Why do we cry?


“The dry eye is from the dry heart,
and the dry heart is from the abundance of sins,
and the abundance of sins is from long hopes”
-(Imam Suahib Webb)-

Tear drop

When was the last time you cried and why?

I was thinking about it.

A calamity befalls you, you lose a loved one, things don’t turn out the way you want them too, your football team loses the game, you missed a bargain at the sales etc etc. These may be reasons why some people cry, weep and get depressed over, but are these things- these wordly things, worth our tears?

How many times-and I say this to myself- have we cried and worried over things that we have no control over? An arab poet once said:

“Some eyes are restless while others sleep,

In meditating that which may or may not occur,

So leave worrying as much as possible,

As carrying the burdens of anxiety is madness,

There is your lord, who provided you with solutions to yesterday and He

will similarly provide for what is to come tomorrow”


Scholars have said, “If you want to know whether or not your heart is hard, then look at your eye”. If it is dry and unmoved to tears, this is an indication of a hard heart. This is called jumood al-‘ayn or “an unmoved eye”. A person who has sympathy and softness in the heart is said to have a moistened eye- (taken from Purification of the heart).

I was reflecting on this when I recieved an email from baji Tas in which she told me that in last years Suhba Sheikh Nuh said:

“Know Allah has forsaken you if you find it difficult to cry” .

I remember someone reminding us that we are made out of clay, and what happens to a lump of clay when you add water? It goes soft and mushy from a previously hard and cold state. Our hearts should be soft, and if they are hard we need to give it some water- our tears, and these tears should be from the realisation of our sins and our state of heedlesness, from the realisation that we do not know our Creator as we should and from the recognition of His signs around us and from reflection upon His words, the Quran.

Just like a merchant at the end of the working day, sits down to calculate his profits and losses of the day gone by, we too should make it a habit to sit down at the end of the day and evaluate our day. Did we sin? If so have we repented? Did we perform any good deed? If, by the grace of Allah, we did, was it with the right intention? How could I improve tomorrow? Just like a merchant or a business man will cry and worry over a loss in profit, should we not weep and worry over our state of error and beg for forgiveness even more?

I remember talking about this with a friend once and she said not to cry, but crying is good and recommended, given that it’s for the right reasons. I’ve noticed that people become concerned when they see someone upset and feel that something is wrong. But surely there is something wrong if our eyes are always dry..? Islam doesn’t encourage being sad but neither does it encourage being oblivious to the reality of the state we are in.

My friend then reminded me of Allah’s Mercy and the hope that we should have in Him and that like everything, there has to be a balance.

A related question on Sunnipath: Crying at night… A believer between fear, love, longing, and hope.

God Bless and Dua’s


~ by usma on 3, January, 2007.

2 Responses to “Why do we cry?”

  1. Crying I guess is a difficult emotion to talk about. Crying for me is the outburst of emotion that I keep bottled up inside- unconsciously, or consciously- the inability to defy your emotions and the acceptance that “i am only human” together, all culminate in the sorrow, the confusion the helplessness to but cry.
    Crying is such a beautiful process of emotions, its both internal and external. On the outside you share your feelings, one may acknowledge the tears falling out of your eyes, but only you know why you cry. That reason will never be able to be understood by any one other person. Every person is an indivual and perceptions and understanding of a situation differ. this is what makes this emotion so individual and suited to the ‘cryer’ For me to relate the matter of why I cry, is the shedding of the special moment i have with the one I am meant to have to run back to rely on and expect salvation from..this could be anything or anyone..for me it is only one, the transcendancy of the above, the obscurity of the divine, the inability of comprehension of the One that gives me peace.

    But this is not to say that one should keep private and never talk about feelings and emotions, you should endeavour to keep this relationship with those who you hold close to you. in order that you soften your hearts and the hearts of others an accepts problems or joys that overcome you.

    * apologies for the technical-isation of the whole process…given one better scope at times when feeling somewhat “fuzzy” ehem *

  2. “but only you know why you cry. That reason will never be able to be understood by any one other person. Every person is an individual and perceptions and understanding of a situation differ. this is what makes this emotion so individual and suited to the ‘cryer

    *deep sigh*

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