A Father Dies, a Son Grieves,
And an Entire Community Prays for Mercy:
That Is Islam for You!
Sidheek C S
The ways of Islam -- the ways of Allah really, for, Islam is from Allah -- are indeed most remarkable. Not only in people's lives, but also when people die.
My father departed from us on Friday afternoon. Even as the shock of his death hit the family like a landslide, we all said in unison, as is the Muslim practice everywhere:
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'oon!
Dr. Pasha's paraphrase:
"To God do we all belong,
And to him shall we all return."
After Salatul Janazah -- Community Prayers for Mercy for the Departed Soul -- burial took place at the graveyard of the Masjid -- the mosque -- in our village.
Those are the ways of Islam for you -- in Death: a man dies; his family grieves and prays; and the entire community comes together, offers condolences, and prays for the dead man.
But the ripple effects do not stop there, even in Death. Time passes, other Muslims in other places, some in distant lands and continents, many who never even saw or met the dead person, or heard of him before today, get the Sad News. And they all say with one voice:
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'oon!
And they all pray.
They all ask God Almighty to forgive the sins and trespasses of the departed soul, and have mercy on him, and give him a place of honor, joy and comfort in Paradise.
Again, that is Islam for you in a nutshell. No human being, man or woman, can ask for a more glorious funeral. Or a more joyous end -- in Death.
Some of those reading this piece, some of the Coworkers, had met my father at our village when they visited our home. Even though my father was unable to communicate in English or in Tamil or in Urdu. But they all had a wonderful time communicating together in the common Islamic Language of love and mutual respect.
My father was an Arabic Teacher and had retired 20 years ago. After that, he taught Tilawatul Quran and Arabic Language to small children in a nearby private school. As I studied in the same school where my father was a teacher, I was taught basic lessons in Arabic Language and Quran Recitation by my father.
I could not help thinking how lucky, and how fortunate and blessed, I was to be taught the Qur'an -- and Arabic, the Language of the Qur'an -- by none other than my own father.
This is not to boast or brag, but purely to recognize the Mercy of God, and to give God thanks for his mercy and for his generosity. How many others among us can claim to have had the same privilege, and the same blessing, bestowed upon them by God Almighty?
I remember, how, as a child, I would wake up from sleep, in the small hours of the morning, listening to beautiful recitation of the Quran by my father. Thus did my father -- May God Almighty Bless Him! -- instill in me, and in my other siblings, right from our childhood, an undying love toward Quran, toward Hadith, and toward Islamic History and Arabic Language.
It was due to my father's untiring effort, and no less due to his great love for us, and his personal example, that five of my sisters today are graduates in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies. And all five of them are teaching Quran and other related subjects to young children at various schools.
My father was a regular subscriber to quality Islamic daily and weekly publications. Reading them helped me, from my early school days, to be rather well informed on the Muslim World.
Furthermore, my father had also purchased a lot of Islamic books and complete volumes of the famous commentary on the Qur'an Tafheemul Quran authored by Maulana Maududi.
Reading all this literature helped me to understand Islam as a most beautiful, sensible, logical and practical way of life.
Dowry is a big problem in India among the Hindus and other non-Muslims. Sadly, this evil and corrupt Marriage Practice has also made its way in Muslim households. According to this most cruel and wicked custom, a girl's parents -- mostly fathers -- are expected to give prospective bridegrooms an enormous amount of money and other gifts such as expensive cars, real estate, and such.
Many unfortunate young Hindu brides get beaten up by their husbands and in-laws, and some even are doused in kerosene and burned to death, if they show up without a generous Dowry. That is how bad and how evil the Dowry system is in many parts of India.
But my father took a bold stand against this widely prevalent social evil. His policy was to completely avoid and reject any prospective bridegroom who wanted a Dowry for marrying any of his daughters.
Because of this enlightened policy, Allah Almighty gave me six most wonderful gentlemen as my Brother-in-Laws, including one amazing man who converted from Hindu religion to Islam.
My beloved father is dead. A beautiful man is no more. And the formalities of his funeral and burial are over.
But, as a Muslim I know that prayers for my father to be blessed and forgiven by God Almighty will never end. Both by members of his own family as well as by members of the larger family of Islam around the world.
For, that is the Way of Islam: God's Own Chosen Way for the World. Just as the Qur'an says:
Innad-Deena Indallahil Islam.