Today as I sat in my car watching the rain dripping onto the window I turn on the windscreen wipers and see the dirt smear across the screen. Slowly the dirt becomes mud as the rain gets heavier and then its just water washing over the window. I thought to myself how fast that dirt that smeared my view became absent and I was left with just water and a clean screen.
I turn on the engine and start to reverse my car hitting into puddles and holes I can feel the mud under my tires, its heavy and sticky almost pulling my car into the ground. As I drive away from my home I notice the streets are empty except the odd man running down the street pass the masjid with a cardboard box over his head. The road is red slush from the dirt and rain. The mountains aren’t visible as I feel coldness fill my car my attention is diverted to the recitation of Quran.
I reached my destination as I sit in the car and wait for the rain to subside before exiting thinking about how my clothes and shoes will become red with mud and wet upon exiting my eyes gaze across the area looking for a better place to park. I see men scurrying together into a shop and then to another talking and huddling. Its pouring rain and this group of men are out in it, I wondered why and couldn’t help but pay attention. I then see a group of women gather near the men. A lady approaches me in my car with an elderly woman. She asks me,’ can my mother wait in your car so she can remain warm and dry.’ without a second thought I nodded my head and unlocked my car.
I asked the lady who jumped in with her mother what was happening as it was so odd to see so many people especially in a group like that in the rain but my local village is so small its just odd at any time.
She tells me a young girl has died and they are looking for the shroud for her and someone to wash her so they can bury her before the rain picks up again otherwise the grave will be too wet if they delay and allow the under soil to become slushy.
My body was numb and I couldn’t move or think what to say, To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. A few moments of silence and sitting in my cold car I asked if she knew the girl. She informs me it was her neighbour’s daughter, She continues to tell me that they are very poor. She explained where their house was which is actually a few houses away from me. Since the cold set in about a month ago she developed a cough that turned into pneumonia. She attended a local hospital ( free of charge) where they discovered she actually suffered heart problems and the pneumonia was making it worse. She was sent home with some antibiotics and told to rest.
Days turn into weeks and this young girl of 10 years old got weaker and weaker so her mother returned to the hospital with her daughter begging for her daughter to be cared for in the hospital. They said the only solution is to perform heart surgery on her daughter but they wont do that until she recovers from pneumonia. Prescribing more antibiotics she returns home with her daughter.
This young girl was cared for by her mother day and night as she choked from coughing and shivered from a high temperature, she became too weak to go to the bathroom her mother started to put diapers on her. At this point I felt tears swelling in my eyes trying to choke back what felt like an insult for me to cry and be sad the woman puts her hand on my shoulder and says,’ she was such a talented young girl always full of life, even when sick and unable to get up she was still smiling and grateful’
This morning her mother walked into the lounge room where she had set up a space for her daughter to be comfortable and rest instead of the bedroom, she saw her daughters mouth and hands blue, she hurried to boil water before approaching her daughter thinking she was cold. Upon approaching her she realised her body was limp and she wasnt breathing. she called for the girl’s father to come, he hurried to get the neighbours. Within minutes the house was full of people trying to revive this young girl.
Her mothers tears flowed silently as her father hugged her and comforted her she asked everyone to leave her home so she may prepare her for the funeral prayer and burial. This is why all these people are gathered here now, for this little girl to get her shroud and to wash her body, perfume her and bury her. In the cold and wet they gathered for little Fatimah who was a hafidha of Quran and was among the best reciters in the area.
As I look to the road in front of me I started to cry uncontrollably, our bodies are going to be put into that ground. When we die, that cold wet soil will be what covers us and will be all that we have surrounding us. Our warm homes, our fancy lifestyles, money, comforts, family, everything will be past and all we will have by our side is our deeds, our good and bad deeds will be what is left of us in this world.
Fatimahs mother walks toward my car, the woman tells me that is her mother. I jump from my seat and walk towards her seeing her wet and muddy I hug her and make dua for her and her daughter. She smiled at me, yes she smiled with tears in her eyes and says to me,’ my beloved sister, she is in the care of Allah now and I thank Him that He saved her from the trials of this life and believe she will be waiting for me to enter paridise.‘
Seeing the strength of Fatimahs mother I felt ashamed of myself, how much I felt fear of becoming a body in the dirt, that cold dirt that will suffocate my limbs and press against my body. This amazing, strong woman was putting her little girl in the cold wet dirt but she was comforted by the good deeds she encouraged her young daughter towards and didn’t fear for her because she trusts in the promise of Allah.
My heart felt ease as I asked if she needed anything, to that she replied, ‘ just pray, pray for my little girl and for us to be patient with what Allah has given us.’ I hear some women shouting as we turn to look, they found the woman who will wash and dress Fatimah for her burial, her mother hugs me tight and for what felt like longer then a normal hug as she kisses my cheek she says to me,’ Dont forget what our life was given to us for, the One who gave us life will also take our life.’ she invited me to her home as she hurried away.
I helped the women out from my car as I sat back into the driver’s seat I thought to myself, what have I done in my life, what can I do better and why didn’t I know about Fatimahs illness when she lived only a few houses away from me. I surely knew who she was and never thought to ask why I hadn’t seen her outside playing in the streets as she use to. I made a promise to myself instead of fearing death I want to make my life more beneficial and strive harder to help those around me who are suffering because of the lack of the most basic needs not being met.