The Ruling of crying and wailing over a Dead Person

Ibn ‘Umar (radi Allahu anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) visited Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah during his illness. He was accompanied by ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas and ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhum). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) began to weep. When his Companions saw this, their tears also started flowing. He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Do you not hear, Allah does not punish for the shedding of tears or the grief of the heart, but punishes or bestows mercy for the utterances of this (and he pointed to his tongue).”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary:

We benefit from the above Hadith that under the stress of grief, man becomes heavy-hearted and tears flow out from his eyes. This is something natural and beyond human control. Rather the outflow of tears results from Divine compassion. This is neither forbidden nor subject to accountability. It is only wailing which is Haram (prohibited), and is punishable. Yet, man is blessed with Divine mercy if he gives expression to patience and gratefulness by his tongue.

Moreover, to mention the merits and excellence of a departed soul is in itself a good thing because others may be stimulated to adopt them. But to recount them by way of wailing is disliked.

Another Hadith states that a dead person is tormented because of the weeping of his household. Here weeping means lamenting and wailing. Otherwise, to weep is human instinct and no curbs can be put over it.

Besides, this warning is meant for such a person who might have been accustomed to wailing during his lifetime. Or he might have left a will to his family for wailing over his death. Maybe he consciously avoided giving a pre death warning to his kith and kin against wailing. In all the three situations, he will be equally held accountable with his soul being tormented for the wailing of his relatives. In case, he is uninvolved in any of the situations, he will remain free from hellish torments. Instead the wailers will have to bear the brunt of their sin. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden.” [Al-Isra 17:15]

And Allah knows best!

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