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Dealing with death of a loved one

Today marks the end of Rabiaa's mourning period. She had completed four months and 10 days or 130 days of grieving, the stipulated period for expressing sorrow for Muslim widows. 

The death of her husband on Dec 30, 2020 was expected  but it still came as a huge shock to her. It was too sudden, she felt. Yet  observers would not agree. Her husband became bedridden in mid-November after a collision between his big bike and a car which had come from the opposite direction after taking an illegal turn. 

In addition to being bedridden, Anwar, lost his voice which was the direct result of the  brain injury he had suffered after the accident. He was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

How does Rabiaa feel now? The pain is bearable but the memories remain as vivid as ever. She is still unwilling to clear up all of her husband's things and some items remain in their original positions as before he became bound to the bed.

His belongings connect Rabiaa to Anwar and she basks in the warmth of that recollection.

The early days of the loss of her husband were extremely painful but she relied on Allah for guidance and comfort, something she has always done throughout her life.

Her family rallied around and offered to help. She is extremely grateful to her sister and niece.

Dr Omar Suleiman's series on "For Those Left Behind" opened her eyes and mind to the multiple  issues of death and dying. The 15 episodes in these series "explore the roller-coaster of emotions brought about by grief" and the "fast-paced nature of Islamic rituals following death", among other concerns. Click here for the first episode.

Those left behind want to know many things but feel helpless when searching for answers. The series makes a good attempt to respond to the questions Rabiaa and others in a similar situation have been asking.

She learned from him that one does not "move on" from your departed loved ones. You are supposed to "move forward" with them as in the case of the Prophet (pbuh) with his beloved wife, Khadijah. 

He kept her "alive" by mentioning and praising her and doing things for her. 

Dr Omar Suleiman says: When he sacrificed an animal or a sacrifice came to him he would send a share of it to her friends. He would send gifts to her friends. He would hear the voice of her sister and he would rush because the voice of her sister sounded like her. He always thought about her.

"The Prophet (pbuh) kept her in his heart through his trials and triumphs. He was always thinking about her, making mention of her and always doing for her. That is moving forward. The Prophet was not crippled by his memory of Khadijah. He was motivated by his memory of Khadijah. He did not mistreat others because of how much he loved Khadijah. He did not fail to show emotion to others because of the emotion he had for Khadijah. 

"Instead he used the expanse that he had because of that time with  Khadijah  to include others as well. You are not supposed to move on from your loved ones. Move forward with them. 


"Allah SWT tells us to frequently remember death and nothing causes us to remember death more frequently than the loss of someone close to us. Suddenly now death is being remembered and that is good for your heart and that is attached to the person that you love. When you say 'inna lillahi wainna ilaihi rojiun' (which means, to Allah we belong and to Allah we return), you are  not just talking about them, you are talking about yourself as well."

Rabiaa says moving forward with her late husband sounds a great idea. For more on moving forward click here.



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