This article was written by Maryum Khwaja, LCSW, Issra Killawi, BA and Tariq Elsaid, MSW candidate. It was reviewed by Dr. Madiha Tahseen, Ph.D.
The way we respond to someone’s grief can support or hinder their grieving. If you know someone who is grieving a loss this Eid, use these tips to support them.

1. Be There Afterwards

Be there afterwards. Oftentimes when a person first passes away, the community rushes to surround the grieving family or person. But soon afterwards, people forget to check in. The grieving person goes from being surrounded by people for several days to suddenly being completely alone. It’s important to keep checking in, especially after the first few days. If your presence is welcome, take initiative and help with chores, school pick-up, running errands, cooking, or reciting Quran and Dhikr in their home. If you don’t have a close relationship with the bereaved person/family, ask their close friends how you can be helpful.

2. Learn About Grief

Learn about grief and how it might show up on Eid for someone who has lost a loved one. Understand that grieving is a process that takes time and unfolds in a unique way for each person. Some people grieve openly while others prefer to do so alone. Make space for how someone wants to grieve. If they want to be alone, give them the space to do so. If they want to talk about their grief, be a listening ear.

3. Be A Good Listener/Observer

Be a good listener/observer. Let them express what they are feeling, be it anger, sadness, or even uncertainty. Sometimes these feelings just need to be seen and heard. Understand that a person will move through different stages of grief before accepting it, so allow them the time and space to work through their emotions without correcting them or trying to distract them from the sadness. Don’t try to unnecessarily fill the silence with random conversation and don’t say things like:
Death is described as a fitnah (a trial or difficulty) for a reason – because it’s difficult to experience. To feel sad is not a sin, even if it’s been years since their loss. It would be more helpful to listen, acknowledge how a person is feeling, and share tips about how they can respond to their feelings mindfully if they are open to it.

4. Don’t Make Them Feel Guilty For Wanting A Low-Key Eid

Don’t make them feel guilty for wanting a low-key Eid. If someone is not feeling social, let them know that it’s okay to have a simple Eid. Encourage them to try a nurturing activity they enjoy, like walking through the woods, hiking, reading, baking, etc.

5. Respect Their Preferences

Respect their preferences. If they’re celebrating alone, invite them to join your family or make some time to pay them a visit. But always ask permission first. This is proper adab (good manners). If they’re not feeling up for it, don’t pressure or guilt them. Give them their space but leave the door open for company if they want it.

6. Show Them That You’re Thinking Of Them

Show them that you’re thinking of them. Just because someone needs their space doesn’t mean that they want to be forgotten. You can still express your love and care for them by dropping off Eid treats, food, or gifts without disturbing them. Or by giving Sadaqa in the name of their loved one and mailing them a card with the donation receipt and a note.

What If I’m Concerned That Someone Is Not Doing Well After A Loss?

It’s natural to be concerned about someone who is hurting. Know that people grieve in different way and may go through highs and lows, especially during the early stages of grieving. With time, most people slowly find a way to live with and grow from their grief. If you’ve noticed signs of depression, substance use, extreme withdrawal or difficulty functioning on a day-to-day basis, these may be signs that the bereaved person needs help processing their grief. Consider encouraging them to seek professional help and support them in the process of finding a therapist.
Read more here about how to support someone who is grieving this Eid. Check out our full Grief Support Toolkit here. For more resources from The FYI, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter here.