Sunday, 13 September 2009

A picture of the end

The Prophet SAW always iterated, that a believer should remember death. So sisters, please imagine:

The time for the day’s iftar is nearing and you count in your head the many things you still have to do in the short time span that you have. And then you remember you have not prayed Asr Salah. You leave the ladle beside the cooker, brush your hands with the tea towel nearby and gallop up the stairs to make wudu. You had intended to break the fight the children were having over the new remote controlled car you bought them, but you reassure yourself, that you can do so in about ten minutes, after you finish your salah.

You splash the water in the bathroom sink as you whizz through wudu, then just about wipe the dripping water off your face with the hanging towel and rush to your room, eyeing it for the prayer mat. You find it, throw it down onto the thick soft carpet and swiftly make your takbir. You try to forget the fizzling noise of the hot oil frying the samosas you can hear in the distance, as you know if you think about this, you will be worrying over the colour of the samosas, over the concentration in your salah. You recite the surahs, complete the sujood and as you turn your head in salam, finishing off your salah, and your thoughts immediately return to all the commotion happening downstairs. You can hear the oil, you can hear the cartoons on TV, but now most of all you can hear two children arguing and screaming over a small red remote controlled car you found in a sale yesterday.

And you rise quickly, scanning in your head all the things you still have left to do and thinking about the order in which you will do them to ensure everything gets done before the time of iftar. As you rise you sweep up the prayer mat with you from under your feet. But as you fold the prayer mat in half, it falls from your hands, to end up in a scrumpled heap on the floor in front of you. And over the next few seconds, the following happens:

A piercing, numbing pain consumes your entire head which feels like someone ripped your head apart from the inside. So intense is the pain, that it overwhelms every sensation you felt just one moment ago. So intense is the feeling that the clear vision that you just had becomes dark and the walnut veneered wardrobe which always stands in front of you directly in your vision, when you pray salah, every day, no longer is recognisable.

You realise that you are falling to the floor, hitting something on your left side which you know is the end of the bed. You have not even thought about making some sort of noise through your mouth, but you can’t even think how to use it as you can’t find your voice. But before you can even exert that effort your whole body violently convulses and you are laying in your vomit on the floor. Things slowly come back into focus and you can see the colourful pieces of lego, play plates and cups under that walnut veneered wardrobe that have collected over time. You can hear again the shouts from downstairs which have seemed to have died down and despite the numbing pain which has engulfed your head, a bellowing ache forms in the deepest pit of your stomach as you have flashes of the baby always looking for you, but never being able to express it, you imagine your daughter sitting at the living room window wondering when you will come back and you imagine them waiting at the school gates with the delicate hope of seeing you, just maybe today, pulling up in the car. You briefly think of all those you love and you feel crippled when imagining the pain they will feel. But as you lay there, feeling very little, not understanding where you are now, what is happening, one thought becomes crystal clear in the depths of your heart.

The feeling that you felt before you undertook your most important exam, the feeling you felt before you faced your parents after disobeying them in the worst way possible at some point in your childhood – Think back to the most intense, gripping sense of fear you have felt, having no idea what was to come, being crippled by the feeling of not knowing what would happen to you. Think back to this feeling and multiply it exponentially. Because lying there, in the double bedroom, of your three bedroomed house, with the cooking still on the hob downstairs, the kids still running around chasing the speeding car across the room, you realise that this is it. This is the moment when it all ends, all opportunities, all hopes, all desires, everything comes to a dark end. Overwhelming feeling of being lost, the unknown engulfs you as you realise that your limbs will now bring you now avail to gtake you where you want to go, as you are going back to Allah. No turning back, the good deeds and the evil sins now stand in their separate lines waiting to travel with you, back to your Rabb. All those times when you put the wealth, the children, the enjoyments of this dunya above the pleasure of your Rabb; all those times when you thought tomorrow will be the time when I sacrifice for Allah; all those times now are all you have, without ever actually embracing the sacrifice– Those times now are all you have.

The pictures of those times now dry in your mind, and your heart frantically tries to change them, etch some out, ply some of them to rub out the sin and complacency in the dunya. But as helpless as you lie there on your bedroom floor, you realise you are just as helpless now in changing any of your deeds. You are now in Allah’s hands, waiting for His account, with the story of your life as your baggage. That realisation that would be strong enough to knock you down to the floor overcomes you, that the end really did come and you never made those sacrifices, never detached your heart from the pulls of the dunya. You are trapped in a time now where there is going to be no going back, and you would cry the tears of a lifetime in regret but you are past that ownership of yourself and your free will.

As the Angel of Death swoops into your suburban home to collect the next soul for that night, your physical self is still curled up on the floor next to the creased up prayer mat. The stench of the vomit travels into the passage and your loved ones try to understand what the smell is. The screams and the cries of those who walk in, as the Angel glides away, to find you would have perturbed you beyond belief when you were in this dunya, but now your ears cannot hear them you eyes cannot see them.

There is no immunity from death, so there should be no denial of it. May Allah SWT help us to remember death and our return to him, just as we remember living our lives in the dunya.

1 comment:

Muslim in the West said...


Jazakum-Allah Khair for this excellent reminder.