Allah did not create life to be perfect for anyone; He, the Almighty, has written for each of us their share of happiness and sadness. And He ordered us to turn to Him, and be grateful to Him regardless of what we go through.
Indeed, He, the Almighty, sends hardships for many reasons – to test the sincerity of our faith and our inner strength, and to purify us from sins.
It was narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The believer is not afflicted by the prick of a thorn or what is worse (or greater) than that, except that by it Allah raises him in rank and removes sin from him. (Al Bukhari)
Death of Loved Ones – The Hardest Test
For me, it was a lot greater than just the prick of a thorn; it was actually like I lost a part of me when I lost my dad.
In fact, one of the hardest times in one’s lifetime is when one experiences the loss of parents; it is the time when you realize how weak you are, how lonely and lost you are.
We were in Ramadan 1440 AH, and after we finished eating Suhoor meal exactly at 3:30 AM, the phone rang. It was my mum telling me in a brittle voice the worst news I had ever heard in my life — that my dad had been moved to the intensive care unit after his condition had worsened.
At that moment, I felt like I was in a dream, and violent, strong waves of fear had racked my chest. I was pretty sure that the end was getting close as he was fighting his cancer.
There was a long distance between us, I was living in another country far away from him, and it was not easy to find a flight to Egypt at this time, but I did not lose hope, asking Allah to make it easy for me and to allow me see my dad for the last time.
Immediately, I checked all booking websites to find a trip that would let me arrive in Egypt as soon as possible, and it was great generosity from Allah when I finally found a flight and booked the last seat on it.
On my way, I tried to call my dad despite the fact that I knew that he would not answer. I just wanted to prove to myself that I was in a dream and my dad was safe, but after a while, he answered in a very sick, weak voice… I did not recognize him at the beginning. I did not believe that the one whom I was speaking to, who could hardly take a breath, was my dad!
I told him that I was on my way to him, but he said:
“Go back home, they will not let you see me.”
Those were the last words I heard from him, and this was the last call between us.
My dad had passed away, and I had not been in a dream.
Lessons I Learned
Actually, my father’s death affected me as much as his life did. I remembered many lessons I had been taught:
– Life is too short to spend it away from your loved ones; if they die away from you, your chance to see them alive will never come again.
– There is nothing wrong with showing our weakness to Allah, begging Him to grant us steadfastness and strength.
– I should not be ashamed of taking time to grieve as this does not reflect a weakness of my faith, and there is no contradiction between expressing our sorrow – in a proper way as Muslims – and satisfyingly accepting Allah’s decree.
Allah is our creator, and He never wants us to suppress our feelings. Even the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who was protected from falling in sin and making mistakes, had been shocked when his son Ibrahim died, and he said:
The eyes send their tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us. (Al-Bukhari)
– Finally, I realized that we often wait until it is too late to wake up and notice the blessings of what we have, especially when we have a precious blessing like our parents, the ones who most deserve our time and our companionship, as Allah obligates us towards them.