In Loving Memory of My Grandfather

Assalamu Alaikum. [This story is written] in the memory of my loving grandfather, Jamil I. Younis (Allah yerhamo).

I would have never imagined that night to be his last… that his last breath would circulate around the very room I stood. His fragile hand intertwined in mine, grasping on for strength. I would have never imagined. As his gleaming eyes wandered around, I never would have thought that his last gaze would be one of mine. I hadn’t wished to witness such, yet I am more than ever grateful I have. Each time I seemingly forget my purpose, my memory recollects. Images. Faces. Emotions. I am thus taken back to that unforgettably enduring night.

I cannot try to forget the look on my dear grandfather’s face. He was fading, passing, departing into a realm unknown to any of us alive today. He began seeing fragments I could not see, fragments I could not imagine. Yet these fragments caused him remarkable relief, it was as though he knew his place in the afterlife.

The years of illness, pain and suffering did not matter; it was as though they had never been. He looked up and began repeating “Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah”. Deep down inside I knew, yet I did not want to believe. The angel of death had come for him, as he will come for us all. His breath became irregular and the impending truth began slowly approaching, yet I still did not want to believe.

I held on to his hand, floods of tears streaming down my face, my thoughts utterly distraught. I knew that in his time of passing he needed me, however not nearly as much as I need him now. I began to repeat the shahadah for him, once, twice, three times we repeated “La illaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasool Allah”. His breathing began to slow down, and the final look on his face would suffice all the difficulties he had endured. The lines and creases on his face were no longer there, his eyes were luminous and cheerful, his lips curled into the most beautiful and serene smile I have ever witnessed in the entirety of my life. This is the beauty of Imaan, this is pure tranquility.

The night he passed away was the fifth night of Ramadan. I was reciting Quran for my grandfather, to try and ease his pain. Each time I would stop to take a breath, he would urge me forward. “Continue, continue” he would repeat. The Quran gave him life; the miraculous speech of Allah (swt) gave him a purpose. It was the only connection he had with this world in his last moments, the only connection he needed. He would not waste a second. Every minute should be spent in the worship of Allah (swt). The Quran was the only source of peace and composure, calmness in our time of extreme hardship. I cannot emphasize that enough. We live our lives today ignorant of the holy Quran; Ignorant of the emphatically blessed and powerful words of the creator. Whoever lives a life indulging in a certain prospect, will die upon that prospect. Make that prospect the Quran. If you live a life of indulgence in sin, what will you be doing at your time of death?

Death is a composite, intricate aspect of life that is inevitable. I cannot help but ponder about the presence of the angel of death that night. He was there, waiting for the time that had been decreed before our existence on this earth, yet he was waiting. I cannot help but wonder about his presence here, his presence now… When will it be my time? Remember, this life is not our home. Every second matters.

Please make dua for my grandfather and for all the deceased member of the muslim ummah. Below is a video of my grandfather and Sheikh Ahmad Deedat. Please watch it so they can both get Ajr in their graves Inshallah.”

Sara Al-Edreesi (Palestinian living in Canada)