Even in her death, mom continues to teach me.

      

 Mom’s two-year tooth-and-nail battle with cancer has ended. No matter how tightly I shut my eyes and remember her loving hugs, bright smile, or warm lap, they will not manifest.  But if I can learn from this loss, perhaps I can turn grief into something positive, and thereby honor mom’s memory.  

Cancer and death have disrupted the calm of my life, creating ripples of change. Change for good. Alhumdulillah.

Death has taught me to live

My picture of life has often felt foggy. What is my purpose? It’s a tough question.

Contrast can create meaning. Take light for example; without darkness, it is meaningless. Subhan’Allah. In the same vein, I think to myself: how can I really live without understanding death?

When mom’s soul left her body and we began the preparations for her burial, I thought about death for the first time. Yes, I’ve heard lectures about the afterlife since I was a child. But, in all honesty, I had never contemplated it. Death was always taboo.

Exploring death has been liberating. It has helped me break the choking fetters of materialism in favor of something divine. It has helped me appreciate my responsibility to myself, family, and community. My picture of life has gained focus. The colors are vibrant, hues are crisp, and lines are clear.

Death is not morbid. In fact, I have never felt so alive. 

Motherhood, martyrdom, and my motivation

In 52 years, my mom never received an award for her career. Because, as a stay-at-home mom, she sacrificed her career for us. She never wore high fashion clothes. Because, as part of a working-class family, she saved all of her money for us. She never complained about her circumstances in life. Because, as a compassionate mom, she never wanted to stress us.

My mom didn’t fight in a war, but I believe she was a martyr. At 26, I finally realize that she gave the world for me. Now, I want to be her award. I want to perfect my character, improve my world, and pleasure my God to honor her.

Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe, and Johann Bach are part of a long list of artists who were finally celebrated after their death. Their work was ahead of their time. Perhaps, the same is true for the stay-at-home mom, an occupation that has unfortunately lost its luster in our American culture.

Cancer as a sheep in wolf’s clothing

When I realized the extent of mom's cancer, anxiety built in my chest. I saved my tears for God, a sort of ghusl that watered the parched soil of my heart. It softened my being and allowed faith to take root, giving life to a new understanding of patience.

Before Dr. King became Dr. King, he suffered intense depression due to child abuse and the untimely death of his grandmother. Before Einstein became Einstein, he had developmental disabilities and experienced serious poverty. Trauma, in all of its pain, can still have positive results. In fact, our Prophet (PBUH) exemplifies this. Before he was born, his father passed away. At six, his mother passed away. And two years later, his grandfather passed away as well.

In math, an inflection point is the point when a line changes direction. Allah (SWT) promises that each of us will be tested with loss of health, wealth, and life, but glad tidings are reserved for those who patiently persevere through such challenges (2:155). Perhaps these events can serve as an inflection point, catalyzing positive change in our lives. While we have no control over what happens to us, we do have control over our response. 

It is difficult to say out loud, but much good has come from cancer. My picture of life has become clearer, providing me with a better sense of purpose. I am motivated to excel in good work to honor my mom. Our family has come together in a way that has never happened before. I have invested into my relationship with Allah (SWT), making him a close friend and confidant.

With so many things to be thankful for, it is difficult to harbor anger towards this disease and its unfortunate result.

A couple of quick asks that I have of you:

  • If this reflection has sparked new thoughts, please spend five minutes to share the ideas with family or friends. Insha’Allah any good that results from your ideas will illuminate my mother’s grave.
  • Recite Surah Fateha or any prayer for my mother, Shaheen binte Anwarali Bhanji, such that she receives blessings as a result of it.
  • Thank your mother and father. Without them, you would not be reading this message today.

 

 

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May 08, 2016 • Posted by Heidi Soliman

Just said al Fatiha for your mom. Wonderful intentions to ask people to do that for her. May both of you be rewarded in Jenna’s.

Jul 14, 2015 • Posted by Xhorxh

Ina llah wa Ina ilayhi rajeeoon.

May Allah bless her brother, and forgive her, do not worry you are doing excellently!

Mar 18, 2015 • Posted by Zahida Ali

So sorry for your loss . May Allah grant her Jannah . Such a beautiful face

Feb 27, 2015 • Posted by Jamila Alqarnain

So sorry for your lost. May Allah ease your pain and have mercy on your mom’s soul.

Jan 24, 2015 • Posted by Mushir Alam

To Allah we belong and to Whom shall we return. Your mom, as I read, was a brave and courageous lady. May Allah (SWT) rest her soul in eternal peace in Jannah tul Firdos Amin,

As I read the ordeal you all have gone it appeared as my own story, though my mother passed away in some other ailment, but the loss of parents specially mother can never be met. My father passed away when I was in Matric, and since that day she guided me, sacrificed many of her desires, only dream she nurtured like any other mother was her son may become “some one” and today Alhamdul Lillah, what ever I am, is because of prayers and sacrifices made by my mother. You are fortunate that you were sensible enough that you had the opportunity to look after your mother to best of what ever Allah had given you .

One day we all will to surrender to the will of Almighty; one day we all will return to account for what we did during the transit period.

If we just do some soul searching and make our efforts to follow Sirat-e-Mustaqeem and seek guidence from Al-Kitab, Inshallah we will not let our mothers down on the day of judgment. Let us pledged if we truly love our parents, Insha Allah on the day of judgment we will not let them down May Allah make all the children and all of us sadqa-e-Jaria for our parents Amin

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