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I Often Think of My Death & The Funeral

Questioner

eemaan

Reply Date

Jun 11, 2018

Question

I'm terrified of death. I know that I'm just not good enough.

I had my first panic attack in December and at that time I was unaware of what it was and thought that I was actually dying. I think that was the first time I ever acknowledged my mortality. I'd never thought of the fact that I would die one day.

I was shaken for a while but then I was fine. Then there was another week of frequent panic attacks in January. I don't know exactly when the thoughts started, but sometime in February the thoughts of my death frequented my mind. I can't seem to remember if it was that bad, the last couple of months seem to be a blur.

My grandmother passed away due to illness at the beginning of March. Since then thoughts of death have never left my mind. In the beginning, it was the fear that I was going to die that very night. Each night I'd be petrified that I wouldn't wake up the next morning and every morning my first thought was "oh, I'm alive". This happened daily without a break.

Then I started getting worse thoughts. My little sister would ask me to play with her and my mind would go "yeah go play with her, she'll be sad when you're gone". My mother showed me a new dress she'd gotten and the thought came, "it's good for the days after my funeral". There were flashes of mental pictures - my funeral, mama crying, my lifeless face.

These thoughts were so awfully convincing. I started believing that they were signs from Allah that death was near. Each one of them came with heart palpitations and hyperventilation, at times even dizziness. I was somehow so convinced that I wouldn't make it through the month of April. If I tried studying for my exams (which are happening right now) my mind would say it was absolutely useless, I'd never get to give them anyway. I opened up to my parents about it when it got so bad. I was fully convinced I was going to die. They talked to me, mama told me no one ever knows before death is near and that helped calm me down, that my thoughts and ' signs' meant nothing.

But that conviction stays for a minute and then goes away. the only way I could feel better if only (and usually) for only a half hour in a day, when I googled all of this and found stories of other people. But they all seemed to have a clear reason behind them.

My mother and friends gave me duas to read. Suddenly, it got much better a couple of days ago. I saw a doctor and was prescribed 10mg of Inderal a day (I don't think it's doing much for me). I thought all of this was finally going away (even though I have an awfully foggy mind, terrible memory and somehow unclear vision.)

I gave 2 exams and now I have a couple of days off. The thoughts are slowly coming back and it's terrifying. Is this a common thing? Does it even have anything to do with mental health? None of this comes directly under the different types of anxiety and while I thought I could label it as thanatophobia, it does stay 24/7 and without any triggers.

I'm currently unable to see a therapist because of my exams, but I'm hoping I'll get to after they're over, but that might be a whole month away. Can you help me deal with this on my own till then?

Counselor

Answer


I Often Think of My Death & The Funeral

In this counseling answer:

• Understand that life is a blessing for us and a trial for us.

• You must be occupied with what will help you do the righteous deeds.

• Please, seek help from a counselor/therapist if you feel you cannot deal with your situation alone!


As-Salaamu Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.

Life is not forever. You are only 17 and are realizing that this life is temporary. However, many people are in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s who have not internalized this feeling yet. They live life without any knowledge that our ultimate return is to the One who made it all. That everyone and everything will come to an end. Therefore, it is natural that the process of coming to terms with your own mortality is not easy.

Even when some people are in their senior years of life, they are shaken upon learning that they have reached a point in their lives from which there is no turning back and the destination is inevitable.

Understanding Life

However, this is by no means to affect the peaceful, calm, and serene life that we are currently given right now. Life is a blessing for us, a trial for us. It is a way for us to please Allah so that we can be given what we should ultimately seek to be given, a good afterlife.

One of the most important du’aa’s from the Quran, I think is this one,

“But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” [Quran 2: 201]

This du’aa’ signifies how important it is that you seek the good in this world and the afterlife. In the verse preceding this one, Allah says in the Quran,

“And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your [previous] remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share.” [Quran 2: 200]

Pay attention to the last part of the verse. Allah specifically addresses that those who only wish for the bounties of this world will have no share in the afterlife. Therefore, a true believer should seek to ask for what is beneficial in this world and the afterlife.

In the Quran, Allah has made it clear that He will bless us with what we seek when it is right for us. However, He also made it clear that we will be returning to him and that we must strive to do right in the world.

In the Quran, Allah says,

And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. [Quran 2: 38]

Therefore, if you closely understand Islam and try to follow it, then there will be hardly any issues that you will face regarding life.


Check out this counseling audio:


Positivity

The number one thing which differentiates Islam from other religions and highlights its authenticity and truth is its emphasis on positivity. This is because essentially nothing is ever in our control. Everything is under the control of Allah. All we as Allah’s creation can do is be positive.

Even at the time of death, it is commanded that we think positively, hoping well from Allah.

Jabir reported: I heard Allah’s Apostle () as saying three days before his death: “None of you should court death but only hoping good from Allah.” (Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet said,

“Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”

In addition, in the Quran, Allah says,

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. [Quran 16: 97]

You must be occupied with what will help you do the righteous deeds. Doing this will help you think of the good you can do as opposed to thinking about death.

You must be positive. If you are thinking too much about death, then the result will be a foggy mind and memory loss. Your mind becomes over occupied with death and will not consider anything else very important.

Overcoming grief

You mentioned that your grandma passed away in March. When someone who is dear to us passes away, it makes us reevaluate our own lives. This is natural. However, when we see such circumstances, we must strive to understand the meaning of life. Learn how we can live a life which will ensure health in the long run, and peace of mind and happiness after we die. We should strive to get close to Allah and pray that we have an easy and a happy ending ourselves.

The only thing you should concentrate on at the moment is seeking forgiveness from Allah for your grandma and pray that her time in the grave and during the Day of Judgement will be made easy.

Overcoming Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are common when it comes to death. It does not have to be a cause or symptom when the subject is death. This is because everyone is bound to die, and many people will have face circumstances when they undergo feelings of dying right away.

However, I believe that sometimes fear and panic attacks are a result of not understanding a subject completely and with satisfaction. But, you must know that true fears are simply fears of the mind and not reality.

  1. Fear usually arises when we fear the worst of a situation. Therefore, reflect on saying of the Prophet above, when he said that we should not even expect bad at the time of death.
  2. Panic attacks are also a symptom when we are under too much stress.
  3. Eating healthy and exercising is the best treatment for recurring panic attacks, anxiety, and stress symptoms.
  4. Reading, writing, and rationalizing your fears and educating yourself is important on the subject which you fear.
  5. Surrounding yourself with a company which can make you see the importance of a hardworking and a fruitful life will also help you overcome your negative thoughts.
  6. Occupying in activities which deter you away from negative thoughts and help you realize the importance of life and the importance of doing good will also help subside the panic and anxiety.

Please, seek help from a counselor/therapist if you feel you cannot deal with your situation alone!

I pray that Allah helps you overcome your fear and life a long, prosperous, happy and a fruitful life, in sha Allah.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

I Feel My Death is Near: I’m Scared!

My Fear of Death & How to Overcome It

I’m Scared of Death & The Last Day




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