowed to dance?

It could be a problem after puberty if forms of dance such as ballet, jazz, tango and disco are performed in mixed groups.

Are Muslim students allowed to listen to pop music?

Traditionally, music in Islam is limited to the voice and percussion instruments. Relying on the beauty and harmony of their voices. Muslims use music to remember God, nature, justice, morality and history.These types of musical renderings are called ‘Nasheeds’. All forms of music that may include the use of obscene and blasphemous language, encourage or promote immoral behaviour, arouse lustful feelings, encourage the consumption of intoxicants and drugs or contain unethical and un-Islamic lyrics would be considered objectionable. For this reason some Muslims parents may hold a very conservative attitude towards pop music and may seek to avoid it altogether, not wishing their children to participate.

When is the mixing of gender not allowed for Muslim students?

It could be a problem after puberty if forms of dance such as ballet, jazz, tango and disco are performed in mixed groups. Certain topics related to sexuality and puberty might be also better discussed in gender-specific groups.

When Ramadan occurs during examination week how can the school adapt to the needs of Muslim pupils?

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during Ramadan. Children as young as seven may participate to a limited extent in this tradition and all who observe the holiday are expected to begin fasting by the time they reach puberty. Schools and educators might wish to consider certain measures to accommodate Muslim students. Thus, it would be preferable that exams are started as early as possible and that they only have one exam in 24 hours.

At what age do children start to fast during Ramadan?

Fasting is required for adults, but children and youth practice fasting during part of the month, or part of the day. Many older Muslim students, fast for the whole month, and some younger children want to fast during part of the month, if they are willing and able and if their parents allow them to do so. Children love to participate in the practice as a way of feeling included in this festive month, and feeling grown up and able to prove themselves, even if they fast only a few days or part of a day. Muslims are required to fast when they reach puberty.

What should Muslim children do during class prayers?

During Class prayers it would always be appropriate to acknowledge that not everyone is of the same beliefs but we are praying to the same God so Muslim children can be invited to pray in their own way.

How do you deal with Muslim children who fast during Ramadan during sports or break time?

Teachers, coaches and instructors should be aware that Muslim children are likely going without water in addition to forgoing food. Educators can excuse or regularly check in with such students during exercise, but ultimately leave decisions of whether or not to participate in regular daily activities up to their discretion. PReferably swimming is not scheduled during Ramadan. Some Muslim students or their parents may ask that they be exempted from rigorous activity in their Physical Education classes during Ramadan. Physical Education teachers are encouraged to allow fasting Muslim students to participate in alternative activities during Ramadan in order to avoid the possibility of dehydration or hypoglycemia resulting from strenuous exercise, especially when the weather is hot and it could lead to heat exhaustion.

What is the view of Muslims with regards to crucifixes?

Generally Muslims do not accept the representation of humans, let alone the Divine or messengers in Islam in images. The image of Christ on the cross, in his suffering could be particularly disturbing. This should not cause problems when it comes to the presence of crucifixes in normal rooms. However, the display of the passion of Christ particularly during exhibitions of Holy Week could be most disturbing for Muslims. If Muslims are ever invited to go to places where such exhibitions are held, it is important that they are informed beforehand of what they will be about to view.

Do Muslim students celebrate Father’s and Mothers’ day?

A Muslim is required to show kindness, love, and dutifulness to his parents all year round. Father’s Day or Mother's Day is a social and family event that aims at celebrating fatherhood and honoring fathers. Such social and cultural events are not rejected in Islam as long as they don’t promote un-Islamic values or introduce a new religious ritual or devotion. However, do be aware that certain Muslims might still not want to participate in this i) because it is not a feast instituted by Prophet Mohammed ii) because it could promote the idea that the love of a mother or father is limited to that day iii) it is imitating something that is non-Muslim - the kuffaar.

Can Muslim students do crafts and and drawings for Christmas celebrations?

First of all, it is important to understand who Jesus is for Muslims. Muslims believe in Jesus but as a Prophet and not as the Son of God. They also revere the Mary. They believe in the virgin birth and in the miracles of Jesus. There is a chapter in the Quran called Maryam (the Arabic or Semitic origin for the name Mary) which details the birth of Lady Mary, confirms her chaste and pious nature, mentions the annunciation, the birth of Jesus and his ability to speak in the cradle. However, the birth of Jesus Christ as the son of God is an idea that is strictly forbidden to Muslims because it goes their believe in one God. THe approach of Muslims towards Christians may thus vary. Some might take it as an opportunity to teach their children about Jesus and his example for their life. Others might completely not want to take part in Christmas activities. IF crafts and drawings involve the human figures Muslim children might be more resistant to take part than if they were given abstract or geometric designs sinced drawing of the human figure is prohibited in Islam.

Is there any period during the year when Coptic Christians fast?

Fasting plays a key role in the Coptic Christian Church. Copts often fast between 180 and 210 days per year but will not make a show of it. It is considered a greater sin to advertise one's fasting than to not participate in the fast. There are a number of periods when Copts are expected to fast, including, amongst others, the fasts of the Great Lent, the Holy week, of the Apostles (beginning on the Monday after Pentecost), of the Dormition of the Mother of God (between 7th and 22nd August), and the Wednesdays and Fridays weekly fasts. The intensity of the fasts varies between each. In general, Coptic fasting means adhering to a vegan diet, thus abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and other animal products, although fish may be eaten in some of the fasting periods.

Are there any medicines that are not suitable for Muslims?

Medicine derived from animals, particularly from pigs, such as insulin, heparin type medicines, pancreatic enzyme supplements and gelatine capsules may not be suitable for Muslim patients. Various Muslim legal scholars agree that in case of necessity and if no suitable alternative is available, Muslims may make use of these medicines. Nonetheless, it is advisable for the health professionals to discuss whether there are suitable alternatives and to encourage the patient to discuss the issue with the Imam. This will help the patient make an informed decisions. 

What is done to the body of a deceased Hindu person?

Try to greet a Muslim as they greet one another. Use the well – known greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum” which means “Peace is upon you”. Keep in mind that the greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum” is used when you arrive or leave a meeting and has the meaning of “Hello” and “Goodbye”. If you greet a Muslim, he/she will return the greeting regardless of the religion of the other person. It's against their religion to refuse to greet you back.
Another issue that accompanies the greeting is the handshake. Shake hands with a male Muslim only if you are male. If you are male, do not shake hand with female Muslims, unless she starts the handshake. Female Muslims avoid the handshake and physical contact with any man outside their family (husband, brother, father) due to religious restrictions. Some female Muslims, especially those who work in business environments, prefer to wear gloves, to bypass the restriction on touching a male who is not a relative. Also, if you are a female do not shake hands with male Muslims. They avoid touching any women outside their family (mother, wife, and daughter). For male Muslims, to avoid the touching of women is a gesture of respect and modesty. Greet a person of the opposite sex by putting your hand on your chest.

Towards which directions do Muslims pray?

When praying, Muslims must face Mecca, which is close to East-Southeast from Malta (circa 116⁰ on the compass). There are various apps and websites which provide the Qiblih for the location one is in.

When do Muslims fast?

Muslims are obliged to fast during the month of Ramadan. During this month they usually abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity between dawn and nightfall. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar.

Image by Olga Ozik from Pixabay

What is Rosh Hashanah? What is an appropriate gift for Rosh Hashanah?

Rosh Hashanah, celebrated as the Jewish New Year is one of Judaism's most Holy days. On this day Jews commemorate the creation of the world. It marks the beginning of the ten days of Awe, days of repentance that end at Yom Kippur. Jewish law prohibits work on Rosh Hashanah. The day is celebrated by family gatherings and eating of particular food and sweets, among which challah bread (braided bread made with eggs, water, flour, yeast and salt ) and apples dipped in honey. If one wishes to give a gift for this occasion of Rosh Hashanah, kosher sweets and fruit would be an appropriate gift.

What is Hanukkah (or Chanukah)? What is an appropriate gift for Hanukkah?

Hanukkah / Chanukah is a popular Jewish festival, though relatively minor religious holiday, lasting ten days starting from 25th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar and usually falls in November or December. It commemorates an event in 165 BCE when the new rulers, the Maccabees, rededicated the Temple after it had been desecrated by the Syrians. On these days it is customary for Jews worldwide to put a Hanukkah ( a menorah with nine candles) in a prominent place in the home, or even in a window. On the first day they light one of the candles and continue lighting one candle at a time every day until in eight days all candles are lit. During Hanukkah, many Jewish families invite relatives and friends to enjoy traditional Hanukkah food and games. Traditional Hanukkah food are fried and includes latkes, potato pancakes. Jam-filled doughnuts are also rather popular. Especially in north America, Hanukkah, like Christmas has been exploited commercially and while traditionally gift-giving was not a part of Hanukkah, nowadays it has become customary amongst many Jews to give presents much the same as Christians give presents for Christmas. As the giving of presents has no particular religious connotation, any gift can be appropriate.

Is it appropriate to give an expecting mother-to-be a gift for her unborn baby?

Whether or not to give a gift to the would-be parents for their unborn child, much depend on whether the couple are orthodox, traditional, reform, non-practicing or even non-believing Jews. Traditional Jewish culture advises against baby showers and gifts before the birth of a baby, believing that celebrating the birth of a child before the baby is actually born may have negative repercussions. Many Jews keep this tradition and for Jews holding on to their cultural tradition is very important. For these reasons, if you know that a couple is expecting a baby, it is prudent not to give any gift before the baby is born. Asking about the sex and planned name of the unborn baby is also better avoided.

Do Jews have a birth ceremony?

At the first opportunity after a birth, the father is given Aliyah's honour, the opportunity to bless and read the Torah at the synagogue. If the child is a girl she is named on that day. If the new-born is a boy, on the eight day the Brit Milah ceremony is held (commonly referred to as a Brit). The Brit is the ceremonial blessing, circumcision and naming of the baby boy. It performed at the synagogue and the circumcision is done by a trained practitioner called a mohel. The circumcision of every boy is mandatory by religious law but is also considered a strong element of Jewish identity. Consequently the great majority of new-born Jewish born are circumcised either at the ceremonial Brit or in a clinic, irrespective on the degree of religiosity of the parents.

If invited to a Jewish dinner/lunch/feast, what should one wear?

If invited to a Jewish event, what guests wear depends on the type of event it is and whether it is a formal or informal occasion. General rules that one should keep in mind, especially if the hosts are orthodox or traditional Jews, are that ladies should dress modestly (sleeves below the elbows, skirts below the knee and neckline covers the collarbone) and men should make it a point to have a kippah to cover their head.

Do Jews pray before meals?

Traditionally, Jews say a short prayer of blessing before eating. There are different blessings for types of food ,but all beginning "Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe.." and then "who brings forth bread from the earth", or "who creates the fruit of the vine", or "who creates the fruit of the tree", or "who creates the fruit of the ground", or "who creates varieties of nourishment" for bread, wine, fruit, vegetables or grains respectively or simply ending with the generic "at whose word all came to be" for miscellaneous food.

In Judaism, how do you address a priest?

The person appointed as religious leader of a Jewish community is called Rabbi. The Rabbi is qualified through studies of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud as a religious leader and teacher but does not have any priestly function. Rabbis are addressed as "Rabbi [first name]" or "Rabbi [surname]".

If invited to a Jewish dinner/lunch/feast, should I take a gift?

If invited to a Jewish dinner/lunch/feast and you feel that it is proper to take a gift with you, you can take any gift that is customary such as flowers, a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. However ensure that the wine or the chocolates are certified kosher and if the event is on the Shabbat, especially if the hosts are orthodox Jews or adhere strictly to Jewish law, avoid giving flowers unless readily put in a vase with water as the hosts will not be able to put the flowers in a vase with water themselves as that is considered 'planting' and is prohibited on the Shabbat.

What is a traditional Hanukkah dinner?

Hanukkah / Chanukah is a popular Jewish festival, though relatively minor religious holiday, lasting ten days starting from 25th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar and usually falls in November or December. It commemorates an event in 165 BCE when the new rulers, the Maccabees, rededicated the Temple after it had been desecrated by the Syrians. On these days it is customary for Jews worldwide to put a Hanukkah ( a menorah with nine candles) in a prominent place in the home, or even in a window. On the first day they light one of the candles and continue lighting one candle at a time every day until in eight days all candles are lit. During Hanukkah, many Jewish families invite relatives and friends to enjoy traditional Hanukkah food and games. Traditional Hanukkah food includes latkes, (potato pancakes), Brisket, Kugel (a traditional casserole with egg noodles), deep fried Jam-filled doughnuts and Hanukkah gelt (chocolate money), the latter often given as prize for winning some family game.

What is a Shabbat dinner?

For religious Jews, the Sabbath (often referred to with the Hebrew word Shabbat) is a day of rest that starts from Friday evening and lasts until the sunset on Saturday. Those who are strict in their observance of the Shabbat do not do any work at all, not even the most minor tasks, on this day, but others may be less strict in their observance. However, most Jews look forward to the Shabbat, which is considered God's gift. On this day, Jews refrain from doing everyday chores or activities, get away from their work schedule, possibly not even using the telephone, and most importantly, try to put their worries aside. The Sabbath is, thus, a day of calm, when families get together and enjoy each other's company in the presence of God. Jews like to wear nice clothes to celebrate the Sabbath. For non-orthodox Jews, the Shabbat dinner is normally held on the evening of Friday (sometimes following attendance at the synagogue. It starts with the lighting of candles, blessing of the children by the parents/grandparents) and drinking of the Sabbath wine, which is a sweet wine and is usually drunk from a special goblet known as the Kiddush Cup. It is customary to eat Challah (braided bread made with eggs, water, flour, yeast and salt) and also to eat meat, considered a luxury and suitable for such a festive day. On the Sabbath, Jews greet each other with "Shabbat Shalom" or in Yiddish, "Gut Shabbos".

How does one greet a Jew when introduced or when meeting?

For persons of the same gender, any customary greeting, including a handshake or a hug, is acceptable. However when a man is introduced to a Jewish lady or vice versa, one should avoid physical contact. One can you any conventional phrase, such as "Nice to meet you" and a nod and smile but avoid offering to shake hands. Non-orthodox Jews may consider that the handshake is not an intimate gesture and do not find it objectionable to greet another person of the opposite sex with a handshake. Consequently, the best practice is to let the Jewish person himself or herself to do the first move.

What does “L Shana Tova” mean?

"L Shana Tova" is a greeting used on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to wish someone a Happy New Year. The literal meaning is "for a good year" and it is actually a shortened form of the phrase "l’shana tova tikateyvu,"meaning “May you be written [in the Book of Life] for a good year,”

Are there any days when Jews are obliged to fast?

From puberty onwards Orthodox Jews observe several days on which they do not eat any food or drink anything. Non-orthodox Jews are much more liable to skip most fast days or to observe less strict rules. "Yom Kippur", that falls in September/October on the Gregorian calendar, is generally observed to some extent by all Jews, including secular one. Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement, and is a full-day fast, from sunset of the eve to the sunset of the following day. During this time, no food or drink or any pleasurable activity is allowed. It is the only fast day which is also observed if it falls on the Sabbath. The second major fast day which is also a full fast day with strict requirements is Tisha B'Av, that falls in July/August. There are another 4 less strict public minor fasts that require fasting between dawn and sunset. These are: Fast of Gedalia (in September/October), Tenth of Tevet (December/January), Seventeenth of Tammuz (June/July) and Fast of Esther (February/March). The sick, pregnant, nursing women and elderly individuals who are not in good health are exempt from fasting.

What should one wear if invited to a Jewish wedding?

If invited to a Jewish wedding, the dress code is that for a formal social occasion, similar to any other wedding. However if one attends the wedding ceremony in a synagogue, one should be more careful about what to wear. General rules that one should keep in mind, especially if the hosts are orthodox or traditional Jews, are that ladies should dress modestly (sleeves below the elbows, skirts below the knee and neckline covers the collarbone) and men should make it a point to have a kippah (scull cap) to cover their head and which are often provided. In orthodox synagogues, ladies are expected to cover their head, normally with a black lace veil and to avoid wearing bright colours.

If invited to a Jewish wedding, which gift is customarily expected?

Unless you know the couple well and know what they particularly need, the safest gift and one that's common at a Jewish wedding to give is money, preferably a sum that is a multiple of eighteen, which symbolises 'life' because of the Hebrew letters that are used both for the word eighteen and the word life. If one does not like to give money, one can consider a present related to Jewish customs such as a a mezuzah. Mezuzahs are pieces of parchment containing a verse from the Torah that are put in decorative cases for display in doorways. Another idea is Shabbat candlesticks or Kosher cookbooks.

What can you expect if invited to a Jewish wedding?

Every Jewish wedding may be different from another depending on the religious and cultural background of the couple and their personal preferences. It is quite common to receive an invitation with two different start times. The first refers to the Kabbalat Panim when the couple welcome the guests who offer their best wishes before the actual wedding ceremony. At a traditional Kabbalat Panim, the bride and groom sit in different rooms. They often fast up to the end of the wedding ceremony but light refreshments are offered to the guests who come to greet them. The event ends and the main ceremony begins with the signing of the Ketuba, the Jewish marriage contract. Most Jews prefer that a Rabbi officiates at the ceremony. The highlight of the ceremony is when the groom places a veil over the bride's face, symbolising his commitment to clothe and protect her. In most cases there is a reception at another venue where much food and drink is served. Jewish wedding receptions are typically very entertaining with circle dancing, known as the hora, and more lively music and dancing. The greeting Mazel Tov, meaning Congratulations or Good luck is much used on such a joyful celebration.

What can I expect at a Jewish funeral?

The funeral service of a Jewish funeral may be held either at a synagogue and afterwards proceeding to the cemetery, or at the graveside before burial. The 'official' mourners, according to Jewish traditions are: parents, spouse, brothers and sisters, and children. These mourners are usually at the place of the service before others. Comforting the mourners by one's presence is an important act that other relatives and friends can do, but one does not usually approach the mourners before the service. At many Jewish funerals, the mourners and those who attend are given a black ribbon to wear that is later torn as a prayer is said over the casket. The casket is always plain and wooden, totally bio-degradable without any metal nails or ornaments. The service includes prayers and a eulogy by the celebrant, who is usually the rabbi although a Jewish funeral can be conducted by any Jewish person. Following the service, the casket, often borne by relatives and/or friends, is taken in procession for burial at the cemetery. In Judaism, attending a funeral service and burial is considered misvah(a good deed). When the casket is lowered into the grave, it is customary for the mourners, other relatives and friends to actively participate by placing a shovel of earth over the casket after it is lowered.

When does the Jewish funeral normally take place?

A Jewish funeral is held as soon as possible after death. Traditionally, it is supposed to be held within 24 hours after death, but Jewish funerals cannot take place on the Sabbath, nor most Jewish holidays.

What is the appropriate attire at a Jewish funeral?

Those who attend a Jewish funeral are normally expected to wear black appropriate clothes such as business suits or modest dresses.

In a Jewish funeral, is it appropriate to send flowers?

For most Jewish funerals, it is not appropriate to send flowers.

Who presides the Jewish funeral service?

Any Jewish person may preside over a Jewish ceremony but it is usually presided over by a Rabbi.

Will there be an open casket at the Jewish funeral?

Open caskets are not permitted at a Jewish funeral.

Should I/ Can I attend the Jewish funeral ceremony that happens at the graveside?

In Judaism, attending a funeral service and burial is considered misvah(a good deed). The family of the deceased will appreciate your attending the burial ceremony. When the casket is lowered into the grave, it is customary for the mourners, other relatives and friends to actively participate by placing a shovel of earth over the casket after it is lowered.

Is cremation allowed in Judaism?

The Torah, Jewish law, commands that human remains are buried in the ground. Cremation goes against Jewish beliefs and norms. Conservative Jewish rabbis teach that cremation is prohibited. However, some liberal rabbis tolerate cremation and allow cremated Jews to have a proper burial in a Jewish cemetery.

In Judaism, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

Traditionally the period of mourning (called Shiva) for close relatives lasts seven days and some orthodox Jews perform Shiva over a month length period. During Shiva, the mourners stay at home and spend the time reflecting on the life of the one departed. Relatives and friends are welcome, and expected, to visit to give comfort to the mourners during this time. The mourners sitting Shiva are not expected to entertain their visitors; indeed it is the community that gathers around the grieving family, brings them food and perform the daily necessary chores for them. Many Jews should therefore not be expected to return to work before seven days after the funeral. However, it is nowadays becoming common to find some Jewish families that sit Shiva for only one to three days, depending on the degree of observance of the family concerned and on particular circumstances.

In Judaism, after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to his/her social schedule?

Traditionally, there a period of thirty days after a funeral called Shloshim, during which the close family of a deceased are not expected to take part in any social activity. The mourners may return to their daily routine after the seven days of Shiva, for the next twenty-three days they are expected to refrain from buying/wearing new clothes, from cutting their hair and from attending any joyous event. For the children of the deceased, the period may extend over a year. As for all other practices, observance of these norms is not necessarily followed by all Jews.

In Judaism, are there rituals for observing the anniversary of the death?

Traditionally, the anniversary of the death of a close relative (parent, spouse, brother, sister, son daughter), called Yartzeit is observed every year by lighting a candle at sundown on the eve of the day (because the Jewish day begins at sundown of the previous day not at midnight) in memory of the deceased and reciting kaddish at the evening service at the synagogue on the evening of the day before and in the morning and afternoon of the day.

What is the position of Judaism on abortion?

Generally speaking, Judaism holds that abortion on demand is wrong because it destroys something created in God's image and it breaks God's commandment to populate the Earth. However, Jews consider the fetus to be part of the mother's body and not fully a human being. The fetus becomes an individual human being at birth when the head is fully out of the uterus. Thus in orthodox Judaism abortion is permitted if the mother's life is in danger. Other Jews are divided between those that are pro-life and consider abortion to be always wrong and those that are pro-choice who hold that the women should decide as the fetus is part of her body. Religious Jews would consult with the Rabbi before taking a decision. Since, according to the Talmud, the soul only enters the embryo 40 days after conception, it is easier to get approval for an abortion before the 40th day of pregnancy, if there is sufficient reason for one to be approved.

What is the position of Judaism on euthanasia?

Jewish law forbids active euthanasia which is considered akin to murder.

What is the position of Judaism on blood transfusion?

There are no objections in Judaism to donating or receiving blood. Indeed donating blood is considered to be an important mitzvot, a good deed.

What is the position of Judaism on IVF?

The first commandment in the Torah is to be "fruitful and multiply" and Jews consider this to be one of the most important commandments. Consequently Judaism does not object to the use of medical means, such as IVF, that assist a couple to have children. Indeed, orthodox Jews may argue that an otherwise infertile couple should use IVF if that helps them to have children. However, most rabbinic authorities rule against sperm or egg donation as this procedure intrudes in the sacred marital bond.

What is the position of Judaism on surrigate motherhood?

There is no one universal rabbinic position on surrogacy, not even amongst orthodox rabbinic authorities. Some consider that the value of procreating overrides any other consideration on the matter. Others oppose surrogacy on ethical grounds, finding that "using a women as an incubator" is inherently demeaning and also arguing that surrogacy is often commercialised.

What is the position of Judaism regarding adoption?

The position of Judaism is favourable towards adoption for couples who cannot have children of their own. This position is held across religious movements and is considered a mitzvah (a good deed). However, according to Jewish law, the child is still obliged to honour his/her biological parents who are also bound to ensure that the child has a decent childhood. Jewish law also holds that the status of the child is determent by genealogy which cannot be changed by the legal process of adoption. So, if the adopted child was born of non-Jewish parents or of unknown parents, he/she must go through a conversion ceremony some time after being adopted. The child would be required to choose whether or not to accept Judaism on coming of age according to Jewish law.

what is the position of Judaism on divorce?

Marriage is an important in Jewish life as it unites two souls as one and pleases God. It is the means to obey God's commandment to "fruitful and multiply" and is important for society. However, most Jews accept that marriages can break down and that divorce may be inevitable. Some Jews may choose to seek a religious divorce, called a "get", from a Jewish court which settles financial and personal issues. In some Jewish communities, it is only the husband that can initiate a divorce. A women who is not granted a "get" by her husband cannot remarry by Jewish law. Nowadays, most communities allow the wife to initiate divorce procedures herself. Orthodox Jews only allow a religious remarriage if the person wishing to remarry has obtained a "get" from a rabbinic court. Reform Jews generally allow remarriage. Many Jews choose to simply obtain a civil divorce rather that requesting a religious one.

What is the position of Judaism on polygamy?

Although the Torah does not prohibit polygamy, Jewish thought is that polygamy is not and never was an ideal state. In practice, polygamy is almost non-existent today amongst Jews.

Are any prayers said in Judaism to a dying person?

Religious Jews would pray for a dying relative or friend but there are no specific prayers that are universally used on such occasions. Most would ask the Rabbi to say a prayer or a blessing for a dying relative. Prayers and singing of hymns may be done at the deathbed meant also to comfort the terminally ill person.

Which drinks are allowed in Judaism?

There are no restrictions to what drinks Jews can consume, except that grape products (wine and grape juice) made by non-Jews cannot be consumed.

What is the position of Judaism on female genital mutilation?

In Judaism, while circumcision is mandated for all male Jewish kids in compliance with God's command to Abraham, according to the Hebrew Bible, female circumcision was never permitted. Any female circumcision would be regarded as physical mutilation, and it is prohibited under Jewish law.

What is the position of Judaism on contraception?

For Jews, it is a commandment, particularly directed at men, to marry and to have children. Also it is forbidden "to waste seed", (emitting semen while preventing conception). Generally, couples are considered to have satisfied the commandment to have children once they have had two children, one of whom a boy. The views of orthodox Jews on when contraception is allowed are rather restrictive: to safeguard the health of the mother, to limit the number of children for the benefit of the family, once they have at least two, and to space out having children. Using contraception for selfish reasons or not to have any children at all is prohibited. Conservative and liberal Jews allow contraception for various other reasons. The use of male contraceptive methods, such as the condom, are problematic and generally forbidden both because they "waste seed" and because the commandment to have children is seen to be directed at males. Thus the preferred birth control method is the contraceptive pill.

What is the conception of Judaism of the after life?

Most Jews believe in an afterlife, Jewish texts make reference to some place where people go when they die but Judaism does not provide definitive answers to what exactly happens after death. There are several different concepts of an afterlife that include ranging from the idea of a Heaven and the resurrection of the body to a temporary place where souls stay until the coming of the Messiah when the righteous return to this world. Strands of Jewish taught offer several different ideas of what the afterlife could be like. Jews believe that the most important thing is that a person lives a good life.

What is the position of Judaism on female genital mutilation?

In Judaism, while circumcision is mandated for all male Jewish kids in compliance with God's command to Abraham, according to the Hebrew Bible, female circumcision was never permitted. Any female circumcision would be regarded as physical mutilation, and it is prohibited under Jewish law.

What is the position of Judaism regarding the Morning after Pill?

Generally speaking, the use of the morning-after pill does not raise much religious concerns amongst Jews particularly because, even if the morning-after pill were to be considered as a form of abortion (which many do not), Judaism teaches that the soul joins the embryo 40 days after conception. Orthodox, especially ultra orthodox Jews, who are against abortion in almost all circumstances except when pregnancy will endanger a woman's life, may not approve of the use of the morning-after pill.

What is the position of Judaism regarding hysterectomy?

When hysterectomy is medically indicated, especially if the women is no longer fertile, it is permitted under Jewish law. However hysterectomy as a form of birth control would be very problematic under Jewish law that generally prohibits sterilisation considered similar to castration.

What is the position of Judaism regarding vasectomy?

Vasectomy is absolutely prohibited under Jewish law. A man who is married to a Jewish women and has a vasectomy must get divorced. A man who undergoes a vasectomy may not marry a woman who is Jewish by birth but may marry a convert.

At what times do Jewish people pray?

Jews are duty bound to pray three times per day: in the morning (Shacharit), in the afternoon (Minchah) and in the evening (Arvith or Maariv). The Jewish book of prayers (Siddur) includes special prayers for each time. There are the thanksgiving prayers, the prayers of praise and the prayers that ask God for one's needs. Many Jewish prayers include reciting aloud and singing hymns in the synagogue as well as prayers recited in private or public.

What do Jews need to pray?

Every male Jew over the age of thirteen years old need his “Tallit” or prayer shawl for his morning prayer. Also, some male Jews may need to wear their “Tephillin” (two, small, black, leather boxes, which contain tiny scripts of the Torah). They wear the one on their forehead and the other one on their left arm or hand. Furthermore, a Jewish prayer book is mandatory during every Jewish prayer. During prayer they should concentrate exclusively on God and should not have any distractions.

Do Jewish women dress a headgear?

Women do not cover their hair daily in most Conservative and Reform Jewish faith groups, although they tend to cover their heads in the synagogue during prayers. In the Orthodox Jewish groups, most rabbis regard hair covering as a duty for all married women. They can cover their hair with a wing (sheitel), a hat, or a scarf (Tichel).

Does Judaism allow organ donation?

Donating an organ without which one can still continue to live (e.g. kidney, bone marrow or blood) by a living person to another in need of that organ is considered a very good deed to be commended. Furthermore, although the Torah commands that the dead should be buried (entirely), donating an organ to save or improve another person's life, is a good deed of a higher value and supersedes the command to bury the dead entirely. However, the family of the dead person w=may want to consult with a Rabbi and their wish should be respected.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware when a Jewish patient is dying?

A dying Jew may request the presence of a rabbi at any time to pray with him or her and to perform a "vidui" (confess one's sins). There are many religious and ethical issues that arise when a Jew is on the point of death. The health professional would do well to discuss eventualities with the patient or his/her close relatives who may want to consult a rabbi for guidance. For Jews, when on the point of death no action can be taken that will hasten or delay death. Issues that can arise include whether or not to inform the patient that he/she is near death (some Jews hold that the patient should not discuss impeding death, as this would worry them prematurely into death); what to do if life support or resuscitation attempts are indicated; the use of feeding tubes, withholding or withdrawing treatment and possible organ donation after death, amongst others.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Jew?

When a Jewish patient dies, the relatives of the deceased should be informed immediately. A Rabbi may be called to perform the Last Rites. The body should not be touched by a non-Jew and a Jewish person may be asked to carry out the ritual washing of the body. The family may want to keep watch with the body and pray. If the rabbi or family members are not readily available, the healthcare staff can perform the essential procedures, wearing gloves and close the eyes and mouth, remove tubing (but see that any catheters and drains containing fluid are kept near the body, as these are considered part of the body and need to be buried), lay the body flat with hands open and parallel to the body and cover the body with a white sheet. The body should not be washed by healthcare staff.

Does Jewsim allow post-mortem?

Orthodox Jews oppose post-mortems unless required by law; reform Jews permit it if required by law and if done to further medical knowledge.

By when should the body of a Jewish be buried?

Jewish law requires burial as quickly as possible after death, and any unnecessary delays must be prevented. The body should be buried within twenty-four hours after death if possible.

In Judaism what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

A baby born of a Jewish mother is considered Jewish at birth. At the first opportunity after the birth of the baby, the father is given the honour of blessing the Torah reading (Aliyah) at the synagogue. A blessing and prayer for the mother’s and child's health is recited. If the child is a girl, then she's named at the same time. If the child is a boy, the Brit Milah (Covenant of Circumcision) ceremony is held eight days after birth. Of all commandments in Judaism, circumcision of male babies is the most observed by Jews, even by the majority of otherwise non-practicing Jews. The Brit Milah involves words of blessing, circumcision itself, and the naming of the child. Traditionally the circumcision is normally performed ) by a mohel, (circumciser) an individual knowledgeable in the practice and its rituals. If circumcision is done by a regular doctor, it is not considered to be a Brit Milah even if a rabbi blesses it. If the baby is a first born son, there is another Jewish traditional ritual (Pidyon ha-Ben) by which the firstborn son is "redeemed" from having to serve as a priest as used to happen in ancient times.. It is generally a relatively small, personal ceremony where someone who is thought to be a priestly class descendant (a Kohen) symbolically gives the child back to his parents after payment of a small sum of money. Jewish communities in different parts of the globe may have other traditions and naming ceremonies in addition to these mentioned.

What does Judaism require in the event of a miscarriage?

Miscarriages are not considered a death, so the Kaddish, the mourning prayer, is not said. This is because, while Judaism holds that there is a soul in an unborn child, life begins at birth, specifically when the baby is half way out of his mother. However, Jewish women who suffer a miscarriage do receive the sympathies of their relatives and friends.

What should one do, or not do, when a Jew is praying?

Worship is both private and communal for Jews. There is no need to be in a synagogue to pray. They can pray at their home, their place of work or outside. Avoid disturbing or stopping Jews during their worship. It is not appropriate to speak to a Jew or to try to attract his/her attention during worship.

What is the position of Judaism on pornography?

While Judaism is generally very permissive with regard to sex between married adults since it is the means for procreation as also for intimacy and pleasure between husband and wife, traditional Jewish law is strongly against pornography. Many rabbis still regard pornography as being beyond what is permissible. Today's easy access to internet pornography is worrying for practicing Jews, especially among the Orthodox Jews.

What is the position of Judaism with regards to sex before marriage?

According to Jewish tradition premarital sex is discouraged and strictly prohibited in the Orthodox Jewish communities. Many Orthodox Jewish communities strive to keep men and women apart before marriage for a long period, reducing the probability of romantic encounters between unmarried adults. Even today’s Reform and Conservative Rabbis have maintained Judaism’s traditional preference for sex after marriage, although genders division is no longer practiced in more liberal Jewish communities. Conservative Jewish communities maintain that marriage is the only suitable context for sex and that adultery, incest, and general promiscuousness are strongly prohibited.

What is the position of Judaism on extramarital sex?

A married women who has sex with anyone other than her husband commits adultery which is considered a very grave sin in Judaism. However, Biblical prohibition does not apply to a married man who has sex with an unmarried women, although Jewish society considers it a just cause for divorce.

What are the rights of a Jewish mother in case of separation or divorce?

Parents do not have rights over their children; they have responsibilities. Outside Israel, Jewish separation and divorce arrangements are decided by the Courts of the country they reside but most often amicable arrangements reached by the couple are respected if they are in the interest of the children. Jewish couples are encouraged to consider trying to reach agreements that fall within the parameters of Jewish law. With regard to children's custody, the general principle in Jewish law is that children under the age of 6, irrespective of whether they are boys or girls are entrusted to the care of the mother while sons over six are placed in the custody of the father and daughters girls over six are placed with the mother. Children have the right to keep meaningful contact with both parents and therefore both parents have the obligation of visitation, as long as this is considered beneficial to the children.

Are male and female equal in Judaism?

Most Jews would explain that Men and Women are different but equal and that such a difference is not limited to gender. Every person is different and called to a particular role in life. Jewishness is passed down through the mother. Since the genders are different, it's counterproductive to force them to act identically. However, marriage and family law in biblical times favoured men over women and it may appear to do so even today. Jewish law only allows men to initiate divorce procedures and if a husband does not give the "get" (divorce) to his wife, she remains "chained" and is not allowed to remarry. Today, many Jewish ladies are clamouring for more equal status and although the great majority of rabbis are male, nowadays there are also a number of respected female rabbis.

Which food are prohibited in Judaism?

Judaism imposes rather strict dietary laws called Kashrut specifying which food may or may not be eaten and how it is to be prepared and eaten. Permissible food prepared in the right way is known as kosher food. Certain animals may not be eaten at all. These include, but are not limited to, pigs, rabbits, reptiles, and shellfish. Mammals that have split hooves and chew their cud, (including cows, sheep, goats, oxen, deer) are kosher. Birds of prey and scavengers are not permitted: other birds such as chicken, ducks and turkey are. Only fish with fins and scales are permitted. Meat cannot be eaten with dairy. Grape products, such as wines which have been made by non-Jews are not kosher.

What is a traditional Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ritual for boys, occurring when a boy turns 13 and becomes a full member of the Jewish community taking on all the duties and religious obligations of an adult Jew. The corresponding event for girls is called Bat Mitzvah and occurs when a girl turns 12 years of age according to Orthodox and conservative Jews and at the age of 13 according to Reform Jews. The literal meaning of the term "Bar Mitzvah" is "son of commandment" and of "Bat Mitzvah" is "daughter of commandment" and can be translated as "one who is subject to the law". The event is usually celebrated at the synagogue on the first Sabbath following the boy's or girl's coming of age. The new Bar/Bat Mitzvah is given the honour to read part of the weeks Torah reading. In some orthodox communities it is only boys that are allowed to read from the Torah but in the majority of cases both boys and girls are given the honour. It is the custom for parents to celebrate the event by giving a party, sometimes a rather big party with many guests.

What can I wear in a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

Usually guests dress formally at a Bar (Bat) Mitzvah. Men wear the kipah (the Jewish cap) and if married also wear a tallit (prayer shawl). Non-Jewish male guests would do well to wear the kipah but are not expected to put on a tallit. Non-Jewish female guests should put on a modest elegant dress for the occasion.

What is the Passover?

Passover is one of the Jewish calendar's most important religious festivals. The Jews celebrate the Passover Festival (Pesach in Hebrew) in remembrance of the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt by Moses. Jews have celebrated Passover since about 1300 BCE, following God's laws in Exodus 13. The people of Israel had been slaves In Egypt for 210 years. God pledged to free them from slavery, but when the Pharaoh refused to release them, God sent the ten plagues (blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, firstborn) to punish Egypt and to show His authority. The plagues affected only the Egyptians. They did not affect Israelis. After the tenth plague (the plague that killed every firstborn) the Pharaoh relented and set the Israelites free, allowing them to leave Egypt. The Israelites took with them their unleavened dough as they had no time to add yeast and they managed to live with it during the first few days of their exodus. Each year, Jews commemorate the exodus from Egypt at Passover, as commanded by God in Exodus 13. The Passover festival usually lasts eight days. The first and last two days of the celebration are observed as full days of rest.

How do Jews celebrate the Passover?

Passover is usually celebrated over eight days. The first and last two days of the celebration are observed as full days of rest. The house is cleaned from top to bottom before the festivities start to remove all traces of chametz (leaven) from it. This recalls the Jews who left Egypt without time to let their bread rise, but that also symbolizes the purification of the soul from “puffiness” (arrogance). A ritual search for Chametz is held in every home on the day before Passover. Children are often very enthusiastic about joining. A Jew cannot eat or benefit from Chametz during Passover. Jews might not possess it or feed it to animals. All the Chametz they own, or utensils used to make food with Chametz, must be “sold” momentarily to non-Jews. After the holiday they can buy them back. The day before Passover, the firstborn is obliged to fast to commemorate the escape from the Plague of the First Born. The culmination of Passover occurs on the first two evenings when friends and families gather together for ritual “Seder” dinners. “Seder” signifies order, as the occasion is organized in a very orderly way. Special dishes and cutlery, solely kept for the Passover, are used. The Haggadah is a fourteen (14) step book about the Jewish experience in Egypt and the exodus and Revelation of God. A drop of wine is poured as a reminder that each of the ten plagues were marked by sorrow. On every day of the festival there are special readings at the synagogue. There are also songs, blessings and the singing of psalms. Children play an important part at Passover as they are a sign of the Jewish people’s continuity.

What does a Passover meal contains?

Every food item at the Passover meal is symbolic. Food is consumed In ritual order and its significance and symbolism are discussed. Matzo (unleavened bread) is consumed three times during the dinner. The lamb symbolizes the paschal sacrifice. When the Jerusalem Temple was the centre of Jewish life, Jews would go there to sacrifice a lamb or goat during the Pilgrim Festivals. The egg has a double symbolism. It symbolizes the sacrifice and the commitment of the Jews not to give up their beliefs under Egyptian repression. Green vegetables represent the new life and saltwater represent the Jewish slave’s tears. On the dinner table, there are four cups of wine to remind the Israelites of God's four promises of freedom and to symbolize freedom and happiness. Charoset (a paste made of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine) symbolises the mortar used by the Israelites to construct Egypt’s palaces. There is an additional cup of wine on the table, and the door is open for Elijah. Jews believe that Elijah the prophet shall reappear at Passover to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Are there any medicines that are not suitable for Jews?

Medicine derived from animals, particularly from pigs, such as insulin, heparin type medicines and pancreatic enzyme supplements may not be suitable for Jewish patients. If the pork-derived medicine is not considered edible then it is allowed. There are no restrictions regarding injections. However, it is advisable for the doctor to discuss whether there are suitable alternatives and help the patient make an informed decision.

How do I greet a Jewish person?

For persons of the same gender, any customary greeting, including a handshake or a hug, is acceptable. However, when a man is introduced to a Jewish lady or vice versa, one should avoid physical contact. One can use any conventional phrase, such as "Nice to meet you" and a nod and smile but avoid offering to shake hands. Non-orthodox Jews may consider that the handshake is not an intimate gesture and do not find it objectionable to greet another person of the opposite sex with a handshake. Consequently, the best practice is to let the Jewish person himself or herself make the first move.

Are there any prohibitions on drink in Judaism?

There are no restrictions to what drinks Jewish people can consume, except that grape products (wine and grape juice) made by non-Jews cannot be consumed.

What is the position of Judaism with regard to post-mortem examination?

Orthodox Jews oppose post-mortems unless required by law; reformed Jews permit the examination if required by law and if done to further medical knowledge.

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Which gifts should I avoid giving a Sikh?

Sikhs do not drink alcohol and do not smoke. However, Sikhs that are not religious do drink, and social drinking is culturally accepted. To be on the safe side, one should avoid giving alcohol or tobacco-related gifts.  Otherwise, gift choices should be based on the personal tastes of the giver and the recipient and can vary widely based on the occasion, the budget and the cultural context.

 

What does the Medical Staff need to know when a Sikh women is due to give birth?

Like many other women practitioners of different faiths, Sikh women have a strong preference for the assistance of female health professionals during childbirth. They may also wish to wear the outward symbols of their faith during childbirth. They may object to shaving their pubic hair. If this is considered to be clinically necessary, the health professional should approach the subject sensitively.

 

Is there any ceremony after the birth of a Sikh child’s?

Soon after the birth of a child to Sikh parents, a naming ceremony is held at a Gurdwara (the place of assembly and worship) to which family and friends are invited. Prayers are said and the family offers a donation consisting of a covering in silk or other fine material as a covering for the Sikh religious scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib.  The Granthi (priest) opens the Guru Granth Sahib at random. The family then chooses the child's name beginning with the first letter of the hymn found on the page opened, and the Granthi announces the baby's name to those present, adding Singh (lion) to the name if the child is a boy and Kaur (princess) if the child is a girl. A traditional sweet dish is usually distributed to those present to celebrate the occasion.

What is the Amrit ceremony in Sihkism?

Amrit is the ceremony of initiation for Sikhs who can undertake it when they are old enough to understand the meaning of the ceremony and the commitment. Sikhs who go through the Amrit become baptised Sikhs, take on new names and start wearing the 5Ks, which constitute the outward signs of Sikhism. Not all Sikhs are baptised.

What are the 5 K’s in Sihkim?

The 5 Ks were introduced in Sikhism by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. They are the outward signs for Sikhs to profess their faith and their commitment. The 5 Ks are:  1. the uncut hair, including all hair on the body, such as the beard, eyebrows, pubic hair;  2. the Kara, a steel bracelet; 3. the Kanga, a wooden comb;  4. the Kachha, a particular form of underwear and 5. the Kirpan, a ceremonial sword that can be of any size or shape, placed in its sheath and worn either over or under the outward garments.

If invited to a Sikh dinner/lunch/feast how should one dress?

There is no specific dress code that is more appropriate than others if one is invited to a Sikh dinner or lunch.

Do Sikhs say a prayer before meals?

Sikhs usually recite a traditional prayer both before and after meals.

In Sikhism how do you address a priest?

In Sikhism there is no equivalent to a priest, since there is no mediator between the believer and the Creator in this faith.  The Granthi is the person appointed to read from the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, and is considered a principal religious official of Sikhism.

If invited to a Sikh dinner/lunch/feast should I take a gift?

When a Sikh invites someone to their home for lunch or dinner or other occasions, it is common for the host to give a gift to their guests, especially if this is the guest's first visit to their place. The guest should be ready to reciprocate the gesture. Flowers or sweets are appropriate gifts to give on such occasions. Do not offer wine or other spirits. It is customary to offer the gifts using both hands. Choose a bright colour for the wrapping paper of your gifts. You can use paper in green, yellow and red, which are considered colours of good fortune.

If I am a female how do I greet a Sikh male?

The traditional Sikh greeting is done with folded hands but, especially in the Western world, the normal practice is a handshake between persons of the same gender. Family members, or very close friends, male or female, may embrace each other. The traditional Sikh greeting is 'Sat Sri Akal' (God is the Truth) and can be used also when a male greets a female, or vice versa. The greeting is generally done with folded hands, especially when greeting someone of the opposite sex.

If I am a female how do I greet a Sikh female?

The traditional Sikh greeting is done with folded hands but, especially in the Western world, the normal practice is shaking hands with persons of the same gender. Family members, or very close friends, male or female, may embrace each other. The traditional Sikh greeting is 'Sat Sri Akal' (God is the Truth) and can be used also when a male greets a female or vice versa. The greeting is generally done with folded hands, especially when greeting a member of the opposite sex.

If I am a male how do I greet a Sikh female?

The traditional Sikh greeting is done with folded hands but, especially in the Western world, the normal practice is a handshake between persons of the same gender. Family members, or very close friends, male or female, may embrace each other. The traditional Sikh greeting is 'Sat Sri Akal' (God is the Truth) and can be used also when a male greets a female or vice versa. The greeting is generally done with folded hands especially when greeting a someone of the opposite sex.

If I am a male how do I greet a Sikh male?

The traditional Sikh greeting is done with folded hands but, especially in the Western world, the normal practice is shaking hands with persons of the same gender. Family members, or very close friends, male or female, may embrace each other. The traditional Sikh greeting is 'Sat Sri Akal' (God is the Truth) and can be used also when a male greets a female, or vice versa. The greeting is generally done with folded hands, especially when greeting someone of the opposite sex.

Is there any period during the year when Sikhs fast?

Sikhs do not fast for religious reasons.

If invited to a Sikh wedding what attire is appropriate?

If you are invited to a Sikh wedding, including the religious ceremony, unless you want to wear something traditionally Sikh, you can wear the usual Western clothes you would wear for any other wedding. However, you should avoid wearing black or white as you would feel like a fish out of the water at a Sikh wedding if you choose these colours. Female guests should avoid wearing sleeveless dresses, dresses with a low neckline or short dresses or skirts. Shoulders, arms, back and cleavage should be covered with a shawl if necessary. It is acceptable for females to wear trousers.  At the Gurdwara, where the religious ceremony takes place, guests will be expected to sit on the floor, with crossed legs, for at least 45 minutes so it will be uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing if a female is wearing a short skirt. The majority of females at a Sikh wedding will be wearing clothes in green, bright pink or blue and other pleasant colours but wearing bright red clothes should be avoided as this is the traditional colour reserved for the bride.

If invited to a Sikh wedding which gift is customarily expected?

Unless they are family members or very close friends, guests do not give a wedding gift when invited to a Sikh wedding. Sometimes, the words "No Gifts" are printed on the invitation. Nowadays, though, it is becoming popular to put money in a gift card and give it to the mother of the bride or groom, depending whom one was invited by.

Are there rituals, customs or traditions before a Sikh wedding ceremony?

There are several rituals that are customary in the event of a Sikh wedding. First there is a Kurmai or engagement ceremony. The families then start off the wedding rituals by reading the whole Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book, over a few days. This is followed by the setting of the wedding date. After the engagement, the groom's family visit the bride at her home, and the mother of the groom covers the bride's head with a chunni and gives gifts to the bride. Shortly before the wedding, there are another two ceremonies often carried out together, when the bride's hands and feet are decorated with henna designs (the Mehndi ceremony) and the Chooda ceremony, when the bride's maternal uncle gives the gift of red and white bangles, which are dipped in milk before being given to the bride. Gold ornaments are tied to these bangles. Another Sikh ritual that is often used is the tying of the bride's hand to the groom's with a red thread as a protection against bad omens. The Gharoli ritual, which is also utilised, involves bringing holy water from the Gurdwara (the place of worship) for the bride and groom to bathe with this water. The water is brought by the sisters-in-law in a decorated earthen pot (the gharoli).                                                                                                                                                                                                                     https://weddingz.in/blog/a-guide-to-sikh-wedding-rituals-customs-and-traditions/

If invited to a Sikh wedding where does the main ceremony take place?

The celebration starts at the groom's home, where the groom is dressed in white and is accompanied in a procession by family members and close friends who sing and dance on the way to the Gurdwara (the place of worship), where the main ceremony takes place.

Who are the main celebrants at a Sikh wedding?

The Sikh marriage ceremony, called The Anand Karaj, which means 'Blissful Union', can be officiated by any respected Sikh man or women who has undergone the Amrit initiation. The ceremony includes the bride and groom and their parents reciting Ardas to indicate consent to the union by both bride and groom and their families. The officiate delivers a sermon on the meaning of marriage and the duties of married couples. The couple indicate their agreement to live faithfully according to the principles of Sikhism as a married couple by bowing before the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and touching their foreheads to the floor.

Is there a reception or dinner after a Sikh wedding?

A reception hosted by the parents of the groom is normally given after the wedding. Traditionally, the guests were treated to lunch, but nowadays a dinner/reception is more common. Food and drinks are served, and there is normally much joyous dancing.

Is there a traditional greeting for the family at a Sikh wedding?

There are many traditional greetings, but guests may just choose to congratulate the couple and their parents in any suitable way, wishing the couple happiness together.

What happens at a Sikh funeral?

Sikhs strongly prefer cremation over any other way of disposal of the corpse, which are only used if cremation is not possible. The cremation ceremony is called the Antam Sanskaar, that can be roughly translated as the "celebration of the completion of Life".  The body is usually taken to the place of worship before cremation. Sikhs believe that the body is just the shell that contains the soul, which does not die upon the death of the body. Consequently, Sikhs accept that grieving is natural for one to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, but try to avoid public displays of weeping or wailing.  The funeral is held within three days after the death. Prayers are said at the site of the cremation and short eulogies of the deceased may be said, after which the youngest son or a close relative will start the cremation. The ceremony lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.

Where does a Sikh funeral take place?

Sikh funeral services may be held at home or place of worship where the body is taken before cremation, or at the crematorium.

How do you greet a Sikh upon hearing of the death of a family member?

As a fundamental belief of Sikhs is that death is a passage to another life on a joyous journey towards God, you should not express sorrow for the death of their relative, but you may express sympathy for their loss. You may speak of the good qualities of the deceased and share fond memories.

When does the Sikh funeral normally take place?

A Sikh funeral is preferably held not more than three days after death.

What is the appropriate attire at a Sikh funeral?

If attending a Sikh funeral, you should wear smart clothes that are not brightly coloured - white is preferred, as it is the symbol of mourning for Sikhs. Ladies should dress modestly in clothing that does not leave too much skin exposed. As a sign of respect, you should cover your head by wearing a cap or hat if male, or by a headscarf if female, at the ceremony. If the funeral service is conducted at the Gurdwara (place of worship), you should take off your shoes before entering.

In a Sikh funeral is it appropriate to send flowers?

It is quite normal for flowers to be sent or be taken to a Sikh funeral. However, much depends on what is customary for the particular Sikh community. It is best to consult the family or Sikh friends of the deceased.

Who presides the Sikh funeral service?

A Sikh funeral service is conducted by a Granthi, who reads from the Sikh Holy Book.

Will there be an open casket at the Sikh funeral?

Whether there will be an open casket for the viewing of the deceased depends on what is customary for the particular Sikh community.

Should I / Can I attend the Sikh cremation or burial l ceremony at the crematorium/graveyard?

You can attend at the cremation or burial ceremony of a Sikh if invited. Persons not belonging to the Sikh faith are not expected to participate in prayers.

Is cremation obligatory in Sikhism?

Sikhs strongly prefer cremation over any other way of disposal of the corpse. However, other methods of disposal of the corpse, including burying on land or at sea, are permitted. Sikhs do not give much importance to how a corpse is disposed of, as they consider the body to be just a temporary shell for the soul. If the body is buried on land, Sikhs do not place a headstone over the grave. When cremation is used, the ashes are scattered in running water or buried in the ground.

Is cremation allowed in Sikhism?

Sikhs strongly prefer cremation over any other ways of disposal of the corpse. However, other methods of disposal including burying on land or at sea are permitted. Sikhs do not give much importance to how a corpse is disposed of, as they consider the body to be just a temporary shell for the soul. If the body is buried on land, Sikhs do not place a headstone over the grave. When cremation is used, the ashes are scattered in running water, or buried in the ground.

In Sikhism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return to work?

As Sikhs consider death to be part of the natural rebirth cycle, they firmly believe that death is the passing of the soul to another life in its joyous journey towards God. For this reason, there is no formal period of mourning after death, although it is understandable that family members and close friends need some time to come to terms with the loss. Family members of the deceased take it in turns to read the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib sacred text. This may take up to ten days, after which they return to their normal social life. However, Sikhs will not feel entitled to more than the normal number of days of bereavement leave from work.

In Sikhism after how many days after the funeral will the mourner normally return social schedule?

As Sikhs consider death to be part of the natural rebirth cycle, they firmly believe that death is the passing of the soul to another life in its joyous journey towards God. For this reason, there is no formal period of mourning after death, although it is understandable that family members and close friends need some time to come to terms with the loss. Family members of the deceased take it in turns to read the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib sacred text. This may take up to ten days, after which they return to their normal social life.

In Sikhism are there rituals for observing the anniversary of the death?

Sikhs firmly believe that death is the passing of the soul to another life in its joyous journey towards God. Sikhs do not pray for their dear departed, but they do commemorate death anniversaries in order to keep the memory of the deceased alive. They often make donations to charitable institutions in memory of their departed.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding abortion?

Most Sikhs hold that life begins at conception. Consequently, performing an induced abortion is generally forbidden in Sikhism, as it is considered to be an interference in the creative work of God.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding euthanasia?

The period of birth and death for Sikhs is entirely in God’s hands. Sikhs’ teachings about euthanasia are very clear. Life is sacred, God-given, and thus no person has the right to end it. Karma is a major belief in Sikhism. Suffering is the result of bad actions in former lives, and so suffering is necessary to reverse the effect of those bad acts. God will decide when the appropriate time for the death of a human being approaches. Escape from pain by performing euthanasia will have a negative effect on one's karma, and negative consequences in the next life. Rather than escaping pain, Sikhs are expected to pray and bear it.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding blood transfusion?

Blood transfusion is permitted in the Sikh faith. It is, indeed, a blessing for a Sikh to support another human being.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding IVF?

There is no official position of Sikhism on IVF. Some Sikhs argue that not being able to have children is the will of God, and that it should be accepted. However, many Sikhs are not against the use of fertility treatment, including IVF, arguing that since God gave humans the capacity to use technology to ease suffering, then it must be God's will that humans can have children also by using scientific methods such as IVF.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding surrοgate motherhood?

There is no official position of Sikhism on surrogacy. Some Sikhs argue that not being able to have children is the will of God, and should be accepted. However, many Sikhs are not against the use of fertility treatment, including IVF and surrogacy, arguing that since God gave humans the capacity to use technology to ease suffering, then it must be God's will that humans can have children also by using scientific methods such as IVF.  However, Sikhs generally believe that procreation should be between husband and wife, so there are Sikhs who consider surrogacy wrong because it involves a third party. Other Sikhs do not object to surrogacy because there is no contact between the husband and the surrogate mother.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding adoption?

Adoption is permitted and encouraged in Sikhism.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding fostering?

Fostering is permitted and encouraged in Sikhism, as it is an act of love towards others.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding divorce?

Sikhs consider marriage to be very important.  In marriage, the couple enter into a religious commitment to an inseparable union till the end of their lives, made in front of the Guru and the family. Sikhs are therefore expected by the community to work hard to ensure that their marriage survives. If the marriage does break down, couples may separate, but their marriage will still be considered to be ongoing.  Notwithstanding this teaching, Sikhs do divorce in countries where divorce is permitted. This is, reluctantly, being tolerated.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding polygamy?

Rehit Maryada, the Sikhism code of conduct since 1935, advises that "generally" a Sikh ought not to marry again as long as his wife is living. Polygamy is hardly ever practised by Sikhs. Moreover, Sikhs generally follow the law of the country where they reside.

Are any prayers said in Sikhism when a person is nearing death?

Family members may encourage a dying Sikh to meditate on spiritual matters when nearing death. They may help the moribund to prepare for the important moment of passing to another life by reading relevant excerpts from the Sikh scriptures, the Gura Granth Sahib.

Which food is allowed in Sikhism?

Baptised Sikhs, that is, those who have taken Amrit initiation, are vegetarian. They also exclude eggs and any ingredients with animal derivatives from their diet. Other Sikhs may eat meat but are not allowed to eat the meat of animals killed in a ritualistic manner, such as halal or kosher.

Is drinking alcohol permitted in Sikhism?

Sikhs are not permitted to drink alcohol if they want to live their life according to the Gurus' teachings.

What is the position of Sikhism on female genital mutilation?

Sikhs believe that God's creations should not be interfered with and therefore are against genital mutilation in general, whether it may consist of female genital mutilation or male circumcision.

Who do I call when a Sikh person dies?

On the death of a Sikh patient, health practitioners should inform the deceased family or a Sikh friend of the deceased, so that the proper funeral preparations can be carried out according to Sikh customs.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding female contraception?

There are no rules in Sikhism against the use of contraceptives for family planning. The married couple may make their own decisions on matters related to this subject.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding contraception?

There are no rules in Sikhism against the use of contraceptives for family planning. The married couple may make their own decisions on matters related to this subject.

What is the conception of Sikhism of the after life?

Sikh scriptures do not focus too much on what happens after death. Instead, the Sikh faith dwells more on the duties of mankind to honour God and love others by doing charity and promoting justice. However, Sikhs also believe in an afterlife, maintaining that the soul lives on after death and is reborn in another life until eventually it escapes this cycle of death and rebirth. Sikhs believe in Karma, that every action has its consequence. The consequences from one's actions can determine whether the soul finally reaches Mukti, the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth and the return to God. Sikhs believe that there is only one God, and their goal is to build a close and loving relationship with God.

What is the position of Sikhism regarding the Morning after Pill?

There are no rules in Sikhism against the use of contraceptives within marriage. However, since the morning-after pill may interfere with the development of a fertilised egg and since Sikhs believe that life begins at conception, most Sikhs consider the use of the morning-after pill as going against their faith.

At what times do Sikhs pray?

There are set prayers that Sikhs recite three times per day; early morning, evening, and before bedtime. The Sikh code of conduct, the Reht Maryada, gives precise instruction about morning prayer: the Sikh should wake up 3 hours before dawn, bathe and, concentrating on the One Immortal Being, repeat the name Waheguru (Wondrous Destroyer of darkness).( Reht Maryada , chapter 3.) Sikhs can also pray privately at any time of the day. Sikhs also see communal worship at the Gurdwara, as having special merits.  They regard prayer as spending time with God, whom they praise with their prayers. Prayers are more effective if the person, through meditation, empties the mind of any earthly thought.

What do Sikhs need to pray?

Sikhs need to meditate when praying, and therefore need a quiet space, with a carpet and as few things as possible that may distract their thoughts.

Do all male Sikhs wear a turban?

For Sikhs, wearing a turban is an expression of their faith and their identity. The Sikh turban, known as the Dastar, together with their long uncut hair and long beard, is what most identifies Sikhs. All baptised Sikhs are obliged to wear the turban and practically all Sikhs, weather initiated or not, wear it. Even children, once their hair has grown to a length and volume that becomes unmanageable, often wear a Sikh head covering called a Patka.

Do Sikh women wear a headgear?

A baptised Sikh woman must cover her head. She can wear a turban, or a long scarf called a Chunni (which is the most common headgear among Sikh ladies). Many non-baptised Sikh women also cover their head due to cultural tradition. All Sikh women are obliged to cover their head when at the place of worship. Maintaining uncut hair for both males and females is one of the most identifiable articles of the Sikh faith, so the head covering is a means of keeping their hair clean and ordered.

Does Sikhism allow organ donation?

Organ donation is permitted in the Sikh faith. It is, indeed, a blessing for a Sikh to support another human being. Sikh principles and teachings emphasize the importance of sharing and putting others first.

Are there any special considerations that the medical staff should be aware when a Sikh patient is dying?

A dying Sikh would wish to meditate on spiritual matters when nearing death. Family members may want to help the moribund to prepare for the important moment of passing to another life by reading and chanting relevant excerpts from the Sikh scriptures, the Gura Granth Sahib. When nearing death and for some time after death, Sikhs would want to leave a light in the room until such time that the soul is deemed to have left the body. Sikhs would appreciate efforts by medical staff to facilitate these requirements.

How should medical staff treat the deceased Sikh?

Healthcare staff can wash the Sikh deceased’s body if his/her family members agree. Many Sikh families may want to clean the body themselves. If the healthcare staff conducts the washing process, female medical staff should wash a female body and males a male body. Baptised Sikhs would normally wear the five Sikhs signs (5 K) known as Panj Kakaars, (uncut hair, wooden comb, steel bracelet , a particular type of underwear called a Kachha, and a (small) sword, which should not be removed without the  consent of a family member.) Medical staff should not cut the hair of the deceased or remove hair from his/her body. Sikhs do not use religious icons and in the mortuary area where the corpse is held before the funeral, there should not be icons or symbols of other religions.

Does Sikhism allow post-mortem?

A post-mortem examination is permitted in Sikhism only if strictly necessary or legally imposed. However, many Sikhs may find it superfluous and inappropriate and may object to it. If there are legal reasons for performing a post-mortem examination, they should be explained in detail to the family. It is very important for the family that the funeral arrangements are not delayed, so special consideration should be given so that the post-mortem examination is done as soon after death as possible. The five Sikh religious Ks should be treated with dignity during the post-mortem examination, and hair and beard should not be cut or shaved.

By when should the body of a Sikh be cremated/buried?

A Sikh funeral and cremation or burial should take place as soon as possible after death, preferably within not more than three (3) days.

In Sikhism what ritual is performed on the birth of a child?

For the Sikh community, a child's birth is a moment of great joy, but no religious ceremony needs to be performed except for the naming ceremony, which may be done at any time, but is often done soon after the birth. A naming ceremony is held at a Gurdwara (the place of assembly and worship) to which family and friends are invited. Prayers are said and the family offers a donation consisting of a covering in silk or other fine material as a covering for the Sikh religious scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib.  The Granthi (priest) opens the Guru Granth Sahib at random. The family then chooses the child's name beginning with the first letter of the hymn found on the paged opened and the Granthi announces the baby's name to those present, adding Singh (lion) to the name if the child is a boy and Kaur (princess) ifk you” the child is a girl. A traditional sweet dish is usually distributed to those present to celebrate the occasion.

What does Sikhism require in the event of a miscarriage or stillborn birth?

The bodies of dead children, stillborn babies or a developed miscarried foetus are normally given the same funeral rites as are accorded to dead adults. The body/miscarried foetus should be covered in a clean white fabric and the parents should be consulted about the way in which they would wish to dispose of it.

If a Sikhism is praying, what is not appropriate for me to do?

Sikhs need silence and no distractions when praying. Therefore, Sikhs should not be disturbed when praying, unless strictly necessary.

What is the position of Sikhism with regards to pornography?

Although Sikhism does not directly condemn pornography, its use is discouraged because it may lead to adultery. Moreover, pornography promotes Kaam, meaning lust, uncontrolled sexual desire, which is one of the five cardinal sins in Sikhism that build barriers between humans and God. Obsessive watching of pornography becomes akin to sin when it becomes a flaw in one's nature.

What is the position of Sikhism with regards to sex before marriage and sex outside marriage?

Sikhs attach great importance to the family. Sex outside marriage is adultery, which is condemned. Premarital sex is also not permitted in Sikhism. Sikhs must avoid the “five thieves,” which are lust, conceit, attachment, rage, and greed. It is believed that sex before the wedding is motivated by lust and should, therefore, be avoided.

Are male and female equal in Sikhism?

Sikhs believe in equality of all human beings irrespective of race, gender or social status. The Sikhs scriptures say that women are equal to men; they possess the same souls as men and therefore have the same rights and duties as men.

What is Bandi Chor Divas / Diwali and how Sikhs celebrate it?

Bandi Chor Divas (Day of Liberation) is a Sikh holiday which coincides with the Hindu Diwali, the festival of lights. Sikhs celebrate the feast in a similar manner to the Hindus, with the lighting of homes and the Gurdwaras (the Sikh places of worship) and fireworks display. It is an important time for Sikhs to visit the Gurdwara and spend time with their family. The feast celebrates the occasion when the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind, was released from prison, together with 53 other Hindu princes, by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.

What is Vaisakhi and how is it celebrated by Sikhs?

Vaisakhi falls on April 13th or 14th,and is an important feast for Sikhs. It commemorates the date when, in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the ten Gurus, set up the Khalsa Panth, the community of the faithful who started wearing the 5 Ks,( the outward visible signs of Sikhism), and were trained as warriors so as to uphold rights everywhere and destroy sin and evil. Today, all Sikhs who have been initiated form part of the Khalsa. On this day the Gurdwaras (the Sikh places of worship) are decorated and visited.  Wherever there are large Sikh communities, especially in Northern India, parades are held on this day, and there is much dancing and singing. Many Sikhs also choose this day to baptised and become members of the Khalsa.

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