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How We Process Traumatic Deaths – An Important Lesson From Surah Yaseen

For many nights after the death of Jamal Khashoggi I woke up drenched in sweat. His last words, “I can’t breathe” a constant feature in my nightmares. The spine chilling manner he was murdered was hard for me to process. It felt unfair and I kept thinking to myself, “Ya Allah, how could he die this way?”

A few days later Allah SWT reminded me of a story from one of my favourite surahs – surah Yaseen. In the surah, Allah SWT narrates the story of a group of people who had Messengers repeatedly sent to them. In the middle of a particular conversation, a man from this tribe comes running and advises his people to follow the Messengers and the path of righteousness. In response to his pleas, the next ayah reveals to us that this man is killed by his people.

The immediate ayah that follows this revelation is:

It was said, “Enter Paradise.” He said, “I wish my people could know of how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honoured.” (36: 26 – 27)

I was struck by how his first words were not that of dissatisfaction with his death, but rather that he wished that those who killed him could see his abode and know that the promise of Allah SWT is true. His abode was Jannah and what a blessed place to reside in!

This story helped me to process the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  And today as I grieve the loss of our brothers and sisters in New Zealand, murdered in their places of worship, whose only crime was their faith, I am comforted by the knowledge that surely Paradise is their abode and for them is the mercy and forgiveness of their Lord.

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

“We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return.”

This is a tough time for us as a community as we reckon with increasing Islamophobia and the grave consequences it poses. More than ever this is the time that we turn to Allah and rely on Him. We need to take the time to grieve but we also have the responsibility to do all that we can to combat hate and hold the people that have created this climate of violence accountable for their actions and rhetoric.

I want to leave you all with the words of AbdelRahman Murphy from his Khutbah today and a video from sister Ieasha Prime that I pray In sha Allah, helps us to navigate this period.

“When the believer is tested they don’t respond with fear they respond with faith.” – AbdelRahman Murphy

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