The Polytheists' Conception of Mourning
Mourning for days, refusing to smile and removing all sources of joy from life is a custom that belongs to the society of ignorance. For Muslims, death means the end of the test in this world, the passage to our eternal abode and, most important of all, meeting with our beloved Lord. Muslims do not, therefore, mourn when someone dies. On the contrary, they rejoice that someone they love has gone to God and say, “Insha’Allah, our Lord has been pleased with him.” Mourning is a superstitious custom among people who fail to grasp the wisdom of destiny, who do not submit willingly to it, who cannot see the beauty in God’s creation and who do not realize that this world is indeed a transitory place.
Therefore, when someone dies, Muslims advise one another not to mourn. They advise one another not to grieve or be sad or unhappy. When death comes, Muslims advise one another to welcome what God has ordained in destiny with joy and fortitude because grieving, may God forbid, means not being content with the destiny appointed by Him. It means rebellion against what God has created, may He forbid.
Some people who say, “How can you be having fun while people are dying in Syria, Palestine and Egypt” forget this fact. What a Muslim must do in the face of the losses and sufferings in Syria, Egypt and Palestine is not to grieve, but rather strive to bring those sufferings to an end. The people who express that idea themselves have fun at weddings, laugh at TV chat shows and enjoy watching films, despite all the pain in the world.
Death is not the end for a believer: It means joining God, our One True Friend and Beloved. The believer treats the death of someone he loves with the same joy that he welcomes his own death. The idea that one must be saddened in the face of death is one that belongs to the society of ignorance. Such people are unable to properly appreciate the power and might of God; they grieve since they think that death is the end.
That is why there are many superstitious traditions of mourning in societies and especially in formerly pagan cultures. For example, when someone died in ancient Egypt women in the house of the deceased would rub mud over their heads and faces and beat their bare breasts after tying their clothes to their bodies with thread. Similar customs were found among the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. Judaic mourning customs included tearing the clothes, wearing coarse cloth, sitting on the floor, rubbing ashes on the head, fasting, tearing out the hair and weeping and beating oneself. In some cultures, professional mourners would be hired to weep and lament, and this would go on for several days.
The pagans of Mecca are known to have mourned in a similar way when someone died. Our Prophet (saas) forbade Muslims to mourn:
Ibnu Abbas relates: "The Messenger of God (saas) said: MOURNING IS A DOING FROM THE SOCIETY OF IGNORANCE...."
Ibnu Umar relates: "THE MESSENGER OF GOD (saas) FORBADE A WOMAN WHO WAS WEEPING LOUDLY TO FOLLOW THE DECEASED."
Cerir Mevla Muaviye relates: "Hazrat Muaviye preached a sermon in Homs and reminded the congregation that the Messenger of God had forbidden mourning."
The way that Rasulullah (saas) wept for a brief moment when his son Ibrahim died is a sign of his affection and compassion. Those people who misinterpret our Prophet’s (saas) fine moral virtue and wish to maintain the pagan customs of the Time of Ignorance are thus behaving wrongly.
We have created all things in due measure. (Surat al-Qamar, 49)
Say: ‘Nothing can happen to us except what God has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in God that the Muslims should put their trust.’ (Surat al-Tawba, 51)
But you will not will unless God wills. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat al-Insan, 30)
No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat al-An'am, 59)
No misfortune occurs except by God’s permission. Whoever has faith in God – He will guide his heart. God has knowledge of all things. (Surat at-Taghabun, 11)