Mumtaz Moosa Saley
Having Uncle Abdul live with us was a breeze, he was pretty self-sufficient, kept himself occupied and made himself quite useful too.
It also meant that I had to be more careful with my dressing around the house but I was especially grateful that he never broached the subject of my wearing the headscarf. It was also a blessing as it started me on the path of proper hijab, another goal accomplished.
Saturday afternoon, the kids had gone over to my sister and we sat in the garden talking when the topic switched to the bounties of Allah bestowed upon us. I was amazed at Uncle Abdul, as he spoke with such love and understanding of the Deen that it made you sit up and listen and created a thirst to learn more.
Then, his tone changed to that of love and longing . . .
“She was so happy that we were approaching the blessed month of Ramadhaan and began preparations as she always did. We would work in the kitchen together, making samoosas and pies.” “Many of my friends would joke about the samoosas that would come apart when being fried and their wives felt a twinge of envy that Fatima has such a wonderful husband.”
After a heavy pause, he continued, “She never once told me she was tired or needed to rest. She just kept remembering Ahmed, how he liked the way she flavoured the pies. She made extra to ensure she would send some for him.”
“She said Ramadhaan made her nostalgic with memories that took her back to her childhood and her parent’s home.”
He seemed to be looking into the past – “Fatima welcomed Ramadhaan, like a long lost friend. She’d take out her best crockery, cutlery and table clothes like she was setting up for a party every day.” “Her timetable would be completed to ensure she maximised her time in recitation, dhikr and salaah.”
“She was hoping to spend the last ten days of Ramadhaan in Makkah and Medina, in the hope of completing Umrah. Then she thought it would be better to save more and go for for the Hajj instead.”
He sat reminiscing about the morning before Aunty Fatima fell ill. He remembered the details vividly as he shared them with us, filling our hearts with sorrow and our eyes with tears.
She’d woken up that morning like she did every other day, dressed, prayed, recited her Qur'an and set out to run the errands. They ate together that evening and spoke about Ramadhaans past and even about their parents and childhood. He seemed to look into the past and conjuring up the pictures for us as he remembered how they had prayed together, prepared for bed and continued talking into the night. Much of the talk was about Ahmed and his childhood, how he would sneak sweets to eat into this room whilst pretending that he was fasting. He smiled as he recalled that she laughed as she reminisced.
The next morning she was cheerful and began preparing their suhoor when he heard her call out. He found her slumped over in a chair at the kitchen table and in a flat panic called her sister next door. They had rushed her to the hospital with her insisting that nothing was amiss and she’d be fine.
By this time, the tears were flowing freely down his wrinkled face and I looked up to see the Ahmed too was in tears, although fighting to keep his composure. He reached out to Uncle Abdul and they fell into each other arms sobbing. I couldn’t help but cry too as I felt their sadness and grief.
Sitting back down, he asked us to not be sad as the earth was merely a stop in our journey back to Allah and the journey would be filled with many tests, as Allah had mentioned in His Noble Qur'an. “Allah is Al-Jabbar, what He wills can’t be changed except by sincere dua.” “We need to remember that this world is not for us and how we have walked the earth will determine our lives in the akhirah, all we have to do is have tawakkul in Allah and accept His decree.” He lapsed into silence
Today I learnt that we should never take any day for granted because each day is a gift. Don’t leave for tomorrow that which can be done today and strive towards attaining Allah’s pleasure for that is our ultimate duty on this earth.