Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Post disaster thoughts

Wondering what disaster? A gas tanker exploded on 27 August 2012 at a place called Chala, which is close home. We are all fine here, alhamdulillah but 19 people have died from 60-90% burns and many more are injured. The place looks as if it has been ground to a war-in the midst of greenery, an area stands out all brown and burnt, with its trees dead, houses and shops burnt beyond repair and people waiting for news of their dear ones. It is a pitiable sight and reminds one of death and its inevitability. The people of the locality are actively participating in the rehabilitation of the survivors and in ensuring the proper burial of bodies because death had taken whole families here. Even people from far-off have come to offer help, which is great, but most unfortunately, there are people who try to rob even the burnt houses, yes, there are such people in the world! Some have been seen searching among the soot in the burnt cupboards for anything valuable that has been spared by the fire. Where has humanity run off to?

To return to that hand that does not spare anyone, that certainty called death- had any of the victims thought of death before going to bed that night? They were all common people, like you and I. They were just going to bed (it was about 11 pm) or watching television or talking to each other or cleaning the kitchen or doing things that they normally do. Many of them might have had plans for the next day; we all plan ahead, normally. Not even the last thing on their minds would be explosion, fire and death. We do not think, and cannot imagine, each night when we go to sleep that we may not rise to see another dawn. We are all afraid of death, naturally. Only the most pious ones, confident of their Lord's satisfaction, can welcome death with a smile. They will be told on the Day of Judgement, "O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, Well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then, among My honoured slaves, and enter My Paradise!" (Al-Fajr: 27-30)

One of the victims of the disaster is a twenty-year-old guy who died along with his parents and younger brother. Even minutes before his death, he was consoling other patients who were seriously injured (like he was) saying that life on this earth is not permanent, the eternal life comes after death.  It brought tears to the doctor's eyes, this young man about to die consoling those around him. He was fortunate (and virtuous) enough to be able to say the shehadah before death. Will we be able to do the same?

We are so busy living that we forget that basic, universal truth called death. We know that everyone born will die someday. We know that we cannot live here forever. We know, yet we like to ignore the fact, we tend to forget it. We place so much importance on our body and our physical activities, forgetting that our bodies are not going to last. This body to which we attribute so much of value will decay after death. It is temporary, as life on this earth is temporary. We shall all return to our Creator one day. It could be tomorrow, tonight, or the next minute. Nobody knows but Allah.  

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