Live in this World as a Stranger or Wayfarer

I was fortunate to spend my Ramadhan in Trinidad and Barbados. I was visiting various mosques throughout the two countries rendering discourses on different themes of the Glorious Quran. It was amazing to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds. We would normally have up to five hundred people assembling at the mosque before sunset to open their fasts. There was a great atmosphere of generosity and love. The plates prepared for each person included dates, traditional sweets, cakes, fried food and soft drinks, and occasionally, the Trinidad special, “doubles”. Another special food in Trinidad and Tobago is `bake and shark` which is a fried flatbread filled with fried shark-meat pieces and several other sauces and ingredients. An amazing scene in Barbados was to open the fast with grilled or fried fish from Oistin Bay Gardens at sunset to the whistling sound of the ocean waves whilst strolling on the beach.

However, I was almost at the end of my Ramadhan tour of Trinidad. The weather in both countries was sunny and the atmosphere was calm and serene. It was the 25th of Ramadhan corresponding to 12/ 07/ 2015 and we had just completed the Zohar prayer and were engaged in the recitation of The Quran when I received an alarming text. One of my closest ever friends, Sohel Patel, had passed away. He was only 27 years old and a hafidh of the Qur`an. He was married and the last remaining child of his parents. He was an enjoyable character. He had worked at various places including as a Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at University Centre at Blackburn College. We were friends since at least the age of 8. We spent our Eids eating at each other`s houses and going out. We spent the weekends playing on the streets, the local park and at the sports facilities, talking on the corner of the street, riding in his car and eating at various takeaways, and so forth.

He had text me a few days ago “Salam … How r u? … “. We spoke to each other and his concluding words of the conversation were, “Make dua for me whilst you`re n your travels your duas will get accepted”. I had expressed that I was unable to meet him before leaving for Trinidad and had tried to do so. He replied, “You should have popped down wiv rizwan [one of our other closest friends] … Don’t worry IA catch up when ur bk … Just remember me in ur duas … Hope you have a safe journey bk an have a good time … Keep in touch !! Dmy”. His last ever conversation with me was on Friday that, “please make dua” and after my words of supplication his final ever text to me was “Ameen”. And his last ever group message was a week before his demise stating, “Salam, forgive for anything said or done! Remember me in your supplications” and his second to last was about a 54 year old man who had begun the adhan and upon completion he breathed his last and died with “la ilaaha illallah” being his last words. The text concluded, “… if there is anything that worries me most, it’s the question: “How will our ending be??”

However, he was fortunate to die during the last ten day of the blessed month of Ramadhan. Furthermore, he read all the articles of faith, a portion of Quran and supplicated continuously before he breathed his last. His janazah salah was attended by hundreds. Never did we ever thought he would leave this world for ever at such a young age.

The Quran explicitly states, “Every soul shall taste death”, “and wherever you may be, death will strike you although you may be in the loftiest of mountains” and “when the appointed time of death comes, not a single moment will be brought forward nor delayed at all.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) thus said, “Live in this world as a stranger or wayfarer.” You will die as you lived and you will be resurrected in the hereafter as you died.

I will conclude with the words of a great saint and jurist, Imam al-Shafi`i. Al-Muzni said: “I entered upon ash-Shafi’i during his illness which resulted in his death, so I said to him: ‘What is your condition?’

He replied: “I am journeying from this world, and departing from my brothers, drinking from the cup of death, and to Allah arriving. And no! By Allah, I do not know if my soul is travelling towards Paradise or the Fire!”

Then he started to weep, and he said: ‘In You, the Creator, I raise my longing, And even if I am, O possessor of kindness and generosity, an evildoer, a criminal: When my heart became constricted and my paths became narrow, I took my hope in Your pardon and forgiveness as an opening and an escape; My sins seemed very great to me but when I compared them to Your forgiveness, I found Your forgiveness to be greater,

You are and still remain the only One who can forgive sins, You grant and forgive out of Your benevolence and generosity; Perhaps the One who is the source of all goodness will forgive and overlook my mistakes; And will hide the sins and burden that I accumulated. My sins seemed very great to me, so I turned (to You) in humility. Were it not for my contentment in you, I wouldn’t, O my Lord, have seen any comfort at all,

So if You forgive me, You would have forgiven a sinner, A rebellious, oppressive tyrant still sinning, So my crime is very great, past and present, But Your forgiveness that embraces Your servant is greater and higher. So whomsoever holds fast to Allah is truly saved from mankind, And whosoever’s hopes are in Him, will be far removed from any regrets.’

I request all readers to supplicate, pray and extend the reward of their recitation and charity to all those brothers and sisters who have passed away. May Allah pardon the shortcomings of all our deceased and grant them the highest level of paradise. Ameen.

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Posted in General on 27th Jan 2016 by Our Imam | 938 Views