Funeral Reflections | Straightening my Path & Creedo

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I recently attended the first Janazah (funeral) of my life. I have been to Janazah prayers but never experienced the burial process. This was a heart wrenching and opening experience. The brother passed in a horrific and tragic car accident. I went to support the wife with other women from the community. May Allah bring peace to her heart and mind. This is a test I hope and pray no one experiences.

May Allah illuminate his grave.
May Allah illuminate his grave.
May Allah illuminate his grave.

This was a Shi’i burial, and I’m not really sure what that means because I’ve never been to a Sunni burial before. One of the things that stood out to me was the process of ‘Talkeen’ in which the body is shaken in the grave and reminders are announced. These reminders include expression of Shahada and “Imam Ali is my Imam” and so on and so forth down the list of Imams who carried divine message.

It was a cold Saturday the day he was buried. There was snowfall the day after. On Sunday I remembered the cold earth and soil which engulfed his body and how this is something his widow needs to also process. When I approached her to hug her she had her coat hood over her face. Her hand was limp and I grabbed it and knelt down and looked at her and kissed her. She removed her hoodie and looked at me, said a blessing and I hugged her tightly and prayed for her. It was such a powerful moment. She was there during the ghusl process, she was up all night, and stood up front as they covered his body with the soil. She was there. She was there.

May Allah illuminate his grave.
May Allah illuminate his grave.
May Allah illuminate his grave.

Sister Nida looked over at me and said, “They say that when you attend a funeral it is as if you are attending your own burial.”

We hugged each other and silently wept.

I watched as the yellow bulldozer pushed over piles of soil onto his lifeless body. People knelt down and touched the earth. Flowers were drawn upon the brown pile and people began to depart.

Later that day my mother asked me about it all. She said “Were there a lot of people?”

I said “not as many as I would have expected, but it was still powerful nonetheless.”

She said, “Probably because he was Shi’i.”

So much dismay.

My most important reflection? I need to be steadfast in my convictions and the reasons which I consider myself an adherent. Will I want a Shi’i burial? Why?

Salawat.

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