Jul 24, 2006

Saying Goodbye...
A Final Khodahafez

A couple of days ago, an elder auntie passed away leaving behind a feeling of emptiness within many of us. She was a beautiful soul. Even with her physical aches and pains, her difficult financial situation, her worries and stresses, she had a positive energy about her. I will truly miss her, as will many others.

We went to the Masjed for the pre-burial ceremony. We waited in one of the large praying rooms while the washing (Ghusl) and the shrouding (Kafan) of the deceased took place. An hour and a half later, once the ritual had been completed, we (the women only) were finally allowed to see her to say our final khodahafez.

The small group of us entered the brightly-lit room, filled with a pungent smell of camphor. And there she was, lying on a stretcher-like table, all wrapped up, head to toe, in a white sheet with only her face visible. She looked so peaceful, like she was in a deep sleep.

The crying had begun upon entering the room. Black-garbed bodies of women were moving around her helplessly. Bawling. Sobbing. Holding one another. We took one last look and left the room. Closer family members stayed behind for an extended final goodbye.

We returned to the praying room and waited. Earlier, we had found out that the Imam who was to lead the funeral prayers would not be able to make it. The only other knowledgeable person to do this was an elder auntie, who was uncomfortable with the idea. We were in a predicament. The only other option was to carry on with the prayers as a group - with no particular person leading. And this was clearly, not the way to go either.

We were sitting in our grief, some of us wondering how to proceed with the prayers, others too emotional to even worry about that. We heard a loud wail and knew the coffin was on its way. The doors in the back end of the room opened up with two men carrying the coffin. They laid it on the stand situated in the front part of the room, facing the direction of the Qibleh.

We rose from our seats. Then, the front doors opened and a man, who looked like an Imam, walked towards the coffin in a hurried manner. He spoke to us in broken Farsi, and based on certain words he used, I gathered he was an Urdu speaker; the similarity in the languages helped him communicate with us. He asked us to line up in rows, facing the coffin, men in the front, and women in the back. He stood in front of us, and without hesitation, we began.

"Allahu Akbar..."

After the ceremony was over, and we were scattered outside the front doors of the Masjed, I overheard an uncle explaining something regarding the Imam who had lead the prayers. Apparently, the Imam was on his way home, when something told him to turn the car around and head back to the Masjed. He felt that there was some unfinished business he had to deal with, not knowing what. Upon his arrival at the Masjed, he was told about a funeral ceremony without an Imam to lead the prayers.

He had arrived at the exact time we needed him. It may have been a strange coincidence; but I would like to think my auntie had something to do with it. Who knows. What I do know is that she was (and will continue to be) loved by so many of us. We will miss her very much.


Blogger rabfish said...

beautiful, beautiful. what a moment of grace.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Sly Civilian said...

indeed, this was a beautiful moment. thank you for sharing it here, and i send my condolences and prayers.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Free To Be... said...

I believe...it's beautiful...and I don't believe it's coincidence, but inner strength/insticts that women share!

1:36 AM  
Blogger been said...

that was beautiful, very moving. thank you for sharing.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Kalimba said...

My condolences. The piece was moving, I felt the sense of being there.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

thanks for the condolences and comments...it was indeed a truly beautiful moment

8:52 PM  
Blogger EL said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

I'm sorry for your loss.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Blackamazon said...

MY deepest condolences *hugs*, such a beautiful testament to he rlife

8:18 AM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

i will light a candle for your auntie when i get home--i am so glad she was sent off surrounded by such deep love...

take care

1:22 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

today is the final funeral ceremony to remember and honor her memory.

5:52 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

pq, girl, i send you as much strength as I can--xoxo

6:25 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

thanks BFP - and girl, I just read your comment your new comment policy and niiiiiice. it's important to have that in place so as to work towards creating a safe space. it's definitely an approach to take when it comes to dealing with the kinds of shit that has been coming at you and other WOC bloggers in same situation.

6:37 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

girl, i am *trying* to figure out why you can't comment on my site...did you see one comment did go through? i'm trying!!!


6:40 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

lol! i know one went through a while back and thanks...

I just tried again and the reply I get in a new page says:

Error: This file cannot be used on its own.

What i've been doing is going to the Leave an Reply section, typing my name in the Name field and leaving the Email in the email field and then clicking Submit Comment...

but i keep getting that message I just typed above...i don't want you to stress about it, but i wonder if there's others who are having same difficulty....or maybe i'm making a mistake somewhere in the process...but it's pretty straight forward right?

7:02 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

very beautiful, thank you for sharing this sacred moment with us.

Much love and strenght your way for today.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous La Mala said...

Gracias for writing about this moment and sharing it with us. It's so important to acknowledge the ways those who are before us work in our lives.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

i'm having the same trouble with your website as BFP's...I can't seem to be able to leave comments! it won't let me...
at first I thought maybe it was your server that was down...but then I was like it can' be happening everytime I try...so, now
i'm wondering if there's something wrong with my internet, computer or whatever on my end of things...
ugh...damn technology...

10:24 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

that is very weird girl, cuz me and mala are on the same server!!!! i'm gonna email this to vegan and see if this won't figure things out a bit..!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous jeff said...

Pomegranate Queen, I've just found out that people are experiencing this Error with posting comments to my site and have been doing a little bit of research.

The problem is that the sites you are trying to post comments to are using WordPress and if you have a firewall or anti virus software package that is running at extremely high security levels, it will not allow your computer to send identifying information that WordPress requests in an attempt to foil spambots. Lowering those security settings would fix it, but I'm not sure I would recommend that.

9:29 AM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

thanks Jeff! i'm sure you posted this a while ago, and i just read it now, god knows how long after. i'm totally sporadic with the blogging. anyway, but ya, that makes total sense. thanks for letting me know.

3:57 PM  

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