Last Sunday, while most nations observed/celebrated Mother’s Day, a member of our community passed away. BH attended the janaaza, and I got to the deceased’s home just as the males were exiting the home with the deceased shrouded on a bier.
I did not know the deceased brother, so I cannot tell what his frame was like prior to his death. But what struck me, as it did when I saw my father shrouded, was how shrunken in frames, those bodies bereft of soul and eyesight and life, were.
The shroud, is known as the kaffan, and is usually two or three lengths of white cotton. The body is wrapped in the kaffan, and knotted at the head and feet.
Sometimes, there are occurrences which boggle you because of their unprecedented repetition. While in Trinidad in April, I heard mention of saffs (lining up in rows for salaat) twice, one of those times time now escapes me since I took too long to write this, and the other being during the khutbah on yawm ul jummah. The visiting sermon renderer spoke of competition amongst the Companions, r.a., and illustrated with reference to the following hadith:
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “If people came to know the blessing of pronouncing Adhan and the standing in the first row, they could nothing but would draw lots to secure the privileges.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
I reacted mentally, because growing up, I shunned the front row in salaat (fearing it would be construed as ‘showing off’), and thought then and there that I should revamp my thinking. So I searched a bit, because despite BD’s ambitious challenge, memorisation by me of hadith is an unreliable source for me at this time, and lo and behold, in addition to that hadith, I found the converse hadith:
Abu Hurairah (RA) quotes Prophet (SAW), who said: “The best of the men’s rows [in Salat] is the first row and the worst is the last; but for women’s row is the last and the worst of their rows is the first.” (Muslim)
Abu Said Khudri narrates that when Allah’s Messenger (SAW) perceived a tendency among his companions (RAA) to stand in the back rows, he said to them: “Come forward and be close to me and let those who come after you, follow your lead. (Remember!) If people continue to fall behind (i.e. in acquiring virtues), Allah puts them behind.” (Muslim).
At the Muslim Fair two weekends ago, I found this poster on display. It brought to mind a report of the thoughts of BakerDaughter & Number 1 Son for and against arranged marriages versus love marriages. And that sentence brings to mind an older friend’s comment on her distaste for what she saw as a cultural stigma – that of arranged marriages being welcomed. I have since seen that the un-arranged marriage which she welcomed into her family become un-arranged. Another friend, widowed and a mother of 3 lovely teenaged daughters bemoaned the cultural exclusion of girls from the masjid, wondering aloud how her daughters would find suitable mates. (BH by the way has loudly and frequently stated that BD cannot marry until she is…..40, I think is the figure he started with, but that has decreased – at last utterance, it may have been 28 – from a man who entered wedlock at the age of 24:)) I have seen the gamut of despair to bliss and vice versa in both types of marriages.