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Understanding The Prophet's Life

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From Issue: 976 [Read full issue]

Grief for the Loss

Grief for the loss of a loved one is perfectly normal and acceptable, but it must be coupled with resigned acceptance of God's will. This is what is clear in the following report from Usamah ibn Zayd:

One of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) daughters (Zaynab) sent to him a message stating that a son of hers was dying and requested him to come over. He replied with a message starting with his greetings and adding: "To God belongs what He takes and what He gives. With Him everything occurs at its appointed time. She should remain steadfast and resigned to her loss." She sent a new message asking him by God to come over. He rose together with Saad ibn Ubadah, Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Kab, Zayd ibn Thabit and others. The boy was handed over to the Prophet. His chest was noisy, almost like a waterskin that had become too dry. The Prophet's eyes were tearful. Saad said to him: "How come, Messenger of God?" He said: "This is an expression of compassion God has placed in His creatures' hearts. God is merciful only to those of His servants who are merciful." (al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, al-Nasai, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah.)

The fact that the Prophet was questioned for weeping because of the loss of a child tells us something about the Arabian society. At the time, this society considered weeping to be unbecoming of a man, even after the loss of a dear one. In fact, the loss of a child was not considered to be much of a tragedy. The Prophet's words are educative: they show that weeping in such situations is an expression of mercy. In fact, the Prophet wept on other occasions, such as the death of Uthman ibn Mazun and the illness of Saad ibn Ubadah.

Compiled From:
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi

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