The issue of burial is very important in the Muslim mind. There is a special prayer over the body which is typically followed by burial in the dust.
Burying in the Islamic way gives the close relatives and friends (or followers in case of bin Laden) psychological comfort that the person died as a Muslim and will go to the paradise. This concept has roots in the following verse “Quran 12:101 . . . O Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul (at death) as a Muslim . . . ”
The punishment for early Muslims who refused to share in jihad was to forego the funeral prayer and not to bury them as Muslims (see Quran 9:84 Nor do thou ever pray for any of them [who refused to do Jihad] that dies, nor stand at his grave; for they rejected Allah and His Messenger, and died in a state of perverse rebellion).
Furthermore, according to shariah, if a Muslim is considered to be an apostate, he must not be buried as a Muslim. Indian Muslims, for example, refused to bury as Muslims the Islamic terrorists who committed the Mumbai attacks in 2008, as refusing to bury them as Muslims is the most powerful sign of rejecting terrorism.
After killing bin Laden the United States should have asked leading Islamic organizations such as the OIC, Muslim Brotherhood, and leading Islamic institutes & scholars whether or not they would consider bin Laden a Muslim and thus wanted to give him a Muslim funeral or not.
If these groups, which claim to be peaceful, consider bin Laden a Muslim and asked for a Muslim burial for him, then their sympathy and support for bin Laden would be exposed.
On the contrary, if these groups refuse to give him a funeral prayer and reject considering him a Muslim, then this would have been a stronger blow to al-Qaida ideology and its supporters than the killing bin Laden itself.
Asking Muslim groups and organizations if they wanted to bury bin Laden as a Muslim would have been a win-win situation for the U.S.
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