Mourning the loss of a loved one is the most harrowing experience a human can endure. It is sorrowful, uncomfortable, and pungent. Grief can permeate every aspect of our lives and force us to reckon with this new normal of living without a loved one. Dealing with death can be overwhelming and difficult for both the bereaved and those witnessing the grieving.
As Muslims, we are advised to mourn the loss of our loved ones when the time comes for their souls to return to their Creator. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) experienced many losses throughout his life and stands as an example that grief is a natural emotional response that should not be neglected. Grief shows up differently for everyone, but Islam guides us in handling such a life-altering change.
How should Muslims empathize with someone who has lost a loved one?
Mourning is difficult, and it is during such a time that community is needed. Muslims are encouraged to comfort the bereaved by attending the mandatory funeral and prayer, visiting them to pay their respects, strengthening their faith through dua, offering them food, and reciting the Quran.
On hearing the news of a passing, Muslims should say, “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un” (Verily we belong to God, and verily to Him do we return.) This serves as a reminder that our existence in this world is to prepare ourselves for life after death. Due to this, the concept of death is constantly remembered and discussed in Islam. Therefore, we should embrace a loss of a loved one with purpose and poise as much as we can, despite how messy grief may be.
Supporting the bereaved can be uncomfortable, but shying away from the truth of death is not helpful. The loss happened, and being nonchalant and tiptoeing around it can harm the grieving. Offer the bereaved your condolences through the form of duas that provide comfort.
Check out these 4 powerful duas for grief from one of our Muslim Girl writers to help you find the one you need.
What should you avoid saying to someone who has lost a loved one?
Grief and mourning can be uncomfortable, leading us to say things that are not helpful to the bereaved. As Muslims, we should not speak ill of others, especially those who have passed. We should also not pester those grieving to explain why someone has passed away or what caused their death. These are inappropriate questions.
Try to ensure the way that you’re framing things is not condescending or forceful but rather supportive. Stray away from telling the bereaved you understand what they’re going through and offering words that invalidate their grief. People handle death differently, and therefore, everyone will have varying reactions. Do not slander someone for how they respond to this monumental change in their life. Instead, ask what the bereaved need and how you can help them. Give the bereaved space and grace to deal with their grief. Everyone’s grieving timeline is different, and as Muslims, we must be empathetic to each other during one of life’s hardest hurdles.
When we are faced with the death of a loved one, grief may be overwhelming and life-changing. However, it is a natural part of being alive. Faith, empathy, and community are assets in dealing with grief. Be kind to each other while we share space in this world.