After Osama bin Laden was reportedly killed in a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan, U.S. officials supposedly rushed to bury the body within 24 hours, in accordance with Islamic law. According to one US official, finding a country willing to accept his remains would be "difficult", so the decision was made to bury him at sea. However, burial at sea, a common practice for fallen naval veterans, is not commonly allowed according to Islamic law, according to Al-Islam.org:
- It is obligatory to bury a dead body in the ground, so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out, and, if there is a danger of such beasts digging it out then the grave should be made solid with bricks, etc.
- If a person dies on a ship and if there is no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship, it should be kept on it and buried in the ground after reaching the land. Otherwise, after giving Ghusl, Hunut, Kafan and Namaz-e-Mayyit it should be lowered into the sea in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. And as far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators.
- If it is feared that an enemy may dig up the grave and exhume the dead body and amputate its ears or nose or other limbs, it should be lowered into sea, if possible, as stated in the foregoing rule.