Allah created us unique and out of His mercy not only blessed us with intellect, feelings and emotions but also taught us how to use these faculties in the right way. Joy and grief are two such emotions decreed by Allah for us – emotions through which we can draw closer to Him if we comply with His commands. Being grateful and praising Allah when happy and patient when sad while accepting whatever He decrees is the characteristic of a true believer. For, everything that Allah decrees for a believer is good for him in both worlds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for all his affairs are good, and that applies to no one except a believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him, and if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is also good for him.” (Muslim-2999)
Remaining calm especially at the loss of a loved one can be devastating and the grief that follows cannot be belittled but a believer who has faith in His Lord’s promises doesn’t let shaitan overpower his senses and continues to be patient for His sake. He knows that everything good and bad is a test from Allah and the real purpose of the test is actually to make him learn to continue doing good deeds with patience despite the burden of the test he is facing. That’s when he is blessed with the mercy, guidance and reward of Allah as explained in the second surah of the Qur’an.
Experiencing negative feelings of sadness and anxiety or crying when grieving a loss is natural. Even the prophets went through such times and felt these emotions of sorrow and hurt but we need to learn and follow their attitudes of controlling their emotions and being steadfast in the obedience of Allah.
Anas bin Malik narrated: “We went with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) to the blacksmith Abu Saif. He was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Messenger took Ibrahim, kissed him and smelled him. Later when we entered Abu Saif’s house, Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) started shedding tears. ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf said, “O Allah’s Messenger, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn ‘Auf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, but we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.” (Bukhari 23:390)
In another narration, Abdullah ibn Umar said: Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaadah fell sick and the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to visit him with ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas and ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with all the companions). When he entered upon him, he found him unconscious with his family around him and he said: “Has he died?” They said: No, O Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) wept, and when the people saw the Prophet weeping, they also wept. He said: “Listen, Allah does not punish for the tears of the eye or the grief of the heart, rather He punishes for this” – and he pointed to his tongue – “or shows mercy (because of it).” (Bukhari-1304, Muslim-924)
These touching narrations teach us that being composed when grieving and submitting to the will of Allah does not exclude emotions. And while such emotions are characterized as a sign of human compassion granted by Allah, Prophet (peace be upon him) also placed limits on excessive display of grief. Merely crying when grieved is allowed but it is forbidden when it accompanies wailing or complaining. Furthermore, according to hadeeth, the family of a deceased is allowed to mourn him for three days only, but a widow may mourn her husband for four months and ten days.
Unfortunately we see many people nowadays spoil the image of Islam by grieving over the dead in ways that were forbidden by the Prophet (peace be upon him). They are seen beating their chests, slapping their cheeks, striking their shoulders with chains and cutting their heads with swords while complaining or uttering words of shirk. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never prescribed for his followers to do any of these things or anything similar to them to mark the death of a leader or the loss of a martyr irrespective of his status. During his lifetime, he (peace be upon him) lost his beloved wife Khadijah, almost all his children and a number of companions were martyred such as Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Zayd ibn Haarithah and Ja’far ibn Abi Taalib. He did mourn their loss, but he did not do any of the things that some people nowadays do. He or his companions did not strike their chests or scratch their faces, or shed blood or take the day of the loss of their beloved spouses, children or companions as a festival or day of mourning. Rather they used to remember their loved ones who had passed away; they used feel sad, silently shed tears and seek relief in prayer. According to a report by Abu Dawood, whenever something distressed him or pleased him, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say to Bilal: “Relieve us with it (i.e., the prayer).” He (peace be upon him) said: “He is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, tears his garment, or wails with the cry(words) of the Jaahiliyyah.” (Bukhari-1294, Muslim-103)
When one remembers his beloved who has passed away or when he remembers some similar calamity, it is best to say that which Ali ibn al-Husayn narrated from his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who said: “There is no Muslim who is afflicted by a calamity and when he remembers it, even if it was in the dim and distant past, he says “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon” (Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return), but Allah will give him a reward like that of the day when it befell him.” (Ahmad)
He (peace be upon him) also said, ‘A person will be in the company of those whom he loves’. (Bukhari) So be consoled, oh believers, and patiently endure as the life of this world is temporary and we will soon be reunited with our beloved in Paradise if Allah wills.
Amazing advice by one of our righteous predecessors:
“A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, and a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf…so look after yourself, protect it, nurture it…and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth…Be certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination…your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility…Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscience…if your conscience is at peace then you will ascend high…and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.
Do not carry the worries of this life… because this is for Allah…and do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah…and do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah…
Carry one thing: How to Please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfils you and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep…just say “oh Allah…compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter”.
Sadness departs with a sajdah…happiness comes with a sincere du’a…Allah Does Not forget the good you do…nor Does He Forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from…Nor Will He Forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh…
Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good…not because of other’s sake but because Allah Loves the good doers”.
-Translated by Alaa el Sayed
Secret counsels are from Shaytaan, in order to cause grief to the believers [58:10]
Do not pay attention to this thing called sadness, and what are you grievous over? Are you grievous over something concerning your religion? Then know that Allah can mend all deficiencies. And if you are grievous over something from the worldly affairs, from losing a father or mother, or some wealth or children, then with Allah is better recompense from every type of loss. And you will not find a true slave of Allah overcome with depression as long as his heart is only attached to Allah.
What are you grieving over?, if your heart was for Allah then He would fill your heart with trust and confidence. Therefore it is not befitting of the Muslim to expose himself to that which causes grief, for if he does this the he has helped the Shaytaan against his own self.
And so the Prophet (peace be upon him) would seek refuge from sadness and he advised Abu Umamah when he saw him sitting in the Masjid, so he (peace be upon him) said, ‘O Abu Umamah’ May my parents be sacrificed for him (the Prophet), for he was most compassionate towards the people, for he saw this companion in the masjid at a time, other than the time for Salat.
Look at this noble Prophet! Allah honored him and made him the Seal of the Messengers yet he would still look out for his companions … he said: ‘O Abu Umamah, what has caused you to be in the Masjid now?’, so he replied: O Messenger of Allah, sadness that has overwhelmed me, and debts that have crippled me! So look what the Prophet of Mercy (peace be upon him) said to him: Should I not inform you of some words, if you say them, Allah will dispel your worries and pay your debt?, he said: Certainly O Messenger of Allah! He said: Say ”O Allah I seek refuge in You from anxiety and sadness and I seek refuge in You from inability and laziness …
See how he (peace be upon him) mentioned sadness along with inability and laziness …
O Allah I seek refuge in You from anxiety and sadness and I seek refuge in You from inability and laziness and I seek refuge in You from debts and the overpowering of men.”
He said: ‘I said these words‘ – so how good the speaker and how good is what he said, those companions who when they heard anything from the Book of Allah they believed in it and said those words with hearts that were alive and brimming with faith, they didn’t say, ‘By Allah my debts are too much!‘ can these words benefit?!, or ‘My debt is in the millions!’ Yes! By Allah if you had the entire world (as a debt), Allah would pay it off as long as the Prophet (peace be upon him) related that it would be paid. You say: ‘I’m sad and grieved! Can such words benefit me?’, Yes! that is when you believe and submit not when you become feeble and give up.
The problem is that we have supplications for morning and evening and you ask Allah to give you protection from sadness, from grief, from inability and laziness but this will only benefit when you do so with your heart, not just your tongue. So you seek His Aid, realizing that these words are from Revelation and that they are from the Lord of the Worlds and there is no one more true to His Promise then Allah, then you will be sure He is able to relieve you of your problem.
And I know a man who had been afflicted with the misery of debt so I mentioned this hadith to him so he returned to me after a short time, and his debts were in the millions! He said to me, ”When you told me the hadith Shaytaan overwhelmed me and I thought it is impossible that such a debt could be resolved with words but after saying the du’a, Allah resolved the matter for me from where I didn’t expect!” He said: ”Initially I thought it was not possible – then I knew my doubt was from Shaytaan. Allah sent His Messenger to say these words to us then He doesn’t fulfill His Promise?! Rather I will say these words!”, He said to me: ”In just 3 days my problem was solved!” And his debt was in the millions, some people may only wait for a day!
But the matter is one of Faith and perhaps Allah may delay the response for months, due to a reason and wisdom, or perhaps a problem may linger for years so that you meet Him with higher ranks and rewards due to your affliction. Because He is Ever-Merciful to the believer for no sadness or trial faces a believer except that He rewards him for that! So you should believe firmly that this grief will dissipate.
Likewise I advise you to look deeply at your condition. Sometimes one is afflicted with a trial because of some injustice. So perhaps you wronged your wife, or wronged your children, or your neighbor or your colleague at work by way of lies or deceit so you didn’t fear Allah as regards to the people so you are afflicted with some matter from Allah. So check yourself as regards the rights of Allah, and then the rights of His servants and resort to amending the matter, and look deeply and Allah will inspire you to find this defect.
And I recall one time whilst I was young – and I say this by way of admonition only – my father assigned me to take care of some work in the fields, however, I was the afflicted with an ailment in my stomach and this was during my studies whilst I had nothing else and so I became astonished at the sickness in my stomach. And one of the best doctors in Madinah, a friend of my father, he didn’t know what the problem was or how to treat it so I remained like this for some time. So once I prayed asking Allah to relieve me of the illness and that if there was anything, to show me my mistake and by Allah, by whom there is no God but Him, it was a day in Ramadan and my fathers lesson was after Dhuhr, and I left for the fields.In these fields there were cattle with their food and crops, however the workers were not feeding them from the vegetation. They would take paper from bags of cement and feed these animals from that paper, so they would throw the paper in front of the animals as food. Allah is witness to what I say, and I am in the Mosque of His Messenger, that day as I left for the fields, it was as if I was being led towards those animals until I stood in front of them and as I did, it was as if they were looking at me shouting!
So I saw and noticed these papers in front of them so I called the workers despite that it was Ramadan and became very angry at the situation. Then I ordered that the animals be given from the vegetation that was present, but all this (affliction) [was] because this was a responsibility that was given to me to take care of.
So I swear by Allah, every day from then, the sickness left me gradually until it had gone completely.
Allah never wrongs a soul in anything and if you are true to Allah to show your error, He will guide you for indeed (as the Prophet peace be upon him) said: ”If you are true to Allah, He will be true to you.”
So if you see that a matter has afflicted you, search out for the matter, look out for your companions, your neighbor, your work colleagues, perhaps a person you wronged, or didn’t give his due. As for if you seem afflicted by this without any reason then this is just from Shaytaan, and upon you is to hold firm to the remembrance of Allah, morning and evening.
So if you say these supplications, Allah will surely benefit you thereby, as long as you say them with your heart and you ponder over them.
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JazakumAllahu khairan :)