“A shroud has no pockets.”


Reading Surat al-Kahf, I sat with my Nana that Jumuah as he was having lunch. The phone rang, and the maid told me it was my mum. I thought my mum was alone and wanted me to come home for a few hours, but it wasn’t what I had expected. She informed me of the death of a relative who was also our neighbour. She died of bone cancer. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala have mercy on her soul and may He build for her a home near Him in Jannah. Ameen.

I went to my Nana, who had just a few spoons of rice in his plate left, but I couldn’t wait for him to finish his food. With tears rolling down my cheeks like a mini waterfall, I told him what had happened. “To Allah we belong, and to Him we will Return,” he said.

I went to my room, and I cried out loud. I couldn’t stop crying because I had just recently seen this relative in the hospital, and despite her pain, with all those tubes on her, she had extended her hand to me with a smile on her face then. She was about to move to her new house which was almost done; she wore the best clothes, had the best smile, always prayed on time, and had such humble children, although she was amongst Lahore’s elite, subhanAllah… and she died…

That day was a huge “wake up call” for me. It made me realise how complacent I was, how proud I was, how much I adored the new watch my Nana had given me and how I had forgotten the words I heard from Sheikh Muhammed Alshareef, “A shroud has no pockets”.

I had to go sit with my Nana who was sitting alone on the sofa. I think he heard me crying inside my room and told me not to be sad. “Have faith in Allah, Maryam. This life is all about struggles in this world. A Muslim is very strong, he faces challenges with all his strength and he depends on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Don’t cry Maryam, be strong, be a Musalmaan, don’t be depressed, a Muslim is never depressed.”

I couldn’t stop crying. I realised Allah’s strength and power, and how weak and fragile we were. He has all power to do anything. He gives life and He takes it. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, black or white, beautiful or just average, there are certain things in our lives over which we have no control. We have no control over deciding our parents, our age, our skin colour, our height. We cannot bring our youth back, we cannot cure ourselves from any kind of sickness unless its His Will to do so, we cannot become immortal. Somethings in life are inevitable and we are just helpless in certain matters. It’s like me sitting in an airplane with a first class ticket, but when the plane crashes, all of us die – those who are in the first class and those in the economy class.

That day made me realize my worth. It made me realize how insignificant I was. I realized that this life is transient. This life is just a test. A life of ups and downs, sorrows and griefs, pain and trials; a test that will end upon death. That I have to stop sinning, that I have to repent and realize my purpose in life.

Yahya bin Mu’adh said:

“I do not order you to abandon this life, but to abandon sin. Disinterest in this life is a virtue, but abandoning sin is a religious obligation. Surely, you are more in need of establishing the obligations, than collecting virtues and minor good deeds.”

It made me realsie that all my life, I had submitted my will to my desires, my whims, to myself and that it was high time that from then onwards I submitted my will to the All-Mighty. That I submit myself to Him. That I make a place for Only Him in my heart. That I work on myself everyday and hold my soul to account before it actually becomes accountable on the Day of Judgment before the Lord of the Universe. That I realize that this is the one life I have to make those right choices I can, insha’Allah. That I cannot barter all the money I have in my bank account, the diamonds I wear, my designer shoes and clothes for Jannah. That Jannah has to be earned. It has to be earned with love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and love of Rasool Allah salla Allahu alayhi wasallam. “Atee’ullaha wa atee’u ar-Rasool – Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.”

Al-Hassan said:

“He amongst mankind who will receive the least reckoning on the Day of Judgment is he who reckons his own self in the life of the world for Allah’s sake. He who contemplates his intentions and actions, if whatever he has intended is for Allah’s sake, he persists in it, otherwise he refrains from doing it. Verily, reckoning on the Day of Judgment becomes heavy for those who were hasty in this life and did not hold themselves accountable. They will find that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has counted their deeds, including what equals an atom.”

He then recited Allah’s statement:

“(The will say): ‘Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!’ And they will find all that they did, placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” [Al-Kahf, 18:49]

So it is for us to decide: It is our life, and entrance into Jannah is contingent upon the choices we make in this life. I pray that we make the right choices in this dunya which are in consonance with the Quran and the Sunnah. I pray that all my hijabi sisters truly understand the purpose of hijab, I pray that all my non-hijabi sisters give hijab a chance. I pray that the Muslim sisterhood unites and fosters such children that make the Muslim Ummah the Ummah Rasool Allah sallallahu alyhe wa sallam wanted. I pray that we become successful in doing that. Ameen.

Remember there is only one life we have, let’s just try to make it the best life we can, insha’Allah.