Muslim burials

Information about Muslim burials

Types of grave

Purchased graves

The person purchasing the exclusive rights to a grave space acquires only the right of burial in the grave for the period granted (usually 99 years). The ownership of the land and responsibilities remain the property of Bury Council. As the owner, you will be eligible to apply for a permit to place and maintain a memorial on the grave space.


Memorials cannot be erected without a permit and an 'Authority to place and maintain a memorial' form must be completed. If a memorial is placed on the grave space without a permit this could be removed. Memorials are governed by strict regulations, which are available from the Cemetery Office. Memorials cannot be erected without a permit.

  • The mounding of a grave is allowed to a height of 300mm
  • The maximum allowed for the gardening of graves or kerbsets is 7' by 3'

Non-purchased graves (known as a public/pauper grave)

The ownership of the exclusive right of burial in non purchased graves remains with Bury Council and it is possible that more than one interment may take place in the grave. Memorials are not permitted on non-purchased graves.

Types of graves available

Timber, brick or concrete vaults

On request, graves will be lined with timber, brick or concrete breeze blocks to form an inner shell in the grave space. Please note that we require the following notice for these types of vault.

  • Timber vault - 2 days
  • Brick vault - 3 to 5 days
  • Concrete vault - 1 day

Earth graves

Earthen graves are provided.

Burial chamber

A burial chamber is a concrete vault sealed with concrete slabs. Burials are permitted in either a suitable container for burial (a coffin) or the deceased can be wrapped in a shroud. If a shroud is to be used, a suitable container must be provided to transport the deceased to the graveside. Consideration also needs to be given to how the deceased will be placed into the grave (see section about 'lowering the deceased).

Booking a burial

Initially, you need to arrange a funeral by contacting Bury Cemetery Office.

The cemetery office is open Monday to Thursday, 8am to 4pm and Fridays, 8am to 1pm.

Funerals to be booked in by 12 noon.

The legal certificate of burial must have been obtained before booking the funeral Information we require when booking a burial:

  • Funeral date and time
  • The date and time when the funeral cortege will arrive at the cemetery gates.
  • Details of the deceased
  • The name, age and address of the deceased (Please note: there is an increase in the charge if the deceased did not live in the borough of Bury.)
  • Type of burial
  • Whether the burial will be in a coffin, casket or shroud.
  • Grave size. The dimensions of the grave are 8' by 3'2" with a 12" space between each grave. You will need to notify us of the coffin size to ensure that the grave is dug to the correct size to fit the coffin or shroud.
  • Type of grave. Whether the grave is a vault or earthen.
  • Person arranging the funeral. This can be a funeral director or a family member. This person is responsible for paying the required fees, and making sure that all relevant paperwork and burial certificate are completed, to be handed in at the cemetery office.

This now completes the telephone arrangements and you must now proceed as follows.


Go to the fees and charges page for Bury cemeteries.

You will need to consider the following fees.

  • New grave fee (purchasing the exclusive right of burial)
  • Burial fee (dependant on the age of the deceased)
  • Timber or concrete vault fee (used to line the inside of the grave)
  • Out-of-hours surcharge (a list of normal burial times is available from the Cemetery Office)

Legal requirements

Registering the death

The death must be registered with the Registrar of Deaths in the district where it occurred. The Registrar will require a certificate of the cause of death, issued by a Medical Practitioner. The Registrar will issue a certificate for burial.

The certificate must be handed in to Bury Cemetery office at the time of burial. The burial cannot take place without the certificate for burial.

Bury Registry Office is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

You must have an apppointment. Phone 0161 253 6026.

An emergency certificate for burial can be issued between 4.30pm Friday to 9am Monday by contacting Mr Liaqat Ali

on 0161 766 6324 or 07877196526 or Bury Registrar Office on 0161 253 6026

The above certificate will not be issued in some cases, for example, if the cause of death is not known, if the death was caused by an accident, or if the death was sudden.

This may result in the Coroner being involved. If this occurs, the Coroner will issue an alternative certificate, which again, must be passed to us. In this instance, a post-mortem may be required or other investigations (for example, MRI scanning), which may delay the funeral by a day or two.

Notice of burial (interim form)

You must complete and sign a formal application and indemnity for the burial. This can be obtained from Bury Cemetery office. This form confirms your telephone booking and completes a binding contract over the funeral. We require this form as soon as possible on the day of the burial.

This completes the legal requirements.

You must now consider the funeral.

The funeral

Lowering the deceased

As it is not safe or sensible for anyone to enter a grave, you should use slings to lower the deceased. For coffins and rigid containers, we have slings available at the grave side.

For other containers, you should consider the method of lowering the deceased very carefully. You will need to ensure there are sufficient bearers to carry and lower the deceased into the grave. Please note: Risk assessments for lowering coffins into graves are available on request from the Cemetery Office.

Returning the soil to the grave

In many cases, families wish to return the soil to the grave personally. The staff on site are available to assist or complete this task if requested.

Help and assistance

Help and assistance is available either at Bury Cemetery Office (telephone 0161 253 6510) or via a local funeral director. If you do need help and advice, please contact us and if necessary, you can arrange an interview with a member of staff at short notice. Advice is also available from the mosque and your Community Representative.

Procedures and guidance for muslim burials

Preparation of a grave (vaults)

Graves are excavated by our gravediggers. The vaults are constructed of breeze block by a stone mason. A plastic sheet is folded and placed inside the vault for use after the burial. Concrete flag stones are placed over the vault followed by a layer of plastic sheet and then a second row of concrete flag stones (staggered in relation to the first row of flag stones). This is done to stop water from entering the grave. Top soil is then put back on the vault until the vault is required for a burial.

Prior to the burial, the gravediggers remove the top soil and concrete flagstones and place them to the side of the grave. The plastic sheet that was placed between the flagstones is removed. The pre-folded plastic sheet that was placed inside the vault is also moved to the side of the grave along with two spades for later use.

If the plastic sheet is missing our gravediggers can supply a new sheet.

Arrival of the deceased

It is important that the body of the deceased arrives at the grave by the specified time. If this time cannot be adhered to, the Cemetery Office should be informed. Please note: Should cemetery staff have other work commitments attending other funerals, then the interment cannot be guaranteed to go ahead.

If the funeral is late the council reserves the right to postpone and rearrange for the next day

Lowering the deceased

Where possible there should be a nominated Muslim community representative present to ensure the smooth running of the burial should any issues arise.

The lowering of the coffin must take place in a controlled and dignified manner.

The gravediggers have a discreet presence at the burial to check that everything that is required is in place (including slings).

As it is not safe or sensible for anyone to enter the grave, the slings provided must be used to lower the coffin.

Covering the chamber

Once the coffin has been lowered, the straps are removed and a row of concrete flagstones is placed over the vault.This is followed by the plastic sheet and a second row of flagstones, which should ensure a water tight seal.

Please note: Concrete flagstones are heavy and can be awkward to move, particularly if they are wet and difficult to hold. Therefore, gloves should be worn and extreme care must be taken around the open vault.

The community representative will be issued with a risk assessment for this procedure, which must be adhered to at all times.

Returning the soil to the grave

In a lot of cases, families and mourners prefer to return the soil to the grave themselves and spades will be provided for this purpose. However, our gravediggers are available to assist or complete this task if required to do so.

Please note: Great care must be taken to ensure that families and mourners are not injured while returning soil to the grave as accidents and injuries can occur, particularly when too many people try to do this at the same time and get in each other's way. For this reason we recommend that only two people return the soil to the grave at any one time. We also recommend that suitable footwear is worn to prevent injuries to feet. Bare feet are not allowed under any circumstances.

The soil on the grave should be left mounded to allow it to settle.

After the ceremony

Our gravediggers will tidy the grave area and remove excess soil.

Burials in a vault outside of normal working hours (on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays)

Bury Council offer an out of hours burial service at weekends, bank holidays and Friday afternoon when sufficient notice is given. To enable a funeral to take place on the same day we must be notified before 10.00a.m. and all paperwork received before 12 noon.

Please note:

  • You must obtain the legal certificate of burial before booking a funeral.
  • All burials outside of normal working hours incur an additional charge. This is to help offset the extra costs to the council.

How to book a funeral outside of normal hours

Phone Bury Council Emergency Services on 0161 253 6639 or 0161 253 6606.

Please note:In order to comply with health and safety regulations please be aware that funerals are not allowed to take place later than 4pm on any day in summer and no later than 3pm on any day in winter. This is to ensure that the vault is closed and all soil is returned to the grave during daylight hours.

Earthen graves

Earthen graves can be provided. However, for health and safety requirements, the council gravediggers must be allowed to remove the shoring, complete the back filling and remove the grass matting.

It may be possible to provide an earthen grave for an out of hours burial providing sufficient notice is given.

Timber vaults

Timber (wooden) vaults can be supplied. However, it may not be possible to arrange for this type of vault at short notice as it is not always possible to have the timber in stock and the correct staff available.

Help and assistance

Help and assistance is available either at the Cemetery Office (telephone 0161 253 6510) or via a local funeral director. If you do need help and advice, please contact us and if necessary, you can arrange an interview with a member of staff at short notice.

Advice is also available from the mosque and your community representative. Help and assistance is also available from the attending gravediggers or in the case of an emergency, please telephone Security services on 0161 253 6639/6606.

Please note: In the event of severe weather, we reserve the right to cancel an interment if it considers that there are unacceptable hazards to the safety of members of the public and cemetery staff.

Health and safety risk assessment

A risk assessment is available from the cemetery office.

Contact for Bereavement Service