Perhaps one of the most difficult conversations to have is to console a grieving friend at the time of death of a loved one. Their loss seems irreplaceable and words seem futile. For years i struggled with this and avoided having to call anyone over the passing of their loved ones, until i lost someone very dear to me and realized how much one needs to empty out one`s heart at such a time. The ultimate Healer & Giver of peace is Allah swt and there`s no better refuge than pouring out your pain to Him. However we are human and one of our very human needs is also the need to connect to others in our time of grief.
And who better to understand this need than the Rabb that created this fragile heart? There’s a beautiful beautiful Hadith of the Prophet sws where a young child loses his bird called Nughair and the Prophet sws goes to ask about him in the famous words
يا أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ مَا فَعَلَ النُّغَيْرُ
(O Abu Umair what happened to Nughair?)
I never really understood WHY the Prophet sws was asking the little boy about what happened to his bird, when he sws KNEW that the bird was dead! It was because the Prophet sws KNEW the human need to talk about loss, the need to have someone acknowledge our pain and validate it. He sws KNEW the bird was dead and his words would not bring back the bird. But he knew Abu Umair needed to SAY it, needed to get it off his chest. And so he sws SHOWED UP and ASKED. Isn’t that beautiful?:’)
That’s all it takes. Just SHOW UP.
HADITH IN REFERENCE:
البخاري ( 5778 ) ومسلم ( 2150 )
– أنه كان لأخي أنس بن مالك لأمه يقال له ” أبو عمير ” كان له طائر وكان اسمه ” النغير ” فمات الطائر وحزن عليه الصبي ، فمازحه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بقوله ” يا أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ مَا فَعَلَ النُّغَيْرُ ” . والنُّغَيْرُ : طائر صغير يشبه العصفور ، وقيل : هو البلبل . وقد استُدل بهذا الحديث على جواز حبس الطائر ؛ لعدم إنكار النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على أبي عمير . انظر ” فتح الباري ” ( 10 / 548 ) .
It is proven in al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhaari, 5778; Muslim, 2150) that the brother of Anas ibn Maalik through his mother was called Abu ‘Umayr and he had a bird who was called al-nughayr.
The bird died and the child grieved for it (and was really sad), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) tried to cheer him up by saying, “O Abu ‘Umayr, what happened to al-nughayr?”
The nughayr is a small bird like a sparrow, or it was said that it is a nightingale.
See Fath al-Baari, 10/548”