In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving, the Beautiful, the Merciful
In the days and weeks since my personal 9/11, the death of my precious daughter Bayan, I have been totally overwhelmed by multiple emotions and feelings. I have never experienced this before, but then again, I have never lost a child before (and I pray that I never do so again).
I have felt violated by the loss of my child. I am not complaining, but I felt like someone took a part of me away, and it feels uncomfortable. Indeed, part of me is gone, but I am not complaining. God wanted His angel, His flower back. Who am I to refuse my Precious Beloved. In fact, my "small 'b' beloved," the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), buried five of his six children during his lifetime. His words, as he held his dying son Ibrahim in his hands, perpetually bring me comfort and solace:
"Allah knows, Ibrahim, how far we feel sorrowful for your departure. The eyes tear and the heart grieves, but we will say nothing except what pleases Allah." (Al-Bukhari)
I remember reading that he held his son in his arms and wept as he died. Knowing that he too felt this pain makes me feel a little better. Makes me feel less alone in my grief.
Yet, you know, I was never alone in my grief. I had my beautiful wife with me, and honestly, I could not have endured this tragedy without her hand of mercy and comfort she extended me. I am grateful to God for her. Along with her, however, I had an almost innumerable number of family, friends, colleagues, and brothers and sisters in faith who came from all different ways to give me comfort in my time of grief. I am grateful to God for them as well.
My email inbox has been inundated with messages of sorrow, grief, condolence, and comfort. My cell phone has been overrun with messages of the same. That's to say nothing of the funeral and memorial service. There, almost the entire Chicago area Muslim community came to pray over her and pay their respects. I am speechless from the overwhelming show of kindness and support.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw Rami Nashashibi, executive director of the Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), walk up to me to give me a hug. This is one of the nation's most prominent Muslim activists, and one my own personal heroes. And he came for me…me! I didn't know what to say.
I also could not believe my eyes to see Ahmed Rehab, National Communications Director for CAIR as well as the director of the Chicago office, walk up to me. This is a man who is extremely busy working to defend Muslim civil rights. And he always holds his own when going on talk shows on cable and other venues. But he came…he took time out for me. I will never forget that.
I will also never forget when he extended his hand and held mine as they poured dirt over my daughter's casket. I have never needed a hand to hold my own more than at that moment, and I am so grateful he gave it to me.
Then at the memorial service, scores of Bayan's classmates, teachers, and staff members came to pay their respects, and this so deeply touched me. The superintendent of her school district came, and I could not believe it. I really didn't realize how many people Bayan had deeply touched during her short stay on earth with us. She truly was a gift from the Beloved, and even though I miss her terribly, I still thank Him deeply for her.
When I think about her funeral and memorial service, all I can say is: "Thank you."
Thank you to all the people who took time out of their busy lives to share in our family's tragedy and grief. Thank you to all those who called, emailed, and pat me on the back. Thank you to all those who reached out to comfort me and my family.
And most important of all: Thank the Beautiful Precious Beloved Lord who has showered me with the blessings of my wife and three daughters, the blessings of having 12 absolutely wonderful years with my daughter Bayan, and the blessings of having so many wonderful people in my community.
What an awesome God we have.