Ta'ziyat conducted in the correct manner can help people to lighten the grief of losing someone dear to them
Joy and grief are part of human life. The teachings of Islam guide us to cope with all conditions, especially dealing with moments of grief. We are human beings who experience feelings and emotions of grief and sorrow when there is a loss. The loss of a beloved is a cause of great grief and sadness for the close family members. Adopting the Sunnah teachings upon the demise of a person will help to soften the grief and cope better with the loss.
What is Ta'ziyat?
Ta'ziyat means to console and comfort a grieving person. The purpose of Ta'ziyat is to give emotional support and strength to the bereaved at a time when a person is in a fragile emotional state. During Ta'ziyat a person reaches out to comfort the bereaved by conveying a few words of hope and consolement – to give tidings for adopting patience and hope of reward upon the loss. Say that which will lighten the pain of the bereaved. Do not utter anything that will cause the grieving person to become more grieved or to lose hope.
Virtues of Ta'ziyat
The pain of loss is difficult to bear. Therefore, when the bereaved person exercises patience upon the loss, there are great rewards for such patience. The one who consoles the bereaved also receives abundant reward for this practice.
Nabi Kareem (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
One who consoles an afflicted person will receive the same reward (as the bereaved for his patience). (Tirmizi)
A Muslim who consoles his brother, Allah shall clothe him with garments of honour by Allah on the Day of Qiyamah. (Bayhaqi)
Whoever consoles a bereaved mother (who lost a child) will be dressed with a garment in Paradise. (Tirmizi)
How to conduct Ta'ziyat
Ta'ziyat may be conducted by visiting the bereaved, contacting them telephonically or in writing. If one is visiting, be mindful that the time is suitable and convenient for the bereaved family. Keep in mind the following:
1. Use words of encouragement and hope. Advise the bereaved to adopt patience and dua.
2. Make dua of forgiveness and Jannah for the deceased. This will bring comfort to the bereaved.
3. Mention a few good words of praise about the deceased. Do not say anything undesirable or mention anything negative about the deceased.
4. Mention to the bereaved that you have done or intend to do some optional good deeds for the Isale sawaab (reward) of the deceased.
5. During Ta'ziyat do not ask for details about the deceased's illness or circumstances of death. Focus on rewards and benefits of life after death.
6. Speak about the words and message contained in the verse 'Inna lillahi wa Inna ilayhi Rajioon'. Contemplation over these Quranic words tell us that we all belong to Allah Ta'ala and shall return to Him. Every soul is owned by Allah Ta'ala and every soul departs at the time appointed by Allah Ta'ala.
7. Speak about the importance of making preparations for death so that we will join our deceased in Jannah.
8. At times of severe grief, your mere presence maybe sufficient. Avoid excessive talking according to the situation.
What is the prescribed period for Ta'ziyat?
The period for Ta'ziyat is three days. Ta'ziyat should be done within the first three days of demise. People who are unable to visit in this time due to ill heath, travel or some other reason may do Ta'ziyat after three days. The idea is to help people to overcome their grief, and encourage them to continue with their lives purposefully by engaging in good deeds.
Sunnah to provide meals for the bereaved family
It is Sunnah for neighbours, relatives and friends to prepare food for the immediate family of the deceased during their days of grief. The aim is to lighten the burden of the bereaved and ensure that food is available for them at a time when they need to nurse their grief.
Avoid prolonging the grief
The bereaved should try to return to their normal routine of life after the prescribed period of mourning. The period of mourning should not be excessively prolonged as this serves to keep the grief fresh.
Nabi Kareem (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) consoles his daughter
إِنَّ للهِ مَا أَخَذَ ، وَلَهُ مَا أَعْطى ، وَكُلٌّ عِنْدَه بِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمَّى فَالْتَصْبِرْ وَلْتَحْتَسِب
Upon the demise of his grandson, Nabi Kareem (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) consoled his daughter with the words:
Inna lillahi ma akhaza wa lahu ma a'ta, wa kullun indahu bi ajalim musamma, faltasbir waltahtasib
Translation: Whatever Allah takes is His, and whatever He gives is His, and everything has an appointed time. So be patient and seek rewards. (Bukhari)
Words of worth
Hazrat Ibn 'Abbas t says that at the time of his father's death he was extremely grieved and inconsolable. It was only the beautiful and comforting words of a bedouin that were able to console him as no one else had been able to. The bedouin recited a poem, the last part of which was: 'Better for you than 'Abbas is the reward you will receive after him, and Allah is better than you for 'Abbas.'
Through these words the grieving son was reminded that although he had suffered a loss, the gain brought by patience is superior to the loss. He was then reminded that his father may have lost the company of his son, but he was now in the company of his Creator. What is better for 'Abbas t, being with his son or being with Allah Ta'ala?
For the deceased, it is an inevitable case of their appointed time having arrived; which could not be extended. For the surviving family, it is a time to be patient and acquire great reward as a result.
Conveying reward for the deceased
Conveying the reward of good deeds for the deceased is another form of consolation and comfort for the bereaved. The person who has passed away is no longer able to do any good deeds. The one source of acquisition of ongoing reward is for people to do good and send to the deceased. Recitation of Quran Shareef, e.g. reciting 3 times Surah Ikhlas (Qul huwallah) which is equivalent to the reward of one Quran Shareef, Sadaqah of feeding the underprivileged, giving water or digging a well, Nafl Salah and other such good deeds should be intended for the deceased. The best deeds for the deceased is monetary charity that is spent on something of lasting benefit to people from which the deceased may earn perpetual reward.
The Sunnah method of Ta'ziyat is a simple and effective way of helping those suffering loss and carries tremendous blessings and reward. Practices or customs that are not established in Islam should be avoided.