Birth and Death
Blog Post 22
A half hour past July 23, 2019
In the Name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful
We experience various events in our lives. These include our first words, first steps, first day of school, graduation, job, marriage, parenthood… Joys…
All these events are ordained by Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala and controlled by our Sustainer. Although we may think that they were in our control and/or caused by our own doing, we ultimately know this to be false. Of course, our accomplishments had something to do with our own actions because if we didn’t study, we wouldn’t graduate. If we didn’t take a job, we wouldn’t have one. If we didn’t agree to be married, we wouldn’t get married.
It is certain that no one knows when they will be born, into what land and family they will be born and if they will survive their birth. As well, no one knows when they will die, in what land they will die and if they will be forgiven for their sins in the Hereafter.
“Verily, Allah, with Him is knowledge of the Hour
and He sends down the rain
and knows what is in the wombs.
And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow
and no soul knows in what land it will die.
Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.”(31:34)
These uncertainties are common for all of us. Only Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala holds the keys to life and death.
“Say: Allah gives you life, then causes you to die.
Then He will gather you to the Day of Resurrection,
no doubt about it. But most of the people do not know.” (45:26)
Today (July 23) my husband Ali and I awoke to our 33rd marriage anniversary; the birth anniversary of our dear friend Sister Zahra Nima, an Anishinabek of the Whitefish First Nation convert to Islam who passed away on December 9, 2017 after losing two of her four sons, Hussayn in 2002 and Ali in 2009; and the sad news that 12 Muslims were violently murdered by the Nigerian Joint Task Force while protesting and demanding the immediate release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Muallima Zeenah who require urgent medical care and have already suffered the murder of six of their children, in 2014 and 2015, along with more than 1,000 of his followers, by the Nigerian armed forces. And today we attended the overflowing funeral for a young mother, the wife of a local shaykh who had converted to Islam, the aunt of our youngest poet in our anthology, Woke & Loud: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word.
What made her death so painful is the conjunction of birth and death. This young Muslim sister gave birth to her second child on Friday night, but her child was born deceased. She did not recover from childbirth and remained unresponsive until Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala took her soul on Tuesday morning. Mashallah.
On Friday afternoon, this young Muslim sister and her husband looked forward to holding their newborn in their arms soon. On Friday night, she was fighting for her life, unaware of what happened to her baby, unaware of the outpouring of support for her, her husband and their families at the hospital.
Prophetic Hadith says that a woman who dies in childbirth is a Shaheed (Martyr). This is because giving birth is not a simple matter. It is a jihad. It is a state between life and death – for the mother and for the child.
Why Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala ordains a baby to be born without life and for a young mother to lose her life in the process of birth is a mystery. Yet it is the ultimate opportunity for us to realize that everything is in Allah’s Control. Allah has Power over all things. Allah knows why heartbreaking events like this occur. It is our opportunity to thank Allah for what we do not understand, find the blessings and meanings in that Wisdom, remain patient through the sorrows and hold onto the contentment that we are not in control of life and death and the knowledge that each of us is born and each of us will die.
It is the opportunity to re-establish our commitment to our Creator, to live a life worth living, to put our hope and trust in Allah Only, to submit to Allah’s Decrees. Those who are attached only to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala can move through the sadness, the hurt and pain and grief, more easily. Those who think they are in charge of events can succumb to the whisperings of Shaitain ar-Rajeem, blame Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala for the loss and lose their faith altogether.
Today was an opportunity to thank our own mothers, who carried us within their own bodies with difficulty, gave birth to us with pain, feed us often from their own bodies, cared for us before they cared for themselves and loved us with a pure heart and much sacrifice. And we must thank our Creator for our mothers.
Today was an opportunity to remember that
“Every breath is a step toward death.” - Imam Ali (a.s.)
We must be prepared for death by living the life we were created to live, a life in submission to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala and doing good to others, for our lives are owned by Allah and we are the representatives of Allah on Earth.
“Happy is the one who always keeps the afterlife in their view,
who remembers the Day of Reckoning through their deeds,
who led a contented life and who was happy with the lot
that Allah has destined for them.” - Imam Ali (a.s.)
Today was an opportunity to reflect on happy decades of married life by the Grace of Allah; the deaths of a steadfast Muslimah of Canada's First Nations and her two young sons; the unending sacrifices of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, the shahadat of their six children and countless members of the Muslim community of Nigeria; and the love we all have for Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. Today was an opportunity to ask ourselves, especially those of us who do not personally know these believers, what they did for Islam, what they did for you. Besides being believers and mothers and fathers, their lives speak of standing up for Islam and never wavering. The Muslimah who passed away today is the wife of a shaykh, a shaykh who converted from Hinduism to teach Islam to others for the pleasure of our Creator. She is a wife who supported his mission, who made it easy for him to work for Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala. Each of their contributions to Islam and their accepting Islam as the only deen give us all hope that Islam will continue to spread throughout the whole world, conquering injustice and falsehood, providing love unselfishly to others in the Way of Allah.
“And do not say for those who are slain in the Way of Allah,
‘They are dead.’ No, they are alive, but you do not perceive.
And We will surely test you with something of the fear and the hunger
and loss of the wealth and the lives and fruits,
but give good news to the patient ones,
those who when misfortune strikes them, they say,
‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and indeed to Him is our return’.” (2:154-156)
Please recite Surah al-Fatiha and a juz of the Holy Qur’an for Sister Farzana (Jagani) Khetia and ask Allah to shower peace, patience and contentment on her family and all the Muslims.