I attended a funeral yesterday on a very very cold day in March. My car has been acting up by starting to smoke after exactly 25 minutes of driving. (Bad car doesn’t know smoking is bad for it’s health!) So my brother bought something in a can that I put in the radiator and voila it didn’t smoke all the way to work. InshaAllah it stays that way although the scary red “Check Engine” light is still on. So now that my car was fixed it was providence to attend this funeral.
The sister who passed away was old, probably in her 60s or 70s. She had come here with her husband and sons a number of years ago from let’s say Bakhome-istan. The family owned a local ‘quicki mart store’ in our community and she sometimes worked there along with her husband who was there everyday. Her gnarled old hands rung up the items one by one and she never spoke a word of English. He too unfortunately is in the hospital right now and probably won’t recover. Her sons are grown and one lived there above the store with his family and kids and I think they lived there as well. The store is not in the best part of town but it is across the street from our inner city Masjid so got brisk business. It was probably the first time in history that the windows were darkened and the shop was closed up.
The Janazah had maybe a little over 100 people who came. A handful of family, 2 grandkids, some ppl from their country, some kids who came over from the school who had the grandkids in their classes, some who got the email from the listserv about a Janazah today. The service after Asr was very short. They brought the body in a white glossy coffin. We prayed the 4 Takbeerat and then it was over. They lifted her up and took her back to the hearst and most of the men went out with it. They plan to send the body back to her home to be buried.
I wrapped up and went back to my car around 7 and drove home alone.
I found this to be the saddest saddest funeral I’ve ever attended. A woman who traveled so far from her homeland in the hopes of a better life for her children and her children’s children. Who still are struggling and visibly hovering above poverty. I mean what did they come here for? I see so many of these struggling immigrants especially nowadays up here and especially in places like New York city. Anonymous, androgynous, working working middle class, barely scraping a living, their kids half way cultural half way in the shadows. Friendless but trying so hard to stick with their cultural kind. Praying regularly in the inner-city mosque. And now she’s dead and being sent back to her country to be buried.
What does it all mean? What did her life mean?
I don’t know. May Allah have mercy upon her soul and enter her into Jannatul firdous. Ameen.