Black doves

That night I had a terrible dream. Those in which we can’t remember what it was… but we know that was horrible and woke up with the bitter taste, with feeling hard to feel and hard to explain.

_”Ya Rabiii! Ya Rabiii!” (“My God! My God!) Were the words of my neighbor. It sounded as if the words were strumming needles into her throat …

Then she continued, like trying to understand what “herself” was talking about… or as if an “inner strength” (or should I say vulnerability?) it were whispering to her every syllable. I knew that color of voice. It was as if the tears also come out through herr mouth. It was a  deep cry, dark sound.

When I heard my neighbor knew that death had been there.

She was bringing breakfast for her husband. Then she saw him: his body began to shake, like a sheet ofpaper…

He passed away. So short as this sentence. Well, the death is just that unpredictable and mocking. I have met many times with her, never from the front but we met each other…

That powerlessness felt: the inability to do anything and limit myself to hug my neighbor (in an attempt to comfort her or make her feel that I was there for whatever she wanted), even knowing that maybe it was vain…

It didn’t take long to arrive people. Wrapped in tears too… also accompanied by the shaking of  having climbed up the stairs in a hurry, five floors…A woman fainted after climbing the top step.

A man dropped his tears in silence, staring at the stamping of the carpet… and, accidentally, I remembered things that I almost forgot… so drop mine too.
The ugliness of death is that you know that you will never see again “that someone”… Perhaps in dreams or when you bring them to your mind… but will not be the same.

The widow was still without opening her eyes when it was time to wash and wrap  the body.
All the women went behind a curtain while the men proceeded to wash the body.

But not all the men present would take part on this task.

The charge of this labor should always be a trustworthy person who will NOT reveal the physical intimacies of the deceased and also to be of the same gender must know the rules and the funeral rituals. After the bath itself, is given a shower to the body with water from top to bottom, then on the right side and then on the left side. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Who bathes a deceased personand keep their secrets, God will forgive and will bless.”

It should be clarified that the “funeral ablution” (name for the bath or shower that is given to the deceased) is not made in the bathroom.

The body is shrouded by the rules. The body is located on the stretched linen, cover the right side, then the left. When this all fit these shrouds covered the body with fabric in the form of thread. Then everything is perfumed.

The body should be moved as soon as possible, ie there is no need to extend all.

It is an occasion to do some soul searching to the meaning of death and the fate of all living things. Muslims remember on such occasions so that someday them also will be taken and will be judged for their actions in this world by Allah.

Incineration or bury a Muslim in coffin or with value elements are facts reproachable for Islam because they always oriented toward the useful and practical.
It is assumed that all unnecessary expense done for the dead it’s a damage for the living.
All land resources are meant to those who stay in it. The only baggage allowed will be the personal work or the weight of their actions.
While on the first floor of the building were placed large pieces of traditional fabric (used in weddings, Ramadan) and chairs.
I saw before that when someone dies it is common to cut the street with these pieces of fabric and place chairs, but I think the widow preferred to do it inside the building.
All this to receive those who want to honor the family of the one who passed away because the body is already underground with his head toward “Mecca”.
By the late evening I dressed my “black abaya” and went with Mohamed to the mosque where were the relatives and loved ones of our neighbor.
Upon arriving in the entry I could see the men of the family receiving people, without much to look I realized that women and men were separated.
 By entering the site intended for women I saw four lines of chairs, they were faced…
The women dressed in black and located in this way looked like “black doves perched on branches”…
I confess that I delayed to find my neighbor because they were all women over forty, of similar body type, dressed in black and leaving only the face outside…
When I was in front of her kissed her twice on each side of  her face. I said: _ “El bkaa lillah” which means something like “God remains” or “The only thing that remains is God.”
Perhaps these were not the words I wanted to use because somehow they reminded me of the priest who surprised me beside my father in the intensive care unit. He asked me if I was his daughter, to know my answer he put his hand on my shoulder and told me: _”Don’t be selfish, let him go. God knows why He do the things, only God is eternal.”
His presence, far from being a blessing to me at that time was like the greatest of all curses because it meant exactly what he meant with his words… Eventually I knew that he was right.
Taking small steps we went home. I thought of many things. Some say I’m a ridiculous to look for on this detail but it caught my attention: “Not having seen a single lighted candle.”  When I asked this to Mohamed he said to me: _”The candles we use them when the electricity is cut off.”
 Before getting angry by the reply I thought that in the same way, in other places, they “light up” an incense as offerings but not a candle…
Here neither thing, but I had learned something… or better said I had reviewed an studied lesson…
Actually for the death there is no religious or cultural difference worth. In life we make the mistake of forgetting that the end is the same for all… perhaps not in the same way but we are all part of the same “synthesis”.

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