January 18, 2009

Business of putting the dead to rest

As a Muslim, the business of burying the dead would always fall on the nearest next of kin unless it happens in some far-off land with none of your kin manage to get to you in time. 'In time' can be relative but for a Muslim, 24-hours is already too long. We are required to bury our deads as soon as possible. Those who insist of doing otherwise are just flouting the rules and is answerable to a higher power. For Muslims I mean.

Last week, I witnessed one of my father's elder brother being laid to rest. When he was put down into his grave, it was done by his 3 sons who went into the grave and then do all the necessary procedure for it too be perfect. It is far from what is ever film or shown as there are certain procedures which need to be observed. Doing it yourself, wow, that's another whole different level. There were a few of those who are elder and guided the brothers but they did it all by themselves. Until their father was properly put to ground.

Anyway, it was sobering to see them do it and as I am also one of 3 brothers, I suddenly imagine of doing it for mine when their time comes. Will I be as strong or will I let what others have been doing, leaving this morbid job to someone who are well verse in it. Will I have enough strength to do like they did? Then, what about keeping the straight face, welcoming the well-wishers and asking the crowd if any of them have any claim to make against the dead. Any debt to be paid off? It is not easy of course but someone have to do it.

In my uncle's case, he had to be admitted to the hospital a day before then he was found to be suffering from a fatal attack of stroke. He passed away the next day. In my family, I have a brother who is a doctor. It's a blessing as he will always of help when we want to know the real situation of any patient at any hospital, whether the doctor is telling the truth and whether the patient has a chance or not. The curse is knowing the real situation. Do you really want to know? So, when my uncle was said to pass the stage of anything helping him, the family decide to take him back to his house and he passed away the next day. He was 74...

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