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Dealing With Grief as a Muslim

Grief, there are no words to describe it.

“It’s like you’re screaming and no one can hear, you almost feel ashamed that someone could be so important that without them, you feel like nothing.

No one will ever understand how much it hurts; you feel hopeless like nothing can save you.

When it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish you could have all the pain back just to get another moment with that person that meant so much to you.”

That is how I used to feel about grief and death of a loved one. Grief was something I had never really had experience of until I was sixteen years old. I mean, of course, my goldfish, my first ever pet for which I had developed anything that remotely resembled a bond, died when I was about four or five. My mother did what she thought was the honorable thing and chucked it in the bin before replacing it without my noticing.

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It wasn’t until about ten years later that my mother told me what she had done, obviously it was sad but it didn’t really strike a chord in the grief department.

Grief at Sixteen

So returning to my first real experience of grief, I was sixteen, a mere month after my sixteenth birthday and I had everything that a sixteen year old girl could wish for, optimistic exam results, a great bunch of friends and above all a loving family. On the 28th. of November 2009, I woke up in the morning; it was just another normal day. Unbeknown to me, this was going to be one of the worst days of my life and my first true experience of grief.

I was shopping at the local shopping center when my older brother called and told me to come to the hospital: my dad had collapsed!

Was this real?

Was this really happening?

I got a taxi up to the hospital frantically worrying about what had happened to my dad. My brother came out of the emergency department to pay for my taxi, his face was white, his eyes glazed over in shock. His words, simple, he’s gone, D. At this moment, my world collapsed alongside my legs, and the rest of my body, crumbling in a pile to the floor.

This is what grief felt like, a big black monster, an evil monster had come up and punched me in the face, ripped out my heart and eaten. At this time in my life, all that I knew is that someone had taken my dad away from me for what reason? Why?

Most people in their life will have lost someone that they held close to their heart at some point in their life. You will know that it hurts no matter what, but what I have found is that since coming to Islam almost three years ago, that aching, that throbbing, tearing, ripping, agonizing pain that you feel in your heart is eased when you come closer to God and submit to His Will. All what I have just described above was how I felt at that exact moment when my dad was taken from this world.

Thankful for God’s Bounties

Now you may ask, I feel completely different, I am not angry, I am not bitter, I am not sad and I am thankful.

You might be wondering why I am thankful, you see nothing in this life or this world is promised except death. God promised that death would come to us all:

{Every soul shall taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial. And to Us you will be returned.} (Al-Anbiya’ 21: 35)

So let me tell you why I am thankful.

I am thankful that God blessed me with those beautiful sixteen years with my dad. He was not mine to keep and to God we all return. As soon as I adopted this thought process and this belief which is core in Islam, the grief which was once so heavy and almost burdening my life was lifted.

The relief was immense and I immediately understood why my dad had been taken from me. His death would be a test for me and ultimately my guide to Islam, Alhamdulillah. God is the knower of all things, and ultimately I will never know for sure why my dad’s soul was taken. I feel that from my dad dying, I was guided to Islam and was saved from my own self destruction.

I can now say with an open heart that the death of my father wasn’t easy. I struggled often fighting against myself, but I can say that this was my first and best experience of grief that taught me how to deal with grief both from an Islamic perspective but also on an emotional level as to not get too embroiled, become angry or bitter with God.

It is God’s way and we have to accept that we might not always know why He does certain things but what we know is that when He removes something from our life, He will replace it with something better. It’s our Divine Predestination that God has planned for us even before we were born.

{Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship, ease.} (At-Talaq 65: 7)

{Surely with every difficulty there is relief, surely with every difficulty there is relief} (Shrah 94: 56)

My Advice to You

My advice to anybody who is afflicted with grief is the ultimate, turn to God. No matter what I say, what I do, I can’t really help you because verily it is in the remembrance of God that hearts do find rest.

God has blessed us with the ability to make du’a, speak to God, your Creator and tell him your worries, your pain, tell Him you’re upset and insha’Allah He will make this trial easy for you. Du’a has the power to change our conditional qadar (pre-destination), it is so powerful and will get you through some of your darkest hours.

He may replace what you have lost with something better, although when you are suffering and your heart is broken it is so hard to think like this. I know how you feel, you are not alone, but above all God knows how you feel. God gave me Islam in place of my Dad and has filled so many voids in my life which I thought never could be.

All I ask of you, for your sake, is that in times of grief, don’t lose hope or lose faith in God for there is reasoning behind everything He does. I love you all for the sake of Allah. Please keep me all in your du’as.