Condolences and Breaking Unpleasant News

When you have to break undesired news of a tragic accident, or the death of a close relative or friend, it is appropriate that you break the news in such a way so as to lessen its impact and make it as mild and gentle as possible. For example, in the case of death, you may say, “Recently, I learned that so and so has been seriously ill and his condition worsened. Today I heard that he passed away. May the mercy of Allah be with him.”

Begin by giving the name of the person in question. Do not break the news of a death by saying, “Do you know who passed away today?” This unduly manner frightens the listeners and prompts them to expect the worst, namely that the death involves someone close to them who may have been sick or old at that time. Rather, if you commence by mentioning the name of deceased, this will soften the impact of the news, reducing the listener’s apprehension, while the news will still be conveyed.

Convey the news of fire, drowning, or a car accident etc. in a similar fashion. Prepare the listener for the news in a way that minimises the impact. Mention the name(s) of the affected person(s) in a diplomatic way, and dont shock your companions or relatives when conveying to them such news. Some people may have weak hearts and such bad may news cause them great harm, which may even lead to them fainting and collapsing.

If it is necessary to convey such news, choose the appropriate time. Dont convey such news at a meal, before going to sleep, or during an illness. Wisdom and tactfulness are the best qualities to handle such a situation.


  1. Najma Khan said,

    July 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Jazakullah for the very pertinent information on how to hold oneself during the death of a near and dear one. The etiquette of handling death in an Islamic way from breaking/receiving the sad news, funeral prayers to burial with reference to important Ahadiths of the Holy Prophet.
    Thank you, indeed. Allah bless you for all the important Ayahs from the Holy Quran regarding man’s fragility and the transient nature of this world. Only if we can detach ourselves to a reasonable degree and constantly remember. “To Allah we belong and to Allah we return”.
    Subhanullah, Allah Hu Akbar!

  2. Waseem Ahmad said,

    January 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you very much. May Almighty elevate the level of your Imaan to the highest level along with us as well (amen)

  3. diana said,

    February 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    A coworker of mine is very strong and true to the Muslim faith. His mother is currently very ill and we would like to send him and his family our condolences. What is the most appropriate way we can do this?
    Thank you for your time.

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