The two inevitables

Monday past, my parents and I went to visit my Dad’s Uncle in Glasgow. He has been very sick of late, and it turned out that he’s supposedly had cancer for the last 5 years, but it was never diagnosed. (That’s its own WTF post)

Anyway, he was fairly heavily sedated, had been in hospital for almost eight weeks, and then in a hospice for two. Uncle H. was sent home almost two weeks ago, they had the garage converted to a room for him, complete with hospital bed. We paid our respects, prayed some Surahs from the Quran, and the remainder of the day was spent with my Dad’s cousins discussing arrangements for the Janazah (funeral) when it would happen. We had been told that they had removed his drip, and were trying to make him as comfortable as possible. 

So we left on Monday evening quite subdued and sad. I didn’t sleep well at all that night…maybe the Eid aftermath and being off work for almost ten days, but I was exhausted on Tuesday when I returned to work.  Once I got home I pottered about and was just about to get into my pj’s when the call came that he had passed away. We left soon after, and by the time we got to Glasgow, there was a few people already there. I’m usually quite matter-of-fact, but as soon as I see somebody else upset, that’s what breaks my composure. That and seeing my Dad cry.

So we sat, prayed, prayed some more, and after the men had left the room where Uncle H. was, I asked if I could go and see him. Initially when I went in I thought he had already been taken to the Mosque to be prepared for burial…I asked where he was and my cousin looked at me strangely and said ‘he’s on the bed’. That’s when it really hit me, they pulled back the covers, and he was so shrunken…I honestly now understand what people mean when they say a bag of bones, but he looked so peaceful Mashallah, just so different from how he looked from 24 hours previous.

So he was taken to the Mosque, was given ghusl ( ritual washing) by the menfolk, and brought into Glasgow Central Mosque’s newly built funeral parlour. Long overdue in my opinion…I personally think they just got sick of all the women traipsing through the mens prayer hall.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Janazah, in that I’ve been near the body…I forgot the serenity that one has in death, the overwhelming scent of the kafoor used on the shroud (camphor I think?) Again, we prayed..Surah Yaseen was recited and many other supplications were offered.

And then it was time, I could see my Dad and his brother come in, and then Uncle H’s 2 sons behind. They spoke in Punjabi, asking ladies to move out of the way. I think this is always the most difficult part of the entire ritual. My Dad’s Aunt (Uncle H’s widow) she just shook her head ever so slightly, and my Dad said to her quietly that it’s time to go now, we have to go, the jamaati’s are waiting to do prayer.  Maybe that’s when it really hit her what had happened, because she cried and put her hands around the coffin and wouldn’t let go, such a sad distressing sight…it took her sons to pry her hands off, and she just slumped onto the floor and wept. The menfolk took Uncle H. away to the main prayer hall, where Janazah was offered and he was taken away for burial.

Yesterday, we had to return to Glasgow, where there was a gathering held in a Mosque to pray Quran for Uncle H.

The past week has made me realise a few things. One of them is that my Dad’s relatives are retards, and secondly that I need to finish my will asap, and thirdly I need to emigrate.

My Dad’s family aren’t so religiously inclined shall we say, when it comes to Islamic issues, instead of asking somebody learned or more wise, they like to do things their own way…certain things I observed the night he passed away made me raise my eyebrows, because a lot of these things are considered bid’aah (innovation) Perhaps it’s genuine ignorance, but mostly they don’t like being told what to do. My Dad however, is cool. We as a family have always practiced a non-diluted version of Islam, and the fact I studied it for five years helps a bit too. As you can imagine we always run into conflict with the others… I was told repeatedly to read Surah Baqarah from the Quran, to help him on his way…Why can’t I pray what I want? They made a big fuss of ordering flowers, which they then decided five people had to go and collect from the florist. It’s so they can show him their love said one of the know-it-all Auntie Jees (you know there is always one) I showed more patience in that day than I have in a whole year. Seriously. I’m pretty sure there would have been another family funeral had my Mum not been giving me eyes every time somebody opened their mouth.

As an aside; my Dad has a terribly wicked sense of humour. As we were leaving, after the funeral etc to come back home, we were stopped by a bearded Uncle (who it turns out was an Imam at a Barelvi Mosque; who openly practice innovation) who paid his respects and then asked my dad how he was doing ( he had a heart attack two years ago) With a straight face my Dad replied ‘Alhamdolillah I am doing great, and thankful that Allah the most Exalted has made me a Muslim, and I’m grateful that he has saved me from a life of practising bid’aah (innovation) The Uncle’s face dropped, he quickly said goodbye and moved on.

When my death comes, I cannot bear to have any of these people near me, doing my arrangements, going off to buy wreaths to put on my coffin. I don’t want a cicus, where people come to watch the spectacle of death, people who couldn’t care less when you were alive and kicking. I want a proper send off please, free from baseless innovations thanks.  And the same goes for my parents…my Dad has already said there are two of his brothers who are forbidden from lifting his Janazah. When the time comes, whenever that is, I pray that Allah gives me the strength and fortitude to be able to stand up to these two-faced relatives.  I figure if I emigrate there’s less chance of interference? Anyway, whatever he wills. wherever and whenever.

The other inevitable? I keep getting tax notices from the Inland Revenue 😦


~ by Honest Waffle on 28/09/2009.

12 Responses to “The two inevitables”

  1. first of all you should blog more.

    2. In regards to death I often wonder if I will be more composed when those I love pass away.

    3. My family is Barelvi. cheers for that!

    4. I sort of agree with you.

    5. We don’t know their intentions even if they do do stupid things.

    6. Being Muslim is the best thing in the world.

    7. People are fake. Desis are faker.

    8. I want to make a decree before I die that nobody is allowed to cry like a bitch. Just sob gently if you really must, read a dua or whatever makes you comfortable and remember you’re going to join me so fix yourself up before your do.

    9. We all think we have the ‘real’ Islam.

    10. 10.

  2. I know, I just don’t seem to have the time, besides I genuinely enjoy reading what everybody else has to say.

    You’re Barelvi? *cringes* I meant more in terms of the bid’aah that is practiced..umm ok perhaps I will just shut up for now.

    I agree with 4-10, and yes good actions are judged according to their intentions, nevertheless I don’t wish to be the target of anyones ignorance.

  3. number 4 was in relation to point 3.

    i.e My family is Barelvi but I don’t really agree with it all.

    I wouldn’t describe myself as barelvi.

    So cringe away. I do too sometimes.

  4. Phew.

  5. I was ROTFL’ing at the your father’s family are retards bit. You should blog more 😀

    I announced to my Dad this weekend that I shun society and their innovations and that I’ll probably marry some white man that became a Muslim five years ago and is a better Muslim than most of these assholes here. He said its ok as long as he doesnt drink 😛

  6. Azra, I’m not even stretching it when I call them that. If I ever have the misfortune to meet them at a social function, which is rare given that they don’t really venture out of their houses…I don’t ever admit to people that I’m related to them.
    We had a mass female only iftaari in Ramadan, where my Mum wanted to call her sister-in-law and her jumped up blondefied-princess-I-wish-I-wasn’t-asian-daughter. I immediately vetoed this idea. She is such a nosey old biddy, asking anybody and everybody random unnecessary questions, I would have been mortified at having to subject guests to that, and positively ashamed of anybody knowing she’s from our family!

    As for the marrying but, I agree with you there. Somebody who embraces Islam out of their own free will, usually has more respect for it, and whilst I’m not saying the opposite for those who are born into the faith, a lot take it for granted.
    Desi boys have too much cultural baggage.

    White, black or brown, as long as he is tall I’m happy 😀

  7. This post troubles me on so many levels.

  8. I’ll have to come back and dissect it later.

  9. >We as a family have always practiced a non-diluted version of Islam

    I always find statements like this interesting, partly because I think such a thing is impossible. What do you mean?

    • I meant non-bidaahfied. And it wasn’t easy getting there. In that respect we’re pretty much the black sheep, or rather the herd on my Mum and Dad’s side.

      • Well one person’s bidah is another’s unique practise. I’m guessing you’ve modelled your practise against a specific reference and I’d be genuinely surprised if there wasn’t anything in that reference that wasn’t around during the prophet’s time. Perhaps not a convo to be had in a comment thread tho 😀

      • You know as I was typing my reply, I knew you would come back with something of the sort! It isn’t just one reference, although you’re right…we shouldn’t do this in a comment thread.
        The rituals that we have surrounding death/janazah really wind me up. I suppose I really just think about the person being on their journey and want that to be as simple and Islamic as possible.

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