To display patience at the time of death
Hadrat Sayyiduna Anas Radi Allahu ‘Anhu narrates that at the time when the Holy Prophet’s Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam illness became extremely severe, the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam displayed a little discomfort. At that moment, Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha remarked, “O my beloved father! You are uncomfortable!” The Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam replied, “After today, your father will experience no discomfort.”
Thereafter, when the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam passed away, she lamented, “O my beloved father! You have departed because your Lord has called you to Him and your ultimate destination is Jannatul Firdous. O my beloved father, we have learned from Jibra’eel Ameen the pang of anguish at your departure”. A little while longer, when the Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was placed in his blessed grave, Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha remarked, “O Anas! How did your hearts bear the anguish of placing sand on the blessed body of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam?” (Bukhari Shareef)
Allamah ibn Hajr Asqalani Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “When the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam uttered the words, ‘Woe, the discomfort of my father, she mentioned these words very softly. If she had mentioned these words loudly, certainly the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam would have stopped her from doing so”.
He then continues to explain that, “The manner in which the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam displayed her grief and sadness is permissible in Islam. It is not permissible to wail and weep in a loud voice. It also teaches us that it is not permissible to attribute such descriptions to a person who has passed away which were not there in the first place”. (Some people are in the habit of over exaggerating about the condition which they see at the moment of death. In Islamic Law, what is seen is what should be told and what is not seen should not be propagated). (Fathul Bari)
Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Alaihir Rahmah further explains that, “The words of Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu were not loud, neither was she revealing something which was not present nor was she complaining to Allah azza wa jall or against the Divine Decree of Allah azza wa jall. Hence, there was no restriction to her behaviour. In the Zarqani, it is mentioned that, ‘The reaction of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam when he silently mentioned to his beloved daughter that after this there would be no discomfort or pain is also proof that she had mentioned these words very silently.’” (Fatawah Radawiyyah, Vol. 24, pg. 485)
Mufti Shareeful Haq Amjadi Alaihir Rahmah further explains that, “The words mentioned by the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam were mentioned at her moment of extreme sadness and it was not loud wailing and screaming which is prohibited in Islam. When people behave in this manner of screaming and wailing in a loud voice, they also mention many things which are untrue. However, when a person cries softly or tears appear in his eyes or he mentions certain words in a soft manner, this is not prohibited but actually considered as Mustahab. This act of crying softly was displayed in fact by the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam when his son Hadrat Sayyiduna Ebrahim Radi Allahu ‘Anhu passed away. At that moment, the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam declared, ‘Tears appear from the eyes, but we say the same thing which is the Divine Pleasure of the Lord. We are saddened by your departure O Ebrahim!’ Hence, the words of Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha can be classified in the same manner.” (Nuzhatul Qari)
The Behaviour of Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha was certainly not wailing!
Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi Alaihir Rahmah explains that, these words of Sayyidah Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha were neither mentioned as an act of wailing and nor was she publicly complaining. It was merely sadness and discomfort at the thought of the Holy Prophet’s Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam departure from this world. In reality, this act can be considered as Ibadah. Wailing is that act when people start to mention certain things about the deceased which is not found in the deceased. They also hit themselves and sometimes tear their clothes. Impatience is when someone begins to complain about the Divine Decree of Allah azza wa jall and the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was certainly protected from this type of behaviour. (Miraatul Manaajih)
Do only sinners feel discomfort at the time of death?
It must be remembered that even the beloved servants of Allah azza wa jall feel discomfort and pain at the time of passing away. Another narration is that of Ummul Mo’mineen, Sayyidah Ayesha Siddique Radi Allahu ‘Anha who mentions that, “The Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam passed away on my lap and after that, I have never displayed dislike for discomfort experienced by anyone at the time of death.”
Explaining this hadith Shareef, Allama Mulla Ali Qari Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “In other words, she used to think that previous to this discomfort is experienced because of sins committed by the person, but after this, when she saw the discomfort experienced by the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam she realized that it was another method of elevating the status of someone. At the same time, we must realize that easiness and comfort displayed at the time of death cannot be considered as unique signs of the person’s “great” status. If this was the case, then the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam would be more entitled to this than any other creation.” (Mirqaatul Mafaatih)
Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi Alaihir Rahmah also further explains that, “Allah azza wa jall had placed this immense trial of discomfort and pain on the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam at the moment of his passing away so that his followers, until the Day of Judgement, would hear this and become heartened and not become afraid. How great is the status of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam who even in his illness was a source of educating and spreading the message of Islam.” (Miraatul Manaajih)
How should we display patience during times of trouble and pain?
Hadrat Imam Ghazzali Radi Allahu ‘Anhu presents a question which is: If by patience is meant that a person feels no discomfort in his heart at the time of misfortune, even though we know that this is beyond the control of any person, how then would we be able to classify a person as among those who have patience or being among the Saabireen?
The person is immediately disqualified from being among the Saabireen when during the time of affliction and trouble, he starts to scream and cry or wail loudly. When he tears his clothes, slap his face and body, complains excessively about his problem in front of people or adopts such type of clothing which makes people realise that this person is suffering from some trail and affliction, such a person would no longer be among the Saabireen or those who are patient. The reason is that these types of behaviour are within the control of a person and he is not helpless in this regard. Hence, a person should refrain from these types of un-Islamic behaviour and be satisfied with the Divine Decree of Allah azza wa jall. He should continue with his normal daily routine and realise that this person or item was merely a trust left in his possession for a short period and now it has been taken away. (Ihya ul Uloom)
Patience should be like this!
Hadrat Sayyiduna Anas Radi Allahu ‘Anhu narrates that once a son of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Talha was very ill. When he left home, the child passed away. When he returned and asked his wife, Sayyidah Ummi Sulaim Radi Allahu ‘Anha, about the child, she replied, “He is much more peaceful now than before.” He then ate and they then slept together. After this, his wife requested him to bury the child.
In the morning, he presented himself in the blessed court of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and revealed what had happened. He also mentioned that they had slept together the same night. When the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam heard this, he picked up his blessed hands and made Du’a. “O Allah! Give both of them Barakah!”
A child was born to them after a while. (When this happened), Hadrat Sayyiduna Anas Radi Allahu ‘Anhu further narrates that, “The Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam told me to present the child in his blessed court and he also gave me some dates. When I arrived in front of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam he asked me whether I had brought something and I replied that I had brought a few dates. The Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam then chewed some dates and placed this in the mouth of the child. The child was then named Abdullah.” (Bukhari Shareef)
Hadrat Sufyan bin Oyaanah Alaihir Rahmah further explains that, “An Ansaari reported that he saw nine sons that were born for this same Abdullah and all of them were expert readers of the Qur’an (Qaaris).” (Bukhari Shareef)
To wail for a deceased person is prohibited
To scream and cry, to wail loudly, to tear one’s clothing, to beat one’s chest and to utter words of ingratitude, all of this is prohibited in Islam. In the Hadith Shareef where it is mentioned that wailing for a deceased causes punishment for that deceased person is when the deceased person himself created this type of behaviour in the first place or instructed people to wail loudly for him when he dies. If this is not the case, then crying softly for a person who has passed away will not burden the deceased with any unfair burden. (Fuyuzul Bari)
Points to bear in mind
- To cry softly when a relative or friend passes away and to say a few words displaying sadness is not prohibited in Islam.
- There is no prohibition in displaying sadness at the final moment of a person’s life.
- It is permissible to mention those characteristics which were found in the deceased and not to mention those things which were not found in him.
- The behaviour of the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was not wailing, which is prohibited in Islam, but a display of immense grief.
- To utter such description for a deceased person which is not found in him or to utter words of complaint against Allah azza wa jall in this moment of test, all this is prohibited in Islam.
- To wail, to scream and cry and to utter loudly a description of the deceased person in front of everyone while crying out aloud, all these forms of grief are completely prohibited in Islam. (Bahaar-e-Shariah)
- If someone before dying has instructed people to wail and cry out aloud at his funeral, then the sin is on both on them and they will be punished. If he has not instructed people to behave in this manner, then he will not receive punishment for this sin.