by Zafar Bangash (Reflections, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 7, Safar, 1444)
August 28 marked the first anniversary of my mother’s passing away. It seems like yesterday. Last year, there were three deaths in the ICIT-Crescent family. Imam al-Asi’s mother passed away followed by mine and then Br Asim Razzaq’s mother. I am sure everyone has their own cherished memories and sadness to share. May the souls of these mothers rest in eternal peace.
Everywhere we look around our house, there are signs of my mother’s presence and memories. She was a quiet person but whenever she spoke, there was wisdom in her words.
Without formal education, she was extremely intelligent and could offer solutions to complex problems including many technical ones. On several occasions she left us speechless by offering advice about some technical issue that had eluded the more formally educated amongst us.
When she left this earthly abode, we the siblings decided to leave her room, her bed and a few other articles as they were. There were not many items any way but her bedside table, lamp, and the hospital bed with handle bars on the side for safety were left in place. We wanted to preserve her memory through her few earthly possessions. Her clothes were given away to poor people in Pakistan.
There was also another decision we the siblings made. Instead of distributing her estate amongst us, we decided to donate it to charity to act as Sadaqa-i Jariya for her. Further, we all decided to donate whatever we could personally in her name to be used for charitable purposes. Not only her children but even her grandchildren contributed to this effort.
With these funds, we financed the digging of wells in remote villages in Pakistan where women had to walk for miles to get drinking water. Each well cost between $600 to $1,000, depending on the depth of the aquafer. Each well also has an electric pump for drawing water and has served 300 to 400 families in remote villages. We pray to Allah to accept this humble contribution on her behalf as well as on behalf of our father who passed away in 2015.
During the past year, a number of things have happened for which there is no rational explanation. My mother’s room where she was bedridden for several years, is right next to mine. During the years, my sister took great care of her. She would get up in the middle of the night to turn my mother over in bed to prevent bed sores from developing. She would do the same at Fajr time. Obviously, the bed springs made noise whenever my mother was turned over in bed.
Since her departure, I have been woken up on so many occasions in the middle of the night with bed springs making the same noise as if someone was being turned over in bed, as well as at Fajr time. I know she could not be physically present but how does one explain the noise of bed springs? Was her soul there in bed on these occasions? Only Allah knows.
The cemetery where my father and mother are buried next to each other, is on the way to my office. I try to visit it as often as I can to offer Fateha. I stand there beseeching Allah to have mercy on their souls. Leaving them I feel guilty. The only comfort I have is that I will be buried next to my mother when my time ends in this dunya. Until then, I pray to Allah to give me the strength and the health to be able to visit my parents, offer my salams and make dua for them, every day.
My mother’s early married life was full of difficulties. Regrettably, my aunts and uncles were quite vicious and tormented my mother a great deal. Despite these difficulties, she remained resolutely faithful, impossibly tender, deeply caring, sharing and intensely in love with all her family and her many friends. She never once complained about her pain and suffering.
When I grew old enough to realize the toxic environment at home, I would go to my maternal grandparents’ house not far from ours. My maternal uncles and aunts gave me the love that as a child I never got from my paternal relatives.
Most of my schooling years were spent away from home. In Pakistan, I was in a private boarding school where we spent nine months of the year. From there I went to England to do A-levels and then enrolled at university. It was my great desire to get may parents and siblings to come and live with me. In 1974, I moved to Canada. This afforded me the opportunity to bring my family over. August 25, 1980 was a very happy day in my life when they were able to join me after living away from them from age 9. Ironically, August also turned out to be the month in which my mother passed away.
This is a day destined for every soul. I pray to Allah to make this transition easy for me while we continue to pray to Him to shower His Infinite Mercy on my parents.
To our beloved mother, we are deeply saddened at losing you but we continue to cherish your loving memory. We will never forget your tender love, sacrifices and care throughout our lives when we were young and even when we grew up. In his infinite Wisdom, Allah has placed immense love in the heart of every mother for all her children.
O Allah, we beseech You to envelope our beloved mother and father in your infinite mercy and compassion. Ya arham ar-Rahimeen, grant them maghfirah and the highest place in Jannatul Firdaus. Ameen ya Rabb al-alameen.