Bereavement of a Loved One
The reality of death is something which one does not want to confront. Even the thought of the possibility that our close friends and family may one day face death causes uneasiness in our hearts. Death is a reality which we all must face. In the Qur’an, Allah SWT promises us that “Every soul will taste death, then to Us you will all be returned,” (Al Qur’an, 29:57). Death too affects those whom the deceased has left behind. News of the passing of our loved ones sends shockwaves through our body, sometimes leaving us unable to cope with the loss. The sahabas themselves were disoriented and overcome by grief when Rasulullah SAW left this world, to the extent that Saiyyidina Umar RA declared, "By Allah! Allah's Messenger SAW is not dead!” and Sayyidina Umar threatened anyone who said that Rasulullah was dead (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 5, Book 57, Hadith 19). In relation to this, Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA. responded by saying that “No doubt! Whoever worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshipped Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die,” (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 5, Book 64, Hadith 472). Grief is something we all have a hard time dealing with, no matter the level of Iman that we have.
How then do we deal with grief? How then do we console ourselves and our loved ones after the demise of someone important to us? It is not an easy task, nor is it an instant one. The process of grieving takes time, but perhaps after we have come to accept the reality that our loved one is gone from this world, we could shift our grievances towards something more comforting. I came across this book by Imam Jalal Al-Din Al Suyuti titled “Healing After Loss: Consoling the Bereaved,” in which Imam Al Suyuti shared 185 reports on the divine honour a believer would receive after death. Imam Jalal Al-Din Al Suyuti is considered a hadith master in the Shafii madhab, where he wrote “Healing After Loss” after he had lost his son. In “Healing After Loss”, there are hadith narrations, Qur’an verses as well as reports from Islamic scholars based on the Qur’an and the hadiths. I would like to share five reports which I found most comforting and consoling:
Abu Mas’ud (rahimahullah) said, “When Allah intends to take the soul of a believer, He reveals to the Angel of Death: ‘Convey greetings to him from Me.’ So when the Angel of Death comes to take his soul, he kindly says to him: ‘Your Lord conveys to you His greetings.’” We always hope to ask for Allah’s Love and to only do things which He loves. What better assurance can you get than Allah SWT giving his greetings and glad tidings to His beloved servant? May we all be considered to be one of the believers, ameen.
Thabit al-Banani (rahimahullah) said, “It has reached us that when a person dies, his family and relatives who died before him comfort him [in the barzakh]. They are overjoyed to meet him and he is happier to meet them than a traveller when he returns to his family.” Knowing that your loved ones would be reunited, comforting each other in the next world is especially reassuring. One day, you too would be able to meet your loved ones who have left you, InshaAllah.
Ata al-Khurasani (rahimahullah) said, “There is no Muslim who prostrates to Allah on any portion of the land except that it will undoubtedly bear witness for him on the Day of Judgement and will cry for him the day he dies.” Not only do the people close to the deceased grieve for them, but so does the Earth.
Aisha RA said “The Messenger of Allah SAW said: ‘There is no person who visits the grave of his brother and sits near it except that the deceased derives comfort from him and responds to him until he leaves’” Whenever we visit the graves of our loved ones, do remember to recite Al-Fatihah upon their souls so as to give them glad tidings and comfort.
Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) said, “It has reached me that when a believing servant dies who did not memorise the Qur’an, Allah orders His Guardian Angels to teach him the Qur’an in his grave until Allah ta’ala will resurrect him on the Day of Judgement with the people of the Qur’an (ahluhu).” Allah’s instructions towards the angels to teach those in the graves greatly showcases Allah’s Mercy and Love for His servants.
I hope that this article could help to shed at least some fraction of the grieving heart and bring you closer to the remembrance of Allah. The yearning for our loved ones may never stop, just like in the movie Coco, we must not forget those who have moved on to the next world and instead cherish memories of them. And whenever we find ourselves being reminded of them in any way, perhaps when eating a favourite food of those who have left us, recite Al-Fatihah and make a small du’a for them.