Losing a Loved One


By Anonymous

Death should be a daily reminder for us all. We do not know if today will be our last day in this world. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) said, “Every soul shall taste death.” Everyone’s time of death is written and only Allah (swt) alone knows when we will take our last breath.

Losing a close family member through death brings feelings of emptiness that no words can convey. In Islam, the official mourning period is three days, but the memories of the deceased will last forever. Knowing that Allah (swt) has the power to relieve our grief and suffering brings relief during this difficult test of our faith. Death is a test for the believer, as the pain and suffering brings one closer to Allah (swt).

Often, we forget about the families the deceased left behind—the ones who continue to live with the pain long after the final condolence bouquet has been delivered. Experiencing the death of a family member is traumatic enough, but to endure inappropriate behavior from other Muslims only prolongs the distress and further isolates the bereaved.  Muslims are people of peace; this should be demonstrated through peaceful actions.

Here are five ways to help the families of the deceased and to earn the reward and pleasure of Allah (swt):

  1. Pray for the deceased and their family. When receiving news of death, recite: “To Allah (swt) we belong and to Him we shall return!” Pray for the deceased, asking Allah to grant them the highest level of Paradise. Pray that their grave is filled with noor (light) and the fragrance of Jannah (paradise), and to show them their place in Jannah. Pray they are resting peacefully in their graves, and that Allah eases the pain and suffering of the loved ones left behind.
  2. Visit the relatives of the deceased. Contrary to un-Islamic cultural and superstitious beliefs, speaking or associating with the relatives of the deceased or accepting momentos of the deceased will not unleash a death curse on you or your family. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ visited the families and friends of the deceased.
  3. Express kindness in your words. Refrain from making inappropriate comments such as: “Thankfully, s/he was not married,” or “Was it your fault?” or “How will you survive without your child/sibling/spouse/parent?” Remember, there will be many people who die single, or married, or with children; in youth and in old age; in sickness, in health, in accidents and even by murder. The kindest Muslims are those who ease the pain and suffering of others, as the reward for such actions comes from Allah. Blaming others for causing the death of a loved one will not bring the deceased back to life. Only Allah knows why it was his/her time of death; blaming others will only cause guilt and anxiety.
  4. Provide help and take action. Simple acts such as providing rides to visit the grave of the deceased, especially during the first year of death, or bringing food, or inviting them to your home, will be much appreciated as the family members often neglect themselves while grieving. Be among those Muslims who are caring and kind to others, especially during times of sadness. Often, the families of the deceased are embarrassed to ask for help, or just want to talk; offer your help.
  5. Be sensitive and humble. Now is the not the time to suggest a marriage partner, gossip, or talk about your own happiness. Even making remarks such as, “It is time for you to move on,” or “At least you are so thin despite your loss,” or “How much did you score from the inheritance?” is simply rude. It is also disrespectful to dress up as if you are celebrating a holiday while visiting the homes of the grieving families. One cannot imagine what the suffering individual is feeling, so just being there to show your support is better than saying something you will regret.

As with everything we do in this world, we should always strive to seek the reward of Allah (swt), so remember to always show kindness, especially towards those affected by the death, as it is a pain too deep for one to bear alone.

Print Friendly

34 Comments

  1. shahnaz riyaz says:

    JazakAllahu khair..

  2. Salam says:

    Jazakallah for this thoughtful article. You are very right that we need to be much more aware about how to deal with people whose loved ones have passed away in a more sensitive way. It is a sign of Taqwa to be able to show the right morals and manners in such a time, and it is to follow the example of the Prophet (saw) to be able to give people comfort and solace in this time – not to be insensitive or thoughtless in what we say.

    The article touched upon some important examples to avoid. Following on from these, we should be very careful not to comment on a person’s appearance when they are grieving. Comments about how tired a person looks, or how thin, how exhausted or unwell, do not really help. Of course if it is said in a gentle way, and out of concern for the person, and with the intention of encouraging them to get rest or to eat properly for the sake of their health, then this is different. But if it is a throw-away remark, then it seems to overlook the obvious fact that this person looks this way because someone close to them has just died. It is likely that a bereaving person does not or cannot sleep properly because they have been awake looking after their loved one if they were unwell prior to passing away; or they may have been awake at night praying for their loved ones before and after death; they will not have had time to eat properly and will have lost their appetite; and of course they will just be drained by the anxiety and emotional intensity of the whole circumstances. To comment on a something so superficial as a person’s appearance, without acknowledging the reason behind it, and as if requiring an explanation, is a bit ignorant and lacking in empathy.

    But it is not necessarily the case that such comments will come from those who have not gone through this experience. It is really important to note that people who have also gone through bereavement can be insensitive too without realising it, and all of us should be wary about not falling into this. For example, some people are less affected by death – they are able to ‘move on’ more quickly, get back to normality sooner. Everyone is different, and whatever the reasons, some people are less affected by the death of a loved one. But it is insensitive to project one’s own example and experience onto someone else, and to put the same expectations on them. Yes Islam does have an official mourning period of 3 days, and this is not to advocate isolation and separation from society. But even after those 3 days, a person may need to take time out to be with the family, to reflect and remember Allah – it may take a few weeks to get back into the normal routine. When a person does slowly get back into things, it is not nice to say to someone things like ‘where have you been all this time?’, or ‘what have you been doing over the past few weeks??’. This seems to imply that the person is weak, lacking in emotional strength, or even that the death of their loved one was not that important and they are over-reacting. This can be very hurtful. Even if someone feels they would be able to get back to ‘normality’ in this time, they should not judge others by their standards and should try and be wise to the fact that everyone’s situations are entirely different, and people deal with grief differently.

    Many people whose loved ones have passed away have shared a similar observation – especially in the weeks after a family member has passed away, those left behind will be acutely aware of the loss of that relationship that they once had: no longer having a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a grandparent, or a child. Just hearing such names being used regularly around them can be difficult for those grieving because it remind them of what they no longer have, and that they will no longer be able to call on their mother or father for example. This is something unavoidable, and very natural. But to be kind to those suffering in that time, we should try not to talk excessively about our parents, or our siblings, or our children for example in the presence of someone who has just lost their parent, or sibling or child. This is a great act of kindness and thoughtfulness that we can do at such a time.

    Lastly, if we have heard about someone’s loss, but not directly from them, it is still polite and caring to contact that person, even by text message or email, to let them know that we are praying for them and their loved one. It is always better to acknowledge a person’s loss. Sometimes we meet someone, perhaps a few weeks or even months after they have lost a loved one; we might not have had the chance to give our condolences. Feeling embarrassed, or just awkward, about raising the topic, and not wanting to upset the person, we find ourselves ignoring the fact that they have experienced the death of a loved one, and we will talk about everything else but that. Of course everyone is different – but often this can come across as insensitive. A life-changing event has taken place in that person’s life, and it is polite and caring to acknowledge that and express our support on the first occasion that we meet them. Even if the person doesn’t really feel up to talking about it (and in fact they may well appreciate the opportunity to do so), they will still appreciate the thoughtfulness.

    Of course most people do not intend to be insensitive – but with greater awareness and knowledge we can avoid hurting people even unintentionally. May Allah help us to all have exemplary manners and to guide us to show mercy and compassion to others in our community. Once again, thank you to the author for this very important article.

  3. Asha Hussein says:

    Thank you for this article, it means a great deal to me. I just recently lost my father. It has been heart breaking for me and at times feel deserted by the community. I loved my parents and make dua for them daily. I think it is the most heart breaking and saddest feeling one can feel. I pray and hope Allah swt gives all of us sabr. May Allah swt grant all Believers that have passed away jannatul Fardowsa, Ameen!

    • Yasmin says:

      I have lost my father almost a year in 2 weeks; may Allah make it easy on you, and facilitate the way for you, may our fathers graves be filled with noor. ameen

  4. Angela says:

    This is amazing. It’s beautifully written and well put together. I recently lost my brother and it’s the most difficult experiences in my life. I wish people have read this before coming over to our house. There were handful of people that made inappropriate comments to us. They were lucky I didn’t snap! Thanks for posting this article and thanks for people comments.

  5. Quratulain says:

    Jazak Allah for faith provoking article. No doubt todays man ignored life hereafter as a result he showing behaviour like gentile. He become selfish due to matrialism. He left to understand his reality, he dont bother to think a while on his creation and also about his purpose of life. Today we are fully involved in love of this universe. We must consider three things against three. One Soul against body. 2nd life hereafter against this life. 3rd Allah against material. If we do so then we can be saved from the evil of secularism and Dajjaliat.

    Regards,
    Quratulain

  6. sefoura says:

    Alhumdulillah for addressing this important topic. Death of a family member will definitely show you who your real friends are. May Allah (swt) provide strength to those who have lost a loved one, and guidance towards those who have hurt and neglected the Muslims who have lost a loved one. Jazak’Allah Khair!

  7. sadath says:

    Jazakhallah Khairun for sharing this important topic. It’s such a delicate and sensitive matter that sometimes we don’t know how to approach or what to say to soothe the feelings of the deceased’s family. My parents also told me that just being there shows that we care, and you reinforced that alhamdulillah.

  8. Shygirl says:

    Thank you for a very thought provoking article. My husband recently lost his mother to cancer 3 months ago (2 months after we got married) in a really unexpected way.

    Your article did help me realize that you cannot really put a timeline on the grieving process of someone who lost something really precious to them based on your own judgement. And even though one might think, I am his wife, but most of the time, it is really hard to get to know what the other person is thinking and whether one should inquire about it or just let it be. In all honesty, I have tried both and more. I really like the comment by ‘Salam’ and puts many things into perspective, many things I was doing wrong out of concern for him, like trying to make him move on and trying to push him to get back into routine of normal life.

    This suffering is indeed a test of our faith, not just for the person who is grieving, but also for the people around him. Indeed we cannot relate to the loss that they are feeling in their hearts, but we surely can be more compassionate about it and give it time and let them come back to life on their own terms.

    May God give all of us endurance and compassion towards the feelings of others and not make us a cause of pain, even unknowingly for the one’s who lost someone they love dearly. Ameen.

  9. sam says:

    Jazak Allah Khair…this article meant alot to me..i lost my father in 2006 due to sickness…and now my husband dies as well from a car accident :’( in july 2011..he was only 28 years old :’( may Allah(swt) grant them both and all believers the highest stage of heavens inshaAllah..i am only 24 years old and suffering a disease and have 2 children under my care and i can’t hold myself anymore :’( ..my tears keep falling down and its hard to cope..hoping for rewards for all the pain i am suffering..inshaAllah meeting them again in the hereafter..

  10. Reeme says:

    Aa all. I lost my darling Dad 2 months ago approx. We were on an umra trip, my father, mother, sister and I. He performed umra but suddenly fell ill in Mecca. We buried him there, he had janaza salah in the Haram. He passed away peacefully thanks to A.

    I am beside myself with grief. I know my faith will pull me through but the days are very hard. I miss him every second of every day.

    I just wanted to say thanks to the people who wrote the 2 long pieces. You captured the essence of what me and other people in my situation are going through.

    Can anyone tell me if my Dad is still around me, my sis and mum? Is his soul near us?

    Thanks.

  11. Noor says:

    I have recently lost my husband in a train accident. He met with a train accident on 3rd October and expired on 25th October. Allah-Ta-Ala has written the end date of our lives. I keep thinking that may be if he had not met with train accident, he would be alive. I know its wrong to think this way. But I have this great guilty feeling that if I had been with him on 3rd October, may be he would not meet with train accident. I’m going thru a lot of depression without him. Just becoming impossible for me to live without him. I’m praying everyday that Allah-Ta-Ala rewards him for his good deeds and forgives him for his mistakes. I just keep remembering his pain in the hospital and his face when last I saw him. He loved me a lot. I don’t know how to live without him. How to deal with this situation. Friends are now not giving me their support. Thank God my elder sister is very supportive and only my best friend is very supportive. But she stays in Bahrain with her husband. I’m feeling very lonely and depressed without my husband.

    • emma says:

      May Allaah ease your pain sister. I know exactly how you feel. Just remember Allaah will not burden you with more than you can handle. Pray for your husband and yourself. InshaAllaah he is awaiting your return in Jannah with him.

  12. Zarina says:

    Assalamu Alaikum All

    I have lived and loved and lost.. But somehow we cope because Allah swt says to us that He never gives us a burden greater than we can bear. Alhamdulilah and for every pain we receive expiation – How merciful is our Lord.
    Still, losing a loved one is hard and I have a cousin who just lost his wife to cancer – it was diagnosed and she passed on within 4 month. They were married for 20 years, he is 43 now, young, active and has 3 kids. His pain is so raw it hurts me to watch. Is there anyone/anywhere I can direct him to speak with? People who have lost like him to share experiences? An understanding ear to listen to/ to share with? He observes his faith, he is a strong, kind Muslim and he knows and believes that time, by the grace of Allah, will heal. He would however like to talk to someone.

    I would be thankful if anyone could respond.

    Zarina

  13. emma says:

    Jazakallah Khair for this article. I recently lost my younger sibling and could not believe the attitude and behavior of the so called “Muslims” during the first three days, the funeral and afterwards towards me and my family. People were telling us of how their sons died as well and they were much more good looking and better than my brother. And we even had people laughing and making jokes at the funeral! And someone even was proposing marriage before even 7 days was over! Allahuakbar! Then when I lashed out at them in anger for their behavior, they had the audacity to tell me I was wrong! They made the entire experience a millions times worse! It would have been better if they had not come at all! May Allaah punish them for their rudeness and insensitivity!

    • Khan says:

      Lost younger brother to cancer it was sudden and unexpected but the behavior of others and there gossips are too hurtful people just assume the most absurd things that just tear one’s heart out.

  14. Ishmael ahmes says:

    Good article Masha’allah and helps because I have recently lost my grandmother.. May Allah bless the deceased Muslims. Ameen

  15. Alison Irving says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am a Quaker Christian, about to visit the home of a recently bereaved Islamic friend and I’m worried about doing or saying something culturally inappropriate at this painful time for her. From your article, it looks like I can send flowers and visit.
    I wish articles like yours had more prominence so we had better cross-cultural understanding. Thank you again.
    Alison

  16. Muslimah says:

    Salaam, jzk for the article.

    was in madressa this evening and received this homework: “write a diary extract explaining your emotions and actions the day you lose both your parents suddenly”.

    was pained, and filled with deep emotion so I said to the teacher that its a insensitive piece of work to set, as many of the girls are extremely young…! and i unlike the other am a adult student who has lost both parents.

    i reminded the teacher about how Islam looks at being insensitive so i refered her to :http://www.a2youth.com/ebooks/the_wives_of_the_prophet/safiyyah_bint_huyayy/

    “Bilal, has Allah plucked mercy from your heart that you let these two women pass by those of their menfolk who have been killed?”

    am i behaving too sensitive or is this a inappropriate piece of homework to issue?

    • Sarah says:

      Yeah, I too find that homework very odd and insensitive. I do not think it is appropriate for young children. Maybe the teacher should go about it in a different manner (whatever lesson she is trying to teach).

  17. Sarah says:

    Salam Aleikum my brothers and sisters.

    I hope all of you are well and I pray for all of your lost loved ones and yourselves. May Allah gather us in Al Firdaws Insha’Allah. I have lost my mother 3 weeks ago from her fight with cancer. I understand all of your pain. I, personally, have faced the neglect of the community and the people around me. I have a lot of good friends, elhamdulilah. However, i barely receive any phone calls or visits to my home at all. I find that I am always alone, grieving, which makes this period of time 100x harder. I know Allah subhana wa ta’ala has a reason for this, however, i am finding it shocking that people can be so neglectful as to even send a basic text. I hope we can all learn from this lesson and ensure that we be better Muslims if any of our friends fall ill or need our help. We should lead by example.

    Jazakum Allah khair for your article and participation. May Allah (SWT) bless you all.

  18. yusrah says:

    Assalam alaikum.I recently lost my lovely and my only family my mum.my husband is not supportive my friends have neglected me.iam loneliness abd dipressed.pls pray for me my lovely muslims.

  19. zaki says:

    insha’allah sister i’ll pray for you

  20. Amina says:

    Salaam ‘alaykum Yousra, May Allah swt ease the pain you feel and grant you all the support you need. I’ll pray for you.

  21. Amina says:

    Salaam ‘alaykum Sarah, Indeed there is often some neglect within our community and when you are grieving over a loved one it is even more painful to feel this. May Allah swt give you strength to face this painful situation. I’ll also keep you in my dua.

  22. chaudry says:

    I lost my only son 35 to sudden cardiac arrest,and said ina liillah eh wa ina eleha rajaoon,was very patient for a few days.he was unmarried.now as time progresses i am finding it harder to cope .watching his 3 sisters trying to cope with the loss.I recite quran and pray,please advise how to cope.thanks(attitude of some relatives is very hurtful)

    • gt says:

      I lost my sister 39. She was put on a pain pump in hospital for 2 weeks, she received too much and with her problems should have had ng tube. She choked on her vomit in hospital and coded. She was in icu. Her husband and best friend pulled her off life support 5 hrs later against sister and father. My dad watched my sisters first breaths then at time chosen by peoples hand her last breaths. Pain so unbearable times I just break down everywhere. I spend time feeling in gaps that dont make sense. People surprised me how they reacted. Alot of people just choose not to say anything further isolating my pain. The few words I would receive like karma will get them still would never bring her back. No one sent flowers or food. Only thing that helps to any relief is pictures and I do 1 thing weekly to help people. Last week I donated 25. To a boy who needed a special wheelchair donated in memory of my sister. I also will release balloons with her name on them on her birthday not her day of death. And wait for the day I see her again

  23. Fatimah says:

    I to lost my mother 12-20-13 on a friday evening. I grieve daily and pray daily for her place in paradise. It is so hard not to have her here, and to watch my father look so incomplete. I pray Allah will bless her for the good person and deeds she gave to her community, and that my father can find peace.

  24. Afnan says:

    Reading this article and each comment has brought tears in my eyes. Jazak Allah Khair. Especially since I am dealing with a loss of a loved one who passed away 4 nights ago.
    Two nights ago, my brother and his best friend were returning home from work, where they met with a serious accident and sadly lost his best friend. May Allah grant him jannah and patience and strength to his family members.
    My brother is fine alhamdulillah. He was driving and his friend was sleeping in the back seat without seat belt on. They were extremely tired after working all day long, and my brother felt a little sleepy. And in the blink of his eyes, he lost control of his car and hit barriers and walls, which scraped off the whole passenger side of his car and his friend fell off the car, bruised severely on his head, which caused brain hemorrhage. He passed away after few hours.
    It is really saddening and unbearable. He was like a family member. Like a brother to us and a son to my parents. He was always there for us through our good and bad times when others just turned their face away.
    The accident wasn’t anyone’s fault, but we know my brother is blaming himself and is guilty. He has become like a stone, not talking, eating, or doing anything. And on top of everything, insensitive people with their rude remarks like “why did the accident happen”, “why didn’t you stop the car in time”? is making my brother more remorseful. We are trying to console him by reminding him that Allah had it all planned beforehand, and it had to happen no matter what. It was his time to go to Allah (swt). We all have to go, one day. Some good people are called sooner. We just have to bear patience and Allah will help heal our broken hearts and minds. But nothing is helping my brother. People are trying to blame him as to why he is fine? That is just going against Allah’s will? Isn’t it. I don’t even know how to think or talk with these type of insensitive people around to make things worse rather than speak some comforting words. We are trying to deal with the situation, but people are just making it more hard and heart wrenching phase than it already is. Keep us in your prayers brothers and sisters. May Allah help his family and us through this trial phase and may we strive to get closer to him.

  25. Muslim Sister says:

    I lost dad 3 month ago and my brother died 6 month ago. I cry every single day at school and home. I’m 14 years old. Thank you so much for the beautiful article❤️ Pain are supposed to bring us closer to Allah and May Allah forgive us all. And please make duah for my dad and brother❤️

    • Umm'Ijaaz says:

      Insha’Allah I hope you have been able to find someone to talk to, a counselor at school or somewhere. Death is hard enough to deal with as an adult, and at 14 years old, it can be even more difficult. I pray that Allah (swt) eases the pain and guides you to someone who can help you through this time. Don’t hold in your feelings, grief is normal and takes time. Insha’Allah make lots of dua for Allah (swt) to help you through this, I will be making dua for ou as well.

  26. Hayat says:

    Jazak’allahu khair for this aritcle!

    I lost my grandmother two days ago.It was very hard for me to understand that she was gone.This summer I got to meet her for the very first time and she was so kind and caring. Unfortunately she was very ill too, i prayed to allah everyday and made du’aas so could get better but she didnt.

    Please make a du’aa for my grandmother and inshallah she and the lost ones will enter Jannatul Firdaws. Take care everyone.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

More in Brotherhood & Sisterhood, Islamic Character (123 of 238 articles)