Even though I have known Aunt Hanan all my life, much of my real and most long-lasting life experience with her, who is affectionately and respectfully referred to as Ummi, or Ummun, has been experienced over a one-hundred-and-twenty-day period this past year [2018-2019]. In September of 2018, my aunt officially relocated to my home in Odenton Maryland, the same day after being discharged from Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. Months earlier I had received the difficult news of her ensuing terminal illness.
My aunt would now face the most difficult challenge in her life; however little did our family know her test would be ours as well.Months later upon relocating to Maryland the search for alternative therapies led to an online capital campaign. The love and support from friends and family could be felt from as far away as Turkey, California, and Alaska and beyond. She was much loved, and she wanted her world of friends to know her family.
Three weeks into her stay she was still able to walk the flight of steps, however her strength would fade fast in the following weeks and months, until it became apparent that she would no longer be able to leave the house under her own free will. This saddened her – as she was so used to traveling the world unobstructed, like the flow of strong but beautiful stream.Caring for my aunt meant caring for her friends and extended family. Our home seemed chosen for the beauty of hosting souls and angels alike.Allah says in the Quran; (Lit is such a Light) in houses, which Allah hath permitted to be raised to honor; for the celebration, in them, of His name: In them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again and again) …”. As evidenced by the shifting darkness of shadows and light, our home became a place of testing. Testing of the hearts of our family to bear in patience, a different yet oft repeated process. “It is Allah who creates you and takes your souls at death; and of you there are some who are sent back to a feeble age, so that they know nothing after having known (much): for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Powerful. – 16:70It became apparent that my dear aunt still had work to do; there were hearts that needed mending, ties that needed binding and farewells that would be fraught with tears. As the days passed, time seemed to have changed in cosmic dimension. It seemed as though her clinging to this earth through sheer will and determination created a centrifugal force, a force that drew all of us to her as the epicenter focus. Each passing day advanced on the next, until her sleep became the reminder of the beauty of conversations, which could no longer be had.
Her grace and honor will always remain in my heart. Her firmness was hers, unapologetically, yet supple and complete in its nature and reason. If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature: Will they not then understand? – 36:68So after having known much Allah The Sovereign chooses to instruct mankind through the process of aging and decline, however it is a decline of the physical and an ascension of the spiritual. And what will explain to us the heights of our spiritual selves?And, behold, with every hardship comes ease: – 94:5. Indeed, if Allah so wills, we would see that within our hardships is the reward from God. Light is something that is itself bright and causes the brightness of other things. We ask for light to be placed in those spaces that aunt Hanan occupies. “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light, Allah guides unto His Light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth similitudes for mankind, and Allah is All-Aware of all things.” Sura Nur verse 35.
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”