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Understanding Grief in Islam


The Ministry of Finance, in keeping with Ramadhan, hosted a religious talk on dealing with grief for its female staff in 23 June 2015M corresponding to 6 Ramadhan 1436H. “It is not wrong to grieve, but believers should not grieve to the point of losing hope. Allah SWT promises comfort and strength,” said an officer from the State Mufti’s Department.

Sharifah Khadijah Husein Alkaff, who is a senior translator at the State Mufti’s Department, spoke in front of the Ministry of Finance female staff on understanding grief and dealing with it as a Muslimah. A mass zohor prayer and tahlil recital event was held for the male staff at a separate venue.

She said it was important to understand grief in Islam because Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 155 to 157: “And surely we shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast who say when a misfortune strikes them: Lo! We are Allah’s and Lo! Unto His we are returning. Such are they on whom are blessings from their lord, and mercy, Such as the rightly guided”.

“It is said in Al-Quran that Allah SWT will test us with all kinds of misfortune. Therefore we need to know how to deal with misfortune. Even though we know we will be tested by Allah SWT, there are many of us still, who when stricken with disaster we forgot Allah,” she said. InsyaAllah (if Allah is willing) we can deal with grief better if we understand why there are pain and suffering in this world. One reason for this is that they are tests and trials from Allah SWT, she added.

Hardship can be a test or retribution, she said. “If it is a test, shouldn’t we bear it with patience? If it is retribution, for sins that we committed should we also bear it with patience as well? It is good for Muslims to be reminded that even Prophet Muhammad SAW was tested. “Did he not suffer, did he not lose the people that he loved, fall ill and die as all humans must? Did he not grieve? “When we understand the meaning of life in the larger context, we can accept death better. Because what matters is not the length of our lives, but the quality,” she added.

She said being a Muslim does not protect anyone from the reality of suffering. “Iman (faith) is not the same kind of spiritual inoculation, which will provide immunity from all that is difficult and painful. In times of crisis, it is so easy to feel that Allah SWT is far and does not hear our cries, but this is not so. “He is closer than our jugular vein. He will never leave us or let us down, especially not in our darkest hour,” she said. “Allah SWT sometimes works through suffering. Suffering can never be considered enjoyable but much good can come out of it.”

She said, “Let us not forget that Allah SWT has promised in Surah at-Talaq verse 7: God puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, God will soon grant relief.”

[Courtesy: The Brunei Times]