THE SIGN OF TEARS IN ISLAM
We all remember when we were younger, our lovely mothers will say when they were trying to console us whilst wiping our tears, perhaps after we scraped our knees saying: “Big boys and girls don’t cry…you are big now…”. May Allah bless our mothers who taught us first that tears are precious.
Anas Ibn Malik shared with us a heart-tugging story of our Prophet ﷺ:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to his son Ibrahim (May Allah be pleased with him) when he was breathing his last.
The eyes of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) began shedding tears.
‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “O Messenger of Allah, you too weep?”
He ﷺ said, “O Ibn ‘Auf! It is mercy.”
Then he began to weep 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 departure.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 1303]
The Prophet ﷺ emphasizes again that tears are a gift of mercy from Allah when
“A grandson (child of the daughter) of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was presented to him while the child was at his last breath. Tears began to flow from the eyes of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Saa’d said to him: “What is this, O Messenger of Allah?” He ﷺ said, “It is mercy which Allah has placed in the hearts of his slaves. Allah bestows His Mercy among His slaves that are merciful towards others.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Crying is a natural reaction to sadness, happiness or anger. It is our body’s coping mechanism facing emotions that are difficult to control and cope with. To put it simply, it is somewhat the same way when we chop onions they release a chemical compound that irritates your eyes and triggers your tear glands.
Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah (may Allah be pleased with him) even mentioned (in Zaadul Maad) up to 10 reasons why people cry, he included some peculiar but very realistic examples.
- Tears of Nifaaq (Hypocrisy): A person who eyes tears but his heart is stone cold.
- Borrowed Tears: Tears of someone who was paid to cry in funerals etc.
- Tears of Muwaafaqah: A person who sees others crying and decided to join them without even knowing the reason.
Ibnul Qayyim also commented on the distinction between tears of sadness and happiness. He said that tears of happiness are colder coming from a happy heart, while tears of sadness are warmer coming from a despaired heart. This why we say to someone who is given something that makes them happy (for example a newborn) ” may he/she be the coolness of your eyes!”. In contrast to a person who is sad, the Arabs will say his tears are hot from sadness.
So where is the problem?
The problem is when our tears are not accompanied by the acceptance of Allah’s test and patience. When we shed tears for the wrong reasons. A video of a Lion meeting its old trainer after years of separation can easily cause thousands balling their eyes out. Unfortunately, we save our tears for something so insignificant because we thought its unlimited.
If we’ve been reading carefully from the beginning we’ll notice that Islam links tears with the heart very closely. The more we cry for petty reasons the more severe our hearts harden. Have our hearts survived this world’s distractions?
We should always ask ourselves,
Where are our tears when we are reminded of the sins we committed? When was the last time we cried in silence for all the blessings of Allah we never made time to thank?
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Seven people Allah will give them His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but the Shade of His Throne (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection): (One of them is) a man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes become tearful”.
My brothers and sisters save your tears for the sujood in your night prayers.
Save your tears for when you are asking Allah for forgiveness in your Dua’as.
Save it so that every drop will be a reason for Allah’s mercy and rewards.
The Prophet ﷺ and the companions shed tears and behind every drop a lesson to all of us.
May Allah make us those who hearts are soften and our eyes are tearful when remembering