“The sister of the mother has a status similar to the mother.” (Bukhari)
My mother’s eldest sister, passed away in June 2013. All the young ones in the family used to call her Khala Ammi. She was one of those influential people who are blessed by Allah (swt) to spread the Deen wherever they go. The peace and unity at her funeral was exemplary. She always used to pray to Allah (swt) to take her from the Dunya when all of her sins have been forgiven. Her last days were extremely miserable; she moaned from pain and helplessness and remembered Allah’s (swt) blessings and favours upon her all the time. She would talk about how weak a human being is and that nothing can be attained if Allah (swt) is not with us.
O Allah! I ask You for Your love, the love of the person who loves You, and the love of that deed which would draw me closer to Your love.
The severest hardships come upon the bravest soldiers of Allah (swt), His most beloved people. Khala Ammi had shown gratitude and patience from day one. As my mother tells me, her arms and legs weren’t moving the last two days. Her eyes were closed and her children and sisters around her could only see her breathe from the movement from her abdomen. The atmosphere was filled with bereavement, uncertainty and the dreadful fear of losing a guiding figure to Allah (swt). But all of us were walking in her footsteps already, complying with Allah’s (swt) decision, seeking His pleasure and forgiveness. Allah is Al-Ghafur, The All Forgiving and Al-Wadud, The Loving Kind, all praise is for Him. A doctor had informed the family that her brain had stopped responding, thereby declaring a state of unconsciousness. But can we do something when Al-Moeed, The Restorer, brought her back to consciousness; she opened her eyes and the people around heard her reciting the most powerful words, before her soul was finally taken.
There is none worthy of worship except Allah (swt) and Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah.
He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and bad deeds) over you , until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty. (Al-Anam 6:61)
She told me to practice taffakur, contemplation on Allah’s (swt) creation and His signs of day and night. She also told me to start worrying about making a house in Jannah.
I remember the lessons that she used to give to all of the children; she loved all of us like her own children. She faced the pain of giving her two sons away to another woman, the pain of not being able to see the division of property according to Shariah, the pain of financial limits and all those hardships that Allah’s beloved people face, Khala Ammi was blessed with a qalb, directed by Allah (swt), full of love. I aspire to acquire all of the qualities she has as a beloved of Allah (swt) and even more like she prayed, Insha’ Allah. There were some Ayahs and Ahadith, some stories of Allah’s (swt) people that she would frequently narrate. There was not one single occasion that she wouldn’t talk about Deen. After eating and greeting everyone on family gatherings, she would make us all sit and say with all that warmth, “Now let us remember Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) too.”
From the treasures of reminders she gave, I would like to share a few:
- Seeking Allah’s (swt) forgiveness all the time along with placing all the hopes and trust in Allah’s (swt) blessings. “…Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al Imran 3:31)
- Making an intention of doing each and everything for seeking Allah’s (swt) pleasure and consent. She would remind to make a heartfelt intention each morning and thanking Allah (swt) for another day to collect deeds that make us more worthy of His . “Say: Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Anam 6:162)
- Building on the lessons she got from her teacher and by reading Imam Ghazali’s (ra) books, she reminded the youth and old of the family to share in the meanings of the names of Allah (swt). That is, not only to know the attributes of Allah (swt) but also yearning to follow that attribute and to imitate them in order to be worthy of Allah’s (swt) love and pleasure. She was a reservoir of knowledge and good deeds. She would give the guidance of forgiving relatives, friends and enemies by imitating His attributes. For instance, she would say Allah (swt) is Ghafur-ur-Raheem, and tell her children to often forgive others. As Imam Ghazali says, forgiving in these terms would mean concealing, by covering the faults of another to gain rewards in the hereafter. So, if we, as Muslims, cover the weaknesses of a fellow human being and mention what is beautiful, we have indeed shared in the forgiving attribute of Allah (swt).
- She used to warn of the evil deeds we consider small despite their eternal consequences. By narrating from her religious learning, she would remind us how fire accumulates faster when small pieces of wood are thrown into it rather than large pieces. That’s how she would differentiate between major and minor sins.
- One of the most frequent reminders I know from her is on the derivation, the reality of a man; clay. “He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term (for you to die).” (Al-Anam,6:2)
- A few years back, she had come to our home. Fortunately, I got some blessed moments to talk to her. I now realize the magnanimity of the lessons she gave to me in a few minutes. She told me to practice taffakur, contemplation on Allah’s (swt) creation and His signs of day and night. She also told me to start worrying about making a house in Jannah. I can never forget these golden words from her!
I request you all to pray for my Khala Ammi and may we all become the beloved of Allah (swt), as the sweetness of this life lies in remembering Him, the sweetness of the next life lies in seeing Him (Mishari al-Kharraz, Love of Allah: Experience the Beauty of Salah).
O Allah! I ask You for Your love, the love of the person who loves You, and the love of that deed which would draw me closer to Your love. O Allah! Make Your love more beloved to me than myself, my family, and more beloved than cold water [on a hot day]. O Allah! Grant me your love and the love of that person whose love will benefit me by you. (Tirmidhi).