Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله
Sign in to follow this  
MarkCooper

Need Help Understanding Muslim Bereavement

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

I was hoping someone might be willing to help me.   I am a Christian and I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain.

As a Chaplain many times I have to deal with people facing grief due to the loss of a loved one.

 

I am going to be teaching a class to other Chaplain on Cultural Sensitivity. 

 

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to converse with me regarding do's and don'ts of helping a Muslim in a situation like this.

 

Sincerely

 

Mark Cooper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some specific verses in the Qur'ān that are often recited during such moments of grief (and particularly at the loss of a loved one).

 

[2:153-157]

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ‌ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ

O all you who believe, seek you help in patience and prayer; surely God is with the patient.

 

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُ‌ونَ

And say not of those slain in God's way, 'They are dead'; rather they are living, but you are not aware.

 

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَ‌اتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ‌ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ

Surely We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and diminution of goods and lives and fruits; yet give thou good tidings unto the patient

 

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَ‌اجِعُونَ

who, when they are visited by an affliction, say, 'Surely we belong to God, and to Him we return';

 

أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّهِمْ وَرَ‌حْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

upon those rest blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those -- they are the truly guided.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

 

I was hoping someone might be willing to help me.   I am a Christian and I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain.

As a Chaplain many times I have to deal with people facing grief due to the loss of a loved one.

 

I am going to be teaching a class to other Chaplain on Cultural Sensitivity. 

 

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to converse with me regarding do's and don'ts of helping a Muslim in a situation like this.

 

Sincerely

 

Mark Cooper

 

Peace,

 

Ask your questions, and God-willingly we will be able to answer them here.

Edited by Qa'im

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your responses and for the verses above.

 

The Chaplaincy is often called to give death notifications or when someone dies from natural causes or is killed.  We are called out to help the grieving family.   What I would like to find out is  Do you have any tips as to things we should or shouldn't do to best serve the family?  In other words I want to make sure we don't offend someone we're trying to help, or if there are other things that we might do to make this sad time easier on those who have lost there loved ones.

 

For instance is there any sort of situations that we should watch out for as far as someone being clean or unclean? 

Is there anything specific to Islam that we could do to better show respect.

 

Any thing you can think of would be appreciate

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For instance is there any sort of situations that we should watch out for as far as someone being clean or unclean? 

Is there anything specific to Islam that we could do to better show respect.

 

Can you be a bit more descriptive? I want to make sure I understand what you're asking here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well please forgive me I don't know if this is correct but one of the chaplains was telling me that they were assisting a Muslim family whos Farher had passed away and apperently one of the family members told our chaplain that if someone walked a dog by the house it would become unclean. So our chaplain stood outside and directed any one whih a dog to the other side of the street. I have no idea if this is correct but this is the kind of tools I'd like to give our chaplains so they can better help those in need.

In that same vain if there is somthing that you've come across that some one has said or done that was completely insensitive that we could avoid that would be helpfull too.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well please forgive me I don't know if this is correct but one of the chaplains was telling me that they were assisting a Muslim family whos Farher had passed away and apperently one of the family members told our chaplain that if someone walked a dog by the house it would become unclean. So our chaplain stood outside and directed any one whih a dog to the other side of the street. I have no idea if this is correct but this is the kind of tools I'd like to give our chaplains so they can better help those in need.

 

Yes, generally-speaking dogs are considered najis (ritually impure). Coming into contact with something najis requires one to purify themselves (typically through washing). In this regard, Islamic law is very similar to Jewish law (that is the concept of ritual purity).

 

Of course, what specifically constitutes najasat (pl.) differs among believers of various religious persuasions. However, such things as alcoholic beverages and pig meat certainly qualify as najasat.

 

Another thing (as far as sensitivity is concerned) is that as a male, one should avoid making physical contact with the womenfolk (e.g. shaking hands or giving hugs). As you can imagine, not all believers implement the Islamic law in their daily lives to the same degree. However, during such occasions, muslim women tend to dress and behave more modestly. So, it would be better to place one's hand on their chest as a form of greeting and respect.

Edited by CaLiFoRniA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salam and Peace, 

 

Dogs and Pigs, and Alcohol (alcohol that is used for drinking like beer and wine, whisky, etc) are considered najis, meaning impure and physical contact with these would require a muslim to wash with water before they could pray. Make sure that these are nowhere near the greiving family as this may make them extremely upset, but there is a variation amoung muslims as to how upset they may get, depending on how much they have been exposed to these things in the past. There are some muslims, especially those newly arrived from a muslim country, who have never seen a dog or a pig or ever seen or smelled alcohol. 

 

Here's two more tips that may help you, 

 

First, don't try to shake hands or hug women or girls. Physical contact between men and women who are not related is not allowed in the religion.Even a simple handshake, which you may consider to be very minor, can affect the situation in a negative way. You can talk to them (women and girls) and tell them like 'I am sorry for your loss, etc'. There is no problem with that, and in fact that might help the situation, but just no physcial contact. If you are a man, you can obviously shake hands with the men or even give them a hug, that is no problem. 

 

If you are going to bring a Quran, and quote some verses, then get a Quran that is all in English. A non muslim is not allowed to touch the words of the Quran, the Arabic words. Touching the words of the English translation is no problem. Most Qurans in English have the English and Arabic side by side and I wouldn't suggest getting one of these since you may accidentally touch the Arabic and this could make some people there upset. Probably the best thing would be to print out some verses in English on a paper, like the ones the brother quoted above, and just take the paper with you rather than a Quran. This would be best and would help the situation and wouldn't bother anyone. Hope that helps. 

Edited by Abu Hadi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Mr Cooper , 

 

Welcome to Shiachat.

One of the sensitivity you will find amongst Muslims is the issue of Hijab ( the Islamic Veil ) , and the segregation of the sexes as a sign of respect.

When addressing to the male members of the family , it is best done by a male officer and a female colleague present for the female members of the family .

If there is a need for a gathering in the chapel , the segregation of the sexes is also advisable.

Also any physical contact between males and females such as the shaking of hands should be avoided .

You will also find the following verse uttered amongst muslims when told of a loss of a loved one ;

 

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un ( Quran 2:156 )

 

"Surely we belong to Allah and to him shall we return "

 

I hope this assists you in your understanding of basic sensitivities within muslims.

Another major concern to the muslim family when told the loss of a loved one is the handling and treatment of the deceased  by the authorities , i.e. the storage , treatment of the body and any due processes such as autopsies and other medical examinations to be carried out on the deceased .

Within the practises of Islam , there are very strict requirements of the treatment of the body and the respect shown towards the deceased in it's handling of the body. Is this within the scope of your duties ?

 

Kind Regards 

 

Sami

Edited by :Sami II

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abu Hadi,

 

Thank You very much.  I appreciate everyone's help  and I hope that everyone understands that I mean no disrespect with my questions only to help those in need.

 

May God (Allah) Bless you greatly.

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I have some follow-up questions.

 

1. I completely get the advice about gender male/female contact, handshakes, hugs, etc...  What is the protocol for female chaplains at a scene, first with other females and also with males?

 

2. We (Chaplains) are instructed when giving a death notification to notify the next of kin first and foremost, however if the next of kin is not the only one in the house when we arrive we are generally to pull everyone into the same room and then give the notification so that the burden of telling the others doesn't fall on the next of kin.   Having said this, and the issues with gender relations do you have any suggestions that would make it "easier" on the family regarding death notifications.  i.e. should the men and women be separated and a female Chaplain tell the women and a male Chaplain tell the men or is it acceptable for both to tell the persons involved together.

 

3 With regard to family support, do most Muslims have a relationship with a local Imam like a Christian would have with a Pastor of their Church?  Generally if the family has some sort of faith foundation we will suggest they or we will contact their, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, etc... Would this be appropriate for a Chaplain to help a Muslim with?

 

Sami, as far as handling the body of the deceased the Chaplaincy doesn't have that authority.  That would be the Coroner's call.   I spoke with our local Coroner about this issue and they told me that if at all possible they would do what they could to respected the family's  / faith's requests however if there are legal issues surrounding the death, those legal issues take precedence.

 

Once again I appreciate all the assistance you all have been giving me.

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salam!

 

Just to get back to your Post about a Dog beeing walked by (past) the House. Unless the Dog actually comes into the House it does not become Najes.

 

ws Salima

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I have some follow-up questions.

 

1. I completely get the advice about gender male/female contact, handshakes, hugs, etc...  What is the protocol for female chaplains at a scene, first with other females and also with males?

 

2. We (Chaplains) are instructed when giving a death notification to notify the next of kin first and foremost, however if the next of kin is not the only one in the house when we arrive we are generally to pull everyone into the same room and then give the notification so that the burden of telling the others doesn't fall on the next of kin.   Having said this, and the issues with gender relations do you have any suggestions that would make it "easier" on the family regarding death notifications.  i.e. should the men and women be separated and a female Chaplain tell the women and a male Chaplain tell the men or is it acceptable for both to tell the persons involved together.

 

3 With regard to family support, do most Muslims have a relationship with a local Imam like a Christian would have with a Pastor of their Church?  Generally if the family has some sort of faith foundation we will suggest they or we will contact their, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, etc... Would this be appropriate for a Chaplain to help a Muslim with?

 

Sami, as far as handling the body of the deceased the Chaplaincy doesn't have that authority.  That would be the Coroner's call.   I spoke with our local Coroner about this issue and they told me that if at all possible they would do what they could to respected the family's  / faith's requests however if there are legal issues surrounding the death, those legal issues take precedence.

 

Once again I appreciate all the assistance you all have been giving me.

 

Mark

 

1 The protocol for female chaplains would be similar (in that it would be appropriate to shake hands with the womenfolk but should avoid physical contact with the men). Again, often the best thing would be to place one's hand on their chest as a form of greeting and reverence.

 

2 There shouldn't be an issue with both chaplains informing the men and women together. However, some families may prefer to separate the two genders. It may be a good idea to separate in the case that the women would like privacy to mourn.

 

3 It really depends on the family. Most muslims may have a particular mosque they frequent, but not necessarily a relationship as such with an imam. Though, if they do then it may be a good idea to contact the imam of their local mosque.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...