As submitters, we find Quran to be the most accurate scale and the best source of enlightenment to draw crucial, fine lines between various issues, feelings and behaviors. Grief is one of the delicate human feelings that is often under attack and perceived as a conflict with our submission and trust in God. By the will of God, this reminder is to shed the perfect light of Quran on the feeling of grief in an attempt to draw its righteous boundaries as a normal human feeling validated by our Creator.
As defined in dictionaries, grief is a state of deep sorrow and mental anguish that is the result of a disaster or a loss. Its symptoms, briefly, are a variety of feelings such as anxiety, irritability, overreacting, short temper, fragility, sadness, deep sense of disappointment, awful guilt, blaming attitude, fear or worrying, remorse, depression, resentment, anger and despair.
Symptoms vary from one person to another based on personal factors. Some of these factors could be the level of faith, emotional stability and strength, level of education and knowledge, life style and culture influence.
Grief is a normal, emotional, human reaction. We, humans, are physiologically created by God Almighty to sense and react emotionally. We are granted an amazing, delicate, precise, highly sophisticated nervous system that enables us to feel, perceive and process all various emotions. The truth of the matter is that we are very superior and distinct in that sense from among all other creatures. Therefore, there is NO logic in being asked by our Creator to suppress or bury our feelings, including our grief. Please reflect on the following verses that acknowledge our normal human emotions of joy, sadness, contentment, awe, fear, resentment, anger and anxiety:
[53:42] To your Lord is the final destiny.
[53:43] He is the One who makes you laugh or cry.
[13:28] They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering GOD. Absolutely, by remembering GOD, the hearts rejoice.
[6:33] We know that you may be saddened by what they say. You should know that it is not you that they reject; it is GOD's revelations that the wicked disregard.
The true believers [8:2] The true believers are those whose hearts tremble when GOD is mentioned, and when His revelations are recited to them, their faith is strengthened, and they trust in their Lord.
[5:83] When they hear what was revealed to the messenger, you see their eyes flooding with tears as they recognize the truth therein, and they say, "Our Lord, we have believed, so count us among the witnesses.
[9:92] Also excused are those who come to you wishing to be included with you, but you tell them, "I do not have anything to carry you on." They then turn back with tears in their eyes, genuinely saddened that they could not afford to contribute.
[10:57] O people, enlightenment has come to you herein from your Lord, and healing for anything that troubles your hearts, and guidance, and mercy for the believers.
[42:14] Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. If it were not for a predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for a definite interim, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts.
[30:21] Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think.
[11:36] Noah was inspired: "No more of your people are going to believe, beyond those who already believe. Do not be saddened by their actions.
[27:70] Do not grieve over them, and do not be annoyed by their scheming.
[9:15] He will also remove the rage from the believers' hearts. GOD redeems whomever He wills. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.
The question is: at what stage or under which circumstances is grief a destructive, Satanic force? Through a hasty analysis of Quran, one could easily get the false impression that grief is an emotion linked with weak & conditional faith and lack of trust in God. Some verses such as the following ones could easily be taken out of context to back up these wrong ideas:
[39:60] On the Day of Resurrection you WILL see the faces of those who lied about God covered with misery. Is Hell not the right retribution for the arrogant ones?
[39:61] And GOD WILL save those who have maintained righteousness; He WILL reward them. No harm WILL touch them, nor WILL they have any grief.
Submission: The Only Religion [2:112] Indeed, those who submit themselves absolutely to GOD alone, while leading a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Minimum Requirements For Salvation [5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[2:277] Those who believe and lead a righteous life, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), they receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Happiness: Now and Forever [10:62] Absolutely, GOD's allies have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[39:61] And GOD will save those who have maintained righteousness; He will reward them. No harm will touch them, nor will they have any grief.
[2:38] We said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. When guidance comes to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will have no fear, nor will they grieve.
Role of the Messengers [6:48] We do not send the messengers except as deliverers of good news, as well as warners. Those who believe and reform have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Perfect Happiness: Now and Forever [41:30] Those who proclaim: "Our Lord is GOD," then lead a righteous life, the angels descend upon them: "You shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve. Rejoice in the good news that Paradise has been reserved for you.
[57:22] Anything that happens on earth, or to you, has already been recorded, even before the creation. This is easy for GOD to do.
[57:23] Thus, you should not grieve over anything you miss, nor be proud of anything He has bestowed upon you. GOD does not love those who are boastful, proud.
...and many more beautiful verses, sharing almost the same contexts and the same divine formula of enabling us to survive the madness around us. They GIVE good news to believers, INSPIRE them and PERSUADE them to hold fast to the rope of God in order to sense peace and contentment during the darkest times.. In these verses, God IS NOT asking the believers to stop their grief while going through adversity. These verses ARE NOT commanding the believers to quit grieving, but rather are structured in an advising and encouraging format to sympathize with those who are experiencing pain. God did not create us with an on/off switch to use and be rid of our grief!! There is no way the Most Merciful would burden us with something that is against our nature. Furthermore, these verses ARE NOT about the traits of believers that we should strive to achieve. These verses are simply offering God's comfort for the believers who are going through the tough course of grief. They represent God's gracious and psychological techniques to ease our pain by REMINDING us that we should rejoice in the fact that Him and the angels are constantly looking after the truthful and righteous and that victory eventually belongs to the believers (13:11, 3:139). They are like a pat on the shoulder to inform us that there is always ease after difficulty, and gain with the pain.
Another fact that cannot be ignored and is clearly delivered in those verses, is that absolutely, NO grief or fear will be in the lot of believers AT THEIR LORD; in the Hereafter.
Please examine the history of these role models and how the Almighty is validating their shame, grief, sadness, worries and anxiety:
[12:83] He said, "Indeed, you have conspired to carry out a certain scheme. Quiet patience is my only recourse. May GOD bring them all back to me. He is the Omniscient, Most Wise."
[12:84] He turned away from them, saying, "I am grieving over Joseph." His eyes turned white from grieving so much; he was truly sad.
[12:85] They said, "By GOD, you will keep on grieving over Joseph until you become ill, or until you die."
[12:86] He said, "I simply complain to GOD about my dilemma and grief, for I know from GOD what you do not know.
[12:87] "O my sons, go fetch Joseph and his brother, and never despair of GOD's grace. None despairs of GOD's grace except the disbelieving people."
[28:7] We inspired Moses' mother: "Nurse him, and when you fear for his life, throw him into the river without fear or grief. We will return him to you, and will make him one of the messengers."
[28:10] The mind of Moses' mother was growing so anxious that she almost gave away his identity. But we strengthened her heart, to make her a believer.
[28:11] She said to his sister, "Trace his path." She watched him from afar, while they did not perceive.
[28:12] We forbade him from accepting all the nursing mothers. (His sister) then said, "I can show you a family that can raise him for you, and take good care of him."
[28:13] Thus, we restored him to his mother, in order to please her, remove her worries, and to let her know that GOD's promise is the truth. However, most of them do not know.
[19:23] The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten."
[19:24] (The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, "Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.
[19:25] "If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.
[19:26] "Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a vow of silence, [to the Most Gracious]; I am not talking today to anyone.' "
[9:40] If you fail to support him (the messenger), GOD has already supported him. Thus, when the disbelievers chased him, and he was one of two in the cave, he said to his friend, "Do not worry; GOD is with us." GOD then sent down contentment and security upon him, and supported him with invisible soldiers. He made the word of the disbelievers lowly. GOD's word reigns supreme. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.
[19:4] He said, "My Lord, the bones have turned brittle in my body, and my hair is aflame with gray. As I implore You, my Lord, I never despair.
[19:5] "I worry about my dependants after me, and my wife has been sterile. Grant me, from You, an heir.
[19:6] "Let him be my heir and the heir of Jacob's clan, and make him, my Lord, acceptable."
Moses and Aaron:
[20:77] We inspired Moses: "Lead My servants out, and strike for them a dry road across the sea. You shall not fear that you may get caught, nor shall you worry."
[20:24] "Go to Pharaoh, for he has transgressed."
[20:25] He said, "My Lord, cool my temper.
[20:26] "And make this matter easy for me.
[20:27] "And untie a knot from my tongue.
[20:28] "So they can understand my speech.
[20:29] "And appoint an assistant for me from my family.
[20:30] "My brother Aaron.
[20:31] "Strengthen me with him.
[20:32] "Let him be my partner in this matter.
[20:33] "That we may glorify You frequently.
[20:34] "And commemorate You frequently.
[20:41] "I have made you just for Me.
[20:42] "Go with your brother, supported by My signs, and do not waver in remembering Me.
[20:45] They said, "Our Lord, we fear lest he may attack us, or transgress."
[20:46] He said, "Do not be afraid, for I will be with you, listening and watching.
[20:92] (Moses) said, "O Aaron, what is it that prevented you, when you saw them go astray,
[20:93] "from following my orders? Have you rebelled against me?"
[20:94] He said, "O son of my mother; do not pull me by my beard and my head. I was afraid that you might say, `You have divided the Children of Israel, and disobeyed my orders.' "
Examining the above great examples leaves us with some questions that should help with drawing the righteous boundaries of this normal process: Can we feel peaceful and content while grieving? Should we wonder how long we are going to grieve? Does grief interfere with the process of purifying our souls? When exactly does grief transform into a negative force that could hurt our souls and classify us as disbelievers?
When grief grows wild into the feelings of irreversible despair, anger and objection to the will of God - this, with no doubt, is the negative side introduced by Satan, who is anxiously waiting for our moments of weakness and confusion. For sure, we are created weak (4:28), shortsighted, impatient (17:11) and anxious (17:92). God is fully aware of all of this. It is the knowledge, the steadfastness (3:186) , the patience (20:130) and the worship (2:153, 17:22) that keep us within the righteous confinement of grief. As indicated in the above examples of Jacob, Zachariah and others, a believer and worshiper of God alone would continue nourishing his/her soul patiently, peacefully and joyfully while grieving, without despair.. That is the difference between a true believer and a despondent angry objector to the will of God (17:83). God delivered a reminder in Quran that He rewards the patient ones who overcome their pain and stay on His straight path throughout adversities (21:83-84, 7:137).
Grief has been validated by our Creator in Quran as a normal human feeling. We will experience grief, but while grieving, true believers continue leading a righteous life and steadfastly persevere in worshiping God. They rejoice in remembering that God and His angels (41:30, 13:11) are always on the side of those who don't despair or lose their trust in Him alone. With humility and grace, they allow time to heal their wounds while they are fully appreciating God's pat on their shoulders that they should not feel sad or sense fear. They are absolutely certain that no fear or grief will touch them in the Hereafter.
[20:130] Therefore, be patient in the face of their utterances, and praise and glorify your Lord before sunrise and before sunset. And during the night glorify Him, as well as at both ends of the day, that you may be happy.
[16:127] You shall resort to patience - and your patience is attainable only with GOD's help....
[2:153] O you who believe, seek help through steadfastness and the Contact Prayers (Salat). GOD is with those who steadfastly persevere.
[47:7] O you who believe, if you support GOD, He will support you, and strengthen your foothold.
[14:27] GOD strengthens those who believe with the proven word, in this life and in the Hereafter. And GOD sends the transgressors astray. Everything is in accordance with GOD's will.
[41:30] Those who proclaim: "Our Lord is GOD," then lead a righteous life, the angels descend upon them: "You shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve. Rejoice in the good news that Paradise has been reserved for you.
[41:31] "We are your allies in this life, and in the Hereafter. You will have in it anything you wish for; you will have anything you want.
[41:32] "(Such is your) ultimate abode, from a Forgiver, Most Merciful."
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.