“God is with the broken-hearted. When your heart breaks, it’s a good thing – the breaking of the heart is what opens it up to the light of Allah. The dunya is designed to break your heart, to crush it.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
We’ve all been there.
Heartbreak can be a crippling emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual storm. These storms can come in many forms from losing a loved one, losing your job, losing wealth, losing health, betrayal by a loved one, a broken engagement, a divorce, or not getting the job you always wanted. It can be an extremely difficult process and experience. It can shake us to our core. It can even shake our faith in Allah. While many of us may have faced heartbreak many of us may fail to take time to heal or process these emotions. A good friend of mine recently published an article of how to process and overcome disappointment and highly recommend reading it. With that said let’s move on into our discussion of heartbreak and how to process our emotions in the storms of our lives.
It’s in these moments of heartbreak, utter despair and pain that we realize our powerlessness with Allah and realize that our hearts and souls need to be connected to Allah to truly gain spiritual nourishment after traumatic and heartbreaking experiences in our lives. When Allah takes from us He is calling us back to Him and reminding us that the most important relationship is with Him. The heartbreak is a reminder also that the world in which we live is temporary and our focus should be on Him and cultivating that relationship with Him. There is love and then there is Divine Love. Allah is Al-Wadud (The Most Loving) and He is the source of Love and we must learn to love Him, love what and who he loves, love ourselves, and then love others.
Sometimes our hearts may be attached to the wrong things and the wrong people and Allah removes them from our lives to teach us a lesson. Our hearts should be tied to Him and the Hereafter. This is not to say that we need to be completely numb and stoic to the world and the people around us, but it’s to say that we need to ensure our love for things and people doesn’t supersede our love for Allah.
Now when it comes to processing heartbreak and truly gain inner peace, contentment and healing it becomes important to realize that we need to validate these emotions. There is no shame or reason for us to shy away from our emotions and pretend they don’t exist. It’s not good for your mental and emotional health when you suffocate and suppress your emotions. In moments of heartbreak it’s important to reconnect with Allah with lots of dua (supplication), dhikr (remembrance), crying, and seeking counseling/therapy if needed if you feel lost, confused o r.To truly heal your heart it becomes important to validate your emotions, don’t suppress them. Let us not remember that even Yaqub (Jacob peace be upon him) cried tears of sorrow of his son Yousuf (Joseph, peace be upon him):
And he (Yaqub peace be upon him) said, “Oh, my sorrow over Yusuf,” and his eyes became white from grief because of the sorrow that he suppressed. (Quran 12: 84)
To feel pain and sorrow is to be human. Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had moments of weakness, sorrow and emotional pain:
The child (the Prophet Muhammad’s son Ibrahim) was lifted up to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while his breath was disturbed in his chest. On seeing that, the eyes of the Prophet (peace be upon him) streamed with tears.
Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah said “O Messenger of Allah! What is this?”
He (SAW) replied, “It is compassion which Allah has placed in the hearts of His slaves, Allah is compassionate only to those among His slaves who are compassionate (to others)” (Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) visited Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah during his illness. He was accompanied by ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas and ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him). The Messenger of Allah (SAW) began to weep. When his companions saw this, their tears also started flowing. He (SAW), said, “Do you not hear, Allah does not punish for the shedding of tears or the grief of the heart, but punishes or bestows mercy for the utterances of this (and he pointed to his tongue)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) visited the grave of his mother and wept, and those who were around him also wept.
The Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all) had moments of sorrow and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or shy away from. There’s an unfortunate mindset in our community that equate sorrow or sadness to a weakness of faith which couldn’t be farther than the truth. Many of the great figures in our history were tested severely and felt pain, sorrow, self-doubt, sadness and an array of many emotions. Part of the human and spiritual experience is things being taken away from us and/or withheld from us. It’s unfortunate that we’ve romanticized our great figures in our history to be individuals devoid of emotion. This also couldn’t be farther from the truth and we truly need to revisit the way we teach our children the stories of the Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all). Each and every one of them was tested in some manner or another and turned tragedy into triumph with their self-determination and the help of Allah. We are not alone in our heart break, sorrow and difficulties. We should find solace that we too are tested as the Prophets (peace be upon them all) were.
Narrated that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, which of the people are most sorely tested?” He said: “The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is strong, he will be tested more severely, and if his religious commitment is weak, he will be tested in accordance with his religious commitment. Calamity will keep befalling a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi, 2398)
First when it comes to the path to healing a broken heart it becomes important to process your emotions and feelings. This may include crying out, talking to a close friend or seeking counseling/therapy if needed.
Secondly, we need to realize that heartbreak is a part of our life and Allah will test us:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient… (Quran 2:155)
“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?” (Quran 29:2)
Third, we need to realize that Allah doesn’t test us beyond our ability.
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Quran, 2:286)
Fourth, we must ask ourselves what lesson Allah is teaching us in these moments of heart break. This moment of trial or tribulation or heart break in your life may be Allah taking something from your or removing an object that was an obstacle between you and Him or it simply may be Him testing you to truly see if you’ll turn to Him in times of difficulty.
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.”
(Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2999)
Allah also tests those He loves:
If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials.
(Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5321)
Fourth, we must remind ourselves that the ups and downs are temporary just as our lives are and are inevitable to learn about ourselves and know our strengths and learn wisdom. Fifth, we must realize that Allah is the only source of peace and contentment and healing and contentment comes from Him alone.
Thus, when our hearts break remember that it’s through these experiences that teach us the best and most important of life lessons. Embrace the emotions and process them. Remember Allah has your back and is there to listen to you. Let’s get started on our journeys of healing with the help of Allah you’ll be ok.
Bismillah and may Allah heal us all and grant us all hearts full of Divine Light, peace, tranquility, strength, and certainty. Ameen.