Read This if You Feel Heartbroken

Responding to grief: it’s okay to cry

Sometimes during grief, there’s a notion that you shouldn’t express your sadness. People will tell you “be patient” as if it means to swallow your pain and go about your life. But if we don’t teach Muslims how to healthily cope with grief, they will suppress their emotions. These emotions will fester and resurface causing spiritual, mental, and physical harm! The sunnah demonstrates how to validate grief in the best way. 

When the Prophet’s son Ibrahim died after birth, the Companions were shocked to see the Prophet cry. The Prophet reminded them that tears are from mercy. This was an essential step to teaching Muslims how to ride the waves of emotion. He then said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Rubb. O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your departure.” (Al-Bukhari)

All grief specialists will tell you the same thing after heartbreak and loss. You have to let yourself feel and acknowledge the emotions. I heard a counselor once say “grief is like a tunnel. You have to go through it or you’ll never get to the other side.”

Express what you are feeling! It doesn’t mean you don’t accept Allah’s will or that you are angry at Him. It means that you recognize you’re human and all humans hurt when their heart breaks. And Allah is the mender of these broken hearts.

Prophet Yaqub’s loss

A common feeling when you’re struggling is that nobody can truly understand what you’re going through. This is true. The unique constellation of your experiences, emotions, and environment makes it hard for any person to understand exactly what’s happening to you. 

Prophet Yaqoob (Jacob, peace be upon him) wasn’t understood by his own children after losing his son, Yusuf. His response was one befitting of a true believer. He said:

{He said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know.} (Yusuf 12: 86)

If you ever feel isolated in your heartbreak, then complain of your suffering and grief to Allah. Consider it a spiritual therapy session.

Umm Salamah and the ultimate duaa

Umar ibn Abu Salamah narrated from his mother, Umm Salamah, that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “When a calamity strikes one of you, then let him say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. O Allah, I seek reward with You for my affliction, so reward me for it, and replace it for me with something better (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji`ūn, Allahumma `indaka ahtasibu musibati fa’jurni fiha wa abdilni minha khair).’” 

When the time of death was near Abu Salamah, he said: ‘O Allah, replace me for my wife, with better than me.” 

So when he died, Umm Salamah said: “Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. I seek reward with Allah for my affliction, so reward me for it.” (ِAt-Tirmidhi)

Sometimes, we can’t imagine anything better than what we had that we now lost. Allah lifts that burden by imagining it for us. So when finding those perfect words is hard, we can go back to Umm Salamah’s duaa asking for reward and recompense.

In the Quran, Allah describes one of the rewards of Jannah being that there is no fear or grief. Until we can get there, we have the tools to navigate the hardships of the dunya!

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