As salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Dear Shabeel and Shazana…
It was very hard for me to go to your home last Monday. I had not met your mother in a long while… The last time I did, you were just a baby, Shabeel. Shazana, you had not even been born yet. It wasn’t that your mother and I had quarrelled or anything of the sort – we had been good friends in junior college and university. I don’t know why we didn’t try to stay in touch… I guess I will just have to use the same reason which everyone else uses and which I am sure you find difficult to understand – we just got busy.
I did not manage to talk to you the other day – there were just too many people around. I don’t think that you were up for any conversation anyway. I just want you both to know that I am very sorry about your father’s passing. It was a big shock to me and I am sure that you are still trying to come to terms with it.
When I saw you crying as you left your father, it brought back memories of when my father passed away about a year ago. I never thought that anything could hurt so much and I was sure that I would never get over it. That is not entirely true, though. You don’t get over it – how can you ever forget someone you love? You can’t – but the pain does ease with time and you learn to think about the warm and wonderful memories you had.
You know, it is OK to feel sad and it is OK to cry. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, wept on the death of his son, Ibrahim, and said: “The eyes shed tears and the heart feels pain, but we utter only what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim! We are aggrieved at your demise.” So we cry but we also remember to have faith in Allah and what He has decreed.
You see, Shabeel and Shazana, we think of our souls, families and wealth as “ours”. So when the things and people we love are gone, we feel sad. The truth is, they do not belong to us – they belong to Allah. He gave them to us as a loan. So we must be grateful while we have these blessings and be patient when He takes them back.
Remember that the Qur’an tells us that Allah is with those who are patient – “O you who believe! Seek Help in Patience and Salaah. Truly, Allah is with those that are patient.” [Qur’an 2:153]
Allah has not one but THREE big rewards for those who are patient – He has promised His prayer for them, His Mercy, and their guidance: “Who, when afflicted with calamity say, ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return…’ They are those on whom the Salawat (the blessing and forgiveness) of their Lord is upon them, and who shall receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” [Qur’an 2:157] Now, isn’t that wonderful? Allah sometimes tests us but He will always give us something better in return.
Shabeel, you are now the man in your family. You need to take care of your mother and younger brother and sister. Shazana, you will need to be your mother’s partner and help her in every way you can. She will have a lot to deal with now and she will count on you doing your best in school and at home.
I know you will miss your father very much. I still think about my father too and sometimes I don’t want to because it hurts too much. I know that you and your father shared a very special relationship. It sounds funny when I say this but truthfully, it doesn’t have to end.
There is still so much you can do for your father. The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him.”
Remember that YOU are sadaqah jariyah for your father – he will receive a share of the rewards for all the good that you do.
You must also always make du`aa for him because your prayers can help him enter Paradise. The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “A man’s status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, ‘How did I get here?’ He will be told, ‘By your son’s du`aas (prayers) for forgiveness for you.'”
My good friend Sadiqa shared some comforting words with me when my father passed away. I would like to now tell you the same thing that she told me. Don’t think of your father as “gone” or “lost” – this separation is temporary, just like everything in this world. Think of him as waiting for you in another room. On the day of Judgement, you will be reunited with him and inshaa Allah you will all walk into Jannah together.
Shabeel and Shazana, please know that you are in my du`aa … May Allah keep you safe and well always ameen.