Archive for October, 2008

I came to visit you!
October 23, 2008

     I needed to get away. And while the people around me were debating and engaged in a heated conversation, I slid away from their gathering and into my car. I was on a well paved road heading north when I questioned myself; where am I heading? I did not know. I pulled over to take some time to reflect and that was when I’d recalled the memories of my late friend. Then and there, I remembered him. He was a companion of mine whom, I was present and I witnessed the day his body was lowered into the cold earth, and soon afterwards, I was given the unpleasing duty of throwing dirt onto his casket. On that day, it was cold, the wind was blowing with rage and the women, who had been advised not to come to the graveyard, disobyed such orders and I found them standing not from his resting place. I remembered I had asked Allah not to hold my friend accountable for their actions, and as his body escaped their vision, the women of close relation to him, screamed with sorrow from the distance. Upon recalling the emotions I felt on that very day, I felt a need to revisit his grave. I drove for another 20-30 minutes heading further north, and as I approached the graveyard, I grew nervous. My nerves became feelings of sadness and my sadness transformed into shyness. I had grown shy because its been so long since I’ve visited my friend, and I remember the day I buried him, I was among the last of the people to walk away from his grave. I remember on that day, I was thinking to myself, how can we leave him alone? Wont he feel lonely? Wont he ask about his family and his close companions? I didn’t want to leave him alone and with sadness and tears in my eyes, I walked away from his grave. 

     When I had approached the graveyard which held the souls of many Muslims, mixed emotions overtook me. I was hesistent to walk up to my companion’s grave and give him my salaams. I was shy because, once upon a time, I did not want to leave him alone and here I was, a couple of years later, returning to give him my salaams and make dou’aa for him? That just didn’t seem right. True companionship, according to my definiton, are those who love you in death as they loved you during your life, who respect your honour when you have passed on, as they guarded your honour when you stood next to them, and who visit your grave as they visited you at your home; I did not believe I had fulfilled those rights and I felt I had let my companion down. But that was the past, and this was the present and I was committed to making things right; I shook off such negative thoughts and proceed forward with my intention to visit my late friend. 

     When I reached the graveyard and pulled into the road which led to his resting place, I found many souls where buried there. I parked my car on the side of some graves, slowly withdrew myself from the vehicle, and as I looked around, I noticed I was alone. The sight of many graves, and the quietness of the souls which dwell therein, left me speechless. I stood still and the cold wind blew into my face the realities of life after death. I tried to comprehend what life would be like in the grave but my imagination failed me. The grave: a place of loneliness?  That was when I’d recalled the words of one Muslim woman who said, “why am I dying (ie, eager) to live, when I’m living to die?”, and I knew this Muslim woman from my days of attending school with her and I had never heard her speak truer words then those.

     I started to walk towards my companion’s grave and I remembered the day when his body was lowered into the ground; an Imaam was present on that day and after the body of my friend was established firmly beneath the ground, the Imaam took it upon himself to recite some verses from Surah Baqarah. Not only did the Imaam’s recitation of the Second Chapter from the Noble Quran change my view of that Surah, but I returned to the very spot which I stood on the day he recited those verses and after lowering my head, due to shame and sadness, I gave my salaams to my friend and extended my greetings to those who laid around him. The wind blew west, and the temperature was dropping as Maghrib approached and I stood over my companion’s grave in complete silence. I started wondering about his current state and how he was doing? It’s been two years since he had entered life in the grave and I could not help myself but to feel sadness for him. I recalled all those beautiful moments we shared with each other, our conversations, and everything we shared had faded with his lost. At that moment, standing over his grave, I came to the conclusion that many folks feel sorrow for the lost of their loved ones but not because they worry about the situation of the deceased after life but rather, their sadness is a result of “I miss so and so”. It’s like the feeling of one lover who has been separated from their love and with each day that passes, their strength of love for that particular person reminds their soul of their feeling of “missing”. And I have felt such feelings of “missing” for others but as I stood, I honestly felt, I wasn’t missing my friend (although I do care about him); I felt sadness for him because I didn’t know what became of him. I didn’t know if he was being punished or if he was spared the torment of the grave. In other words, I felt for his situation and I wasn’t thinking about my selfish soul. I wasn’t thinking, “Why did I loose him?”; more like, “my Lord, please, have mercy on his soul”.

     After some time, I decided to speak. And I knew very well that my friend could not hear my words but my soul begged from within to be given a stage in which it could declare some inner thoughts. I looked towards the shy and I felt Maghrib was quickly approaching so I started by stating, “I don’t have much time, and I know you can not hear me, but my soul needs an opportunity to state some words”. I continued, “I cant imagine life under the ground, and I’m certain that you would love an opportunity to come back to the world in order to add to your scrolls of good deeds but I want you to know, I miss you and I love you. And soon my friend, I shall join you. Soon, I will embark upon the same path which you have experienced and I hope one day, perhaps in the gardens of paradise, I shall see your face again. Many people continue to miss you but a few of those folks sorrow is established on the foundation of uncertainty for you. While some are “missing” you, I want you to know, my feelings for you are based upon the uncertainty of where your deeds have led you to? If I was informed from above the heavens that you are in a state of peace and you shall enter paradise, I would not feel sad for you; in fact, I would rejoice for your successful mission of the worldly life. But I have no confirmation from above of heavens therefore, my heart seeks the answers to what has become of your situation. Just know, even if the people of the earth forget about you, I wont. I’ve mentioned your name and your impact on my life in my future book to my children and I assure you, they will know your story as my heart remembers your story. And although I cant promise that Allah will preserve my book and thereby, many folks from future generations will know about you, I can promise that your words of wisdom will remain within me forever. And know, I will ask about you on the Day I meet my Lord and I hope you will be of those shaded under the shade of our Lord’s Throne. I must go now because the prayer is upon me but before I depart, I ask Allah, our Lord, the Lord of the Unseen and the One with All-Power to spare you from the punishment of the grave and the Fire. I ask Allah to reward you according to the best of your deeds, and to forgive you for your shortcomings.”

     And just before I turned around to walk away, I recited a verse of poetry which I had written in his remembrance, “and those who don’t fear death because death is the result of living life”

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Reminiscing or daydreaming?
October 7, 2008

     Reminiscing or was I daydreaming? Was I reflecting back to what had occurred in the past or was I creating new mental facts? Was I allowing my memory to connect back to my conscious like rivers connecting to open seas or was I really guilty of over flowing the banks that hold my imagination intact, and had I finally allowed my mind to run wild on me? Perhaps the later is more appropriate and whatever the case be, it all reminds me as to how I met her. How, a day amongst the days which have come and gone, my gaze fell upon her gaze and my soul, which had kept to itself, jumped from our strict boundaries to meet her soul leading to soul touching soul. It was a meeting of two different worlds, the past and the future, the living and the dead, a meeting that took place but according to history, it hasn’t but it has and only the blindness of history had prevented it from recording its actual existence. Place much value into my words as I declare, the meeting was as real as living life or breathing in the fresh fall air. Such a meeting between the two formerly trapped souls had caused the world, which previously appeared to be an evil place for its harboring of evil of criminals and souls, to appear to be a place for eternal peace, somewhat like the heavens which Allah has described in countless verses in the Quran.    
    
     I call my meeting her a complete coincidence but when I visited my teacher, or should I call him my poetic reciter; upon revealing to him the events of what took place, how I came to find the individual I have been searching for – for some time, he turned down my “it was a complete coincidence” claim inexchange for his, ‘it was qadar wa qada’. Qadar wa Qada? Of course it was Qadar wa Qada and as my gaze met her gaze, words became pearls. Silence upon silence. The world froze and the birds that had been flying freely, landed immediately upon tree branches and all watched very closely as to what would happen next. She spoke and you wouldn’t believe what she said – she said….