I always try avoid being harsh, but at the same time we need to be realistic. I attended a Janaza (Funeral) Prayer yesterday for a friend of a family friend, and wanted to share some of the thoughts I had throughout the day.
It was a sister who has passed away (may Allah have abundant mercy on her, Ameen). She was in her 30's, and had been battling cancer for a few years. She left behind a husband and a 14 year old girl, may Allah grant them patience and comfort. So I guess the first thought that comes to mind: this can happen to any of us, anytime. None of us should think that we'll live forever, or that things like cancer can't happen to us.
This sister has passed away. She has no more time to do good deeds, or to think about the bad deeds she may have done. We will all reach this stage eventually, when it will be too late.
At this time of the year, all our email boxes are being flooded with encouragements to buy more and more material items. Whatever material items this sister has, they are of no use to her now. It made me think that we should remember material items for what they are: at best, a convenience for living in this world, at worst, something that can take us away from Allah.
Everyone at the janaza was very solemn, and doing the 'right thing'. Everyone was on time. Everyone listened to and followed what the Imam said, no arguments. Everyone was on their best Islamic behaviour. I am sure that people were attending the prayer who don't prayer at any other times. You would think maybe this is a wake up call for those attending the janaza. Sadly, we all know too well that within minutes, hours, days, everyone is back to their usual self. The way I was feeling yesterday, I don't feel the same way today, and wil probably totally forget this post within a few days.
Everyone fights so much... friends, families, mosque leaders, etc... we will all pass away one day. What will we remember about each other? The fights, or the pleasure we got from each other as spouses, family members, brothers/sisters in Islam? Imagine if the person you are constantly fighting with dies tomorrow... how would you feel?
When the Imam recited Allau Akbar in the salat, I really felt the meaning of it. No-one can do anything against Allah when He decress death. Indeed, Allah is The Greatest.
Here's the scariest part. The sister was in a Quran learning group. Coincidentally, the leader of this group had given a funeral workshop a few months back, in which she talked a lot about what happens to the soul when you die. Many of these sisters were at the deceased sister's bedsides when she passed away. It was said to be a real life, practical lesson of what the sister had been talking about. I went to Isha, and the Imam was reciting Surah Al Qiyyamah. This had some verses which, given what I had been through, really put things into context.
26. Yea, when (the soul) reaches to the collar-bone (in its exit),
27. And there will be a cry, "Who is a magician (to restore him)?"
28. And he will conclude that it was (the Time) of Parting;
29. And one leg will be joined with another:
30. That Day the Drive will be (all) to thy Lord!
31. So he gave nothing in charity, nor did he pray!-
32. But on the contrary, he rejected Truth and turned away!
33. Then did he stalk to his family in full conceit!
34. Woe to thee, (O men!), yea, woe!
35. Again, Woe to thee, (O men!), yea, woe!
36. Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)?
37. Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)?
38. Then did he become a leech-like clot; then did ((Allah)) make and fashion (him) in due proportion.
39. And of him He made two sexes, male and female.
40. Has not He, (the same), the power to give life to the dead?
So we things we learn from these verses:
- When this sister's soul reached the collar-bone, there was no magician - nor any doctor - to pull it back. The sisters at her bedside witnessed this for themselves.
- At the time of the death, the deceased knows what is happening to him/her, and the next step is the meeting with his/her Lord.
- What have we done for our Islam? Have we prayed? Have we given charity? Have we done enough of both?
- How do we deal with our families? In a carefree, 'fun' way without any thought of our Islam or theirs?
- Allah has not left us to do whatever we want. A day will come when we will indeed be brought back to life, in the same way that we were created from a drop of sperm in the first place. At that time, we will know that death was not the end, but only the beginning.