Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

While much of the American Muslim community, as well as Muslims around the world, are still in shock over the horrific shooting deaths of three young American Muslim college students, in accordance with Islamic proscription, the three were laid to rest earlier this week. As is always the case, the news media attention – albeit very slow to come about – will fade over the coming days and weeks. People, including American Muslims, will go back to their normal routines.

But the families of the three victims – Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad – will be left with their unspeakable pain. Dr. Suzanne Barakat, family physician, said it at a news conference:

Six weeks ago, I cried tears of joy at my baby brother’s wedding. Today, we are crying tears of unimaginable pain…

And yes, their pain is unimaginable. My wife and I know this fact all too well because, we lost our own daughter to cancer almost six years ago. There is nothing anyone can say to ease the pain that the families of the three victims are facing now. Nothing. Their pain is unspeakable; their pain is suffocating; their pain is something that has never been felt before.

And it is natural for many to reach out and try to say something to help ease that pain. I suspect many will say, “May God increase your reward” or “To God We Belong, and to He we shall return.” Some may even say, “May you be patient through this terrible tragedy.” And while all these prayers and well-wishes are good, and may the Lord answer those prayers, words will never ease this pain. Words do not know how to ease this pain.

As I stood at my daughter’s freshly-dug grave and watched dirt being poured over her pink casket, I lost it. I could not hold in the tears, hard as I was trying to keep them in. And the best thing anyone had done for me – at that dark hour – was hold my hand. He didn’t say anything. He just held my hand. I helped so much, more than he can ever know. And I have never forgotten his act of brotherhood and kindness. I will never forget it, as long as I still breathe on this earth.

And so I offer this piece of advice: just hold their hands. Be there for and support them as they move forward having to bear a pain that is indescribable. Only the Lord God can bring true comfort, and He will because He is so Beautiful and full of Grace and Mercy. Yet, for those that are around the families of the victims: just hold their hands.

And for what it’s worth – especially to the parents of Deah, Yusor, and Razan – I extend my hand to they. It is always here for them. And I pray that our Beautiful, Beloved Lord bring all of us comfort, and may our respective Family Reunions be in the Highest of Paradises, in the cool shade of His Majestic Throne.



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