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Ways to Deal With Pain and Grief in Islam

Grief is an inevitable fact of life, one that each person must, unfortunately, go through. As long as you are on this earth, you will likely experience the loss of someone close to you. We are faced, and it can become too easy to tamp down our grief and move on to the next thing in life. However, while it is incredibly painful, how you cope with grief impacts the healing process and life moving forward tremendously. We need to apply tawakkul in our daily lives. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful. When his verses are recited to them, it increases their faith, and they rely upon their Lord.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:2)

Grief is not a disease. It is the normal, human response to a significant loss. People may encourage you to “be strong” or “not to cry”. Remind yourself that human responsibility is restricted within certain boundaries. Allah asks of us is that we fulfil our duties do the best we can in our circumstances and leave the outcomes to Allah. We can only control our actions and duties, not the outcomes. Allah says:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

“Wealth and children are the only adornments of the worldly life, but enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for one’s hope.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:46)

Grief is painful.  Loss is one of the most difficult human experiences. We need to find the courage to go through this experience of grief. A believer is rewarded based on the effort, not the result. Do not dwell on what is beyond your control and embrace Allah’s magnificence. Do not make yourself anxious over the unknown outcomes. Play your role the best you can and leave the rest to Him. Allah says:

وَّيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُ‌ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى اللّٰهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهٗؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ بَالِغُ اَمۡرِهٖ‌ؕ قَدۡ جَعَلَ اللّٰهُ لِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ قَدۡرًا‏ 

“And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion.” (Surah Talaq, 65:3)

Human beings tend to forget God when they are prosperous and only remember Him when afflicted with suffering. You must become strong enough to rid yourself of the woodpeckers from your life, those who may bring negative energy and pass passive-aggressive comments. Give yourself time to heal with those who are sincere, and above all be grateful to Allah, Who designed this pivotal moment in your life to push some people away and draw others closer. In doing so, be patient.

The following facts will help us in dealing with grief and pain as Muslims:

  1. Trust in Allah means to decide and have Tawakkal
  2. Trust in Allah on Allah relying on loss or success
  3. Trust in Allah on Allah relying on loss or success
  4. Trust in Allah and ensure your prayer is sincere
  5. Trust in Allah to seek righteous companionship
  6. Trust in Allah no matter what he has put on us
  7. Trust in Allah turn the success in the Hereafter
  8. Trust in Allah is a steadfast anchor of the soul
  9. Allah gives us the strength to handle that trial
  10. Don’t ever forget that Allah will never burden
  11. Don’t make major decisions while grieving
  12. Always look at the bright side of things
  13. Share your fortune in good domains
  14. Be grateful for the blessings of Allah
  15. Trust in Allah to connect with the Quran
  16. Nothing remains forever, not even hardships
  17. Keep a “count your blessings” that you have
  18. We tend to get lost sources of grief and pain 
  19. Trust in Allah to rely on Allah in all our affairs
  20. Trust in Allah no matter what he has put on us
  21. Do the best you can and leave the rest to Allah 
  22. Dua for when you feel depressed and hopeless
  23. Trust in Allah means to think before you decide
  24. We tend to feel the blessings we have around us
  25. Remind that you are better to so many other people

This is all a part of human psychology: we forget God in good times, and we remember Him during times of distress. So God afflicts us with trials and tribulations so that we may turn to Him and seek His Grace. Allah says:

وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“And if they incline to peace, then you (also) incline to it and put (your) trust in Allah. Indeed, He (is) All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:61)

God has blessed us with the ability to make dua, 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 (predestination), it is so powerful and will get you through some of your darkest hours. Allah says:

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ 

“But you may dislike a thing which is good for you, and you may love a thing which is bad for you.  And God knows and you do not know!” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:216)

Depression is majorly defined by a sense of hopelessness- in yourself and the world around you. It is rooted in a sense of sheer helplessness where you feel like nothing is in your control. But that is the truth; nothing IS in your control. It is in Allah’s control. Take a moment, embrace your lack of control over your circumstances, and know that the one in control is the best of planners and loves you more than you can imagine.

May Allah (SWT) grant us wisdom to follow the verses:

  • “He is the Disposer of all Affairs.” (Quran 6:102)
  • “Allah is sufficient as Disposer of Affairs.” (Quran 4:81)
  • “And in Allah let the believers put their trust.” (Ibrahim, 14:11)
  • “I expose my distress and anguish only unto Allah…” (Quran 12:86)
  • “So seek provision from Allah and worship Him (Alone).” (Quran 29: 17)
  • “And He inspired it (to distinguish) its wickedness and its righteousness.” (Shams 91:8)
  • “And put your trust in Allah. And Allah is sufficient (as) Disposer of affairs.” (Ahzab 33:3)
  • “And whoever relies on Allah completely – He is more than enough for him.” (Quran 65:3)
  • “Allah [alone] is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:173)
  • “(He is) the Lord of the East and the West. There is no true deity but He. Take Him, therefore, as Disposer of your Affairs.” (Quran 73:9)
  • “And put your tawakkul in Allah, for Allah is Sufficient as a Wakil [trustee and disposer of affairs].” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:3)

Surrender your attempts to control your life, leave it up to Allah, and trust His plan for you. Sometimes, the human mind is unable to understand Allah’s ultimate wisdom behind every single thing that happens to us. Accepting that Allah is in control and welcoming His plans for us ultimately leads to the enrichment of our mind, body, and soul. Allah says:

الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

“Those who (are) patient and upon their, Lord put their trust.” (Surah Al Ankabut 29:59)

Take this pivotal moment in your life to turn things around to change and pull away from the things you didn’t like before or felt stuck in. Draw from this new strength get rid of all the emotional, psychological and spiritual litter that only hold you back. Allah says:

فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“When you have made the decision, then rely upon Allah. Verily, Allah loves those who trust Him.” (Surah Al Imran 3:159)

Combating depression and anxiety is not an easy ordeal but Islam gives us hope for healing ourselves and dictates a path leading to its cure. Everything is possible for the Almighty- including the healing of His creation. He helps those who ask it of Him. Put your trust in Him and His plans, and you will feel a certain sense of contentment and comfort, knowing that the best planner is in control of your life and your circumstances. Allah says:

وَلَا تَدْعُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ ۖ فَإِن فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذًا مِّنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

“Do not invoke besides Allah that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did so then you would-be wrongdoers.” (Surat Yunus 10:106)

Finally, after having pondered over his gains and losses, the man turns to God. So bad things happened to this man so that a greater good could occur.  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. In conclusion, we see that God causes bad things to happen to good people so that a greater good comes to them in the long run.