March 27th, 2014:
We prayed over my dear mother today and buried her. Tonight will be the first night in her grave. Subhan'Allah, I always wondered about this day, which will come for us all. My sister and I were talking this morning about how serene and peaceful we feel despite the chaos and cries of people around us. Perhaps it's because we saw her struggle through her illness and took care of her throughout that time, or perhaps it's because she looked so tranquil after her death, or perhaps we are at peace because she is finally at peace. But ultimately, we know it's because Allah is truly Merciful. He literally removed the sharp grief and sorrow associated with the death of a beloved mum, and kindly replaced it with calm, composure and serenity in all of us.
I remember my friend talking of this when her own mother passed away, and I didn't understand it back then because I couldn't imagine losing my mother. But today I understand it very well. Allah saves a person when their world crumbles. He gives you strength at difficult times - the kind of strength that you just know is not from you but can only be from Him. And He allows your soul to soar when it is pushed over the cliff by the calamities of life.
Alhamdulillah, the funeral turnout was incredibly huge. The masjid had to open up another whole building to accommodate for the large number of attendees, and there wasn't a single person who didn't have something good to say about her. When news of her death went around, you could see how it affected the community both here and abroad. She used to do a lot of good deeds in secret, and it's only now that it's all coming out because people are coming forward to speak of it.
Two women couldn't stop sobbing because she was the one who brought them into the community after they felt outcasted. A grown man was crying in town saying that she helped him set up his own business and get on his two feet. Numerous couples say they are indebted to her for her great ability to reconcile between quarreling couples and rebuild broken families. Countless people back home who are in poverty weep today because she always gave to them, and made sure they had something to eat and live on. I personally remember the day I found out she had been sponsoring at least two hafidh students of knowledge (for a few years) who were too poor to continue with their Shari'ah degrees - she had tried to keep it a secret but I pushed her until she told me and wow, was I surprised seeing as though she is always giving sadaqah masha'Allah. She didn't just help people. She rebuilt lives and slowly changed communities.
She did so much for others, but what she did for us is beyond my ability to tell. She was the one who facilitated all my learning. After Allah, if it wasn't for her I would never have learnt any Arabic or Qur'an or anything, let alone teach any of it. One day I decided to surprise her by calling her after I completed my hifdh of Qur'an. Wallahi, just as I stepped into class for my khatmah, I received a call on my phone. It was my mother calling to surprise *me* with a gift to go on 'Umrah for my efforts with Qur'an. She had no idea that I was finishing my khatmah and that I was planning on calling her in just an hour. But that was my mum; always a step ahead in charity, gifts, and goodwill. You could give her a river and she would give you back the ocean.
I can never do justice to you dear mummy, because you will always be a million times better than anything I could ever say about you. You were my best friend and confidante, my key adviser and helper. You were our mother and so much more. You were loved by the people of this earth and I'm sure this is a sign of Allah's Love for you. May the Lord of the Worlds accept you into His Mercy this night, shower His forgiveness upon you, and prepare your grave tonight as the best of earthly abodes; spacious and filled with light. I ask Him to open the window of Paradise to you, and fill you with peace and happiness. May the Angels greet you as they greet the Prophets, truthful ones, martyrs, and righteous, and may you be accepted as one of them.
"Gardens of everlasting residence; they will enter with whoever were righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate saying, "Salamun 'Alaikum (peace be upon you) for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home." [al-Ra'd: 23-24]
May Allah be pleased with you, ameen.
For those who asked, my mother died at the young age of 56.
31st March, 2014:
As my siblings recall our mother's many good points, one thing that stands out is what a good wife she was, masha'Allah. When people hear 'good wife' they might think 'submissive, meek, easily-controlled' etc., and this is such a fallacy and so far from the truth. On the contrary, my mother was strong, reliable, active, and was always there for everyone. Every sadaqah drive, she was there, every event that needed hands (weddings, funerals, fundraisers, mosque activities etc), she was always there. She had her own life and worked for her Akhirah, but this was never at the expense of her marital and home life.
She was a woman who controlled her tongue and only said goodly words. Her respect and love for my father was unmatched, and in turn, my father loved to listen to her, value her opinions, and treated her better than he would a queen. Their relationship was so beautiful that you couldn't tell where or who the goodness started or ended with masha'Allah. I always marvelled at the statement of Imam Ahmad when his wife passed away: "Umm Salih (his wife) lived with me for twenty years and she and I did not argue at all."
But today I marvel at something else... When my mother passed away, we were with her in the hospital, and my father stood next to her with the local Imam, family and friends. He stood there and said this magnificent statement that I will never forget in my life:
"We've been married for 30-odd years and she's never said a word that upset me. You people are the witnesses of Allah on earth. Be witness that I am pleased with her."
And everyone, including the Imam, just teared up.
Charity started at home, and her beautiful & respectful relationship with my father and all of us simply spilled on to the larger community and internationally. See, you can never really have an impact on the world if your own home is in shambles, because ripples work outwards, never inwards.
Rahimakillah hooyo (mother)...