Dealing with Grief


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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.

-Mariam Anwer

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He Knows what is best for you


Al Aleem

The story of Musa (alayhissalam) and Khidr holds so many profound lessons. Even Musa (alahissalam), a prophet of Allah, the one who spoke to Allah, struggled to stop himself questioning the actions of someone who was more knowledgeable than him. Just like us, he was human.

Yet, how many of us do this with Allah? The one who has the greatest knowledge of everything, both seen and unseen. The one who knows what thoughts we are harboring in our minds right now. Just like Musa (alayhissalam) lost patience with Khidr, we sometimes lose patience with Allah and begin to question His plan and decree, forgetting that He knows exactly what He is doing, as He is Al-‘Aleem, the Knower everything, the Knower of every creature, even of the little ant that scurries under a rock in the darkness of the night.

Instead of questioning the plan of Allah, have patience and watch his decree for you unfold, for He knows what is best for you.

And to Allah belongs the greatest of examples.

-Shaikh Sajid Umar

Patience


 

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“Be grateful no matter what the calamities are. Remember, miracles can happen in seconds, only when Allah wills it. It can happen today, maybe tomorrow and maybe it will happen some other day. Allah says: give the glad tidings to the patients. So, be among the patient and help is just round the corner!” 

–Shaikh Assim AlHakeem

 

An Excellent Example of Tolerance & Kindness


Hasan Al-Basri (d. 728 CE) had a neighbor who was a Christian. This neighbor had a toilet on the roof of his apartment and it used to leak through a hole in the roof of Hasan Al-Basri’s apartment.
Hasan placed a bucket beneath the hole to catch the urine that would leak through it and discard the contents at the end of each day.
This continued for 20 years.

Then one day, Hasan fell ill and his

 Christian neighbor came to visit him. When he entered, the neighbor noticed the bucket of urine that was leaking through the hole in his ceiling and asked Hasan astoundingly: “How long have you been tolerating this harm from me?!” Hasan replied: “For 20 years.”

So the Christian neighbor took off his belt (which was the clothing of the Christians during that time) and accepted Islam.
(Hilyah Al-Awliya)

Do we Muslims today tolerate a small inconvenience for a week from our relatives, let alone our neighbors? Even if we kept quiet, it would show up in our attitude and behavior. Hasan Al-Basri not only tolerated it for 20 years, but his behavior was so normal that the neighbor didn’t have any idea of the harm he was causing.
How much tolerance do we show for each other? If we do something good once in a while for our neighbor or relative, we mention that and brag about it a hundred times. And if we suffer harm, regardless if it was intentional or not, we would point out that mistake and the harm we suffered several times more.

The above example of one of our early scholars of Islam is worth contemplating about. His behavior and manners with his neighbor, who was not even a Muslim, is a wake-up call for Muslims in the 21st century on how far we have strayed from Islamic teachings.

This is an Excellent Example of Sincerity of Intention. Such superior level of manners can be achieved when one does deeds only for the sake of Allah alone. This incident is an example of Ikhlas Insha Allah. For 20 years Hasan tolerated this secretly, without letting anyone know about it.
Allah knows best about Hasan’s heart, but it appears he did this purely for Allah’s sake, hoping for His reward alone, so the fruit too was sweet – the man embraced Islam.

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Surah al Fussilat 33)

May Allah guide us to take a lesson from this excellent story!

Gaza – Heartbeat of the Ummah


If the Ummah had a heartbeat I would say it is in Gaza where the most beautiful, humble and courageous human beings leave me humbled and in awe by the strength of their faith. The whole world now knows this tiny little place on earth suffers hardships beyond imagination and yet these people are exemplary Muslims. Whenever I go to Gaza I feel spiritually re-born.

-Yvonne Ridley-