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Mourning the Loss of a Beloved Soul Who Wasn’t Muslim

“Every soul shall taste death… The life of the world is only the enjoyment of deception.”

—Qur’an (Ali ‘Imraan, 3:185)

This past Sunday afternoon after having prayed Dhuhr, I was sitting in the prayer area of my home doing my daily Qur’an reading when my daughter asked if she could talk to me for a minute. She then asked, “Did you hear what happened?” I told her I didn’t know what she meant. “About the basketball player, Kobe Bryant? You knew who he was, didn’t you?” Her use of the past tense confused me momentarily. “Yes…” I said tentatively. “He died,” she said, sitting next to me and handing me her phone so I could read the news for myself.

For a brief moment, I thought she was mistaken and had read something from a fake news site, but as I read the reports, I slowly processed the weighty reality. Kobe Bryant, as well as everyone else aboard the helicopter along with him, had died in a tragic accident. I would later learn that his thirteen-year-old daughter was among them.

As the heartbreaking news sunk in, I immediately thought about my own soul and the ever-present shock and pain that death brings, despite it being the only guarantee of life itself. I also thought about loved ones I’d lost over the years, and how I was still making sense of a world without my younger brother who died in 2008 and my father who died less than a year ago.

No matter how familiar death was in the experience of life, it rarely felt familiar, and it rarely seemed to make sense. And today was no different.

Though I was not personally connected to Kobe Bryant in any way and was not a basketball fan myself, he was very much a part of the world I’d known. My heart first became endeared to him in 1996 after he went to the prom with the singer Brandy. I thought it was the most heartwarming prom story. Over the years, his growing pains and challenges inspired in me a feeling similar to what I’d have for a younger brother, with all its moments of frustrations and pride.

When you lose someone who touched your life even in a distant way, it’s not easy to make sense of your feelings. For reasons that are often inexplicable to us, some deaths incite deep emotional pain while others incite merely a passing feeling of distant sadness. Naturally, the more deeply felt the pain, the more challenging or confusing the grief. When the deep sadness is incited by the passing of a soul that was not Muslim, the feelings that one grapples with can become all the more confusing.

For this reason, I share here ten (10) tools of emotional healing and soul-nourishment when we are tested with mourning the loss of a beloved soul who wasn’t Muslim, whether that person was a close friend or loved one, or someone who touched our hearts and lives from a distance:

(1) It’s Okay To Cry and Feel Pain

Those of us who have non-Muslim family are very familiar with the emotional pain and confusion that comes along with mourning a beloved one who had not accepted Islam. In this, we become accustomed to navigating the delicate space between honoring the affection we have in our hearts for them and submitting to the spiritual etiquette that our faith has outlined for us when someone has died.

Here, I find it appropriate to share a one-sentence summary from the prophetic teachings that we learn about navigating grief: The heart aches and the eyes shed tears, but the tongue does not say anything that is displeasing to Allah.

Thus, it is completely okay to feel sad and cry tears, as death is a painful reminder of the fragility of life and how any of us can be literally here today and gone tomorrow. This visceral reality alone is enough to weigh down the heart with sadness and inspire tears to flow from the eyes. Therefore, sadness and pain should not be viewed as disagreeing with Allah’s qadar (divine decree) or as representing any spiritual declaration about the deceased soul, as sadness stems from multiple sources.

Sometimes our sadness is rooted in the loss of something familiar that we have grown accustomed to. Sometimes our sadness is a reflection of the empathy we feel for the passing of a human soul. Sometimes our sadness is rooted in what we will miss about a person. Sometimes our sadness reflects the loss of hopes and dreams we had for that person, whether worldly or spiritual. Sometimes our sadness is rooted in an emotional trigger that is causing us to relive the death of someone we lost previously. Sometimes our sadness is a reflection of deeply feeling our own mortality. And the list goes on.

Just as there are many faces of grief, there are many triggers of grief. And not all of these triggers are directly related to something specific about the person who is triggering our sadness and tears. Sometimes we ourselves do not understand why a particular death affects us deeply while another does not. Whatever is inspiring our emotional pain, it is helpful to remember that we do not necessarily need to fully understand our sadness, as so much of human experience exists beyond the realm of conscious understanding.

In this realm, it is quite possible that the Creator Himself has allowed a certain tragedy to touch the hearts of so many as a means of reminding each of us (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) to get our spiritual affairs in order. This is because the reality of our own death is just a matter of time—which could be sooner rather than later.

(2) It’s Okay To Honor Their Memory

In our worldly experience, we will benefit from many people and feel inspired by countless souls who cross our paths. Some of these souls we will interact with directly, and other souls we will connect with from afar. However, how a particular soul touches our life (whether directly or indirectly) is ultimately the decision of our Creator, as we have very little power over the details of who touches our lives and hearts in a certain way.

In His qadar, our All-Wise Creator has assigned certain people to be a source of tremendous benefit or inspiration for us, and He has assigned others to be source of severe pain or agony. Each of these trials (in benefit or pain) are part of the tests He has promised us on earth. Regarding certain people being placed in our lives as a trial for us, our Creator says what has been translated to mean, “And We have made some of you as a trial (fitnah) for others. Will you have patience?” (Al-Furqaan, 25:20).

Here, it is helpful to remember that a fitnah (weighty trial) can incite deep pain or harm, or it can incite deep benefit or pleasure. Or it can incite a mixture of both. In this ayah, our All-Wise Creator is letting us know that no matter what a particular trial incites within us, the purpose of the trial is to test our sabr (patience).

As I often mention in spiritual discussions, though the term sabr is usually translated as merely “patience,” in our practical spiritual experience, sabr is two things: (1) withholding ourselves from saying or doing anything that will harm our souls and (2) remaining steadfast in saying and doing anything that will benefit our souls.

And undoubtedly, expressing shukr (sincere gratefulness) for our worldly blessings is a means of benefiting our souls. So when we speak of the benefit or inspiration that someone has brought to our lives, whether directly or indirectly, this can be a form of showing shukr to our Creator. This is because Ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful) is ultimately the One who decreed that we would derive a specific benefit or inspiration from a certain part of His creation.

Thus, when someone has been a source of good for us, speaking openly about this blessing is a sign of emaan (true faith). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us: “Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah” (Sunan Abī Dāwūd, 4811; Sahih by Ahmad Shakir). Naturally, if a person is alive, we can show gratefulness by thanking them directly, but when they have passed away, we can show gratefulness by speaking of the benefit or inspiration that Allah brought to our lives through them.

In this way, we can honor the memory of someone and use this as an opportunity to express shukr to our Merciful Creator. We see an example of this in how the books of prophetic history mention how the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib brought benefit to the believers, and how the Prophet’s family, including his parents and his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib, were honest trustworthy people of noble lineage and upstanding character. Honoring this part of their worldly legacy in no way contradicts our recognition of the unseen spiritual reality that pertains to their souls in the Hereafter.

Therefore, it is completely okay to acknowledge the worldly benefit and inspiration that we gain from Allah’s creation. So long as our words and actions are rooted in sabr (withholding ourselves from saying or doing anything that will harm our souls), this honorable mention can be a means of thanking our Merciful Creator Himself. This is because deriving worldly benefit and inspiration from each other—irrespective of our varying faiths—is how our Creator has designed the human experience on earth.

(3) Don’t Confuse Emotions with Spirituality

When we are in the midst of sadness or grief, especially regarding someone close to our heart, the challenge for the sensitive believing soul is navigating our emotions in a way that is spiritually healthy for us. In this, we strive to express our emotional pain in a way that nourishes our souls and that refrains from harming our souls (i.e. in a way that reflects true sabr).

In the Qur’an, Allah says what has been translated to mean, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, lives, and fruits. But give glad tidings to the saabiroon (the patient ones) (Al-Baqarah, 2:155).

In the realm of human emotion, the tragedy of loss is not faith-specific. Worldly loss weighs heavily on anyone, as feeling the pain of loss is merely a manifestation of how Allah created the human heart. In our feelings of sadness, these emotions are not necessarily a reflection of our spirituality. Rather, they are a reflection of our humanity.

In our mortal experience, it is human nature to feel a sense of sadness when we lose something beloved to us. This is the case even when we lose lifeless things such as wealth, a beloved piece of jewelry, a coveted job, or a lucrative opportunity. How much more when that loss involves a human soul?

In the above ayah, our Creator is reminding us of the nature of life, in all of its agony and loss, and how tragedy will touch every one of us. Sometimes that loss will be of something very close to us, and sometimes that loss will be from something connected to us from a distance. However, in either case, our Merciful Creator reminds us that it is only the saabiroon (the patient ones) who will derive benefit from these losses.

Specifically, the saabiroon are believers whose sabr is such a defining trait of their heart and lives that the Creator Himself has defined them by their steadfastness in soul-care. For the saabiroon, the health of their souls consistently takes priority over everything, irrespective of whether they are enjoying times of ease and happiness, or enduring times of extreme pain and difficulty. In their life of soul-care, an inherent quality of the saabiroon is that despite sometimes feeling deeply painful emotions, they consistently channel their pain in way that nourishes their souls and fills their hearts and tongues with dhikr (sincere remembrance of Allah).

In the Qur’an, Allah describes how the saabiroon handle tragedy and loss. He says what has been translated to mean, “[They are those] who, when afflicted with calamity, say, ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return’” (Al-Baqarah, 2:156).

In this ayah, Allah is not only describing what is happening on the tongues of the people of sabr, but He is also describing what is happening in their hearts. When the saabiroon experience tragedy, their hearts are immediately reminded that everything of this world—whether their wealth and treasured possessions, or the human souls that are beloved to them—are owned by the One who created them and brought them into existence. Therefore, the people of sabr realize from the very depths of their hearts that, in their Creator’s immeasurable Mercy and Wisdom, He can do with His creation as He pleases.

In contrast, the hearts that are not defined by sabr unhealthily fixate on what a certain worldly possession or beloved human soul meant to them and others in this world. As a result, nearly all of their sadness and grief is rooted in a form of emotionalism that spills into their spirituality in an unhealthy way. In this space of suffering that is not rooted in sabr, the grieving soul uses its emotions to understand the world of spirituality, instead of using its spirituality to understand the world of emotions.

It is in this unhealthy space that the unsettled heart expresses anger, frustration, or disagreement with Allah’s qadar, or makes emotional proclamations regarding the unseen spiritual world that they imagine awaits the one they loved or admired. Here is where we find believers speaking about how they know this “good soul” will be in Heaven and will be rewarded immensely by God for all the good they have done. These proclamations are often expressed as a means to soothe their own aching hearts, whose very core is rooted in an emotional connection to the creation more than a spiritual connection to the Creator.

For this reason, it is crucial for the believing soul to consistently strive and pray for sincere sabr, as the absence of true sabr could mean filling our hearts with a form of emotionality that guides our spirituality, instead of authentic spirituality that guides our emotionality.

(4) Respect the Spiritual Etiquettes of Your Faith

When our emotionality begins to fuel our spirituality, we begin to view the world from the lens of human judgment instead of divine judgment. Consequently, our entire understanding of even the unseen spiritual world is viewed through this inverted lens.

This is how so many of us become genuinely confused as to how a “good person” could ever be denied Paradise after they die. This is also how so many of us openly proclaim that a person we’ve labeled as “good” will in fact enter Paradise or will “rest in peace” in their graves. Oddly, we proclaim this about the ghayb (unseen) even without having the least bit of knowledge of this person accepting emaan (authentic spirituality) while they were alive.

Yet in the Qur’an, our All-Wise Creator and Master of the Day of Judgment says what has been translated to mean, “Truly, the [only] deen with Allah is Islam…” (Ali ‘Imraan, 3:19).

As is well known in Islam, the Arabic term deen refers to each person’s spiritual way of life, religion, or set of beliefs and behavior codes that they adopted in this world. Regarding the option to choose a spiritual way of life other than Islam, Allah says what has been translated to mean, “And whoever seeks a deen other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the khaasiroon (Ali ‘Imraan, 3:85).

Specifically, the khaasiroon are those who experience ultimate spiritual loss in the Hereafter and will never enter Paradise, despite all of the apparent good they did while they were on earth.

This religious perspective (that ultimate spiritual loss is linked to one’s disbelief in a specific faith and that ultimate spiritual gain is linked to one’s belief in a specific faith) is not unique to Islam. It is in fact an inherent characteristic of all Abrahamic faiths (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).

Despite the fact that modern day Judaism and Christianity have strayed from the pure monotheistic teachings of the Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them), the modern practice of these faith traditions still retain some remnants of their roots in Tawheed (worship of Allah alone) and Islam (submission to Allah alone and belief in all of His prophets and messengers). One such root is the belief that spiritual atonement in the Hereafter is a divine gift granted exclusively to those whose most intimate relationship with their Creator was rooted in authentic spirituality (emaan), true faith as defined by God Himself.

In the divine definition of emaan, all of a person’s goodness emanates from the faith in their hearts. As such, all of a person’s worldly deeds stem from this spiritual root and are judged based on this core reality. This is why so much emphasis is put on the opportunity for forgiveness, atonement, and mercy instead of on a human being’s inherent goodness itself. In the spiritual realm, there is no ultimate human goodness except when it stems from a sincere, humble connection to one’s Creator.

In light of this, we can understand the deep spiritual wisdom behind each faith tradition having very specific acts of worship and spiritual etiquettes that are unique to it—especially at the moment after which a soul has transitioned from its worldly home and is embarking on the first step toward its everlasting home in the Hereafter. After our private worship and spiritual beliefs themselves, how this moment of death is handled by the living is arguably the most obvious manifestation of our own spirituality on earth.

Therefore, when a person dies, those whose hearts truly believe in their own faith traditions will sincerely and humbly respect the spiritual etiquettes of their faith.

In this, we begin to understand that there is a very sensible, spiritual reason that funerals are hosted by the faith community of the deceased, not by anyone else, no matter who their family was or how much others loved and admired them in this world.

As such, Jews do not host funerals for Christians and Muslims, and Christians do not host funerals for Jews and Muslims. This is because it is well known that funerals are fundamentally acts of worship. In these acts of worship, formal prayer services are held for the deceased and are conducted based on very specific beliefs about the unseen journey of the soul. So naturally, these formal prayers for the soul mirror what that deceased person himself or herself actually believed in this world.

Therefore, refraining from offering official prayers or from hosting the funeral services or memorials of someone outside our faith merely reflects our acknowledgement of not only what the deceased sought spiritually for themselves, but it also reflects our respect for the spiritual etiquettes that our Creator has outlined for us at the time of death.

(5) Refrain from Judging Souls As Good or Bad

When we refrain from offering prayers or memorials for a soul outside our faith, this does not necessarily point to any definite unseen reality except our own heart’s humble and sincere respect for our own faith tradition. In refraining from offering spiritual prayers for non-Muslim souls, we are not claiming to know that a person was ultimately “bad” or “good” in front of their Creator. This is because, in the end, only Allah knows the exact state that is written for each soul at the time of death. Thus, as sincere believers, we refrain from what is often referred to as “playing God.”

So often in life, we advise each other, “Don’t judge!” intending to remind each other that ultimate judgment of someone is reserved for God alone. However, in times of death, we often forget that this same advice applies. In other words, just as we are forbidden from casting judgment on someone as being ultimately “bad,” we are also forbidden from casting judgment on someone as being ultimately “good.” The only exception to this is when specific personalities are mentioned by name as being “bad” or “good” in the divine texts.

Those who delve into judging specific souls as “bad” or “good” are treading a very dangerous path in which they are assigning to their own mind, heart, and emotions perfect divine knowledge and wisdom. In this, they fail to comprehend this basic, fundamental reality of life as a creation of Allah:

What is most important to you is not necessarily what’s most important to the Creator. It is in forgetting this that we become distressed regarding how a “good person” could ever be denied Paradise. The question for the self-honest soul, however, is “How are you defining human good?” When we are honest with ourselves, we see the answer to our question quite clearly in our own worldly experience.

In this world, there are undoubtedly many charitable, ostensibly selfless activists and “good people” who are beloved and admired by nearly everyone in their community. But as is well-known, amongst these “good people” are those who, in their most intimate spaces at home, are emotionally unavailable, unkind, neglectful, or even intentionally harmful to their loved ones. If we become aware of this hidden harm, who amongst us would continue to label these wrongdoers as “good people” due to their public persona alone?

While there may indeed be people who genuinely believe that someone’s public kindness and “goodness” cancels out any consistent wrongdoing to their loved ones in private, this is not how our Creator defines human goodness. Similarly, while there may indeed be people who genuinely believe that someone’s beautiful relationship with creation should overshadow any consistent wrongdoing to their souls in private, this is not how our Creator defines piety or spiritual sincerity.

Just as we recognize that it is our most intimate worldly space that most correctly defines who we “really” are as a person in this world, we should also recognize that it is our most intimate spiritual space that most correctly defines who we “really” are as a person with regards to our spiritual fate.

And the most intimate space anyone can have in this world is in their relationship with their Rabb (Creator and Guardian-Lord).

(6) It’s Okay To Hope for the Best

As we strive to respect the spiritual etiquettes of our faith and stay clear of “playing God” by declaring the ultimate goodness (or badness) of a human soul, it is okay to hope for the best for them. This is where our hearts hope that a person who was ostensibly non-Muslim privately accepted Islam before their death.

However, in respecting the spiritual etiquettes of our faith, it is not correct for a believing soul to formally act on this hope by offering prayerful supplications, funeral programs, memorial services, prayer vigils, or anything else in the realm of worship. This is because acts of worship are by their nature faith-specific, and our Creator has not legislated this sort of response to the death of a non-Muslim soul.

In Islam, it is well known that all acts of worship have the general ruling of being forbidden unless there is specific evidence for them in the Qur’an or prophetic teachings. And other than showing respect for a deceased soul and speaking about their observable worldly deeds that we’ve benefited from, it is a part of sabr to refrain from any formal acts that honor the spiritual state of a soul outside our faith.

Nevertheless, even as we maintain sabr while our hearts hope for the best, it is important to understand that our choice to refrain from formally praying for a non-Muslim soul does not grant us permission to speak ill of them in any way. Our Mother Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not abuse the dead, for they have reached what they put forward” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1329).

In this merciful prophetic teaching, we are reminded that every deceased soul is seeing the results of their deeds, so there is no need for us to use our tongues to speak on this matter of the unseen. As such, our spiritual obligation on earth is merely to refer to the spiritual etiquettes of our faith in responding to what has been made apparent to us.

Those who apparently lived as believers in this world will be granted the formal prayers and funeral services that beseech our Merciful Creator to shower forgiveness and mercy upon their souls. In contrast, those who apparently lived as disbelievers in this world are granted the respect of silence regarding their spiritual state—even as we are free to hope in our hearts that they had a good end.

(7) The Unseen Is Known To None But Allah

It is true that our faith has very specific spiritual etiquettes in response to a person’s death, and in this, our formal prayers are reserved only for known believers. However, this spiritual etiquette does not negate the fact that there will indeed be professed Muslims we pray for in this world, but who will never enter Paradise due to dying in a state of kufr (disbelief), even though no one knew this about them except Allah.

Similarly, there will indeed be those who for all appearance were non-Muslims in this world, and thus, we refrain from formally praying for them after their deaths. However, unbeknown to us, they actually died in a state of emaan (Islamic spirituality), while no one knew this about them except Allah.

Therefore, it becomes obvious that our choice to pray for a certain soul cannot possibly benefit them if their heart had no emaan during their life. Likewise, our choice to refrain from praying for a soul cannot possibly harm them if they died upon emaan without our knowledge.

Yet still, we submit to the spiritual etiquettes of our faith, as this is a form of submission to our Creator.

That the unseen spiritual reality of someone’s soul sometimes contradicts what our spiritual etiquette would seem to suggest about them teaches us that when it comes to acts of worship, the primary purpose of them is submission to Allah, not human declaration of the unseen.

(8) Reserve Your Prayers for the Living

In Islam, our choice to pray for someone or refrain for praying for someone is more about the spiritual state of our own souls than it is about theirs. This is because a heart that is filled with true emaan knows that all spiritual goodness is ultimately rooted in submitting to the decree of Allah—in respecting the spiritual etiquette He’s decreed as part of our faith in this world, and in respecting the unknown spiritual reality He’s decreed for human souls in the Hereafter.

In other words, how we handle the death of someone is a test for our own souls, not a declaration about theirs. In this, our Creator is placing a trial in our lives to see if we will have sabr—in refraining from saying or doing anything, except in direct response to what has been made apparent to us—while leaving the unseen reality of their souls to Allah.

As such, if we sincerely wish to offer prayers after a non-Muslim soul has passed away, these prayers should be reserved for the living. Here, we can pray that this painful tragedy is a means of spiritual and emotional healing for the loved ones who were left behind (or for anyone touched by the loss), such that this deep emotional pain serves as an incentive toward spiritual guidance and self-correction in their lives.

(9) You Carry the Burden of No Soul But Your Own

All of these spiritual lessons teach us that it is not upon us to stress over someone else’s spiritual relationship with their Creator. No matter how much we loved or admired them in this world, navigating their spiritual reality is a burden that was placed on their soul and their soul alone—just as the burden of your soul was placed on you and you alone. And only Allah knows how each of us has fulfilled this responsibility.

Therefore, just as we do not pass judgment on any soul by claiming them to be ultimately good or bad, we do not pass judgment on any soul by claiming that they were “Muslim in their heart” or a “sincere believer” when they themselves did not proclaim emaan while they were alive. This spiritual etiquette is directly connected to the necessity of separating our emotional feelings from someone else’s spirituality—even when it relates to “good” Jews and Christians whom the Qur’an describes as “People of the Book” or “People of the Scripture.”

What causes some sincere Muslims confusion in this regard is that the Qur’an describes some People of the Book as true believers who will enter Paradise after they die—due to their belief in Allah and the Last Day and adhering to the pure teachings of the Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) while they were alive. Upon reading these ayaat, some Muslims interpret this reality as permission to arbitrarily declare any professed Jew or Christian as a believer (especially one they view as a “good person”).

Therefore, these Muslims treat a “good” Jew or Christian who has passed away like they would their deceased brother or sister in faith. Consequently, upon this person’s death, they grant this non-Muslim all the spiritual rights that Allah reserved only for people of emaan, such as offering formal prayers for them, participating in memorial services, and praying for their forgiveness.

Given the divine clarity of Qur’an in clearly and unambiguously defining emaan and distinguishing it from kufr, this arbitrary assumption about a “good” Jew or Christian contradicts the spiritual guidelines and etiquettes of our faith. Naturally, this sort of spiritual error is rooted in either sincerely misunderstanding the Qur’an or consciously rejecting the teachings of the divine texts.

Because this is a vast topic that is beyond the scope of this blog, I will summarize this topic by sharing this reminder to the sincere believers who wish to protect themselves from saying or doing anything that could harm their souls:

Even if you were to interpret the ayaat in the Qur’an about the believers amongst the People of the Book as referring to religious people of today, their belief would be subject to the same conditions as any believer. In this, even a professed Muslim who has declared the shahaadah (formal testimony of Islamic faith) falls outside the fold of Islam if he disbelieves in anything from the Qur’an, even a single ayah. How much more a person who disbelieves in all of the Qur’an? Moreover, how much more a person who has heard of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) yet has chosen a deen other than Islam?

(10) Let This Be a Beneficial Reminder To Your Soul

When we are faced with painful tragedy or loss, it is helpful to see this as an opportunity to remind ourselves of the weighty affair of our own human soul.

In the Qur’an, Allah says what has been translated to mean, “Every soul shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he is indeed successful. The life of the world is only the enjoyment of deception” (Ali ‘Imraan, 3:185).

So as we mourn the loss of any beloved soul, let us bear in mind that regardless of their ultimate fate in the next world, we ourselves are still alive in this world. Therefore, we should stay vigilant to the numerous ways in which our own hearts and lives are becoming entangled with this “enjoyment of deception.”

In enjoying this pleasurable ghuroor (deception), so many of us are so intoxicated with the glitter and success of this world that we genuinely imagine that all human goodness stems from in it—with regards to our own legacy and that of others.

However, what is most urgent in times of loss is to bear in mind that not all of us will “rest in peace” after we die. Therefore, we should humbly and sincerely pray that we are amongst those who are forgiven and thus granted the spiritual honor of peacefully returning to our Creator at death.

This, so that when someone prays for us, saying, “May they rest in peace,” it will reflect not only their own spiritual etiquette, but also our actual spiritual reality beyond this world.

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of twenty books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, and His Other Wife. In 2019, she launched UZ Soul Gear, a passion project fueled by her love of both art and inspirational reflections. offers apparel, wall décor, and more, aimed at supporting and inspiring the soul-centered lifestyle.

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