the Message Continues ... 12/26
A true story, translated by Muhammad Alshareef
Her cheeks were worn and sunken and her skin hugged her bones. That
didn't stop her though, you could never catch her not reciting
Qur'an. Always vigil in her personal prayer room Dad had set up for
her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer. That was the
way she was from dawn to sunset and back again, boredom was for
others. As for me I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and
novels. I treated myself all the time to videos until those trips to
the rental place became my trademark. As they say, when something
becomes habit people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent
in my responsibilities and laziness characterized my Salah. One
night, I turned the video off after a marathon three hours of
watching. The adhan softly rose in that quiet night. I slipped
peacefully into my blanket.
Her voice carried from her prayer room. "Yes? Would you like
anything Noorah?" I said.
"Please sit here."
"Stop it Hanan ... aren't you afraid of death and it's
abruptness? Look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a
car accident. So did so and so, and so and so. Death is age-blind
and your age could never be
I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness, how the doctors had
informed my father privately that there was not much hope that
Noorah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn't told though. Who
hinted to her? Or was
"What are you thinking about Hanan?" Her voice was
sharp. "Do you think
"Anyone who is pushed away from the Fire and shown into
Jannah will have triumphed."
There wasn't going to be any trips this summer. It was written
that I would spend the summer at home.
Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short?
Why was it so long now, so very long. Where was the cherished crowd
and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right.
Everyone, just move out of our way. Mother was shaking her head in
her hands crying as she made dua'a for her Noorah.
We skipped stairs to Noorahs floor. She was in intensive care.
"Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time." This was
the intensive care unit. Through the small window in the door and
past the flurry of white robes I caught my sisters eyes. Mother was
standing beside her. After
"You may enter and say Salam to her on condition that you do
not speak too long," they told me. "Two minutes should be
"Alhamdulillah...but...your hands are so cold."
A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried
and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us ^Ö two sisters
- to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister^Òs
palm which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried
about me. I've never cried like that before.
I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn't remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn't even cry anymore.
Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my
hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time, I had kissed
"One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death
shroud)" and I knew too well the truth of the next verse:
"The drive on that day we be to your Lord (Allah)!"
I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had
lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive
me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave as she always
liked to mention in
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar...
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