Many times, a person who has really faced pain – the kind that brings trauma with it – cannot help but wish for death. It may be an instant. It may be for a few moments. It may be for longer periods of time if they are depressed. Often, that person feels guilty for wishing for death because they are wishing for something that is disliked by Allah SWT. It is regarded as a sin to end one’s life in Islam. There are reasons why this is so and one can see what the scholars have written of it, explaining why it is forbidden to commit suicide in Islam.
However, the beauty in Islam is that it encompasses this truth about humans beautifully.
The fact, that there may be situations in someone’s life, where they are faced with such darkness, such emptiness, that they cannot but wish for death, is not disregarded when the Prophet (s) said:
“Let none of you wish for death. If he is righteous then he might increase his good deeds, and if he is sinful then he might repent.”
This is a positive affirmation. Are you wishing for death? But really, staying alive is so good for you. Strive for good deeds and repentance. Prepare for that Hereafter that you wish to reach. This is easier to understand when one is not wishing for death, however. In a state of emptiness, when the heart finds no pleasure in anything, it is hard to feel anything positive about life. And that fact itself is enough to depress us further.
But here’s the thing. In Surah Maryam, telling us about the greatest woman on earth, Allah SWT Tells us about the time before Prophet Isa was born:
And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She cried: Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten. (19:23)
SubhanAllah, Allah SWT, at this point in the Quran does not rebuke her for this wish. He Guides her gently away from it. Allah SWT Says, “Grieve not”.
If we find ourselves grieving and despairing, we are to remind ourselves of what Allah SWT Expects from us. He does not want us to grieve. He Wishes that we soon pull ourselves out of that grief. It is what we do in those moments of feeling heartache that matters. Do not feel guilty of what your hearts feels. Acknowledge your broken heart, and mend it. Tell it: do not grieve, you have Allah. If you have faced something devastating that shook the foundation of your life, you might, for a moment wish for death. But beware that this is a whirlpool of darkness, being pulled into which is harmful for your ownself. It is a quicksand because you sink deeper and deeper, until you forget who you once were. So take care of yourself. Do not become more depressed, thinking that you are being ungrateful. Do not become more depressed because you are wishing for that which Allah (subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and our Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) did not want us to wish for. Instead, tell yourself: Grieve not. You are in Good Hands.
Do whatever you can to swerve away from that wish. Know that Allah Loves you. Know that you are in a delusion. Know that you have it in you to change. Know that if it has been weeks that you wish for death, you need to seek help. You need to ask Him, but you need to take practical steps to seek help from professionals in this field. You need support. You need to find those people whose being there will help you. Look deeper, search deeper, pray harder. Because there have been people before you who have been tested similarly.
You are not alone.
There is an ayah in the Quran that sums this up beautifully.
Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near! (2:214)
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّـهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّـهِ قَرِيبٌ
Believe in that Lord, in the words of that Lord, and in His Promise. Indeed Allah’s Promise is always true. So know that His help is near. But perhaps He wishes to hear you ask for it. He loves to hear you.
So don’t keep Him waiting.
Call. Call from the depths of your heart. Call with tears streaming down your face. Call Him to Help you. Tell him “I need You”. Call on Him and ask Him for all that you can. Call Him for the khayr in this world, Call Him for eternal khayr in the akhirah. Call Him till a calmness descends on you. Call until you feel that you have shed all the burden from your shoulder; from your hunched back…
Call Him and He will Answer. Call Him, His Help is near.
Indeed He is the Nearest.
As a final straw, the following supplication is recommended by the Prophet (s), if one is perhaps tested to his utmost, with regards to his deen for example, and if he can find no respite after trying and taking the practical steps, or if for whatever reason, he is not able to make a better dua to Allah SWT.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity that has afflicted him, but if he must do something he should say: O Allah, keep me alive so long as life is good for me and cause me to die if death is better for me.