A let­ter and a wish

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Ah­mad Al-Sar­raf

AKuwaiti woman, who had a ter­mi­nal ill­ness, wrote a farewell let­ter be­fore her ex­pected death and posted it on so­cial me­dia. Every­one who read the sad let­ter that is filled with pain was in­spired. The let­ter says, “I will not be wor­ried when I die, and I will not care about my de­cay­ing body, as Mus­lims will do the nec­es­sary. They will re­move my clothes, wash me, put me in a shroud, take me out of my home and take me to my new res­i­dence, the grave. Many will come to my funeral and many will can­cel their com­mit­ments, to bury me.

“My be­long­ings will be dis­posed of; my keys, books, bag, shoes and clothes. If my fam­ily does the right thing, they will do­nate them so I ben­e­fit from that. They will make sure that no one is sad for me. The econ­omy will con­tinue, and my job will be taken over by some­one else, and my money will go to the heirs, while it will be me who will be held ac­count­able for what I did with it. The first thing that will be dropped from me when I die is my name, so when I die they will ask: ‘Where is the corpse?’ And will not call me by my name. Then when they start to bury me, they will say bring the de­ceased closer, and will not men­tion my name. Here, you will not be proud of some­one’s tribe, po­si­tion or af­fil­i­a­tion, so how triv­ial is this life, and how great is what we are go­ing for?

“Sad­ness to­wards you will be of three types, peo­ple who know you su­per­fi­cially, those friends who will be sad for hours or days then they will re­turn to their nor­mal talks and laughs, but the most af­fected and sad peo­ple will be at home, my fam­ily mem­bers who will mourn for weeks, months or even a year, mak­ing me a memory. And this is how my story ends and the true story be­gins.”

What drew me to this let­ter is the amount of sad­ness and re­al­ity in it. I was drawn to what was men­tioned at the end of it in the form of ques­tions all about the here­after, such as the ques­tion about what have we pre­pared for our grave and the here­after? Were we keen on per­form­ing the com­pul­sory (fardhs) and vol­un­tary (sun­nah) wor­ships, char­ity and good deeds? These and other say­ings that are re­peated by oth­ers which sat­isfy one’s con­science and re­laxes the heart, yet what about life on earth? Why doesn’t any­one care about it? Is it enough for us to pray, fast, give char­ity, za­kat (alms), or help the poor to have per­formed our role in this life?

Why are oth­ers dif­fer­ent from us about their strong in­ter­est of earth such as the in­ter­est of some of them in the here­after, from their own point of view? Why don’t we at­tempt to in­still in the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion’s minds that it is im­por­tant to leave an im­pres­sion of our life that ben­e­fits hu­man­ity? Such as ben­e­fits in health, medicine, science, de­vel­op­ment, fight­ing ill­ness, de­vel­op­ing vac­ci­na­tions, help­ing erad­i­cate il­lit­er­acy, mak­ing drink­ing wa­ter avail­able for ev­ery human be­ing, erad­i­cat­ing poverty and ig­no­rance and help­ing 66 million refugees suf­fer­ing around the world.

Why do our cul­ture, talks, and school cur­ric­ula lack ma­te­rial that urges the in­di­vid­ual to care about life on earth, such as the case about the here­after? Is it not strange for the Ot­toman Em­pire to last for 600 years and fail to give hu­man­ity a world that at­tracts the at­ten­tion of all, while its Euro­pean neigh­bors had given it thou­sands of sci­en­tists and in­no­va­tors? A ques­tion that has the end of our back­ward­ness in its an­swer. — Trans­lated by Kuwait Times

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