My Grandma’s Dusty Quran, Dealing with Death and Grief

by 22 December 202132 comments

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

My Grandma's Dusty Quran, Dealing with Death and Grief

by Farida Haji

It was my grandmother’s 100th birthday. “When will you die?” asked my innocent 4-year-old. She was amazed, seeing a human being turn a hundred. All the family members had gathered and this conversation took place over a video call. I was embarrassed but all of us laughed it off.

Losing A Loved One

A year later, in June 2020, my husband gently placed his hand on my shoulder and asked me to check the family WhatsApp group. I felt queasy.

My grandmother had passed away peacefully. My aunt was by her side, holding her hand, reciting the Quran. I knew she had not been eating well for the past two days and slept most of the time.

My last video call was not a conversation. It was seeing Grandma lying on her bed, calm, frail, radiant and quiet.

The text in the group read:

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ

Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.

[Al-Baqarah 2:156]

Family chat groups are generally filled with greetings and forwards of all sorts. However, this time I could not leave it on ‘seen’.

I called my father with cold and sweaty fingertips, my knees shaking, the lump in my throat hard to swallow.

Dad mumbled through the phone, “I couldn’t be there for my father. Now I can’t be there for my mother.”

Sharing Your Grief

I listened to my father share his guilt towards his mother; his memories and thoughts of her. The grief and regret of not being able to perform the last rites of either parent irked him deeply. I sat numb. I had never heard or seen my father cry. In his 60s he was mourning his mother.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was not possible to travel. He wouldn’t be able to step into her grave and send her off, one last time. I too couldn’t fly, to be by my father’s side to console him.


I started searching for any way I could travel. But I knew it would be in vain. I sat at the dining table, hopelessly scrolling through multiple travel websites. My husband attended calls, accepting and giving condolences to the rest of the family.

“Mama,” the little voice said. “Why are you crying?”

“Grandma has died,” I said.

“The one who is a hundred years old?” she asked.

I nodded with my head low.

That night our family had a zoom call. I had grown up with her. I switched off my video, the lump in my throat refused to let my voice pass. I did not talk. Everybody shared memories, anecdotes, stories and gathered online to talk about our mother and grandmother.


A year has passed since. I had asked my aunt to keep my grandmother’s Quran and tasbih for me. I traveled home, though it did not feel like home. Her bed was gone. Grandma’s shelf in her cupboard remained. I looked at the shelf ledge and saw a fine line of dust, settled calmly, untouched.

My grandma’s Quran was dusty, old and slightly tattered. I spotted a silverfish wiggle through the middle. I clenched the Quran close to my chest and sat down. I had no emotion. But tears rolled down my cheeks. I realized I had not mourned enough. I had only been to the graveyard and said silent prayers.

I traveled home and my daughter sat in my lap, excited to see what I would have to share. Except this time, the bag did not come full of pleasures she deemed worthy. I showed her my Grandma’s Quran and her Aqeeq tasbih.

iStock 000055318834XXXLarge My Grandma's Dusty Quran, Dealing with Death and Grief 

She asked me gently why I brought an old Quran, aimlessly searching my bag. “Were there no photos or something nice?”


I was confused as I held on to a mortal piece of commodity that Grandma held and used every day of her life.

I never thought loss would matter until I video-called my aunt to inform her of my safe arrival. My eyes longed to spot Grandma in the background. But her presence was nowhere to be found.

“Mama, will you die as well?” my daughter asked casually.

“Yes, we all will someday.” My face turned pale. I let my daughter know it was okay to feel heartbroken and mourn a loved one.

“I will only die when Allah invites me to Jannah,” I responded with a smile.

“Will I get an invitation too?” she asked with joy.

“Of course! Everybody gets one. However, Allah likes to surprise his loved ones, so nobody knows when the invitation might come.” I gestured, hugging her tight.

She smiled and walked away.


That night I ran my fingers over the tattered Quran cover. I spotted a piece of folded paper, like a bookmark. It was a piece of my Math book that I hated and had torn in a rage. Grandma had gathered those pieces and told me, “Be calm, don’t show so much rage.” I smirked and forgave myself. I clenched her Quran and shed another tear. I knew I had to let go because her memories would be with me forever.


A few days later, my family went camping. We set our tent near a cold, flowing river.

I sat by the river bed and opened a package I had carefully wrapped the old Quran in. I gently placed it in the flowing water and saw its material existence become one with nature.

My daughter asked me what my actions meant. I told her, “It is important to part and let go material commodities with care and respect. And Al-Quran, no matter how old, should always be treated that way.”


That night, by the fire near the campsite, I shared memories of my grandma and told her how she never missed a tahajjud and fajr namaaz and would tickle my toes until I woke up as well. I opened my heart and the loss felt a little less painful.

We exchanged our views on how beautiful and elating paradise would be. She took a stick and created something with twigs and leaves, and extended four lines that seemed to connect the river.

“Mama, see, this is my paradise, and now this river will also go there.”

My husband and I smiled at each other, grateful for moments like these and for loved ones who have left us with rich memories to live on with. Alhamdulillah.

Omar Khayyam, a persian poet writes,

افسوس که نامه جوانی طی شد

و آن تازه بهار زندگانی دی شد

آن مرغ طرب که نام او بود شباب

افسوس ندانم که کی آمد کی شد

Alas, the scrolls of youthfulness are folded,

The time of spring is over,

That fluttering bird named ‘juvenility’,

I do not know when did it come and when did it leave.

ای دل چو زمانه می کند غمناکت

ناگه برود ز تن روان پاکت

بر سبزه نشین و خوش بزی روزی چند

زان پیش که سبزه بردمد از خاکت

O heart, do not spend your days of life in sorrow,

For nobody knows when this life will part from the body,

Sit joyously over the fresh grass in the garden of life, and live,

Before the grass sprouts through the soil of your grave


Death is the entrance to the divine realm that every creature has and will experience. Regardless, there is no timeline for healing. There is no exit door for grief. Our emotions should be given attention, for the consequential deeds become our companions. These companions will follow us through the gates where we shall wait for the Day of Judgment.

Narrated Anas bin Malik, who saw tears fall from the eyes of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and said,

تَدْمَعُ الْعَيْنُ وَيَحْزَنُ الْقَلْبُ وَلاَ نَقُولُ إِلاَّ مَا يَرْضَى رَبُّنَا إِنَّا بِكَ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ لَمَحْزُونُونَ

“The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we say only what our Lord is pleased with, and we are grieved for you, Ibrahim.”

If the Prophetﷺ could, I can make peace with loss as well and so can you. Grieve, but do not isolate yourself. Share your feelings as you mourn your loved ones and do not hesitate to seek help if the sadness consumes you, so much that daily life becomes difficult. Always practise sabr and shukur.

About The Author

Muslim Pro Team

Comprised of a diverse team of writers, editors, and experts, the Muslim Pro Team is committed to delivering insightful, relevant, and authentic content that resonates with the global Muslim community. With a passion for Islamic spirituality, culture, and modern living, our team members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to every article, ensuring that Muslim Pro remains a trusted source for guidance, inspiration, and connection in the digital age. Together, we strive to empower and uplift Muslims worldwide on their journey of faith and personal growth.


  1. Tasneem Ghadiyali

    Putting emotions into words
    Words on paper comes naturally to you.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Sakina Husain

      I love how the interactions between generations takes place in this piece. It’s beautiful. Abba kept his Ammi’s Quran too. It’s beautiful how for them (the elderly), it speaks of their journey of life and how they found solace in HIS embrace and words.
      Beautifully written!

      • Tabish

        Thank you for sharing your inspirational literature for me.

        • Shahzad Adam

          It was written so emotionally
          with such beautiful detail. A very heart touching, well written article.

          • Yasmin Abdul

            I’m Writing because I’m grieving may Allah bless me and my family.

  2. Tasneem

    A v well written peice. Often death grief is difficult to express.

    Loved it….. it’s an art to write so well.
    You r gifted.
    Keep writing ✍

  3. Alexandra Zareb

    I thank you for this beautiful post. I am confused about my life and many things. But your post has given me new hope in life. Thank you and may Allah bless you and your family.

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Dear Alexandra, thank you for sharing your thoughts. We are here for each other, in this dunya to help each other. We are glad this piece helped you in some way. – Nour

  4. Sakina Husain

    I love how the interactions between generations takes place in this piece. It’s beautiful. Abba kept his Ammi’s Quran too. It’s beautiful how for them (the elderly), it speaks of their journey of life and how they found solace in HIS embrace and words.
    Beautifully written!

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      We appreciate your kind words and thoughts. – Nour

      • Nizamuddin

        A series of emotions like beads strung in a tasbhi between a grand ma and a grand child.

        • Nour from Muslim Pro

          What a thoughtful reflection! – Nour

  5. Nadia

    A beautiful message for all of us who are grieving in these difficult times
    Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts ????

    • Rashida..Khan

      Masha’allah Subaha’allah

  6. S yasmin ali

    Subhanallah, jak for sharing your excellent beautiful experience and thought’s with’s wonderful. Allhamdulillah.???? it is a wonderful massage to all off us.

  7. Rofiat O.

    Came in at the right time. Thank you! Thank you for sharing, Allahuma Barik!
    May Allah SWT forgive the sins of your grandmother and grant her Al Jannah Firdaus.

  8. Zahina

    Beautifully said ur story of grief and death and how u dealt with it all . Was lovely to read , thank you for sharing with us all . ❤️

  9. Anifowoshe titilope

    Allahu akbar!

    • Juanita

      Thank you for sharing. I just loss
      My mom. The pain is so unbearable please pray for me my heart is broken

      • Nour from Muslim Pro

        Dear Juanita. Our heart aches for you.
        Inna Lillahe wa Inna Ilaihe rajeoon.

        May Allah shower you with sabr and strength and may your mother be blessed in the highest abode in Jannah.

        We hope the article can be of some help.

        – Nour

  10. Parveen khan

    Salam your story touched me in many ways Jazakallah for sharing. I’m blessed iv got beautiful memories with my mum and bought her Quran hme in 2016 and In’Sha’Allah try and read it every day. My mum had some book marks in her Quran, when I go on to a bookmark page I feel her presence even more.without Allah swt will this was not possible, I was so lucky iv always been there for my mum right up to her last look and smile. Allah swt took my mum so peacefully . I’m happy where my mum is, I just miss her presence and can’t let go she was my everything. I just want to say Alhamdulilla for everything.allah knows best ????????????????????????

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      No one can replace the loss of a beloved, specially the mother. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life. We really appreciate it. – Nour

  11. Shariff Walston

    These words were beautifully and the story you shared and as well as the poem was deeply appreciated, so I’m honored to read such kind words and valuable information. Thank you for sharing with us .

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      We appreciate your kind words and support. Do share with you friends and family and let us know what kind of content you would like to read. – Nour

  12. Muti

    Assalam alaykum

    May Allah give sabar and grant peace to all grieving ones. This is the ultimate journey everyone will have to take. It’s a reminder that we all must remember. “Kullo nafsin zaeqatul mout.”

  13. Allie Sesay

    Beautiful story. I just lost my elder sister yesterday. This story is a timely and divine intervention to help me go through my grief. I will ask for my sister’s tasbih as well. Thank you for sharing your story. May Allah SWT grant your mum Al’Jannah Firdaus. May Allah reward you and your family for consoling me and others with your story.

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajeoon. Dear sister, I offer my condolences to you and your family, for the loss of a beloved one. The writer has indeed poured her heart out and bravely shared a piece of her life. We are glad it has helped you and other muslim brothers and sisters. May you find solace every time you read this. May Allah grant your sister the highest abode in Jannah. – Nour

  14. Zakiyyah Muhammad

    As Salaam Alaikum, thank you for sharing your story. I too have suffered loss of love ones too close for comfort. In 2016, I loss a beloved nephew to suicide, 2017 another beloved nephew died, 2018, I loss my husband of 45 years and my only son two months later from an hereditary illness. Then 2019, loss my dad and my brother. Grief has consumed but I know that Allah knows best and I pray constantly for his mercy and guidance. I thank Allah for the family I have left and to enjoy every moment with and will always cherish the memories and moments of those I have loss. Needed to get that out sorry for long comments. May Allah reward and bless you and your family. JazakAllahu Khairan ????????????????????????

    • Nour from Muslim Pro

      Ina Lillahe Wa Inna Ilahe Rajeoon. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses, sister Zakiyyah. It looks like Allah granted you strength to live through those losses, your reflections are touching and inspiring. Thank you for reading and sharing your story with us. May He continue to bless and reward you and your family.” – Nour

  15. Erias alqama

    Thank you of sharing my emotional with you

  16. Munira

    i lost both my grandmother and mother during ramadan. i am so heartbroken. i couldn’t stop crying and always thinking about them


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