Monday, 27 June 2011

Islamic Articles: TO ALLAH IS OUR RETURN



Allah (SWT) says (translation of the meanings):

'And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives, and fruits, but give glad tidings to those who are patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: 'Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.''(s. 2, v. 155-156).

One of the most difficult things for a person to bear in this life is the loss of a loved one. For sure, we all face difficulty and hardship when we are confronted with the loss of the material fruits of this life, or even with a loss to ourselves by decline in health or disease. But it seems to me that the most difficult of calamity to cope with is to face the life of this world without the continuance of any of our loved ones along with us.

For those of you who have had to cope with the loss of a loved one, you understand what I am saying. And for those of you who have yet to face such a calamity, you will not fully understand until that time may come to you. And as true as this test is part of this worldly life, I pray that each of us will have the strength and fortitude to persevere with patience, and eventually reap the reward promised by Allah. For surely, He never relinquishes on His promise.

There is no loss which is easy for the person to bear. But of all the possible manners of loss, perhaps the most heart-wrenching, and therefore most difficult to sustain, is that of a parent who's child dies.

Due to the most natural procession of events of life, we most generally assume and take for granted that the elder fall weak, ill, and then die before the younger generation. And for the vast majority of cases, this is indeed the normal procession of events.

But this life has no guarantees, and we should not take it for granted nor assume that death will come to the elderly before the younger. Truly, our lives and the length of our lives is the sole knowledge of Allah, and it is with His power and permission that the life continues or ends.

As a mother myself, I can only imagine the sheer heartbreak that one faces at the loss of any of her children.

Several days ago I went to pay my respects to a family of our acquaintance of whom their adult son had only several days previously died. He was a husband and father of four. He had apparently been battling cancer for quite a while. Finally, Allah's decree of the disease won the battle. May Allah shed His mercy upon him.

There is no doubt that he will be missed by many. Although there are several uncles and even their grandfathers present in the children's lives, still there is no replacement for their father. A person may have many children or re-marry any number of times, but we all –regardless of our ages and stage in life-have only one father and one mother. Whenever we may lose either of those parents, there is no chance of replacement.

Yet no matter how hard it is for one to lose either of the parents, still I believe something that is more difficult to deal with in patience is the loss of a child.

As I visited with the family in my humble effort to join them in their sorrow and to gently remind them to remember Allah and be patient, I was touched by the extreme patience and perseverance I recognized in the mother of the deceased. Although she was not adorned with the kohl eyeliner, still her appearance was extremely neat and groomed. And it was not necessarily her neatness which caught my eye so much as the appearance of her eyes-very little, if any at all, residue or evidence of crying. Her countenance was, of course, of serious nature-but obviously not teary-eyed. As new visitors came in, some would make purposeful extensions of remembrance of the deceased and reminding the mother and all others of this natural course in life that we must all eventually take. They would also voice reminders of the importance of patience at such times. Most generally, the mother would simply reply in a tearless
agreement to their statements, and perhaps she would also express praises and thanks to Allah.

Upon conversing with one of the daughters-in-law of the household, I learned that this stance of the mother was not merely a front for the visiting public. Rather, she was this same pillar of strength for the whole family even behind closed doors and away from the on-looking visitors. Whenever she would notice some of the younger ones crying, she would reprimand them-reminding that his death was a mercy from Allah in that he had suffered much from the disease. And she would continue on to remind them that even if not for his suffering, still this was the plan and desire of Allah to take him at this time, so they must all be thankful to Him for all things.

Even in her most private of moments when she was in prayer to the Creator, she was reportedly ever patient, and in true form of a faithful slave-calling out to Allah to shed His mercy upon her beloved son.

Such utter patience at a time of great calamity! Surely, the greatest pain any mother can endure is the loss of a child. Yet, this woman shows us great strength and love for Allah through her patience and seeking perseverance through prayer.

We are taught by the Islamic teachings that the test for patience is at the time of the onset of the calamity, not at a later time. It is easy for all of us, although still painful, to awaken a bit later after the onset of the calamity and then gather our senses towards a patient acceptance of the reality of the loss. But the test for us is at the onset of the calamity-to be patient and accepting of Allah's decree and worship Him with remembrance of Him and thanks to Him.

Verily, we come from Allah and to Him is our return.


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