Controversy in death: Seven questions about Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea

Just as his life had been a flashpoint of contention, Osama bin Laden’s death has incited fresh disputes about whether his burial at sea was done in accordance with Islamic law.

2. When are sea burials allowed?

“Burial at sea was allowed in the case of long travel without having access to land for the fear of body deterioration,” Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy, a Medina University-trained scholar who now teaches Islamic studies at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, says in an e-mail.

“In this case of Osama bin Laden, the reason seems to be more political than religious.”

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