By Mumtaz Saley
We bid farewell to our beloved and adored Aunty Fatima with the consolation that she was granted death in the blessed month. But the stark reality of loss was difficult to bear especially as we live with little thought of death until it comes knocking, abruptly and loudly on your door. However, we soon realise that it is from Allah that we come and that it is to Him that we return. The dhunya is merely a depot on our journey to our return.
My mind wanders as I assist with the process of ghusl and shrouding. Looking at the pieces that make up the final dress we shall wear to stand before our Creator sends a jolt of realisation through me. Someone will do the same for me on the day Allah has chosen for me to leave this earth. A sobering thought indeed.
People arrive and we begin the ritual of praying but the whispered chatter around me soon catches my attention and I feel rather annoyed as I listen to the inane comments people tend to make at times like this. I wonder if it’s the option taken to assuage their guilt or fear. But has Allah not warned us of our return to Him?
We are here on His invitation and we leave on His instruction. Our sole purpose on earth is to worship Him but we are fallible and we transgress – we sin by lying, cheating, backbiting, swearing, take your pick but as sinners, we are also taught that there is no-one more merciful than Allah, Himself. We persevere in the hope that we are pardoned.
Amazingly, my reflections remind me of how my thought processes were changing! I was becoming more conscious of my Creator, His warnings, His teachings, His love and mercy. And I cried when I thought about the fact that Aunty Fatima, may have been going through similar enlightenment, one she may have started because of Ramadhaan or because she had become more aware as she got older. I thought about her hopes, dreams and how she may have wanted to make amends for things she may have done or said, intentionally or unconsciously. Had she been given the chance to do so?
As I tried to put to push my scattered thoughts away, I notice Ebrahim, standing by the door, looking forlorn and lost. I prayed the pain he was feeling would ease and that his smiles would once more smile but this would come in time. I feel this pain of loss but I can only imagine how broken he must be. Next to him is Aunty Fatima’s husband and my heart broke for him. A lifetime spent together now ended. He’d bury the love of his life today but every memory will linger in his heart and mind, sometimes bringing a smile and sometimes tears. But they would always remind him of the love and joy they shared together. These were now his treasures. Our eyes met and I saw his sorrow and also his acceptance of Allah's decree.
At iftaar, I sat next to my heart-broken husband, feeling a sense of helplessness. What could I say or do to make him feel better? His silence made his pain even more palpable. Aunty Fatima’s words echoed in my aching mind – “just be there for him.” I would do just that.
We live without thought of death yet, we are warned of it and told to remember it constantly. Allah has also gifted us life, to worship Him and hour Him but we are also creatures who give comfort and love to each other so, remember to create good relationships, keep them strong, make your memories ones that will count and never put off what you can do today for tomorrow.
Forgive, forget, love and live