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Chapter 9.3. Expressing Condolences And Sympathy

When offering condolences about a plight that befalls a relative, friend or acquaintance, it is kind to pray for the dead. Say a prayer similar to that reported by Muslim to have been articulated by messenger (pbuh) to umm Salamah (ra) at the death of her husband: 'O Allah, forgive abi Salamah, elevate his status among the guided people, and look after the family that he left behind. O lord of the universe, forgive us and him, comfort him in his grave, and lighten his stay.'

Your conversation with anguished persons should be aimed at mitigating their agony by mentioning the reward of patience, the transitory nature of life on earth, and that the hereafter is everlasting life.

In this respect, it is desirable to reiterate certain verses of the Quran, the sayings of the prophet (pbuh) or some of the well-spoken condolences of our ancestors. You may mention the saying of Allah (swt): 'but give glad tidings to those who patiently endure, who say, when afflicted with calamity: to Allah we belong and to him we return. They are those on whom [descend] blessings from their lord, and mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.' Or you may quote another verse from the quran: 'every soul shall have a taste of death and only on the day of judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only those who are saved far from the fire and admitted to the garden will have attained the object [of life], for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.' and such are Allah's words: 'all that is on earth will perish. But Allah will abide [for ever], the face of your lord, most gracious, and most generous.'

You may mention some of sayings of the prophet (pbuh) reported by Muslim and others: 'oh Allah, reward my calamity and replace my loss with a better one.' and like the saying of Prophet (pbuh) reported by Bukhari and Muslim: 'it is Allah's that takes and it is he that gives, and he prescribes a certain destiny for every matter.' al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that when the prophet (pbuh) mourned the death of his son Ibrahim he said: 'my eyes are tearful. My heart is full of anguish, but we will say only what pleases our lord. O Ibrahim, your loss filled us with sorrow.' also, it is very appropriate in this regard to use some of the traditional sayings of the Muslim forefathers. Umar bin al-Khattab used to say: 'every day we are told that so and so has just died. One day it will be said, ‘Umar has died.' ' you may allude to the saying of the just caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (ra): 'a person who is not separated from Adam by a living father, is indeed deep-rooted in death.'

The honoured follower al-Hasan al-Basri said: 'oh son of Adam, you are nothing but mere days. Whenever a day passes away: a part of you passes away.' he also said: 'Allah ordained that the ultimate resting place of believers will be paradise, no less.' his student Malik ibn Dinar said: 'the wedding of the one who fears Allah, is the day of judgment.' a poet said:

Passing the days we are content passing a day brings us near the end

Another poet said:

Offering condolences, we trust not living long the manners of this religion we follow along the consoled and the consoling may live today tomorrow though, they‘ll vanish away.
A suitable poem in this regard:
we die and live every night and day one day we will die and move away

Another poem describes how oblivious humans can be to death:

Life is but a ship afloat
we think it's still, but running is the boat

I have quoted all these appropriate mourning quotations because i have witnessed many inappropriate conversations and talks by people offering sympathy. Mourning hearts are depressed with anguish and sorrow. Be sensitive and select a suitable topic for your conversation.

Attempt to lift the spirits of the bereaved family. The great scholar, Mansour bin Zazan said, 'sorrow and sadness will increase rewards.' al-Hasan al-Basri pointed out that this painful state will gradually pass away, but our sins will remain with us forever. He said, 'every sad anguish will diminish, except anguish over sins.' the great scholar, Ata bin abi Muslim pointed out that life is full of challenges and events. 'A believer would not be happy for one complete day.'


Chapter 1

Importance Of Appearance

Chapter 1.1

Distinct Muslim Personality

Chapter 1.2

Cleanliness And Washing

Chapter 1.3

Arriving From A Journey

Chapter 1.4

Dress Properly With Family And Friends

Chapter 2

Entering Or Leaving A House

Chapter 2.1


Chapter 2.2

Entering While Others Are Asleep

Chapter 2.3


Chapter 2.4

Announcing Your Presence

Chapter 2.5

Seeking Permission To Enter

Chapter 2.6

Knocking And Ringing

Chapter 2.7

Answering 'Who Is It?'

Chapter 3

The Manners Of Visiting

Chapter 3.1

Keeping Appointments, Delays And Cancellation

Chapter 3.2

Declining A Visit

Chapter 3.3

Control Your Eyes

Chapter 3.4

Removing Your Shoes

Chapter 3.5

Choosing A Seat

Chapter 3.6

A Visitor Is Not An Inspector

Chapter 3.7

Timing Your Visit

Chapter 3.8


Chapter 3.9

Sitting Between Two Persons

Chapter 3.10

The Host's Duties And The Guests' Rights

Chapter 3.11

Stay In Touch

Chapter 3.12

A Brief Advice To My Sisters

Chapter 4

The Manners Of Conversation

Chapter 4.1

Selecting Suitable Topics

Chapter 4.2

Talk In A Suitable Tone

Chapter 4.3

The Art Of Listening

Chapter 4.4

Discussions And Debates

Chapter 4.5

Swearing By Allah

Chapter 4.6

Answering A Question

Chapter 5

Social Manners

Chapter 5.1

Respect And Favour The Elderly

Chapter 5.2

The Elderly Are To Lead Prayers

Chapter 5.3

Walking With The Elderly

Chapter 5.4

The Elderly Are To Be Served First

Chapter 5.5

Manners With Parents

Chapter 5.6

Tell Your Family Your Whereabouts

Chapter 5.7

Respect The Poor

Chapter 5.8

Dealing With Non-muslims

Chapter 6

Manners Of Eating

Chapter 6.1

The Importance Of Eating Manners

Chapter 6.2

Manners Of Eating

Chapter 6.3

Manners Of Drinking

Chapter 6.4

Avoid Gluttony

Chapter 6.5

Gold And Silver Cutlery

Chapter 7


Chapter 7.1

Weddings Are Part Of The Prophet's Tradition

Chapter 7.2

The Manners Of Attending Weddings

Chapter 8

Visiting The Sick

Chapter 8.1

Visiting A Patient

Chapter 8.2

Praying For The Sick

Chapter 8.3

The Length Of The Visit

Chapter 8.4

The Manners Of Visiting A Patient

Chapter 8.5

How The Ill Express Their Complaints

Chapter 9


Chapter 9.1

Breaking Unpleasant News

Chapter 9.2

Expressing Condolences Is A Courtesy And A Duty

Chapter 9.3

Expressing Condolences And Sympathy

Chapter 9.4

Sending Flowers And Reading Quran During Funerals

Chapter 9.5

A Final Word