Dealing with the death of a loved one
إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
Innā lillāhi wa innā ilayhī rājiʿūn
Surely we belong to Allah and to him shall we return
Death is an irrefutable fact we can’t deny. Time and again, we lose ourselves in this transient world thinking that we are going to live here forever. As a result, Allah reminds us and shows us signs with the loss of a loved one to show that everything in this world is just temporary.
Losing a loved one is undeniably a grief-stricken and devastating moment, especially for the family and close friends. Although according to Qur’an 2:156, that a soul belongs to Allah and will return to Him in time, still it is a painful moment seeing our loved one passed away. Only those people who have experienced it can truly know the depth of pain it brings when it strikes. It hurts deep down in the core that sometimes you feel numb with emotion. The Muslim community has a prescribed way in Islam on how to deal with such inconsolable loss—without violating Islamic values. These are the seven pieces of advice that can help.
1. Dua (Supplications)
Duas or supplications are the biggest weapons of a firm believer of Islam and they are unquestionable. While the believer is still alive, he/she makes Duas for our well-being, and now that he/she has gone to the afterlife, that person relies on our Dua since he/she desperately needs them now.
Many of us have forgotten the significance of making Duas by thinking that making a Dua is all there is to do when in reality, Duas are our strongest assets to the point that they can possibly alter the decree of Allah to turn out to be another decree. With this mentality, people tend to get occupied with other acts, thinking that these acts will profit the dead, but they do not. Having get-togethers while reading Qur’an on the dead or thinking Duas are more powerful whilst at the grave are already forms of modernisations in the religion that has no authentic basis. The Holy Qur’an was made known as a form of healing and guidance for those alive. It was never the tradition of the early righteous Muslims to gather after the death on a specific day or visit the grave in order to make Duas for the dead with the perception that they will be more acceptable.
The little things we do can truly be big in the eyes of Allah. Make Duas for the forgiveness of loved ones, especially the children to their parents.
There are many ways to make your Dua. However, it should be observed in accordance with the Sunnah; take note that the best Duas are those wordings said by the Prophet.
2. Sabr (Patience)
Probably one of the hardest attribute to grasp when dealing with the death of a loved is observing patience or Sabr. Allow yourself time to heal, and don’t let death take its toll on you. Sabr enables a rightful Muslim to demonstrate reliance and contentment to the decree of Allah. This will also allow that person to be grateful to Allah despite such loss knowing that Allah will never burden a soul with more than he/she can bear and that He designed this pivotal moment to pay off the loss with something much bigger in the future.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminds us that a true believer will express gratitude to Allah, if prosperity attends that person, and he/she will patiently endure any adversity that befalls him, thinking that it is for his best interests.
Observing Sabr or patience does not mean we cannot feel down or cry our grief; for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also had tears in his eyes when Ibraheem, his son passed away. But we must not hit oneself, cry excessively, tear down the clothes, and most especially question Allah’s decree. These acts are strictly prohibited, and thus, we waste away on the great reward that is to come for being patient.
3. Don’t dwell in isolation
It is quite common to be engulfed by grief with the death of a loved one. However, one must not dwell in it much, as this sends an invitation to Shaytan to become misery’s company. The ploy is to give your attention to every little thing you have, thinking that this could also be taken away from you. Love brings love while regret leads to discontentment; discontentment should not be felt, most especially to the Glorified and Exalted Allah. Let the death of a loved be a lesson of detaching from Dunya and to hold Allah (glorified and exalted be he) in your heart above all others.
4. Aiding and Forgiveness
In life, we have our own share of disagreements which may, later on, lead to holding grudges against one another. Forgiving your deceased loved one for any wrongdoings they have done to you is a great gift you can give to them. By freeing yourself from grudge or something that person owes you, you are being merciful to that person which will also lead to Allah being merciful upon you as well.
Besides giving forgiveness to what is due, a faithful Muslim also ought to help a deceased brother with any outstanding debt he or she may have left behind. The living faithful follower must also help in the funeral as well, for this is one of the obligations of a Muslim to another Muslim brother or sister. Help the close relatives or the family of the departed Muslim during their difficult time, knowing they really need any help that comes along their way.
5. Sadaqa (Charity)
Another good thing a faithful follower of Islam can do for their departed loved one is to offer charity or Sadaqa on their behalf alongside his or her own charity or Sadaqa that he/she gives while still alive. This is according to the Sunnah and one that should be taken with high importance.
Donate on projects that provide water, build a school or Masjid, or simply donate clothes and foods to charity. Sadaqa does not only mean to give money on behalf of your late loved one, but you could also do a Hajj or Umrah, just as long as you have finished your Hajj already. You can also try observing voluntary fasts for the sake of your deceased loved one. In conjunction with all of this, try to remember some of the bits of advice the departed may have shared with you and try to act them out. This will allow them to have the incessant reward for the knowledge they have imparted when they were still alive. Also, take note that by doing such acts you will benefit your own book of deeds as well
6. Occupy yourself
We all need time to heal and experience the feeling of grief as it comes. But, it is imperative to keep moving forward despite the loss. The process of bereavement carries you back to the past, reminding you of all that you could have said or done, and this makes you feel all the more depress and lonely. Thus, going back to your usual routine could become your lifeline, as this may serve as a healthy distraction to channel out your energy to do something good. One is never really prepared for this paralyzing pain, yet Allah (glorified and exalted be he) reassures us that every hardship will ease (Qur’an: Chapter 94 verse 5).
Lastly, take these pivotal and precious moments of contemplation over the reality of this temporary world and that we will also depart from this transient phase to join Allah (Inshallah). We are encouraged to think about death over and over again and visit graveyards to keep us back on track and assess our current relationship and state with Allah. Do not let the evil spirits keep you busy with all the worldly needs of this world. Remind yourself especially your loved ones and the others around you that death is just around the corner. We must do more to become better servants and faithful followers of Allah. With our reconnection with Allah upon a person’s death, that deceased follower may get the rewards for your good works as well.
Feeling a deeper love for someone would also mean feeling deeper grief for that person’s loss, as they say, to grieve is to love. During the death of a loved one, we feel vulnerable, raw, anguished, devastated, and so much more. Pain can be manifested in different ways, and the coping mechanism of an individual differs from person to person.
There is no exact timeline for a healing process or grief, but in time, these sharp pangs may become blunt. But the Qur’an and the Sunnah can help us deal with these emotions more appropriately. Following these steps will not only help us recover in time, but it will also help the soul of our bereaved loved ones and ours as well. In addition seeking Counselling can help you through the grieving process.
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