To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return

On Monday, December 21, my grandmother passed away.  Sitti Zuhara was 85 years old. Two daughters, eleven grandchildren and twenty-six great-grandchildren shall carry on her memory and pray for her. She was born and raised in Palestine where she lived independently for over 40 years of her life.
As a single mother she raised two caring and God fearing daughters. Tata was green before it was cool, constantly reminding us to turn off any lights that were not in use and to reduce the flow of water from the faucet, amongst other things.
Every Monday and Thursday she would leave her home in Beit Hanina to get to Jerusalem to offer prayers at Masjid Al-Aqsa. While it may be a 15 minute trip to the Damascus Gate, it was still a long walk through centuries old narrow streets before she reached the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock. She would walk through the souk on her way to the mosque stopping to buy bread to give to any needy person she met along the way.  Though Friday is the day that Muslims gather for Salatul Jumm’ah, dealing with the thousands of people would have been far too much for her.
Tata wanted nothing more than to die and be buried in Palestine. To be buried by her parents and infant son. It was through Allah’s blessings that she was here in California surrounded by many of her loved ones.  As her family we constantly feared for her for living alone.  She now lays amongst other Muslims at the base of beautiful hills and under the shade of trees. Being that I pass that site when I drive to my parents house, I am able to say a prayer in her honor each time.
Sitti was the only grandparent I have ever known. My father’s parents passed away years before I was born and Sitti’s husband deserves no mention. She always made us feel comfortable and made us the foods we loved when we would visit her.  She would constantly ask God to grant us good health and keep our husbands and children safe and healthy.
I was in Washington visiting my sister Iman when we got the news. I also believe that it was through Allah’s mercy that I was with Iman so that we may offer strength and comfort for each other.  Truly, everything happens for a reason.
When I think of all the extra phone calls or visits I could have made, I extinguish those thoughts and make prayers for her instead. This life is temporary. “To Allah we belong, and to Him we shall return.” {Surah Al Baqarah 2:156} I took great comfort when I read the following recently:

It is related that the gifts of alms, prayers, and Qur’anic recitation sent by the living to the dead reach them carried by the angels on plates of light, and adorned with silk handkerchiefs, and they say to them: ‘This is a gift from so-and-so’, and in this way they find joy and delight.

Though I’ve always known that death comes to us all, I always thought that Tata would always be there.  Tears will still fill my eyes when I think of no longer holding her hand or hearing her voice, but now in her honor I shall send her gifts on trays of light adorned with silk scarves. 

Oh Allah! Forgive Sitti Zuhara of her sins. Oh Allah! Have mercy on her soul. Oh Allah! Grant her paradise. Oh Allah! Accept my prayers and pass the reward on to her. Ameen.


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