People wishing to attend a Muslim memorial should refrain from wailing and shrieking, according to the New Zealand Muslim Association.

Local Muslim community leaders are planning to hold a national memorial burial for the 50 victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings later this week.

While it is acceptable in Islam to express grief over death by crying and weeping, the association said on its website, "wailing and shrieking, tearing of clothing and breaking of objects, and expressing a lack of faith in Allah are all prohibited".

Graves are now being dug in the dedicated Muslim section at the Christchurch City Council-run Memorial Park Cemetery in the eastern suburb of Linwood.


Funeral prayers, or Salat al-Janazah would be recited by members of the community at a mosque, with those praying facing the "qiblah" or Mecca, before the body is transported to the cemetery for burial.

Those placing the body in the grave would recite "Bismillah wa ala millati rasulilllah" or "in the name of Allah and in the faith of the Messenger of Allah".

Once the body is in the grave, a layer of wood or stones would be placed on top of it to prevent direct contact with the soil that will fill the grave.

"Then each mourner present will place three handfuls of soil into the grave," the NZMA website said.

"Once the grave has been filled, a small stone or marker may be placed at the grave so that it is recognisable."

Traditionally it is prohibited in Islam to erect a large monument or decorate the grave in an elaborate way, the association said.

"Many Muslims believe that until the Last Day the dead will remain in their tombs, and those heading for paradise will experience peace while those heading for hell will experience suffering."

There are simple rules of etiquette for those wishing to visit mosques.


Shoes, hats and sunglasses must be removed before entering a mosque, an appropriate dressing - women should have all skin covered and long pants and plain shirts for men - should be worn.

The typical Arabic greeting for those entering mosques is "Assalam Allaikum" which means "peace be upon you" and the correct response is "Wa alaikum-as-salam" or "peace be upon you too".

It is also a Muslim custom to enter the mosque with the right foot first, and exit with the left foot first.

Members of the opposite sex should not offer to shake hands as a form of greeting.

A council spokesman said the council was working closely with police and the coroner to facilitate the burials.