Answered by: Shaykh Tahsin Alam
Can you please advise and give us some guidance. We have a meeting with the coroner on Wednesday and he wants to know how would the Muslim community deal with a situation if, Naoozubillah, we were to be confronted of mass people, say about 200/300 people, dying of the coronavirus disease?
There are some reports that the Chinese authorities are burning the bodies for stopping further spread of the virus.
What would be a practical Islamic method?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The deceased must be buried as per the guidelines of the Sharīʿah, they cannot be burned nor incinerated. Due to many people dying, one may bury multiple persons in a single grave, if there is a genuine need to do so (e.g. such as the shortage of graves, or a natural disaster causing many people to die, etc.) Similarly, graves in which the bodies have completely disintegrated, decomposed and transformed into soil, may be used reused as graves for other deceased persons.
It is related from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, buried together with two of those killed in the Battle of Uhud. [Bukhari]
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Tahsin Alam
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Radd al-Muḥtār, volume 3 pg. 562