Today I wanted to share a reflection about a workshop we had in my tafseer (translation of the Quran) class for women. The workshop was about the Islamic way of preparing the dead for burial.
A student volunteered to be the dead body and lay down on the table that was set up at the front of the room. Our teacher went through all the steps and showed us how to keep the person’s awrah covered, wash their body, and wrap them in the burial cloths. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought the student who volunteered to be on the table was dead – she lay so still and seemed lifeless as the teacher and her assistants moved her body around to wrap the white burial cloth around her.
The whole thing was a little distressing for me. I noticed that many of my classmates were also affected. I began to question myself as I watched the demonstration. I asked myself what I’ve accomplished for the Hereafter. I thought of all the good and bad things that I’ve done. Did I have enough good deeds? Did I ask forgiveness for sins I’d committed? If I was to die right this moment from a sudden heart attack or an accident like the roof caving in for some reason (God forbid!), and I was to be on that table being prepared for burial while the people preparing me were alive and got to continue their lives while mine was over – was I ready for that?
At the end of the demonstration, the volunteer was asked how she felt. She said that it was hard for her to explain but she felt a deep miserable loneliness even though the teacher and her assistants were beside her and 100 fellow classmates were in the room. Every single one of us will go through this one day. One day each one of us will be prepared for burial. Allah says in the Quran:
“Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion” (3:185).
Don’t forget that your ultimate goal is not graduating university, getting that dream job, or getting married and raising a family. What should be at the top of your list of goals is preparing for your meeting with Allah. I know it can be so difficult. It’s very easy to get caught up in the world but we should try. Keep in mind that one day we WILL meet Him to be judged and there’s no way of going back. It’s going to happen and it’s real. Take advantage of the time you have. Race to good deeds just like you would race to get free stuff or work hard to get a good mark or a promotion at work. There’s so many things that you can do; you can open the door for someone, or throw away any garbage you see in the prayer room, or you can even give someone a smile! You could also make dhikr when you’re walking to class or while you’re on the bus. Take advantage of every single moment you have!
Remember that this life is only temporary. One moment you’re alive and the next moment you could be dead. Our exact time of death is unknown. And on the Day of Judgement, it will be your actions that will either save or condemn you.
To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.