After the Battle of Uhud, the Muslims returned to Madinah and were tasked with the unfortunate difficulty of having to tell those who stayed behind, namely the women and children, about the loved ones they lost.
One such person was the Prophet (S)’s cousin, Hamna bint Jahsh. Her mother and the Prophet (S)’s father were siblings. Hamna (R) had it tough.
She was first told she lost her brother. Hamna responded with duaa and patience.
She was then told she lost her uncle, and also responded with duaa and patience.
After a little while, someone came to inform her that she also lost her husband, Mus’ab bin Umayr. Upon hearing this news, she screamed and began weeping.
When the Prophet saw her situation, he said something truly remarkable. “A husband has a very special place in the heart of his wife. Marriage is a very profound and strong experience… a wife loves her husband very much, more than even he may realize.”
Sometimes we deal with things in accordance to what we perceive to be religious rhetoric, and respond with what we believe the Prophet (S) would have said. If a woman were to get the news of her husband’s death and she broke down crying, we might say, “Have sabr, have patience. Don’t cry. Everything will be okay. Trust Allah.”
And what we’re saying isn’t wrong- she should, and probably will, come to internalize all those things. But what are we doing in the process? We’re minimizing her grief, and not acknowledging her suffering. We’re not the ones who lost a family member right now, she did- so it’s easy for us to say “have patience.”
What do we mean by “have patience”?! Have we ever gotten the news that our world just completely fell apart? That we just became widowed, and our children became orphaned?
If anybody could tell somebody else to be patient, who would it have been? Muhammad (S), our prophet, the Messenger of Allah. The man who suffered and lived through the deaths of 6 of his children. Can you imagine going through that pain 6 times in your life? Shrouding 6 of your children?
If anybody had the credibility, license, and ability to tell someone else to be patient throughout loss and suffering, it was the Prophet (S). But instead, he (S), in his wisdom, chose to respond in a different way.
He acknowledged her pain and validated her. He honored her marriage and complimented her relationship with the man she lost. Everything else will come with time. This is how you have empathy. And this… this is how you console people. Abdul Nasir Jangda