By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Losing a baby is one of the hardest things any parent can go through. Even if the pregnancy lasted for only a few weeks, the grief a mother feels is incomparable. A mother does not love her baby only at first sight; she loves her baby even before she has seen it!
Here are some important guidelines for the Muslim mother who has had a miscarriage (losing a baby before 24 weeks of gestation) or a stillbirth (losing a baby after 24 weeks of gestation).
Accept Allah’s decision
A Muslim mother is unlike other mothers. Despite her grief, she accepts Allah’s decision and believes that He knows what is best. Though it may be prudent to find out if there was a medical condition for the miscarriage, do not forget that the ultimate reason for anything that happens is Qadar (predestination). Remind yourself that Allah is All-Knowing and He knows what is best for us. Allah gives us tests in this life, granting us an opportunity to become His beloved servants. Allah has said: “And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops but give glad tidings to the steadfast.” (2:155)
Say Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon (To Allah we belong and to Him we will return)
The above verse is followed by this verse which says: “Who, when disaster strikes them, say: Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” (2:156-157)
The Messenger of Allah (sa) also said: “When the child of a person dies, Allah says to His angels: ‘You have taken the soul of the child of My slave?’ They say: ‘Yes.’ He says: ‘You have taken the apple of his eye?’ They say: ‘Yes.’ He says: ‘What did My slave say?’ They say: ‘He praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.’ And Allah says: ‘Build for My slave a house in Paradise, and call it the house of praise.’” (Tirmidhi; reliable)
Dealing with feelings of grief
Though accepting Allah’s decision may bring you solace, your pain and grief may still feel unbearable! It is at this time that you need to console and remind yourself that your child is in Jannah (paradise) waiting for you. Call out to Allah and supplicate to Him to ease your pain, for though you loved this child very much, remember that Allah loves you seventy times as much! Make dhikr and du’a for it will bring you comfort. Reach out to your husband, family, and friends, and try not to isolate yourself.
Dealing with feelings of guilt
Sometimes it is hard to accept what has happened, and mothers tend to fall into a vicious thought process of what they may have done wrong to have lost the baby. At this time, remind yourself that if Allah means for something to happen, it will. Seek peace in knowing that Allah intends something better for you. Know that Allah’s plans are grander than what the human mind can encompass, as seen in the story of Khidr in Surah Kahf. Remember this verse whenever you feel guilt creeping in: “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.” (64:11)
The reward for Sabr (patience)
As you go through this ordeal, remember Allah’s reward as promised by Him: “I have no reward except Jannah for a believing slave of Mine who shows patience and anticipates My reward when I take away his favourite one from the inhabitants of the world.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (sa) also said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the miscarried foetus will drag his mother by his umbilical cord to Paradise, if she (was patient and) sought reward (for her loss).” (Ibn Majah: sound)
“…Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.” (39:10)
Reunion in the Hereafter
Remember: you will be reunited with your child in the Hereafter where this child will become a source of taking you to Paradise! Rejoice in the fact that this is a very temporary separation and you will soon see your beloved baby, who is in a place far better waiting to lead you to Jannah.
Rites of the baby
A mother provides everything for her child even if it is at the expense of her own needs. Even though your grief is immense, you need to place your baby above it and make sure you fulfill his final rites. Scholars agree that if you miscarried your baby before four months of pregnancy, then no ‘aqeeqah needs to be done, nor does the child need to be named. Funeral prayer is also not incumbent before burial.
However if you have lost your baby after four months of gestation, then the soul has been breathed into him, hence he should be named, shrouded, and the funeral prayer offered. The baby should be buried with the Muslims, and the ‘aqeeqah should be done for him. (Reference: islamqa.info)
Rulings on post natal bleeding
As hard as this loss may be, again it is essential for the Muslimah to not forget her deen (religion). You must continue to pray and fast if you miscarry your baby before the baby has developed human features such as a head, hand, foot, and so on. However if the baby has human features then you are under nifas (post natal bleeding) and should not pray nor fast or have intercourse with your husband until you become pure or until forty days have passed.
Scholars have said that the minimum time in which human features may appear is 81 days. The 81 days refers to the actual pregnancy and not from your last menstrual cycle (which is used to date the pregnancy). (Reference: islamqa.info)
Take heart from the examples of the Salaf and Prophet Muhammad (sa)
When Ibn Umar’s child was sick, he was very distraught, yet he was smiling at the time of the funeral. When asked why, he replied: “This [death] was nothing short of mercy for him and when it was decreed by Allah Most High I was pleased with it.”
Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz told his dying son: “I prefer for you to be in my balance of good deeds (through my sabr for your loss) than for me to be in your balance of good deeds.”
The only time Fudayl ibn Iyad was ever seen smiling was after the death of his child and his reply to those around him was: “Allah loved something and I love what Allah loved.”
(Source: Ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi, Bardu al-Akbad an Faqd al-Awlad (“The Solace of Livers from the Loss of Children”).
Even the Prophet’s son Ibrahim passed away in infancy, and though he wept at his death, he said: “The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we say only what our Lord is pleased with. We are grieved for you, Ibrahim.” (Abu Dawood; sound)
Anxiety for the next pregnancy
It is natural to feel anxious about future pregnancies ending in miscarriage too. Most women who have a miscarriage, however, go on to have a successful pregnancy the next time round. Do not despair and remember the story of Zakariya (as) who had a child in old age when he supplicated to his Lord: “…O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.” (3:38) Supplicate to Allah; He is certainly the All-Hearer.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Quran (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah). Her latest project is Qutor.com, a website that helps connect Quran teachers and students.
© IIPH 2015