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I Have Lost My Brother; How to Cope with It Islamically?

01 November, 2023
Q So, I had a question! I have been feeling very sad and alone lately. Since I lost my brother, I have had this empty and numb feeling for a very long time. I feel so overwhelmed by school, sports and other things and I don't really know how I feel and how I am doing. Sometimes I'm happy, but then I regret expressing joy. It feels like everything takes a lot of effort. How can I deal with this Islamically?


In this counseling answer:

  • Allah, asks us to be patient. He is Al-Mumeet, (The Giver of Death). He gives us life and takes it away, and we will return to Him. 
  • Bereavement has several stages, and those who mourn usually go through them.
  • Create an inner connection with your loved one and “continue” your relationship in a transcendent way.
  • Contribute to his legacy by doing good deeds, starting a charity, making extra worship, etc. in his name.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah sister,

Thank you for sharing your struggle due to the loss of your brother. I am sorry that you are going through this painful experience, sister.

Mourning Process

First of all, I want to reassure you that what is happening is part of the mourning process.

The feelings you are experiencing after the death of your brother are really common reactions to the loss of a loved one. Emptiness, numbness, sadness.

Also, that you regret expressing joy. Many people feel remorse because of positive feelings and happy moments after the death of a loved one.

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It feels like it is “not fair” or “not right” as it might mean that you are forgetting about the person you lost. Or if it would be scary, that you “get over” them by feeling good sometimes.

You are asking how to deal with this Islamically. Let me give you some tools, as our religion, alhamdulillah, has some very powerful aids for these times.

Death in Islam

You know, death has a very special place in Islam. We, Muslims, are constantly required to think about the afterlife, death, and be conscious of the fact that we are uncertain and completely out of control about our time on this earth and about the death of others.

If you think about it, the Quran and the Sunnah are full of examples and reminders about death and the afterlife.

So, I think, as for believers, the question of death and dying is rather familiar, “natural” and not something to be scared of.

As this world is temporal. “No more than play and amusement. But the Hereafter is indeed the real life, if only they knew.” (Quran, 29:64) Death is a natural part of our lives.

If we accept the qadr of Allah, we also accept that for some of us a shorter time was prescribed, while for others the experience of losing someone suddenly or earlier than “expected”.

And we also know that we are going to be tested with loss:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allāh, and indeed to Him we will return.” (Quran 2:155-156)

Give good tidings to the patient” who says, “We belong to Allah and indeed to Him we will return“.

My sister, Allah, asks us to be patient. He is Al-Mumeet, (The Giver of Death). He gives us life and takes it away, and we will return to Him. 

The wisdom of patience is known from a psychological perspective as well.

Stages of Bereavement

Bereavement has several stages, and those who mourn usually go through these stages until they adjust themselves. There is no strict time period for each stage.

You may even wave between them, but most likely you will experience all of the following: shock and denial (especially if it was a sudden death), anger and bargaining (towards Allah (SWT), for example, “why Allah let him die” or “it was my fault”), depression.

These stages are followed by an upward turn when your intense feelings of pain and anger are more calmed and you start moving forward with the reconstruction of your life and, finally, acceptance and hope.

Your Relationship Continues

The last stage is when you are able to embrace the fact that this was the Qadr of Allah. You will create an inner connection with your loved one and “continue” your relationship in a transcendent way while “outwardly” continuing your life.

This transcendent relationship will exist forever, in sha Allah, through your memories, through inner conversations, maybe dreams with your brother.

Contribute to His Legacy

You can help in the development of this connection Islamically:

  • Try to do good deeds in his name.
  • Start an ongoing charity in his name.
  • Give regular donations in his name (not necessarily monetary).
  • Do voluntary prayers in his name.

You contribute to his legacy in this way and gain more reward in the afterlife in his name. These are noble acts that may give peace and acceptance of Allah’s will.

You can also do the following things:

  • If you feel that you still have things to share with your brother, write a journal or a letter. Just write them down. It can be a goodbye letter as well, when you express your gratitude by collecting and listing all the blessings you shared together. Nice moments, events, etc.
  • You can ask for forgiveness for unfinished conflicts between you, if you had any. 
  • I am not sure whether you experience guilt for his death. If so, please understand that the death of someone is beyond our control and happens by the will of Allah. 
  • See if there is something you can continue in his name. Something he always wanted to do, or something he loved to do. Try to complete it if you can.

Seek Support

Social support is very much encouraged in Islam in times of crisis. Do you have anyone around you who you can turn to and talk to?

It depends on your personality, but you may feel better if you can share your pain with others. Others simply cannot talk about it.

Do it when you feel ready for it. Meanwhile, as I mentioned above, writing down your feelings could bring some relief.

You can find a group for those who are dealing with recent losses.

There, you can be surrounded by those who have gone through the same. You can help each other during the stages of bereavement towards the acceptance of Allah’s will.

If a long time passes and you still feel that you cannot cope with this, please seek professional support through counseling. You may involve your parents and learn together.

Read more here and here about how to deal with loss.

May Allah give you strength and peace.

Read more from Orsolya Ilham O.:


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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic counseling, Islamic marriage counseling, and in the jurisprudence (fiqh) of counseling and psychology. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.