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Even without his body, Muslims around the world commemorate Khashoggi

Funeral prayers were held in Islam's holiest cities and elsewhere for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Hundreds prayed for Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul (Reuters)

Despite him being deprived of a traditional burial, murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was commemorated in funeral prayers by Muslims around the world on Friday. 

Khashoggi's body has been missing since he was killed on 2 October - Turkish officials believe it was dissolved in acid by a Saudi hit squad - but funeral prayers were held in his absence in all of Islam's three holiest cities - Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem - as well as in Istanbul and London. 

"God bless him and give us patience in this disaster," Khashoggi's son Salah tweeted on Thursday, inviting mourners to the family home in the Saudi city of Jeddah. 

Translation: To God we belong, and to Him we return. Condolences will be held for the late Jamal Khashoggi from Friday to Sunday in his home in the city of Jeddah. God bless him and give us patience in this disaster.

Khashoggi, who had been a vocal critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after he entered to retrieve paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. 

It was Cengiz who sounded the alarm after Khashoggi did not exit the consulate on 2 October and who called for Muslims around the world to hold funeral prayers for him during this Friday's congregational prayers, after the journalist's family and loved ones came to terms with the fact that they would not be able to bury his body.

Translation: An absentee prayer for the spirit of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Hundreds attended the symbolic funeral prayer held in the courtyards of the Fatih Mosque, in a famously religious neighbourhood of Istanbul, the city where the couple planned to live. 

Translation: God accept your soul

Prayers held in Saudi Arabia were more controversial because of the circumstances of his murder. 

While allegations that he ordered the killing have been levelled at Mohammed bin Salman, he has been excused from Saudi investigations that have focused on the individuals actually sent to Istanbul to kill the journalist. 

Saudi academic Saeed Naser Al-Ghamidi, a personal friend of Khashoggi's, delivered a special sermon before the prayer at London's Finsbury Park mosque, emphasising that the murder of Khashoggi had involved a number of crimes under Islam.

"It is actually not a single crime, the crime of murder. It is a combined crime," said Ghamidi, gesticulating with his right hand throughout, often with a clenched fist or accusing finger.

"It is a crime of murder and a crime of treachery and a crime of assassination and a crime of mutilation and a crime of telling lies and a crime of combatting reformers."

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Looking down on the mosque's congregation, he explained the ways in which Khashoggi's killers had acted against Islamic rulings.

"The way that he was eliminated was so grotesque that it reverberated the world round," said Anas Altikriti, president of the Muslim Association of Britain, who organised the commemoration.

Khashoggi's friend Saeed al-Ghamdi calls his murder a "combined crime" (MEE/ Kaamil Ahmed)
He said the urge to follow up on Hatice Cengiz's call was deepened by knowledge that Khashoggi’s body would not be recovered.

"The very basic right of every Muslim is to have their funeral prayers held whereby people pray with the body lying in front of them, that's the basic right of every single Muslim," he said.

"The fact of the matter is, within a couple of hours, that body was no longer there. According to what we know now the body will never be retrieved, so that makes the funeral prayer in absentia all the more important."

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