Death is a natural part of life’s experience. Before our own deaths, many, if not all of us, would have experienced the loss of someone that we know or is close to us.
Experts have conceptualised grieving as a process. One of the more well-known theories for this is Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief comprising denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance, for healing to take place. However, these stages may not be experienced in order, and not everyone may experience all of them.
In my own experience, and surely, for many others who have had their loved ones pass away, grieving is a process that’s life-long. For instance, decades after my mother’s death, I still at times find myself mourning over the reality that she is not there to guide me through significant life changes and milestones.
How do we deal with such profound grief throughout our lives? The Prophet s.a.w. has left us with some beautiful examples to follow. Here are just a few of them:
1. Having a Positive Attitude
“When faced with calamities, the Prophet s.a.w. maintained a positive mindset.
The Messenger of Allah s.w.t. once said, "How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him".
Thus, whatever a believer goes through in life, he or she turns to God, and as a result attains God’s merit.
2. Patience and Hope
The Prophet s.a.w. espoused patience and hope when confronted with the impending death of loved ones.
“Narrated Usama bin Zaid: We were with the Prophet s.a.w. when suddenly there came to him a messenger from one of his daughters who was asking him to come and see her son who was dying. The Prophet s.a.w. said (to the messenger), "Go back and tell her that whatever Allah takes is His, and whatever He gives is His, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world). So order her to be patient and hope for Allah's reward."
His advice is also a reminder that everyone is on borrowed time from God, and that our physical bodies are only temporary.
3. Not Hoping for Death
When a close loved one has passed on, the sadness that we feel can make the world seem like a dark place. However, to hope for our own death is akin to losing our faith in God.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger s.a.w. said, “None amongst you should make a request for death, and do not call for it before it comes, for when any one of you dies, he ceases (to do good) deeds and the life of a believer is not prolonged but for goodness.”
The Prophet s.a.w. also taught us a dua that we can recite in such dark moments.
“None of you should wish for death because of a calamity befalling him; but if he has to wish for death, he should say: "O Allah! Keep me alive as long as life is better for me, and let me die if death is better for me."”
There is nothing wrong with having moments where we feel out of depth or incapable when calamities strike us. We are, after all, only human. However, we should keep striving to find the benefits in what God has given us.
Instead of continuing to feel despondent over our situation, we can instead work hard for what we want, and keep asking God for help and the strength to carry on in this life. InshaAllah.