- Thoya said they only found the coffin covers and had to ask for a coffin from the neighbouring Masjid Sarajevo nearby.
- Hamid said the coffins must have been stolen on a weekday when there are no madrassa for the children.
Residents of Namba Saba area of Bakarani, Nyali subcounty are reeling in shock after a bizarre incident on Tuesday.
Unknown people went into a mosque, Masjid Marhaba, and stole two Islamic coffins, which are usually used to carry bodies to the burial site and then returned to the mosque.
Village elder Mohamed Hamid on Thursday told the Star the two coffins are made of pure aluminium.
“They also stole 10 new iron sheets,” Hamid said.
The coffins were discovered missing after a bereaved family went to ask for one to take the body of former Frere Town MCA Amir Thoya’s mother for burial.
“We had prayed for the body at Masjid Marhaba and wanted to put the body in the coffin for transfer to the burial site. But when we went upstairs where they are usually kept, we found none. We told the mosque committee and they were shocked. They had not realised they were missing,” Thoya told the Star on phone.
Thoya said they only found the coffin covers and had to ask for a coffin from the neighbouring Masjid Sarajevo nearby.
Hamid said the coffins must have been stolen on a weekday when there is no madrassa for the children.
“It was then officially announced in the mosque on Wednesday after Magharib prayers at around 6.45 pm,” Hamid said.
Masjid Marhaba’s imam Sheikh Ramadhan made the announcement.
Hamid said on Saturday, there will be special prayers known as Albadiri to make the thieves suffer in their hearts.
Albadiri is a special curse which can only be invoked by religious teachers unleashed on wrongdoers in general as a last resort.
It is usually invoked without specifying their names because the Islamic religion frowns on cursing people directly.
Some religious leaders say it is permissible to curse criminals in general when their evil deeds perturb society and leave grave consequences.
“Stealing of the coffin is too extreme. It is top. Very bad. This is the first time it has happened here,” Hamid said.
“It means the thieves do not want to die. Because where will they pass through if they do. The coffin is the only vehicle that they have to go through in their final journey,” Hamid said.
Another village elder, Mzee Omari, told the Star the incident has left many shocked because it is unheard of.
“This is new. It has never happened,” Omari said.
He said they got the news after Salat al-Janazah (funeral prayers) for Thoya’s departed mother on Wednesday after the Dhur prayers but it was officially announced after Magharib prayers at 6.45 pm.
“Without a coffin one cannot make their final journey to the burial site,” Omari said.
Frere Town chief Twalib Dola said the coffins are valuable because they are made of aluminium.
“The coffins are kept upstairs at Masjid Marhaba and so they had to climb up to steal them,” Dola said.
He said the matter has been reported at Mbungoni police post.
The chief also said they have spread word to all scrap metal dealers to be on the lookout for new aluminium metal that anyone might try to sell to them.
“We, together with the assistant county commissioner, are involved in the licensing of the scrap metal dealers. So we have asked them to help us in case they find out anything,” Dola said.
He called on the public to also be on the lookout and spread word about it so that the coffins are found.
He said the only other time he has heard of such an incident was in Lamu county, about three years ago.
However, in that case, the coffin was found.
“The people who had stolen the coffin were drug addicts and said there was a funeral somewhere and that they were going to transport the body of marhum to the burial site,” Dola said.
So, because Lamu is a small area where everybody knows everybody because they are all closely related, word quickly spread that there was a funeral somewhere and people started gathering going to the village.
“The addicts, seeing that the matter was eliciting attention, panicked and dropped the coffin and ran away,” he said.
Thoya said some suspects are being investigated.
“We have a strong suspicion of who might have been involved and there are people looking into that possibility. They are known,” he said.
He said there are foot and finger prints on some of the surfaces at Masjid Marhaba that could lead to the discovery of the thieves.
“They have stolen the only vehicle that they can use to be taken to the burial site. It is such a shame because the people being suspected also pray in that mosque,” he said.