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Matam & mourning in Islam

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers has asked this question:

Is the act of matams, physical pain have any meaning in islam or is it just the emotional pain that we feel for our loved prophets what islam is all about. In other words what does the Quran denoted that the true muslim will feel the pain for Allah's messengers? Can you elaborate on that for me.

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Matam & mourning in Islam

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


To love the Messenger of Allah (saws) is an article of faith for every muslim, and a believer cannot be a true believer, unless he loves the Messenger of Allah (saws) more than his life, his wealth, his children and his parents, all put together.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 31-32: Prophet, tell the people, “If you sincerely love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful.” Also say to them, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.


Thus in every act of our life, we must look to Allah and His Messenger (saws) for guidance.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21: There is indeed the best model for you to follow, in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.


The actual act of ‘matam’ or physically beating oneself, or even wailing upon the dead, has nothing to do with Islam and its teachings. Wailing refers to mourning in a loud voice and crying in a high pitch voice, which was prohibited by the Prophet (saws).


Many companions were martyred in the life of the Prophet (saws), but the Prophet (saws) never wailed over their death, nor allowed anybody else to wail or beat themselves. This act of matam, or pysically beating oneself, and wailing areconsidered acts of ‘jaahiliyaa’ (pre-Islamic days of ignorance), and the Prophet (saws) strictly forbade the muslims from doing it.

It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Messenger of Allah (saws) cursed the wailing woman and the woman who listens to her.


It is reported in an authentic narration that the Messenger of Allah said: “He is not a believer, who beats his face, or tears his clothes, or wails, when afflicted by a misfortune.”


It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet (saws) said,: "Four practices of the ‘jaahiliyaa’ (pre-Islamic days of ignorance) will continue to be practiced by my ummah:

taking pride in one's parentage.

giving a person a father other than his own genealogical father.

believing that rain is caused by some stars.

wailing over the dead.”


It has been reported in an authentic tradtion that the Prophet (saws) said: "A (professional) mourner, unless she repents before her death, will be raised on the Day of Judgement wearing a garment of tar and an armor of blistering puss."


It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet (saws) said, "Two sounds are accursed in this world and in the hereafter: the sound of wind instruments (to celebrate) good fortune, and of moaning aloud when afflicted with a misfortune.”


It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet (saws) said, that some women who took allegience to Islam with the Messenger of Allah (saws) asked him, 'O Messenger of Allah, some women helped us (in mourning our dead) during the pre-Islamic days. Should we (also in return) help them (in mourning their dead), now that we are Muslims? ' He replied: 'There is no such thing in Islam (i. e., helping each other to mourn the dead loudly)'."


It is reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet (saws) said: "Allah does not punish a person for shedding tears or feeling pain in his heart. But He does punish, though he may show mercy, because of what he utters with this," and then he pointed to his tongue.


The Prophet, peace be upon him, wept on the death of his son, Ibrahim, and said: "The eyes shed tears and the heart feels pain, but we utter only what pleases our Lord.

O Ibrahim! We are aggrieved at your demise." He also wept when his grand daughter, Umaymah, daughter of Zainab, died. At this Sa'ad ibn 'Ubadah said: "O Messenger of Allah! Are you weeping?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: "This (weeping) is the mercy that Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants. And surely Allah bestows mercy upon those who are merciful among His servants."


Weeping for the dead is permissible in Islam, whereas wailing, matam (physically beating oneself) and crying in a high pitch voice is absolutely prohibitted in Islam.


May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam and guide us to obey and follow the Messenger of Allah (saws).


May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,




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