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Friday, September 14, 2007

You are my Companion in my journey

Posted by Peace at 9:48 AM
Got the phone call. This is the day I have feared for so long. Mute was I when grief’s somber shawl started to slowly creep over me. Unable to comprehend the unimaginable loss, I sat back thinking of everything else in denial. It was my brother’s grave voice that let loose all my tear-demons. He is our rock now.

So my father was being buried under the ground. My true old friend, my very first fan, the one who watched with wonder in his eyes how his little bud gradually blossom into who I am right now, the one who took my hand in his big warm hands and showed me the way to worlds of beauty and sophistication. Still, I was not falling apart like I thought I would. I calmly arranged for my flight back home to be where I belong; with my grief-stricken family.

My fingers typed the words “my father passed away” to my dear ones, and then rushed to hide my face and cover my weary eyes. Then the memories rushed along. The last time I heard his voice, the last thing he said, the last time I saw him, and many more; each snatching a piece of my heart and throwing it in the abyss of what is now bygone. It was simply incomprehensible to take away from the picture of my taken-for-granted world a man that was full of life, thought and humor. That was the day after which life ceased to be the same.

Torn between leaving my children and running to the unknown, I felt the burning tears streaming down as I turned around to face the flight’s gate. Forlorn on my seat on that cold bitter birthday, I felt like a stranger in this world. No sadly setting sun in the far beyond or cotton-candy cloud clusters in the burgundy dusk could solace me. I then read my traveling prayer,

“O Allah, You are the Companion in the journey and the substitute in the family. O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the hardship of the journey and from returning to sorrow and a distressing sight or finding family and possessions in a poor state”.

Indeed, He was my Companion.

Take my hand now my Lord. Do pat gently on my hollow heart and overwhelm me with your mercy. Between heaven and earth, I felt like a whirling feather, restless and unaware where the blowing wind would land me. You are my Companion now. Take care of me now. I am suddenly the insecure child raising her hands looking for the safe shore of her father’s tenderness and compassion.

It felt like forever before my third and last plane touched down. My heart beats were racing the plane’s speed and my anticipation left me breathless and drained. It was my father that used to wait for me and welcome me with his rich sweet embrace that used to take all my pain away. He won’t be there this time. Waiting in the long-dreary line-ups, I couldn’t help looking for his loving face among the many faces around me. I felt that he was somehow there. I even swear that I heard his voice calling my name from the distance that I actually turned around where I thought the voice came from; but of course, there was nothing. I could not find him.

But He was there watching over me as if saying, “Even though he isn’t there this time, I am here for you.” God sent my way complete strangers that to my amazement picked me out of the crowd and helped me get everything done as smoothly as it can ever be possible. How merciful are you my Lord, how gracious!

And out of the airport, I stepped to find my mother’s serene smile waiting for me. “It’s ok… It’s ok”, she repeated. Then I sank in the home of her stretched arms again.

I knew that I did just the right thing going there when I looked at my sibling’s faces. The suddenly stranded islands were trying to snuggle closer. They were as solid as mountains enduring the pain yet as tender as babies cuddling together. No tears were allowed; only laughter and smiles, the way he liked it most. Only beautiful memories were to be shared. Painful ones were locked up in denial until the hearts were strong again to go through them. Devastated as they were, they stood tall and strong greeting mourning visitors with a smile, yielding to the loss with fortitude. I just could not be more proud of them.

Accompanied by some of my family members I went to visit his grave, or the way I prefer to put it, “visit him”. The ones around were there before me when it all took place, but it was my first time. I stood there unable to fully take in how my father was under that stone. I asked to be left alone with him. I was his eldest daughter. I was also the one who lived farthest and thus, I was denied to be there like all others at his last moments. I had a gnawing urge to talk to him. My wish was respected and granted and I sat on the ground next to him and poured my heart out to him. I asked him to be proud of his family who loved him so dearly that they did not break for his leave to show him how well he raised us up and what a great man he was. I said that I know that I was the one who has to cross oceans and thousands of miles to come visit him but I could still be the closest talking to him endlessly and asking God to grant him mercy. I said that I somehow could not, and still can’t, imagine a life without him in it; yet I knew that he was still there. And on I went and each time I got up to turn around and walk away, I was crippled with the harsh awareness that I would walk away an orphan! But I had to eventually go away just like life goes on. I saw in the distance my brother watching me from afar fearing that I might pass out, out of my deep silent grief. I rushed to him and asked him to hold me tight for at that moment I just needed that so.

But what is it that kept us intact instead of being crushed before this sudden death? It is God’s mercy and overwhelming kindness. We are asked to endure the loss of loved ones especially at the first shocking moments. It takes no hard work on our part; it is rather a blessing of mercy that we either accept or kick away to take the easy way out and remain absorbed in pain. Yet, death will remain our wake-up call of how short and empty life is and how futile it is to waste time, energy as well as all the blessings we are endowed with that make us better people. Only those who swallow the pain and go on are the ones who know how harsh it is, though rewarding, to yield and accept God’s decree. God says in Qur’ān, “And in case you are patient and pious, then surely that is (an indication) of (true) resolve concerning His (i.e. the Commands of Allah) Commands.” (Ala-`Imrān, 3: 186)

No pain or grief should bring you to your knees. Every test is meant to have you stronger should you choose to make it in spite of it all. Remember your Companion, accept what He brings your way turning every hurdle into a stepping stone to be worthy of His endless mercy that we cannot do without.

1 comments on "You are my Companion in my journey"

Anonymous said...

A poignant and articulate portrayal. A graphic animation of strong bona fide emotions incubated in a wounded heart. You can’t help but live through the experience of the writer. I literally felt my heart break upon reading the vivid description of the airport scene. The expose of the graveyard scene was also unbelievably powerful that I had to pause reading or I should say watching the article for a few minutes to recoup my strength. But, ALLAH knows best that this article was sent to me in just the right time when three days of the blessed month of Ramadan had already passed any my level of faith is still rock bottom. I must say that I owe the writer of this masterpiece a lot. I was compelled to revisit again the purpose of my life and rethink some the unquestionable life-long concepts that we hold sacred and dare not discuss with ourselves or with others. Remembering death is remembrance of ALLAH (SWT).

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2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU) would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqN75NI0xg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT1KGyxBXC0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMANKaX8khw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgivQJKtQME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga2rIUWcPPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYb2v3Yx1LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhMN_TZavW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeM0H0EMAw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD-YefJH9x0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVOKjOqHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBQp7aZjxjc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_xxQVGU44

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geRM4AlFBOU&NR=1

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang:
http://meccacentric.com/jeffrey_lang.html I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles:
http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.islamfortoday.com/yahiyaemerick.htm I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=Yahiya+Emerick&field-title=&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&url=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-binding_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevancerank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=29&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=8 There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfWURGcvBI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HXGRYaUy6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMD_tE6U68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixgiXpAFTY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WUgbgLgMXM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VLRoQ3qUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5UvvkCDrm4

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")http://fora.tv/2008/07/01/Irshad_Manji_and_Dalia_Mogahed_-_Who_Speaks_for_Islam

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.
http://www.astrolabe.com/category/17/Cartoons_and_KidVid.html?sid=ceb7c5cf8de15b8f1cb92ad29e183a44
 

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