Death for the Living

// January 4th, 2009 // Blog

Many would agree that death is a greater problem for the living, than for those who have actually passed on. Muslims find solace in the prayer that their loved ones are at peace, in a “better place”, no longer suffering. This is especially true for those who died in a state of innocence, such as children, and the oppressed.

However, we, the owners of hearts that still beat, are left to grieve, to feel the pain that resides deep in our cores; a wound that opens every time we realize the absence of the ones whom we loved.

This afternoon, the women gathered on the floor of my living room, as they usually do at the house of the bereaved. Though several close family members have passed away in the last few years, including my mother's second brother, and the only grandparent that I have ever known, this was the first time that people came to our home to mourn. The former occasion, the whole family was already gathered at the house of my cousin, for her daughter's wedding. The latter instance, they went to my uncle's house, as that is where my grandmother lived.

As foreign words flew about my head, intermingled with the light jingling of glass tasbeeh, I stared blankly into the side of the nearest sofa. I began to ponder over the whole mourning process, wondering how I would eventually deal with such loss when the time came. Even the idea of certain deaths made my heart sink.

Though I write of grief, I have yet to experience it to a great degree. I don't really know how to deal with death. I know the good news of the Hereafter, and the verses of the Qur'an that may provide consolation. However, the words don't leave my lips easily. I don't know why exactly. Maybe I fear that I'll make things worse, rather than better.

There is a great deal of sadness in the air right now, especially due to the massacre in Palestine that continues as I write. In the early hours of the morning, I watched live news footage of Israeli bombs exploding in the streets of Gaza, as the athaan for Fajr sounded.  As the muadhin proclaimed: “Come to prayer! Come to success!”, the explosions cried out: “Come to suffering! Come to death!”. What word is more fitting for such a sight, other than “surreal”?

We are reminded so often: life is short, life is short. Usually, that is used as a warning to wake us up into leading good lives. But right now, many must find this statement to be a hope-filled promise that their suffering in this world will soon come to an end.

The living are beginning to envy the dead, thus bringing to mind the prophesy:

The Hour will not come till… one will pass by a man's grave and say “Would that I were in his place!”

3 Responses to “Death for the Living”

  1. Safiyyah says:

    As Salaamu Alaikum Dear Sister:

    I remember during the first Iraq War, watching it all night, and then hearing the Adhan being called. Yes, it was a strange thing to behold. After Allah (swt) destroys the world, we will all be called to gather after everything is gone. Gaza is being destoyed and the Muslims are still offering salaat to Allah (swt). May He reward them and give them justice/Ameen!

    You take care dear. A hug to you …

  2. Organica says:

    Ina lilah we ina ilyhe rajoon.

    The closest death I mourned was my grandmother who died November 29 of last year. The first few days were shocking then I went into denial. Only months later and even now it hits me that she is really gone. I haven’t been back to Egypt yet, so the full extent of it hasn’t hit me. But sometimes late at night I remember her and wonder how she is doing in the grave. I pray that Allah will forgive her sins and join her in Jannah with our Prophet (pbuh).

    I fear death not because I am not eager to meet my Lord but because I feel that I haven’t done anything to meet Him with. May Allah forgive our sins and protect his from the punishment of Hellfire. Allahuma Ameen.

  3. Marahm says:

    Religion did not comfort me at all when my father passed ten months ago. All of the talk about meeting his Lord and being in Heaven and getting rewarded for his contributions to life on earth did not give me a moment’s relief from missing him, crying for him, longing to be with him and knowing that I will never see him again, never hear his voice, laugh at his jokes, ask his advice, or get him a cup of coffee in the morning. The difference in our religions meant nothing to me during his last moments, and mean nothing to me now. Love and death are stronger than religion.

    I hope you will find comfort in prayer, and strength in Allah to endure what must surely befall all of us in the way of sickness, loss, and death. May Allah’s mercy be poured upon us all, and especially upon those who suffer in Palestine as we write. May Allah erase the barriers between us, replace hate with love, rejection with acceptance, and death with life in all of its possibilities for serving Him on earth and beyond. Amin.

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