Quranic Reflection No. 360 Āyat 5:83 – Language of Tears
وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰ أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ
Wa-idhā sami‘ū mā -rasūli tarā tafīdu -dam‘imimmā ‘arafū –And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize
(Sūratul Mā’idah, No.5, Āyat 83)
When the early Muslims sought refuge in Abyssinia they were brought before King Negus and his people. Ja‘far bin Abī Tālib, who was the leader of the Muslims, informed them about the religion that Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wa-sallam had brought and then recited verses from Sūra Maryam. The King and some of his courtiers were so affected by what they heard from him that tears streamed down their cheeks. This was a silent demonstration of recognition of the truth that they heard.
A heart which is receptive is affected when it sees the undeniable truth. It is though the fitrah of the human being has been secretly yearning for it. When it recognizes it and accepts it, the emotion is overwhelming. The Quran given another such example in the story of the magicians in the court of Pharaoh. When they recognized the truth brought by Prophet Moses ‘alayhis salām, they immediately prostrated. It was an involuntary response to the miracle they witnessed, a sign of the impact of truth on enlightened hearts. (See Q 26:45-47)
Tears reveal intensity and sincerity that is felt inside. It is not weakness, rather it shows powerful awareness and connection. The Holy Prophet (s) says: Tears are a mercy that Allah has placed in the essence of his servants (Bihārul Anwār, v. 79, p. 91, H 43.) It is lack of tears that has been condemned in Islam – The Quran asks: Do you then wonder at this announcement? And will you laugh and not weep? (Q 53:59-60)
There are physical as well as emotional benefits of tears. Tears moisten the eye and keep it from drying. They heal and soothe emotions, providing an outlet for powerful emotions. A person feels lighter after weeping. (See https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/how-crying-can-make-you-healthier-1009169.html )
Imam al-Sādiq ‘alayhis salām talks about the advantages of tears for a child:
Just see the advantage that accrues to the children from weeping. There is a fluid in the child’s brain which, if not drained off, may cause trouble or illness, even the loss of an eye. The discharge of the fluid from its brain leaves it healthy and the eyes brighter. The child is benefited by weeping while his parents in their ignorance try to prevent his weeping by catering for his wishes, not knowing the benefits thereof (Hadith of Mufaddal).
A spiritual connection with Allah would necessarily entail tears. These are of different types:
1. Tears of faith – And they fall down on their faces weeping and it adds to their humility. (Q 17:109)
2. Tears of submission – when the communications of the Beneficent Allah were recited to them, they fell down making obeisance and weeping. (Q 19:58)
3. Tears of yearning for Allah. Amīrul Mu’minīn Imam Ali (a) in Du’ā Kumail says: I will weep to You with the weeping of the bereft.
4. Tears of awe of Allah – The Holy Prophet (s) says: Blessed is the face upon which Allah gazes while it is weeping for a sin out of awe of Allah, the Exalted, and no one else knows about the sin but Him. (Bihārul Anwār, v.93, p. 331)
Let this verse inspire you to value the power of tears. It speaks louder than any words you might say. Use tears when talking to Allah, or even thinking about Him. It will raise your relationship with Him to new heights.
Sources: Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr; https://www.al-islam.org/tradition-of-mufaddal-pearls-of-wisdom-from-imam-jafar-as-sadiq; https://www.al-islam.org/uprising-ashura-and-responses-doubts-ali-asghar-ridwani/crying-viewpoint-holy-quran-and-traditions#f_d2c7ff6b_7