In the name of Allah, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful.
On the authority of Hani, the freed slave of ‘Uthman, who said,
“When Uthman Ibn ‘Affan stood at a grave, he wept until his beard was wet. So it was said to him: ‘Indeed, you make mention of Paradise and Hellfire and you do not weep, and you are weeping at this?’ He replied, “Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Verily, the grave is the first abode of the hereafter, if one is saved from it, then what follows is made easier for him. And if one is not saved from it, then what follows is more severe.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, ‘I have never seen a sight more horrid than the grave’”
(at-Tirmidhi-ghareeb, Ibn Majah).
After Yusra’s husband had gone off to work and, her kids, to school, walking around the house had become her morning ritual. She toured through her husband’s mansion, savoring the rich taste in colors, decorations and furniture.
In the creamy-lemon massive parlor, she stopped at her favorite window and admired the beautiful garden that enveloped her home.
She remembered how it started. How it took brick-by-brick, years after years before the building was finally completed. She remembered how her beloved and she had rejoiced at every increment in height, as they watched their toil and sacrifice slowly transform into a breathtaking sight.
But, this comfort was beginning to frighten Yusra…
The feeling began after a close neighbour with almost the same level of opulence suddenly passed away. For Yusra, the memory of her being carried away from her home to the cemetery was a tough reality and, since that day, the question had continued to resonate in her mind, “How wide is my grave’s apartment?”
The fact that she would never know until she died was quite scary to her.
Yusra desperately looked up at the sky, thinking, “Allah knows.” He knows the exact spot on the earth where my grave would be dug and I would be buried. He knows how I will live in it until the day of resurrection.
“Ya Rabbi,” she silently prayed, “have mercy on my soul.”
Eaten up by guilt, she heaved a sigh and headed up the stairs towards that one room she had been avoiding for a long while – her study.
As she entered, a mixed fragrance of printed pages welcomed her, old and new, reminding her about her past zeal and abandoned strive for spiritual knowledge.
Oh! How she had missed her private space!
She blew at the dust that embraced her reading table before reaching out to pull her dairy from the lowest drawer. She found her writing pen still hanging neatly on the dairy’s cover like a slave awaiting the command of its master. Gently, she unclipped it, unveiled her chair from its protective covering and sat down grimly to slowly pen down her thoughts:
In the blink of an eye
Lies a change of identity
With each passing day
Closer am I to reality
No amount of comfort
Can defeat man’s destiny
Aye! My fate has been sealed
Dried up and done with!
I have lost track of time
Regret, only but destroys its residue
I hope never to look back
In my struggle to regain a soul, mine
If this, I am blessed to achieve
His love, I know wouldn’t be far
With His mercy, I believe
My real home would be
Just as wide as my eyes can see
And, perhaps, even farther.
Dear reader, how wide is your grave’s apartment?
Author: Fareedah Raji (Umm Habeebah)
Editor: Umm Naml
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