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My Friend's Sudden Death & My Death Phobia

Question and answer details
U (25-male-Pakistan)
2014/02/04
Salam, The sudden death of my friend indulged me to the constant fear of death. Every time death remains in my mind…my janaza (funeral) is going and I have been put down in grave. I have consulted many doctors but no result. My daily life is very disturbed; I became a patient of severe depression. Kindly, give me advice so that I can get rid of such thoughts and live a healthy life. Doctors say that I have death phobia.
Dr. Maryam Bachmeier
Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salam Brother, 

I am happy to see you reach out for help. It is a true tragedy that you have experienced losing your friend. The grief you are experiencing is very normal. And the existential questions that we ask when we lose someone that we feel very close to are very very real.

You may be experiencing what clinicians call an “existential crisis”  when something that shatters the way we perceive the world, people, and our own place in the world crashes down around us. When these events occur we question who we are, why we are born, what is this world all about. Why do things that seem so wrong happen, if ALLAH is ALL GOOD? And these questions can spin us into a depression.

This also wakes us up to the reality that we will indeed die one day. Each and every one of us will die. This is something you will not escape. The question is what will your mind remember on that day? Will you be terrified because your conscious convicts you of deeds that you’ve done that hurt or wronged other human beings? Or, will your mind be at peace, knowing that you have done your very best as a human being to be kind to others and to please ALLAH.

Our fear of death sometimes comes from knowing that we still have work to do on ourselves, that we have not yet become the kind of human being that we know we should be.

Other times, it is an existential fear that maybe, if we die, there is no after life. We love life so much, we are afraid that if our soul rests, we as human beings will not exist. The way through this dark tunnel is to grow spiritually.

In a way, it is as if you are going to go to another planet, far, far away, that you know nothing about. You only know earth. But this planet is not a physical place, so it is even stranger. And when we go, we might not be in our physical body. So this is even stranger.

But the more you grow spiritually, and the closer to ALLAH you become, the more you identify with the soul that is created, the being that you are and that was, indeed, created from the source of ALL BEING; ALLAH.

It takes time to sense this and feel this as your truth. Time and life will give you this. The more you identify as a spiritual being enjoying a human life in a physical body, the less you will fear death. This is a natural process of development for human being.

Something that you might find interesting (and you can find support for this just by googling the meaning of the word 'hu') is that in ancient times in the Egyptian language Hu was a name for “G-d”.

G-d was a difficult word with many meanings with a core meaning within it. It was not originally this g-d or that g-d, but over time people did take these “attributes” and worship separate parts of god as if a single attribute or aspect or concept were the whole of ALLAH. Later on, with original creation stories, it was said that the breath of g-d, Hu was breathed into man. (Other versions of this etymology say that the word of god created man. Breath and word were used interchangeably) thus we have Hu-man.

Interestingly, this is in Sanskrit also. The Sanskrit word Hu meant to invoke G-d. The work 'human' comes from God in man, or the breath/word of God in man in both Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Sanskrit. G-d was divided into concepts and attributes and parts worshiped instead of the entire BEING of G-d. Later, tribes etc. would fight about this G-d being more powerful than that G-d etc. and humanity seems to still be struggling with all of this.

But I am telling you this to show you what we are as human beings from beyond what we can ever perceive as the beginning of humanity. Sanskrit and Egyptian Hieroglyphics are as far back as we are currently able to go with language and thus a picture of our original concepts of ALLAH. Egyptian hieroglyphics gave birth to Hebrew, then Aramaic, and then Arabic, translated to Latin to Greek and English.

We are often times confused but we will find our way back to experiencing this truth of being human and of being created by the Source of all Being; ALLAH. Once you begin to feel comfortable with these concepts, you will no longer fear death. You will only fear the consequence of your actions when they are not aligned with the Goodness, and Good will of ALLAH.

Your situation would be better addressed in person with live face to face if at all possible. It would be good to monitor your moods as well and to determine with the help of a professional whether or not you want to take anti-depressant medication for a brief period of time as you process your grief and move through this.

If you are thinking any suicidal thoughts, please call your doctor and let him or her know immediately.

With that said, feel free to write in here and share your grief feelings and your questions about life with us. We here at Onislam.net are a connected community even though we are on internet. You remain anonymous, yet you get a special type of connection with others if you participate in the discussions and write in. You will notice that often the same people engage with interactions and discussions here, so you won’t feel so lonely. But sometimes, which is the biggest challenge, we have to deal with it as human beings; with the feeling of being alone in the world, especially if we lose someone that we have a deep emotional connection with and that we trusted our heart and soul with. So please, know that you are not alone.

And though the “why” of it all will remain a mystery for a while, know that ALLAH is ALL KNOWING and ALL GOOD, and that there is a good reason for your friend to explore the next dominion and leave you here to move forward without him. Life will show you as it unfolds and the understanding will grow inside your heart as you move through time. Your soul does already have the answers, for ALLAH puts this inside His creation, but through the developmental process of growing up from babies to adults, we forget how to hear our soul, the very being that we truly are. That is eternal and one with ALLAH knows, but your soul lives and your friend’s soul lives and your soul will whisper to you this truth about life and eternity and even the Heart of ALLAH, but this will take time. Grief will turn to purification, then to understanding, then to new life and this is how we unfold.

You have just begun and your foot is stepping upon the first patch of grass on the trail of your own long journey toward “home” for our real home is not on this Earth. But it is the journey that we travel while on this Earth that teaches us and refines us, and makes us worthy to live in Paradise, insha'Allah. When it is our time; not before, not after. And with this understanding, the “why” of it all won’t bother you so much. And with this understanding, your heart will not ache so much. And with this understanding, you can reach out to others who have also lost a friend, but are left behind to complete their own journey for the sake of ALLAH. Everything we do, consciously or unconsciously, is for the sake of ALLAH.  Those of us who become conscious can experience a joy that one cannot put words to because it is not of this Earth. It is “Celestial”.

Please, do not give up faith or hope and please, continue to reach out. I am so happy that you came to Onislam.net to connect. And remember, ALLAH is with you each step of the way. Write in again soon.

For further guidance, please try the following links: 

 

I pray this is helpful to you.

 


About the Counselor:

Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a published researcher, former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant to her Spiritual community in the areas of mental health, clinical disorders, cultural, family and relationship issues, and more

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.

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