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Grief Support Toolkit

This toolkit provides resources about the grieving process, coping with different kinds of loss, and age-specific grief support for children and young adults.

Grief is a natural part of life.

Grief is a natural response to loss of any kind, whether it’s the death of a loved one or the loss of a job or friendship. The Prophet (PBUH) allowed himself to experience various emotions as part of grieving over his loved ones, such as during the loss of his wife Khadija (RA), his uncle Abu Talib (RA), and his young children. If grief is not properly experienced, it can spiral into more severe mental health issues. Rather than suppressing our emotions during the grieving process, being able to grieve properly with support is the best way to move through the different emotions.   

From The FYI: Resources on Grief

Grief Support Toolkit

4 Ways Grief Shows Up on Eid and How to Cope​

The holidays remind us of those we’ve lost. Here’s how to cope.

Grief Support Toolkit

The FYI's Tragic Events Toolkit​

This toolkit can help you and your family process grief after tragedy.

Grief Support Toolkit

6 Tips To Support Someone Who Is Grieving This Eid

How we respond to grief can support or hinder healing. 

How to Cope with Grief and Loss

“Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can renew you and permit you to move on.” (From HelpGuide.Org)

Grief is a complicated process, unique for each individual and for each kind of loss. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve. Read this resource to understand the stages of grief as well as myths and symptoms of grieving.   

Grief Support Toolkit

Grief does not magically disappear after a loss. It triggers confusion, emotional, and physiological reactions in many different ways over time. Here are some things to consider as you cope with loss over time, year after year. 

  • This resource provides on how to continue on the path toward healing and how to cope with reminders of the loss.
  • Try these ideas to cope with the anniversary of a loved one’s death.
  • Holidays are a time of mixed emotions for those grieving a loved one. Think about these holiday survivorship skills or this tip sheet to take care of yourself during this vulnerable time.
  • Recognize that there will be times when you are “stuck” in the grief process. This is normal and a part of the process. However, when you cannot move through it, you can start to display prolonged grief — learn what it is and how to get help if you find yourself struggling with it.

Thinking about therapy?

The FYI’s Therapy Guide can help.   

Helping Others Through Grief

Most of us haven’t been taught what to say when someone we know is grieving, so it’s easy to fall back on platitudes and clichés. Here are suggestions for what to say instead to a parent, caregiver, or colleague through grief, loss, or bereavement. 

“It’s often hard to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving. You may be afraid of intruding, saying the wrong thing, or making the person feel even worse. While you can’t take away the pain of the loss, you can provide much-needed comfort and support. There are many ways to help a grieving friend or family member, starting with letting the person know you care.” (From HelpGuide.Org)

Help someone who is grieving using these 5 steps:

Death overwhelms adults and childrens. Many times, young children may not understand what is going on and their parents find it difficult to explain death. 

Children experience the grief and anxiety that comes from loss in different ways at different stages in their developmental growth. Their outward manifestations may seem surprising if you don’t know what to expect.

  • Know what grief looks like, how to talk about it and how to help children and teens cope with grief.
  • How to help children cope with the death of a loved one.
  • Understand these 10 basic principles of grieving for children and teenagers.
  • Reference this tip sheet to support grieving siblings

Children experience the grief and anxiety that comes from loss in different ways at different stages in their developmental growth. Their outward manifestations may seem surprising if you don’t know what to expect. Use these activities to help guide your understanding and approach as you help children cope with death. Learn how to support children and teens at various ages using this chart as well as the following age-specific guides:

  • Children ages 0-5 years
  • Children ages 6-12 years 

Teenagers have unique needs, especially when it comes to handling grief and recovering from incidents of loss. “If you know a teen who has experienced a death, you might be wondering, ‘How can I help?’ Here are some tips to keep in mind. In general, if you find yourself unsure of what to do or say, remember to take your cues from the teen. It’s likely that they know, or will be able to figure out, what they need.” 

Survivor’s guilt is a sense of deep guilt that comes when one survives something that others may not have. Major traumas such as war, natural disasters, and other violent events are common incidents associated with cases of survivor’s guilt. Oftentimes feelings of guilt and thoughts of what might have been different in another scenario play out in the mind of the person who is experiencing this type of trauma. Read more about survivor’s guilt, what it looks and feels like, and what to do to help yourself or someone you know who may be experiencing this. 

Looking for more?

  • Group Interventions for Treatment of Psychological Trauma: This academic paper discusses group interventions for the treatment of trauma in adolescents. The authors point out how to differentiate normative from problematic responses to trauma in adolescents. The authors also address the benefits of group interventions in treating adolescents, specifically adolescents who have suffered trauma together. And finally, it notes how to develop a workable group for treating adolescents who have suffered trauma. Click here for paper from The American Group Psychotherapy Association
  • The FYI set out to create comprehensive and culturally specific resources addressing suicide risks, intervention, assessment, and prevention. This thorough resource includes information specific to teens, parents, survivors of suicide attempts, their families, survivors of suicide loss, a section for mental health professionals, imams, educators, and additional resources including infographics, videos, and help-lines. Check out The FYI’s Suicide Prevention Toolkit

This toolkit was developed by Mariam Kandil, M.A., Mariam Rahseed, and edited by Madiha Tahseen, PhD.

An update to this toolkit was generously funded by the

Grief Support Toolkit

Feedback

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).