After a whole Ramadan when Allah was always warning us to take death seriously and in the rush for this material world not to forget the hereafter, it was a shock to have some one quite near to you suddenly leave for his heavenly abode. It was all very unexpected.
If you have the time, please say a prayer for my friend's father-in-law, who unexpectedly passed away yesterday morning.
When a person passes away, it's usually polite or customary to embellish the deceased's good qualities and forget the bad ones. Here, no embellishment is necessary. This person, who we all called 'uncle', was a genuinely nice, kind, good and simple hearted man, who was always jolly, jovial and had a smile on his face. He was a pillar of our small ex-UAE Bangladeshi community, and played in role in organizing any and every festive occasion or gathering.
He was someone whom if you met, and then learned he was Muslim, you would then develop a very favorable opinion of Muslims. A testimony to his good nature was the huge, huge number of people, well wishers and mourners, who gathered at a Scarborough mosque for his janazah (funeral) prayer, on a rainy Monday, at an odd time of 2 pm, on a work day.
I always thought the beauty of Islam is its simplicity. There are people who are bent on making things complicated, usually by a too literal interpretation or not adhering to the spirit of the law - and in my eyes it is against those people intent on making this hard on themselves that Surah Baqarah is aimed at. Today, in the funeral prayer, I witnessed the final rites of a Muslim on this world, and marveled at how beautiful and divine this simplicity really is, when my friend's father made a heart touching speech before the prayer, about his son's late father-in-law.
There was no need to extol what a great man the late person was. Those, who were his friends, knew. Those who were not but were just present in the mosque, all that was needed from them was their prayers. That's what my friend's dad asked for. He also asked if anyone had any claims against his estate. And, finally, with his voice breaking, he also asked anyone to forgive any mistakes his late "brother" may have done against any one. And after those two simple minutes, it was time for the prayer. With his family saying their final goodbyes, the congregation headed to the cemetery.
In the end, all that was left, after everything was over, were a few quiet moments of personal reflection.
"O my people! Lo! this life of the world is but a passing comfort, it is the Hereafter that is the Home that will last." [Quran 40:39].