It’s something all of us have been through, whether recent or not, we have or will eventually go through it at one point in our life. Someone close to us will pass on to the next life, someone we loved, and will leave us alone in this world, heartbroken at their departure.
About a month ago I lost a cousin to cancer who was very close to me, not only because she actually lived in the same house as me for a few years but also because she was one of very few of my cousins that I actually had a close and personal relationship with. I’d say she was more than a cousin, even more than a friend, she was like an older sister I felt I could open up to and sit and chat to about everything on the face of this earth for hours and hours. May Allah have mercy on her and grant her jannat Al Firdaws.
You see, after losing my cousin I did a lot of contemplating. This cousin is not the first person close to me who has passed away. In fact, in the year that just passed us I lost 3 very close people to me in total to death. I’d say however that this one was the peak of all of it, for she was really one of the closest people to me in my life.
I came to ponder over how things change when people leave us. I suppose it’s not the norm to contemplate on such things, a lot of the time we focus more on thinking about the person and how we miss them etc. But I couldn’t help but pay attention to the way in which people would react to deaths. My cousin coincidentally passed away 2 days before our family trip to Sudan. So for the first time in my life I got to witness the way in which people in Sudan react to the death of someone, i.e. how they give condolences. And it was only after I witnessed it that I realised why my parents never wanted me or any of my siblings to witness it.
For the first time in my life I saw grown women who didn’t even know my cousin or anything about her except that she happened to be related to someone in our family, wailing and crying in such inhumane manners. I suppose deep down inside such a thing hurt me, because I felt that looking at them and remembering my cousin I deserved to be crying the way they were at her death and so if I wasn’t, there could be no way their “sadness” was true. It was all just an act to abide by culture. I know that this is not only a tradition in Sudan but also in many other Muslim countries and its sad to know that people just spend time trying to do such strange things for the sake of their culture instead of actually contemplating the death of someone.
The Prophet said: “He who slaps the cheeks, tears the clothes and calls to or follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance, is not from us.” [1. Agreed Upon]
For those who contemplate, the death of anyone could be a life changing experience for them. My mum really began reading up deeply on Islam after her father passed away. Yes the death was tragic and caused grief, but it bought so many people benefit too.
How saddening is it to know, that half of our Ummah respond to deaths in manners that are, not only a waste of time, a great headache and embarrassing, but also against the Sunnah itself. Have we not learnt anything? Allah has taken away the life of someone, whether you know them or not, and all that you should be thinking about now is that you could be next.
I know us young people living here in the West do not really have this problem of wailing etc when someone dies. But I do know three problems we do have, not only when deaths occur but sadness in general: depression, questioning the decree of Allah, and not pondering over the situation.
You see, when someone dies they leave us, it’s the end of this road for them, but its not the end of the road for us, not at all. For those of you who have lost someone close to you may have experienced this feeling: almost like you feel that the whole world should stop spinning for a second for the death of your loved one, because that’s how much they mean to you. But we forget that this world never stops spinning for anyone, and our life doesn’t stop for them either.
The Shaytaan loves to toy with us, and what better time than when we are most vulnerable? We need to look at deaths as reminders; something that will raise us up and become closer to Allah rather than bring us down and cause us to question His decree. Realise this, that it is a disease of the heart to bury the dead and not reflect on it. Death is a reminder to us and is sent as only a reminder, a test.
Realise that everything and everyone that you see, touch or speak to will come to an end and you are no exclusion. The last thing you need is the sympathy of people. Realise that sadness over a death is never a sin, but it is a loss of time if it does not cause you to reflect and remember your Lord.
Finally, realize that the death of a human being should never stop you in your journey to success. Keep on going for your own sake, remember them in your heart and remember your Lord and pray for them the way you would want to be prayed for after you die.
This article will most probably be posted a few months after I began writing it as it took me a while to find the right words to put together over this sensitive situation and finally build the courage to submit them. I make dua to Allah for every single Muslim out there who has lost someone close to them or will do so in the future, and that Allah grants you patience and strength and allows it to be a means of reflection for you and nothing less.
Inna lillahi, wa inna ilayhi rajioon.
Sarah is a 17 year old student in London. She aims to inspire the younger generation of this Ummah, especially in the west, by relating to them and responding to the issues faced by them in her articles. "I write because nobody listens"