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Helping a Friend in Grief

Helping a Friend in Grief

Losing a Loved One The death of a close relative or close friend is a very difficult experience and the period of grief can leave you feeling empty and alone. Grief is a very personal process, and can take many months or years to come to terms with. In the immediate aftermath of the death you may feel any number of emotions. Some of these are shock, pain, anger, guilt, longing, depression and denial. Shock – ‘I can’t believe this has happened’ or feeling numb. Pain – the pain can be physical, mental or emotional. Anger – this can be aimed at yourself, the person who has died or at the situation. Guilt – this can be about things said or done while the person was alive or in the time leading up to the death. Depression – life can seem too dicult to bear, as though it has lost all meaning. Longing – wanting to see or hear the person who has died, or actually seeing or hearing them even though you know it is not possible. [1] These emotions are completely normal. Grieving is a normal process and you should not feel guilty for feeling any or all of the above. [1] http://www.cruse.org.uk/about-bereavement/when-someone-dies Bereavement in Islam The pain felt when losing a loved one is shared by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It can have a profound eect on your life and can leave you feeling alone. There is nothing wrong with these feelings, which we can see from the example of our Prophet Muhammad SAW. He (SAW) encountered many bereavements in his lifetime. During the ‘Year of Grief’ Prophet Muhammad SAW lost his beloved uncle, Abu Taalib and his dear wife, Khadeejah RA. What was clear from his example during such dicult times, was that while he was certainly grieving, he demonstrated such beautiful patience. At the time of the death of his son, Ibrahim RA, Muhammad SAW took him; he kissed him and smelled him. As Ibrahim took his last breaths, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) weeped. At this, one of the companions said “Even you are weeping!” He (SAW), said “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say that except what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim! Indeed, we are grieved by your separation.” [Bukhari] So while there was grief, Prophet SAW remained graceful in how he handled his grave loss. He remained humble but demonstrated that weeping and sadness at the time of a tragedy, with gracefulness, is human. We Belong to Allah From Islamic teachings, we also know that: There is no Muslim that is a­icted with a calamity, and he says what Allah has commanded him to say, “To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return! O Allah, give me the rewards of (being patient over) this calamity, and grant me something better than it,” except that Allah will give him something better to replace it. [Muslim] And so while the idea of being patient at the time of losing a loved one may seem impossible, there is huge reward promised by Allah. We are all the creation of Allah and we will all return to Him. Our loved ones are a trust from Allah which He has given us to borrow for a ‑xed amount of time.

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