When the reciters of Quran were martyred, Allah’s Apostle recited Qunut for one month and I never saw him (i.e. Allah’s Apostle) so sad as he was on that day.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
One of the sons of Abu Talha became sick and died and Abu Talha at that time was not at home. When his wife saw that he was dead, she prepared him (washed and shrouded him) and placed him somewhere in the house. When Abu Talha came, he asked, “How is the boy?” She said, “The child is quiet and I hope he is in peace.” Abu Talha thought that she had spoken the truth. Abu Talha passed the night and in the morning took a bath and when he intended to go out, she told him that his son had died, Abu Talha offered the (morning) prayer with the Prophet and informed the Prophet of what happened to them. Allah’s Apostle said, “May Allah bless you concerning your night. (That is, may Allah bless you with good offspring).” Sufyan said, “One of the Ansar said, ‘They (i.e. Abu Talha and his wife) had nine sons and all of them became reciters of the Quran (by heart).’ “
The Prophet said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.”
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
We went with Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Apostle took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif’s house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) started shedding tears. ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf said, “O Allah’s Apostle, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn ‘Auf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim ! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar :
Sad bin ‘Ubada became sick and the Prophet along with ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf, Sad bin Abi Waqqas and ‘Abdullah bin Masud visited him to enquire about his health. When he came to him, he found him surrounded by his household and he asked, “Has he died?” They said, “No, O Allah’s Apostle.” The Prophet wept and when the people saw the weeping of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) they all wept. He said, “Will you listen? Allah does not punish for shedding tears, nor for the grief of the heart but he punishes or bestows His Mercy because of this.” He pointed to his tongue and added, “The deceased is punished for the wailing of his relatives over him.” ‘Umar used to beat with a stick and throw stones and put dust over the faces (of those who used to wail over the dead).
Crying is well known; it refers to tears from the eyes.
As for wailing, according to the scholars has to do with words and sounds that come from the woman or man who is wailing. The words referred to here are eulogizing, listing his good qualities, keening (the well known chanting of women when they wail and lament), screaming and other well-known actions that are done by wailing women.
Some fuqaha’ say that this applies if there is also crying, and others say that it is not necessarily accompanied by crying; rather it is connected to the actions of wailing mentioned above.
In the hadeeth: it was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaadah fell sick and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came to visit him with ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas and ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘’ood (may Allah be pleased with them). When he entered upon him, he found him unconscious with his family around him and he said: “Has he died?” They said: No, O Messenger of Allaah. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) wept, and when the people saw the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) weeping, they also wept. He said: “Listen, Allaah does not punish for the tears of the eye or the grief of the heart, rather He punishes for this” – and he pointed to his tongue – “or shows mercy (because of it).”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1304; Muslim, 924
It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: We were with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and one of his daughters sent word to him, calling him and informing him that a child of hers – or a son of hers – was dying. He said to the messenger: “Go back to her and tell her that to Allaah belongs that which He has taken, and to Him belongs what He gives, and everything has an appointed time with Him. Tell her to be patient and seek reward.” Then the messenger came back and said: “She is adjuring you to come to her.” The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) got up, and Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaadah and Mu‘adh ibn Jabal got up with him, and I went with them. The child was lifted up to him and his soul was rattling like water poured into a waterskin. His eyes filled with tears and Sa‘d said to him: What is this, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “This is compassion that Allaah has instilled in the hearts of His slaves. Allaah only shows mercy to the merciful ones among His slaves.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1284; Muslim, 923
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
What this means is that Sa‘d thought that all kinds of crying or weeping were haraam, and that tears from the eye are haraam, and he thought that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had forgotten that, so he reminded him. But the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) taught him that simply crying or shedding tears from the eye is not haraam or makrooh; rather it is mercy and a virtue. What is haraam is wailing and lamenting and crying that is accompanied by both or one of them. End quote.
When the news of the martyrdom of Zaid bin Haritha, Ja’far and ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha came, the Prophet sat down looking sad, and I was looking through the chink of the door. A man came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! The women of Ja’far,” and then he mentioned their crying . The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered h im to stop them from crying. The man went and came back and said, “I tried to stop them but they disobeyed.” The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered him for the second time to forbid them. He went again and came back and said, “They did not listen to me, (or “us”: the sub-narrator Muhammad bin Haushab is in doubt as to which is right). ” (‘Aisha added: The Prophet said, “Put dust in their mouths.” I said (to that man), “May Allah stick your nose in the dust (i.e. humiliate you).” By Allah, you could not (stop the women from crying) to fulfill the order, besides you did not relieve Allah’s Apostle from fatigue.”
Narrated Um ‘Atiyya:
At the time of giving the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet one of the conditions was that we would not wail, but it was not fulfilled except by five women and they are Um Sulaim, Um Al-‘Ala’, the daughter of Abi Sabra (the wife of Muadh), and two other women; or the daughter of Abi Sabra and the wife of Muadh and another woman.
Narrated Muhammad bin Sirin:
One of the sons of Um ‘Atiyya died, and when it was the third day she asked for a yellow perfume and put it over her body, and said, “We were forbidden to mourn for more than three days except for our husbands.”
Narrated Zainab bint Abi Salama:
When the news of the death of Abu Sufyan reached from Sham, Um Habiba on the third day, asked for a yellow perfume and scented her cheeks and forearms and said, “No doubt, I would not have been in need of this, had I not heard the Prophet saying: “It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days for any dead person except her husband, for whom she should mourn for four months and ten days.”
Narrated Zainab bint Abi Salama:
I went to Um Habiba, the wife of Prophet, who said, “I heard the Prophets saying, ‘It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for any dead person for more than three days except for her husband, (for whom she should mourn) for four months and ten days’.” Later I went to Zainab bint Jahsh when her brother died; she asked for some scent, and after using it she said, “I am not in need of scent but I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days for any dead person except her husband, (for whom she should mourn) for four months and ten days.’ “
So obviously the endless mourning ceremonies we hold after someone dies are all bid`aat (innovations). Mourn for three days, and then get back to normality. Islam offers a balanced way of life. It gives you time to grieve, but doesn’t let you hold on to it for long.
For the three-day mourning period, there are some rules one must abide by. Some of them are mentioned below:
With regard to reciting Qur’aan over the grave of the deceased, this is not permissible, and none of the Salaf did this. If it were good to do this, they would have done it before us. It has been reported that Soorat Yaa-Seen should be recited for the person who is dying, before his soul departs, but after he has died and when he is being buried and after the burial, there is nothing that should be recited, and one should not tell him to say “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah” and so on.
Offering condolences is Sunnah, but it need not be during the mourning ceremonies. Condolences may be offered to the family of the deceased in all places. There is nothing wrong with all the relatives of the deceased gathering together in one place so that people may come and offer their condolences, but they should not gather for the purpose of food. Food should be prepared only for the immediate family of the deceased; it is makrooh for them to offer food to others.
Raising one’s voice in wailing and lamenting, striking the cheeks and eulogizing the deceased are all bid’ah and actions of the jaahiliyyah. It was reported in a hadeeth: “He is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, rends his garments and calls with the call of the jaahiliyyah.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1294, Fath 3/163; Muslim, 103; Ahmad, 1/244).
Wearing black as a sign of mourning for the deceased is bid’ah; but the wives of the deceased should avoid wearing fancy or adorned clothes, jewellery, makeup and perfume during their period of mourning.
It is bid’ah for women to avoid their usual work and activities; the newly-widowed woman can still prepare food, clean the house, wash the dishes, do laundry, etc. There is nothing wrong with her doing that.
[Taken from Shaykh Abdullah al-Jibreen’s fataawa]
And there are some special rulings for the widow who’s going through her `iddah (mourning period). They’re listed here.