The order has been decreed:
“Every soul shall taste death,” said the Most High. (Holy Qur’an)
I was about to chew the last mouthful of food on the breakfast table when my phone rang. It was mom who called me up at 7:15 O’clock in the morning on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
“Your brother already bade farewell,” she spoke to me softly and calmly.
My brother’s departure from the mundane world took these words from my mouth:“Inna lillahi wa ina ilayhi rajiun.” (From God we came, to Him we shall return).
I wiped the tears that dripped from my eyes but my brother’s memories cannot be wiped out from my mind.
The doctor’s conclusion was wrong because my brother’s “six to nine months life span” will never ever happen. But how fortunate he was, for in one month time, the Most Merciful granted him a kick at the can to secure the most momentous thing in place as he passed away beautifully and peacefully.
How would I know and explain some of the touching premonitions of his unexpected journey to the next world?
A month before he was diagnosed, he called me up once without any purpose at all; he asked forgiveness from all of us especially from my mother; he kissed her mother-in-law twice during Eidl Fitri; he advised his wife to take care of their children well; and he texted my brothers to live a healthy life.
Who would thought that our last meeting was during our grand family reunion last April 2016, which he always popped up at my back or beside me in the photos?
I shed tears on Monday evening as I prayed to the Most Forgiving to grant him absolution for his sins. I realized then that my prayer was meant to be his companion on his departure the next day. He also appeared in my sister’s dream the night before he bade goodbye. With a travelling bag on his hand, he said: “I have to go now.”
Despite his sickness, my brother closed his eyes to the temporal world without any difficulty or a single groan according to my mother who stayed beside him till he breathed his last on earth.
Saadi reminds: “The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, having been created by one essence. When the calamity of time affects one limb, the other limbs cannot remain at rest; if you have no sympathy for the troubles of others, you are unworthy to be called by the name of a human.”
Yes, my heart was crushed. My human nature cannot hide the sadness and sorrow that knocked on the door of my heart as I missed my brother. I mourned the family’s grief, especially my beloved mother’s whose sentiment tugged at my heartstrings: “The agony and sadness I endured for your father’s demise was only half the agony I cuddled for your brother’s.”
I missed the memories of a dear sibling who took a part of me. How can I not feel nostalgic for a down-to-earth brother who asked my forgiveness but whom I never had any fight or argument at all? How can I not miss a melodist who would rather sing a love song and play his guitar than provoke a quarrel with his siblings? How can I forget a cool guy who would rather grab a laddle and cook a recipe than threaten his fellows with his pistol?
Being the eldest among the six siblings, he has never showed arrogance and sense of superiority among us. As a loving father who struggled to provide for his own family, his enthusiasm to go back to work was evident; it melted everybody’s heart. But there was no way to cancel his final report for duty: He has to be with the Beloved Commander-in-Chief.
Unfortunately, I was unable to catch a flight and attend his immediate interment. But my sister-in-law understood as I called her. Akin to a hot lava that erupted to the summit of my heart, their youngest eight-year old twin sons’ innocence brought tears to my eyes as she relayed to me my poor nephews’ reactions.
During their father’s ghusl (funeral bath), Naif asked his mother: “Inah, what are they going to do with amah?” Later, he laid down beside his shrouded defunct father and cried silently as he embraced him. When the members of the family reached home after the burial, Nawaf, the other twin, asked also his mother: “Where is amah? Oh no, they left amah.” Since he worked as a policeman, “He went to duty,” was all her mother can answer.
Oh lovers of Love! Isn’t it paradoxical to accept the Beloved’s Power and disregard His Love and Wisdom that manifested in intense misery? Isn’t it shameful to ignore His Perfection that shined perfectly through the pain and loneliness I embraced? How ignorant a lover to criticize the Works of His Beloved, for it is merely rejecting His Existence.
I know my brother’s departure from his frail body can never be delayed. But never he was in trouble nor he died, so to speak, for the Only Healer marvellously cured him and took him back home. Now he was reborn and lived in peace.
As we were brought to earth by the Tree of Life, akin to fallen leaves that returned to its roots, we must also return to our original home.
The real mourners were amazed by the good manifestations of my brother’s journey. But only the Loving One knows the reality. Albeit we mourned for his absence, our spirits were unperturbed, for his ultimate rebirth caused joyfulness to all advocates of love.
I salute my brother, a truly brave man in uniform, for his peaceful exit and the great victory he won over his last battle in the mortal world showered us joy and tranquility.
I was right. The foggy weather has gone as the Sun has risen dazzingly bright!