It’s not always a pleasant thing to talk about, whether you fear it, crave it or are neutral on the idea of dying and death – in Islam, it’s actually something really beautiful. As always, there’s a positive spin on every situation, even death, which is drowned in Allah’s limitless wisdom and Mercy. There’s a reason why Ar-Rahmaan (The Most Gracious) and Ar-Raheem (The Most Merciful) has been mentioned ample times in the Quran and usually before something frightful in order to remind us that our fear and worry should not succumb to our hope in Allah. It’s also a huge reminder of Allah’s infinite ways of bounty that He has showered on us when in times of difficulty and pain, so much so, that even when we have lost our loved ones which is a unique pain felt, we can still relieve them and ourselves in a number of ways. This can give us comfort, a distraction and resolution when we most need it, helping us through our grieving and defeating the numbness that may be within us.
The Prophet ﷺ has been reported to have said:
“When a man dies, his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, and righteous offspring who will pray for him”
On another occasion:
“Among the acts and good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are;
Knowledge which he learned and then spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind, a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy, a mosque that he built,
a house that he built for wayfarers, a canal that he dug, or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.” (Ibn Majah)
So what can you do for them that will in turn serve you too?
- The most easiest and simplest: invest in sadaqah jariyah on their behalf and if you can, contribute their wealth towards it. Whether that is building an orphanage, a mosque, or a school, or even sponsoring a child’s wellbeing and education – hit two birds with one stone.
- Give out free copies of authentic Qurans to people that really need it, such as reverts, prisoners, those in hospitals etc, take effort in this trust from Allah and don’t just dump them in your local mosque to collect dust unless you know they will be used for sure.
- If it’s your parents that have passed away, then make dua, Remember making dua doesn’t have to be a robotic and formal thing that you do with a memorised set of adiyaat at the end of every salah, supplicate to Allah whenever and wherever. Be selfish in what you request. Ask Allah to be generous with granting your parents space in their graves, the most luxurious palaces in Jannah, a special place under the throne and next to the Prophet ﷺ and sincerely ask them to be saved from their own wrongdoings. Alternatively, you can encourage the descendants of the deceased to do the same, and continue to make dua for the deceased and their ease.
- Make the intention to grant ease for a group of people e.g. build water wells, or trees that could help a village of those who don’t have access to such essentials. What would be even better is to teach those in a village how to be self-sustainable, whether that is teaching them how to farm, or build. This also counts as continuous knowledge and charity.
- This one is a little different, but definitely worth it. If someone is in their last stages of death, (if possible) then talk to them as much as you can about their life, what they have learnt, what they regret, what they would do if they could live longer and write it all down. You could be learning something valuable to pass on to generations to come as well as principles to hold yourself. If you remember something they have said or done that you found inspirational, write it down. Keep collecting and create a treasure box of memories whether that is a notebook, a scrapbook, or a jar of little bits of paper, make it your way of reliving their life, and their way of reaping in the rewards beyond this dunya.
These are only a few ways to help with the grieving process, and there are many alternative ways to maintain the legacy of our loved ones. Do your research, and get creative but most importantly, do not give up on hope, as that is a true gift from Allah; death does not mean our deeds have to end. We pray that the pain is eased for all those who have lost loved ones, and Allah expands the graves and beyond for the sadaqah that we do on their behalf, Ameen.