Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullah
As many may know, my cousin Farhana passed away last night after a 16 month battle with a brain tumor (in reality she was more to me than an older sister..) . She passed away peacefully last night at around 8 pm with close family around her. We ask each of you to please pray for her and the family and to ask Allah (swt) to make things easy and full of khayr.
In my cousin Ismail's words:
In my cousin Na'eel's words:
Assalaam alaykum wa rahmatullah,
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. Certainly, we are from Allah and to Him we return.
After a long year of struggle, my dear cousin Farhana passed away at 7:45 PST at home in California with all her loved ones beside her. One of my beloved aunts described her last moments in this world by likening the exit of her ruh/soul to a silk thread being drawn out of a delicate flower. may Allah make that moment for us as easy as Farhana's. As Muslims, we joyously celebrate the occurrence of a beautiful death for it heralds eternal bliss. Farhana's transition between the temporal and eternal is the transplantation of a flower from a garden to the Garden.
Her short life gave her enough time to exemplify the sincerity and simplicity one can live one's live with. As she lost function of various faculties, (movement, sight and then speaking), she used what remained to bring the way of the Prophet into her life. In fact, for the past week, as she lay on her bed immobile, she used the only hand she had left to use - her right - to make dhikr/remembrance on the tasbeeh/rosary and use the miswak/toothstick. All she wanted us to recite was Ya Salamu(Oh Peace referring to Allah) and Surah Yaseen. In this world, she called with Ya Salaamu with her last breath; now she is with al-Salam. She knew where she was going and wanted to leave in the most excellent way. Ameen. Where are we? Subhanallah.
The last thing the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did before his death (according to Aisha): “He lay down in my lap, brushed his teeth harder than he had ever done before ”, then his eyes were fixed and he was saying “Nay, the Companion on high from paradise.” I said to myself “You were given the choice and you have chosen, by Him who sent you with the Truth.” Then, he passed away.” (Bukhari)
The passing of loved ones occasions both mourning and remembrance of what awaits us all.
If I could suggest a concrete step after reading this email, purchase Imam Ghazali's Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife and read it annually .Familiarizing yourself with death is not a morbid exercise in our Tradition; rather, its frequent remembrance will serve to make its reality the context in which we live and act.
In these moments, it is painfully obvious how we have no control over life and death. When we are reminded over who is actually in control, we must chase those opportunities to take control of what we actually can - our intention. At the end of the day and life, it is our state of being and not our actions that we die upon. Never underestimate your intention for the niyya is removed from time. That is why dying upon an intention other than worshiping the One and Only can earn perpetual punishment. may Allah save us from this end! On the other hand, leaving this world with a pious intention can facilitate eternal reward.
In this light, we have only control of our intentions and the moments ahead. The Sufi is called "ibnul waqt", the "child of the moment." Years and lifetimes are not guaranteed; neither are days, weeks, or hours. In a manner of speaking, we are guaranteed the here and now and can control what we do in that span of time. Farhana lived her life with this in mind. She took care of people and made us all smile when we were with her. She was a devoted wife, sister, daughter, and friend.
This is the legacy Farhana leaves for us - fulfilling the rights she owed to others and never expecting anything in return.. She was always described as "down-to-earth" and "sensible", always making others more important than herself. She did so because Allah gifted her, as he does with His most beloved servants, with a keen sense of what actually matters in life – and at the end of life. We thank Allah for each and every moment of Farhana's company he mercifully gave to us. We pray that he increase our resolve to adopt lifestyles like hers whose Qibla was the Aakhira. We pray that he reunite us in the highest station of Jannatul Firdaus!
PS. So often in life, we never thank those around us for being who they are. When was the last time you thanked your mother without expecting something in return?
Take this opportunity to let your grandparents, your parents, your siblings, your cousins, and your friends know how much you appreciate them. And actually call them. Email and the internet only build upon real human connections so establish those regularly first!