A Muslima's Guide To Dealing With The Loss Of Parents
It was a sad day this week for my family when my maternal aunt passed away after 12 years of fighting Multiple Myeloma cancer, may Allah have mercy on her. The loss was painful because she was the last living sibling of my mother, and my sadness was intensified by the reminder of the passing of my parents a few years ago.
The pain of losing one’s parents leaves an ache in your heart that never, ever goes away, it may be dulled with time, but is always there.
We don't realize how much our parents mean to us until they're no longer around. I didn't take a moment to think how much my parents did for me until they were gone. Besides the overwhelming pain of their absence, another hardship to bear has been the loss of their dua. I no longer have the dua of my parents to add blessings to my life, and when I had it, I took it for granted.
I did not realize the importance of my parent's dua until it was gone. It feels as if life is emptier and got more tough.
I longed to honor my parents in death, but in my ignorance, I thought it was too late. Alhamdulillah, I happened to read a Hadith that explained that after death, we can still honor our parents continually. SubhanAllah, Islam has the answer to all our needs!
It is related, that a man came to the Prophet PBUH and said:
"O Prophet of Allah! Is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death?' He replied: 'Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, forgiveness for them, fulfill their promises and pledges (to do righteous deeds), maintain ties with kinfolk for the mere reason of being dutiful to them (i.e. parents), and honour their friends.' - Abu Daawood
Knowing that I can still honor my parents after death gave me hope again!
A parent’s love is unconditional and their presence cannot be replaced by any other. When you lose your parents, it is like losing a piece of your heart. Therefore, if your parents, one or both of them, are still alive alhumdulillah, heed my words because I wish someone told me this when my parents were both alive.
Forget your squabbles with your parents today, right now, it's not worth their pain.
Don't sweat the petty stuff with your parents, let it go, it's not important.
Stop trying to change your parents; they want your support, not your reprimand and disapproval.
Listen to your parents; they just want to be heard; they have the wisdom of age.
Sympathize with your parents; they are losing their strength and youth, have mercy on them.
Be helpful and kind to your parents; we can never repay them for what they did for us, so keep on trying.
Give your parents time, call them, visit them, tell them you love them, tell them what great parents they are, send them a text right this instant!
I can't turn back the clock and do any of this for my parents anymore. I wish I had been kinder, less judgmental, and given them more of my time, may Allah forgive me.
Alhamdulillah in Islam, we are promoted not to have regret, because it causes hopelessness and despair. I promised myself that I will not allow Shaytaan to use regret against me moving forward and following the steps of honoring them in their death. Also, I will take the lessons I have learned and share it with others who still have parents alive, warning them not to make the same mistakes.
As I was touched by the sorrow of my aunt's death this weekend, I felt I needed more perspective and so I researched and found out more on how to deal with death and sorrow.
Allah SWT Says in The Holy Quran:
"But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." (Qur'an 2:216)
In the books of fiqh, it mentions that when a relative dies, we should console them by enjoining on them to be steadfast, by reminding them of the reward of the Hereafter, and to warn them against overburdening oneself with grief.
It is beneficial to remember that this life is not our abode, it is only a “stop over”. We are not meant to stay here. Since we entered this world, we have been drawing closer to leaving it. This world is a place of trial. It is the place where we are to be tested. It is full of suffering, pain, and injustice. Why would we want this world as our place anyway?
It also helps to remember that our loved ones do not belong to us, even if we share blood with them, marry them, or give birth to them, they belong to Allah, and He will bring them back to Him whenever He deems best. Think of it as someone lending you something, how can you complain when they take it back - it was their's from the start.
The time with them was a gift to us from Allah SWT that we should cherish and be grateful for. When Allah takes our loved ones back, it is also part of His testing us. Thus we should be sure to remain patient, and by doing so, we can obtain great Mercy from Him SWT.
It may ease our hearts to be reminded that the believers will be reunited in Jannah, and after that, there is no separation. Alhamdullilah it is the mercy of Allah SWT that time brings healing. And that after every hardship is ease. Allah SWT says,
“We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger, and the loss of wealth and lives and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say—when afflicted with calamity—“To God We belong, and to Him we shall return!” They are on those whom descend blessings from their Lord, and Mercy. Such are the RIGHTLY guided.” - Quran 2:155-157
Grief can make us lose our perspective, and that's why it is important to seek knowledge. Only in knowledge will we find the solace and the truth to understand and have hope in losing the ones we love.
May Allah Guide us all to the siratul mustaqueem, and to those of you who have lost their parents, may Allah SWT ease your pain and loss and reunite you with them in Jannah Inshallah.