MV: If there’s one thing that’s certain about life, it’s death.
Yesterday I was able to fully comprehend the value of that statement.
It was fajr time when my mom woke me up and asked me if I was awake, but what I really think she was asking, was if I would be able to fully grasp the meaning of her words. She told me that Sr. Saadia Ghaffar and her two year old daughter had passed away in a car crash. She told me to go pray fajr.
Sometimes people have doubts. Sometimes the reality is too hard to fully understand. That was my first reaction, I had no idea what I just heard and whether or not it was true. About a moment after though, I reacted with fear; I just heard about someone dying, yet here I still was lying down, with the time for Fajr ticking, second by second.
It’s news like these that have an effect in your life. It was my first time witnessing death this close. Other times when I heard about someone passing away, it was either someone I knew little about or I was too little to remember.
Our community was shaken up. Sr. Saadia was a really vibrant and strong member of the community. She was a community leader, role model for the youth, and a huge advocate of the community. Her daughter, only two, was one of the cutest babies I ever saw, always smiling and laughing.
The sister was also a teacher for the Masjid’s Islamic Sunday School. Ironically, she wasn’t there the day before her death, but the rest of her family were. I saw them all, her whole family, all at the Masjid for Islamic classes; husband teaching, children learning, the day before she passed away. What was most shocking though, was that I saw her two year old daughter just the day before her death, happy, calm, playful, innocent. No one knew they were going to be gone the next day, not her 12 year old son, not her 11 year old daughter, nor her smiling husband. No one expected it.
This stuff really hit me hard. Most of the time we expect to live long, grow old, and live to see ourselves become better people. This sister though, was only 38 and her daughter didn’t even reach the age to experience the world fully. It made me think, we always plan ahead; we plan to graduate, earn a living, get married, have kids, become successful, buy a house, and grow old, but why don’t we plan death, when in reality we could die any second of our life? This day might be our last, we never know. One day you see life and the next day you don’t. Allah teaches us to live our life accordingly, with our purpose in mind because if we don’t, then you won’t be ready when death comes to you, greeting you without Salaam.
How will I die? It got me thinking, here Sr. Saadia and her daughter died in a car accident, but most of us believe to die due to old age, slowly, not that suddenly. Allah swt has our deaths written down, for when, where, why, and how. Every detail is set, it’s just the essence of time in between. Death is waiting for you, it don’t care if your not.
Will people care? When we lived, did we leave a mark on the community? Did we do what we could to help improve our community, build strong bonds, influence others, and become role models for others to follow? Will people show up to our graveyards, will they make dua for us?
SubhannAllah, I never saw so many Muslims at a Masjid before (while being at the Masjid, exception: Masjid Al Haram and Nabwi). The picture bellow was taken at the Janaza of Sr. Saadia, Zoya, and an older sister.
Props to the Islamic Association of North Texas for the following message:
“May Allah (SWT) bless the souls of the deceased and give patience to the families. Every time someone passes away, it should be a lesson for the rest of us. Death can come suddenly, at any time, without warning. Then our books of deeds are closed, but the duaa of others may help us. Ask yourself, “If I were to die today, would the same amount of people show up for my funeral prayer? Have I nurtured and valued my community and family bonds, and served the community lovingly, so that even on a weekday, over 2000 people attend my funeral prayer to pray for me?” It is not too late for us, brothers and sisters; our books of deeds are still open…let us get over our personal differences and see the bigger picture. At the end, we will all return to the same earth, with nothing but our deeds, alone.”
Another Sister wrote something strong as well:
“Since yesterday I’ve been thinking about and observing the outpouring of love and grief because of Saadia and Zoya’s death. I believe it is reflection of the love that she had for her Lord for those around her and her community. When someone shows complete love for Allah, Allah show the same love for him/her in a way that we cannot comprehend. He tells the angels in Heaven to love that person, then they tell the angels on earth to love that person who then make the people love that person.
Looking at the crowd at the Masjid today made me believe that Allah loved Saadia.”
This is what we should strive to accomplish, inn sha Allah.
In the grave. It was not only my first time at a Muslim cemetery, but also at an actual graveyard.
“Visiting the graveyard reminds one of death and afterlife, and makes him draw a lesson from it for his afterlife. (Muslim)”
It truly did. I saw the bodies being buried, made dua, and remembered that death is sitting right around the corner. It’s a whole different feeling when visiting the grave, you try to imagine what the dead are going through, at that very moment. How would my experience be?
How would my family feel? This news has really shaken up the DFW community, but I can’t imagine what her husband, and her two children are going through, no mom, no younger sister. SubhanAllah though, I met with her two children, husband and father, all were strong. I imagined myself in their place, I don’t think I’d be able to control myself. Her daughter (only 11) was in the car when the accident happened, she was the only survivor, alhumdollilah she survived. Other then a few scars and bruises she was fine, but what about how this would effect her mentally and physiologically? It’s bad enough having your family pass away, but being in the car you experience the tragedy right in front of you…is a whole another story. By the will of Allah swt though, if you saw this girl, she was calm and under control. SubhanAllah. May Allah swt give the family patience and blessings, Ameen.
At the end of the day, the reality is, is that we’ll eventually forget about death, temporarily again. Big loss equals weeks, but months max for mourning, moreover, life goes on. That’s why we need to constantly remind ourselves about death, positively. You might ask, “how would do I remember death, positively?” Seek Allah swt protection, make dua for yourselves, and have taqwa (fear of Allah) whenever you or I do sin. Doing sin is natural, we can’t stop ourselves, however, so is death and that is why we need to remember who he is.
May Allah swt grant janatul firdos to the sister, make it easy for her in the grave, and bless Zoya, her daughter’s gentle soul, Ameen.
May He also give us all the ability to grasp the remembrance of death and give us janatul firdos, Ameen.
~It’s events like these that make you ponder over life.