On the death of a child

Assaalamu alaikum, peace to all

Tonight I heard from my sister of the death of a dear child, a beautiful little girl who lives down the street from us back home in Sri Lanka. Her family is not well to do, being fruit sellers…but are some of the most kind and giving people I know. Her grandfather in particular, went out of his way to look after my grandmother when she had a stroke…bodily lifting her up and carrying her out to the vehicle waiting to rush her to hospital. Being a manual laborer he had the strength to do it and being as fond of her as he is, often saying ‘she is like a mother to me’, he had the heart. I, stuck on the other side of the globe, and knowing it would take 48 hours to reach there, could only arrive to be by her hospital bedside. Thank God, she survived that attack and then this little child would visit her almost every day to keep her company as she recovered. She was an adorable bunch of mischief, naughty and full of smiles as she played one prank after another. Her name in Sinhala has no particular meaning I know but can be considered to mean ‘flower’ so I will call her that.

Well Flower has died. Of Dengue fever, a mosquito borne disease more deadly than Maleria in my Island home. The Doctors who examined her not being able to diagnose her correctly at first her treatment came too late. ‘Inna ilaihi wa inna lillaahi rajioon’, the beautiful and profound sentence we Muslims are taught to say on the passing of anyone… ‘From God we come and to God we return’. So then as we believe, another angelic soul reunited with the divine presence. Sinless, she will be in heaven, awaiting her parents and praying for them. So then there is peace.

I wonder about the beauty of children. How their presence gives us life. How we remember what is essential when we are with them. I think it is because they are so recently arrived from that divine presence, and unsullied by the world yet, they are able to communicate an angelic nature. Yes, even in their mischief, they are angelic! The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us never to hit a child. Glory be to God, what a source of mercy our beloved prophet is!

After the tsunami happened I saw so many children who had died. So many children. Indeed, it was as if my soul shaken to its depths could not feel anymore. Only in blindly going through day after day after day indulging in back breaking work was there solace. Trusting without a shadow of a doubt, that Allah’s help will come and He is the MOST MERCIFUL. And so Allah is indeed the most merciful. Some time after the tsunami, I moved to another country and then moved in to live with a family where there was a beautiful baby. It took 5 years of growing with that child to be healed. Five blissful years of peace playing with a child and the world was right again. So I wonder at my Lord’s way, taking things away but giving back more. All we have to do is be patient. And kind and giving ourselves. All we have to do is learn to trust and that trust softens our speech so that we learn to speak to one another with kindness and gentility. Not a superficial gentility but one that has permeated our very soul. Is this then the way of the Buddha? the way of Lao Tse, of Jesus (peace be upon him) and of our Master Muhammed (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him)?

One of my most beloved sayings of Rasullulah (the messenger of Allah, peace be upon him) is where he stated that the best means of persuasion is the gentle means…but I cannot find this reference and indeed I am also not sure if it is Quranic. Please forgive me for my lapse, but here is a hadith very close in meaning to that

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Be gentle and calm. . .because God likes gentleness in all affairs.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 404

This gentleness children possess. It is there in every coo and gurgle and in every time they stretch their arms out to be hugged. It is there when they put their little hands in yours as you walk along. It is there when they sit in your lap and ask for a story to be read to them. And yes, even when those little eyes dance with mischief and they enjoy annoying you, it is there for they want you. They always want you.

Imagine then the angelic presence and to be united with that. Glory be to God. How much we have to learn to be better. And I say this first to myself and then to everyone else. Allah help me.
May the little ones be in an eternal and beautiful peace.

I wanted to share some other ahadith beloved to me in case it is of benefit to you. And indeed remembering our prophet is never anything but a strength and mercy;

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 759:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

The Prophet never used bad language neither a “Fahish nor a Mutafahish. He used to say “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.”

Malik Muwatta Book 47, Number 47.1.8:

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was sent to perfect good character.”

Sahih Muslim Book 032, Number 6264:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).

Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 11, Number 677:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

The Prophet said, “When I start the prayer I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut short the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.”

May Allah forgive us all our countless sins, guide and strengthen us!

And may Allah the almighty, most beautiful, kind, generous, glorious and loving Lord, the Almighty, give rest and ease to every parent who has ever had to go through the torture of loosing a child.