‘Offering Condolences to the Family’
It is mustahabb to offer condolences to everyone who is affected by the loss of the deceased. It says in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘, 2/169: It is mustahabb to offer condolences to the bereaved family, even children and even friends of the deceased and so on, such as neighbours of the deceased.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: He said “condolences to the bereaved” and not “condolences to the relatives”, so everyone who is affected by the loss, even if he is not related, may be offered condolences.
When offering condolences about the plight of a relative, friend or acquaintance, it is mustahab (preferable) to make du’a similar to the following du’a for your deceased brother. This is a du’a which Rasulullah ﷺ recited to Ummu Salamah [Radiallahu anha] at the death of her husband:
الّلهمَّ اغْفِرْ لأَبِى سَلَمَةَ وَارْفعْ دَرَجَتَهُ فِى الْمَهْدِيِّينَ وَاخْلُفْهُ فِى عَقِبِهِ فِى الْغَابِرِيْنَ وَاغْفَرْلَنَا وَلَهُ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَافْسَحْ لَهُ فِى قَبْرِهِ وَنَوَّرْ لَهُ فِيهِ
“O Allah! Forgive Abu 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 (in the grave).” [Sahih Muslim]
It is desirable that your conversation with the bereaved person be aimed at lightening the effect of the calamity. This could be done by mentioning the reward of patience over that calamity, the transitory nature of life on earth and that the hearafter is an everlasting abode. (islamicetiquette.com)
Dua of condolence
إِنَّ للهِ ما أَخَذ، وَلَهُ ما أَعْـطـى، وَكُـلُّ شَيءٍ عِنْـدَهُ بِأَجَلٍ مُسَـمَّى.فَلْتَصْـبِر وَلْتَحْـتَسِب. أَعْظَـمَ اللهُ أَجْـرَك، وَأَحْسَـنَ عَـزاءَ ك، وَغَفَـرَ لِمَـيِّتِك
Inna li-l-lâhi mâ akhadha wa li-l-lâhi mâ a’tâ, wa kullu shay’in ‘indahu bi-ajalin musammân… Fa-l-tasbir wa-l-tahtasib. A’zama l-lâhu ajraka, wa ahsana ‘azâ’ka, wa ghafara li-mayyitika.
“Verily to Allah, belongs what He took and to Him belongs what He gave, and everything with Him has an appointed time…and then he r ordered for her to be patient and hope for Allah’s reward.(May Allah magnify your reward, make better your solace and forgive your deceased.)“
There are other phrases that are said in general which means the same as in to have sabr and making dua for the deceased the scholars said these are also acceptable but ofcourse the best is the Dua from the Sunnah.
Condolence on Death of a child
Child loss is devastating, as parents love their children unconditionally from the moment they are conceived. It is one of the greatest tests in life, but it also entitles to greater rewards from Allah(glorified and exalted be He), and cleanses sins. The greater the hardship we must endure, the more Allah (glorified and exalted be He) wants to raise our ranks in the hereafter.
A lot of the times we are at loss of words as to what to say the best is to share some hadeeths and recite verse of patience so that a person may have patience.
Narrated by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them): The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.”(At-Tirmidhi, Number Volume 4, Book 10, Number 2399)
“No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere it will never come your way but if it is yours by destiny from you it cannot flee.”Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them)
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When a person’s child dies, Allah the Most High asks His angels, ‘Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?’ They reply in the affirmative. He then asks, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon he asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ They say: ‘He has praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (We belong to Allah and to Him we shall be returned).’ Allah says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Jannah and name it Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)’.”(At-Tirmidhi, Number 1736)
Here are some other general statements that can be used to start when speaking to the child’s family
Insensitive Remarks You Should Avoid
Sometimes people mean well, yet their condolences are actually a little thoughtless or even insensitive. At the very least, they don’t bring the grieving parents any comfort. Here are a few things you should definitely avoid saying.
Condolence for Death of a spouse
Sometimes after the death of a spouse, the bereaved spouse suffers additional grief from friends, family and acquaintances. Many people do not how to express sympathy for this profound loss. They may not know what to say or maybe they are afraid they will not be able to express their feelings appropriately.
Say a prayer similar to that reported by Muslim to have been articulated by Messenger ﷺ to Umm Salamah (RA) at the death of her husband: ‘O Allah, forgive Abi Salamah, elevate his status among the guided people, and look afterthe family that he left behind. O Lord of the universe, forgive us and him, comfort him in his grave, and lighten his stay.
Bereaved individuals, especially widowers, may maintain a strong front. They will not cry in public or in front of family members. They may feel that they are helping their children by not being too sad. Widows and widowers say that a few of the things that are the most difficult for them are:
Words of Sympathy for Loss of Spouse
Most people who encounter grieving individuals ask how they are doing just to be polite or because they don’t know what else to say. Let bereaved individuals know that you care and you want to know how they are really doing.
The best would be to talk about patience and the life of Ayesha R.A. as to how she helped the Ummah after being a young widow of the Prophet S.A.W.
Below are some other general example statements that will be helpful to start:
Statements that are NOT helpful:
Condolences to Death of a parent
The death of a parent is a big loss for their off springs no matter how old they are. These are a few things you can say to a bereaved person
The Prophet ﷺ said: “When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no 1376; he said this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth)
Etiquette of offering condolences
Islam teaches us to condole with our brothers and sisters in the way of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . It is wrong to wail and complain with the thought of showing discontent with Allah. Instead, the lamenter should speak a few words and recite any duaa (prayer) for the deceased. The quality of patience should remain within the mourners for this is what Allah Almighty has commanded for us. While expressing sympathy towards the distressed and anguished person, one should try to minimize the pain and suffering of the afflicted by mentioning the great reward for patience and the eternal life of the hereafter. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Give glad tidings to those who patiently endure, who say when afflicted with a calamity: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return.” They are those on whom (descend) blessings and mercy from their Lord, and they are the ones who receive guidance.” (Qur’an Surah Baqarah; 2:155-157)
It is desirable to utter certain specific verses of the Quran or particular virtues that are present in the Sunnah. For instance it is recommended to mention the following hadith:
“O Allah! Reward me in my calamity and replace my loss with a better one.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Indeed! Whatever Allah gives or takes belongs to him and everything is predestined by Him.” (Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)
Verses of the Qur’an that can be recited during condolence are:
“All that is on earth will persish, but face of your Lord will abide (forever), full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour” (Surah Rahman 26-27)
“Every soul shall have a taste of death and only on the Day of the Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only those who are saved from the fire and admitted to Paradise (Jannah) will have attained the object (of life). For the life of this world is but good and chattels of deception.” (Surah Imran 185)
It is permissible to weep silently or use short words that depict love for the deceased. However, showing impatience in any form is not allowed and Muslims should refrain from such acts as wailing, expressing loss and discontent with the Creator, praising the departed soul with exaggeration or inflicting pain by wasting possessions, beating the face/body or tearing clothes.
We as Muslims should try our best to imitate the Sunnah of our beloved Holy Prophet ﷺ so that we may receive the rewards for being patient and humble in our lives. As Allay says in the Quran:
“…and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Surah Anfal : 46)
How to offer condolences to the family of the deceased:
1. It is sunnah to send food to the family and also help them take care of their affairs so that they dont have to worry about anything else besides grieving. When the news of the death of Jafar ibn Abi Talib came to his family, the Prophet ﷺ said to Fatima: ‘Prepare food for the family of Jafar, for there has come to them what has preoccupied them. ‘ (Abu Dawud).” The phrase “what has preoccupied them” shows us that whatever we can do to help them in regards to their worldly affairs is good. So running errands for the family, informing their employers or school administrators so that they dont have to, buying groceries for them, offering financial support, etc. are all things that lighten the load for them and fulfill this noble purpose.
2. Condolences should be offered to them whenever you see them at the janaza or in public. Malik and Ash Shafi said in the masjid or in the marketplace when they go about their business. In our days you can send a text message, email, etc. so that your condolence still reaches but you dont burden the family with having to receive you. “Condolences are desirable, even if the deceased was a non-Muslim. Ibn Majah and Al-Baihaqi reported from ‘Amr ibn Hazm that the Prophet ﷺ, said: “Every believer who consoles his brother in distress, will be dressed by Allah in an apparel of honor on the Day of Resurrection.” It is recommended, however, that the condolences be offered only once.” (Fiqhus Sunnah)
3. The sunnah way to console the family is to say to them what the Prophet ﷺ said to his daughter when she lost her child:
Inna lillahi ma akhatha wa lahu ma a’Ta wa a’ndahu kulla shay’in fi ajalin musamma, fal taSbir wal ta’htasib.
‘Verily, to Allah belongs what He has taken, and to Him belongs what He has given. For everything He has set a term. So be patient and be content’.” (Bukhari)
Things that we shouldn’t be Doing
Organizing gatherings (bayt azza) or feasts is a tradition of the days of ignorance that Islam prohibited. Jarir Ibn Abdillah (ra) said: “We, the companions of the messenger of Allah ﷺ , used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after the burial from niyahah (prohibited form of wailing from the days of ignorance).” People have rituals with these gatherings until today that are identical to the azza gatherings of quraysh.
“The sunnah concerning this is that one should offer condolences to the bereaved family and leave. Neither the consoler nor the consoled should sit down. This is the lesson we learn from the example of our righteous predecessors. Ash-Shafi’i in his Al-Umm said, “I hate the gathering in groups together to give condolences even if those gathered do not cry. Such a gathering revives sorrow and adds to the grief and burden of the bereaved family. An-Nawawi said, “Ash-Shafi’i and his companions disliked sitting for condolences, whereby members of the family stay in their homes to receive anyone coming to give their condolences. Instead, they should go about their usual tasks and needs. This applies both to men and women. Al-Muhamili states this explicitly and transmits it in reference to a text from Ash-Shafi’i. This is makruh tanzihi (Makruh tanzihl signifies something which is undesirable yet is closer to the lawful) unless it is coupled with some other innovation. If it is accompanied with another forbidden innovation (bid’ah), as is generally the case, then it is regarded as one of the strongly forbidden acts. All such acts are an innovation, and as a sound hadith says, “All invented acts are an innovation and every innovation is error.” (Fiqhus Sunnah)
Abu Bakr al-Turtushi al-Maliki (d. 520H) wrote:
“Scholars have said: To undertake preparation for condolences (i.e. organize sittings) is an innovation and disliked. So [a person afflicted with the calamity of the death of a family member] sits in his house, or in the mosque, in his sadness, but without presenting himself to receive condolences. In this case there is no harm. When the news of the death of Ja’far came to the Prophet ﷺ, he sat in the mosque, overcome with sadness and the people came and gave condolences to him.”
With that being said, the sunnah is to make things easier on the family and different people grieve in different ways. If the person wants to have certain family members and friends around in no formal capacity but to make things easier on them, than that is fine. If the family wants to be left alone than that should be their choice also.
People tend to think it is necessary to come and cry to show their Love, they start saying things like I saw him yesterday he was doing this or that. Or saying things like he wanted to do this his wishes were not fulfilled and making the women cry. Instead of trying to console them people actually end up giving more pain.
It is not necessary to give condolences within three days of death as commonly believed, one should give it as and when he comes to know of the death. It can be a month or even later. Basic rule is whenever we come to know we offer our condolences as soon as possible without restricting it to the first three days.
Link to Urdu Lecture by Shaikh Yasir Al-Jabri https://youtu.be/po6IlcCZq-0
Note: The Lecture can have more or less details from the that what is written here in English. The Tests will ONLY be from what is written here in English. The Lectures are provided to have give better understanding of the matter.