I never wake up from text messages, it’s something I have become immune to. With my friends taking advantage of their insomnia and their unlimited text messaging, I have just found a way to sleep through the ringing of my phone. For some reason, this time, the ringing of my phone was more than just the normal tone. At 2:00 am it began to shriek for attention, as if it knew how important this text that i was receiving really was. It woke me, but I was still in a foggy dream state. I flipped open the phone and read “Call me, A.S.A.P”. As soon as my finger reached for the talk button, I drifted back into my comfortable sleep. A half hour later, my phone had decided that it was not going to let me sleep any longer. Another text message came in, and as I read it, my heart sank and there was no way i would drift back to sleep this time. This text was from someone else. Someone else who was trying to get the same message to me. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi Rajioun”, it read...”He has passed away.”
I didn’t know much about this family before, only small bits and pieces. I knew the mother wore a very long hijab, the size I remember wishing to own. As for the daughter, I remember that she had once missed a halaqa and her disappointment because of this left her in the corner, crying her eyes out. The boy? Well, i knew that he had once upon a time received the role model student award at an Almaghrib class. But that was it, nothing more.
I vaguely remember my mother asking my brother about this boy. “Did he come to almaghrib this time? I hear he has to go in for testing.” None of us really thought much about it, until the news came to us. “His test was positive.” Positive for what? Cancer.
The following months seem like they moved so fast. The world doesn’t stop for anyone. Our lives moved on and so did theirs. I would hear my brother speak about the young boy he went to visit at the hospital, but never did I go…I didn’t really know them much. Not long after, my mom said she was going to see the Mother and wanted to take me along. I was kind of scared, what would I say to her. Despite my qualms I went and just made dua that I had the right words and that I didn’t do anything to make the situation worse. When we made it to the hospital, much to my surprise, we had a wonderful visit. It was often times hard to fathom that the woman we were sitting across from had just left her son in one of the inpatient rooms to come chat with us. So bubbly, so full of inspiring words, maa shaa Allaah. I left with a high that I had never experienced before. She left me with an hours worth of life changing advice.
The most memorable thing was the amazing words she told her son, when he confessed to his fear of death. Struck with those words, we expected her to falter…to break down…but she was tough. She responded with an analogy that still rings in my head. She began speaking about a king, a king who just happened to invite the boy over to visit. This king was quite wealthy and quite prestigious. How would anyone meet this king? Of course in the best of states. How excited would one be to see this king? Of course their joy would be immeasurable. “Now imagine,” she said. “The king of kings has invited you to come visit….will you be ready for this invitation? Will you have that same excitement?” Subhaan Allah, this was just one moment of many.
About a year passed by, and his situation seemed to deteriorate, but their hopes seemed to strengthen. The community seemed to rally together….To make dua…To visit…To give their best wishes. Many of the community actually felt like family. Despite all this, he entered the ICU and we knew this battle was almost over. About a month later, this young boy..of merely seventeen..received his invitation to the king of kings leaving behind memories that no one can even try to forget.
That day we all saw a few things we had never before seen, which all began when we went to the masjid at where he would be washed. After they washed him the family went in and saw him and as each one left you could see the tears running quickly down their faces. I stayed outside, I wasn’t ready to see anything of this magnitude. His younger sister, who had become a friend of mine, really wanted me to come in. She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me…ignoring my pleas. As I walked into the door it was as if the wind was knocked out of me, seeing him on the table. They then pulled back the cloth from upon his face, and there we saw a smile. A smile that had not been on his face in months because of anguish and pain.
Some people may argue that me writing this story is complete disrespect. That one should never retell this story nor spread it. But I, on the other hand, have a different view. I asked his mother permission to post the story and she let me know of this young boy’s dream. She said “my son had always dreamed to be a da3ee…spreading the message of Islam…’like Yasir Qadhi’ and sometimes…you don’t have to be ALIVE to be a da3ee…if this story will be dawah…then I will not stop his dream.”
Allah sends to us signs, so that we may remember…so that we may ponder. None of us have been promised a life of joy and happiness…nor have we been promised an eternal dunya. Rather we have been assured that there WILL come trials…and we WILL all have an end (in this life). But this is almost surreal to us. Death? It’s not MY time yet. Think Again. Our time may come sooner than we think….but will we have this amazing blessing to know when our end is near? We can only pray that we do…but until then we must prepare ourselves. Prepare ourselves Today.
Today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today.
wa Alhamdulilahi Rabb al ‘Alameen