The religious ruling for lamentation and mourning
The religious ruling for lamentation and mourning: Especially in the month of Muharram, particularly on the day of Ashura, the tradition of lamentation and mourning for the sorrow of the martyrdom of Syedna Hussain and other members of the Ahl al-Bayt (رضي الله عنهم) has become widespread. Elegies are recited, mourning processions and gatherings are held, symbolic replicas are made and shared, all with the purpose of spreading grief, intensifying sorrow, weeping oneself, and making others cry.
In reality, all of these actions are against the teachings of Sharia and the disposition of both sides. Those well-versed in the Quran and Sunnah and their followers from Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah have never deemed them permissible. Now, who truly understands the position and rank of Hazrat Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala (رضي الله عنهم) more than Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah? The reasons for the impermissibility of all these actions, including lamentation and mourning, are as follows:
Exercising patience in the face of calamities is a religious teaching:
The Sharia has taught the practice of patience in the face of grief or the demise of loved ones, emphasizing the display of patience while being content with the decisions of Allah. Throughout the Quran, Allah has commanded patience in various situations and highlighted its virtues and rewards. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also taught the importance of enduring hardships with patience in his teachings. These concepts are not hidden from any Muslim.
Therefore, engaging in lamentation and mourning contradicts the great religious teachings of patience and contentment with divine decree. While emphasizing the importance of patience, Allah mentions in Surah Al-Baqarah:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىْءٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوْفِ وَٱلْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
Surely We will test you with a bit of fear and hunger, and loss in wealth and lives and fruits, and give good tidings to the patient.(2:155)
ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَـٰبَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌۭ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ
who, when a suffering visits them, say: “We certainly belong to Allah, and to Him we are bound to return. (2:156)
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَٰتٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌۭ ۖ وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُهْتَدُونَ
Those are the ones upon whom there are blessings from their Lord, and mercy as well; and those are the ones who are on the right path. (2:157)
Likewise, observe the virtues of patience in the following hadiths:
Hazrat Suhayb (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ), advised: ‘The condition of a believer is truly remarkable. Every situation for him is good, and this is exclusive to the believer alone. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him. When a hardship befalls him, he endures it patiently, and that is also good for him.
وعن أبي يحيى صهيب بن سنان رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله له خير، وليس ذلك لأحد إلا للمؤمن : إن أصابته سراء شكر فكان خيراً له، وإن أصابته ضراء صبر فكان خيراً له” ((رواه مسلم)).
Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”. [Muslim]. (Riyad as-Salihin)
وَعَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى: ابْنَ آدَمَ إِنْ صَبَرْتَ وَاحْتَسَبْتَ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الْأُولَى لَمْ أَرْضَ لَكَ ثَوَابًا دُونَ الْجَنَّةِ “. رَوَاهُ ابْن مَاجَه
Abu Umama reported the Prophet as stating that God who is blessed and exalted says, “Son of Adam, if you show endurance and seek your reward from me in the first affliction, I shall be pleased with no lesser reward than paradise for you.”
Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Mishkat al-Masabih 1758)
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ النُّفَيْلِيُّ، وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ الْمِصِّيصِيُّ، – الْمَعْنَى – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْمَلِيحِ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ، – قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ السُّلَمِيُّ – عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ جَدِّهِ، وَكَانَتْ، لَهُ صُحْبَةٌ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ” إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا سَبَقَتْ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَنْزِلَةٌ لَمْ يَبْلُغْهَا بِعَمَلِهِ ابْتَلاَهُ اللَّهُ فِي جَسَدِهِ أَوْ فِي مَالِهِ أَوْ فِي وَلَدِهِ ” . قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ زَادَ ابْنُ نُفَيْلٍ ” ثُمَّ صَبَّرَهُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ ” . ثُمَّ اتَّفَقَا ” حَتَّى يُبْلِغَهُ الْمَنْزِلَةَ الَّتِي سَبَقَتْ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ” .
Narrated Muhammad ibn Khalid as-Sulami: on his father’s authority said his grandfather reported: He was a Companion of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: When Allah has previously decreed for a servant a rank which he has not attained by his action, He afflicts him in his body, or his property or his children.
Abu Dawud said: Ibn Nufail added in his version: “He then enables him to endure that.” The agreed version goes: “So that He may bring him to the rank previously decreed from him by Allah.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 3090)
Lamentation and mourning are against being content with divine decree
The true dignity of a believer lies in being content with every decision of Allah, recognizing that it is appropriate for that individual. Therefore, lamenting, wailing, and mourning in times of sorrow are signs of discontent with Allah’s decree, which is a grave mistake.
Lamentation and mourning are extremely grave sins and actions that are not permissible in Islam
Sharia allows grieving with moderation upon the death of a loved one. Shedding tears in this situation is not against patience and endurance; rather, it is a natural expression of grief. However, crying out loudly, wailing, complaining to Allah, being displeased with the decrees of destiny, hitting oneself or tearing one’s clothes – these are all matters that Sharia prohibits. Please refer to some blessed sayings (hadiths) regarding this so that one can understand the severity of the sins of lamentation and excessive mourning.
وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “ اثنتان في الناس هما بهم كفر: الطعن في النسب، والنياحة على الميت” ((رواه مسلم)).
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Two matters are signs of disbelief on the part of those who indulge in them: Defaming and speaking evil of a person’s lineage, and wailing over the dead.” [Muslim]. (Riyad as-Salihin 1578)
Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Among the actions that fall under the category of disbelief towards Allah are three: to tear one’s clothes in times of grief, to lament excessively over the deceased, and to slander one’s lineage.”
١٦٥- قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ : ثَلَاثَ مِنَ الكفر بالله شق الجيب، وَالنیاحَةُ، وَالطَّعْنُ فِي النَّسَبِ”
These hadiths strongly emphasize the severity of actions like excessive lamentation, tearing clothes in grief, and ripping garments. They are explicitly stated as deeds that fall under the realm of disbelief. These actions are not permissible for Muslims; therefore, they are considered prohibited and grave sins. Muslims are advised to refrain from engaging in these actions.
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that when the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) conquered Mecca, Satan began to scream and wail. His cohorts gathered around him like an army. He said, You should lose hope in causing Muslims to commit shirk (associating partners with Allah) after today. However, sow discord among them and spread mourning and lamentation.
١٢١٤٩- عَنْ سَعِيدِ بن جُبَيْرٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُمَا قَالَ: لَمَّا افْتَتَحَ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ مكة رن الابليس رنة اجتمعت إليه جُنوده فقال النسوا أن نريد أمة محمد على الكفربعد يومكم هذا، ولكن افتنوهم في دينِهِمْ وَأَفشُوا فيهم النوح.
It is known that Satan desires Muslims to engage in mourning, and therefore, intense condemnation is established for mourning in that manner. Engaging in such mourning pleases Satan. In fact, Hazrat Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, “Those among us are not from us who, at the time of calamity, slap their faces, tear their clothes, and cry out in the manner of the ignorant.”
١٢٩٤ – عَنْ مَسْرُوقٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ : الْيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَطمَ الحدود وشق الجیوب ودعا بدعوى الجاهلية۔
Hazrat Abu Malik Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said with emphasis, “There are four traits of ignorance that my Ummah will not abandon: boasting about one’s lineage, insulting others’ lineage, seeking rain through the stars, and excessive mourning over the dead. If a woman who mourns does not repent before her death, she will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment wearing a shirt of tar and a cloak of scabs.”
وَعَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” أَرْبَعٌ فِي أُمَّتِي مِنْ أَمْرِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ لَا يَتْرُكُونَهُنَّ: الْفَخْرُ فِي الْأَحْسَابِ وَالطَّعْنُ فِي الْأَنْسَابِ وَالِاسْتِسْقَاءُ بِالنُّجُومِ وَالنِّيَاحَةُ “. وَقَالَ: «النَّائِحَةُ إِذَا لَمْ تَتُبْ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهَا تُقَامُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَعَلَيْهَا سِرْبَالٌ مِنْ قطران وَدرع من جرب» . رَوَاهُ مُسلم
Abu Malik al-Ash’ari reported God’s messenger as saying, “Among my people there are four characteristics belonging to the pre-Islamic period which they do not abandon: boasting of high rank, reviling other people’s genealogies, seeking rain by the stars, and wailing.” And he said, “If the wailing-woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the day of resurrection wearing a garment of pitch and a chemise of mange.”
Muslim transmitted it.(Mishkat al-Masabih 1727)
Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I have prohibited two foolish and wicked voices: one is wailing, tearing the face, and ripping clothes during times of calamity, and the other is reciting satanic poetry.”
Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, “The angels do not supplicate for mercy for a woman who mourns excessively and wails during times of calamity.”
عن أبي هريرة أن النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم قال: لا تصلي الملائكة على نائحة ولا على مرنۃ۔
Hazrat Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Two types of voices are cursed in this world and the Hereafter: the voice of pleasure during times of joy and the voice of wailing and mourning during times of calamity.”
The collection of hadiths is as follows:
The combined essence of all these blessed hadiths is a clear condemnation of actions like mourning, wailing, excessive lamentation, engaging in ignorant behaviors, tearing clothes and garments, hitting oneself, slapping the face, and other similar un-Islamic practices during times of calamity. The severity of these actions and the warnings associated with them are explicitly stated. It is also evident that reciting elegies related to mourning, propagating such practices, organizing gatherings for these actions, sharing posts and statements in support of them, participating in these gatherings, praising and encouraging these actions, giving donations or any form of support for them, all fall under impermissible and sinful activities. After considering these hadiths, no Muslim, whether male or female, can have the audacity or courage to engage in the aforementioned actions.