In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
This past Monday, Feb 14, I attended the funeral of the son of a very dear friend of mine. His uncle is also a very dear friend and confidant of mine as well. Less than one month ago, the child – fifteen years old – was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia and began his arduous chemotherapy regimen. Unfortunately, he lost his battle after he suffered complications. I tried to comfort his parents as much as possible, for I know all too well the unmitigated torture through which they are currently going. I know all too well the inconsolable pain that a parent’s heart feels when they have to bury their child in the earth. I know all too well that the worst thing anyone can do is bury their child.
As I re-lived the events of my own daughter’s funeral, I tried my best to hold my composure. I tried my best not to break down, but it was very hard. Even though it almost two years ago, the memories of that horrific day are still very fresh in my mind. My friend was amazingly composed, so much so, in fact, that I was in total awe of him. He must be much stronger than me, because I could not help but break down during my own daughter’s funeral, most especially when they put the dirt over her beautiful pink and white casket.
The eulogy was given by the child’s close relative, and it was a very beautiful one indeed. It talked about how much they loved the sweet child whom they buried and about how to always look to God during times like these. He concluded the eulogy with a very beautiful prayer. When I was finally able to hug my friend, I told him in his ear, “It will be OK.” I held his face after that and repeated, “It will be OK.” I hope that I brought him a little comfort that day, even though there is no comfort at all in having to bury your child.
As I reflect over that day, I wonder to myself: “What would I have said, had I been asked to say a eulogy at the funeral?” Indeed, I could sense that everyone was looking at me, for it is common knowledge that I buried my daughter in 2009. Yet, still, what would have I said that day? So, as a tribute to my friend, his son, and their family, here is my eulogy:
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. All Praise is due to the Lord our God on High. And peace, prayers, blessings, and mercy be upon the Prophet Muhammad.
There is nothing you can say that will ease the pain of the parents who are burying their beloved child today. There is nothing you can say that will bring them comfort, for there is no comfort for a father who is burying his son, there is no comfort for a mother burying her son. But, you can call upon the Only One who can bring comfort to the parents, and that is God. Only He can ease their pain; only He can make it better; Only He can make the truly horrible a little less so. And so, I call upon that One Beautiful Lord to ease the pain of his parents.
I did not know beloved, sweet Bilal as well as I should have. But, I do know his father very well, and I do know his uncle even better. Judging by the beauty of these two men, I know that their beloved son was indeed a beautiful boy, full of life, energy, spirit, and joy. I know that he brought his family tremendous joy and happiness. And that is why it is extremely difficult to say goodbye to him today, for the heart will always yearn for that beautiful boy who will, unfortunately, never come back to us on this earth. I am truly in awe of his father: he is so composed, so strong. He is much stronger than I was when I walked this very same path less than two years ago. But, I can tell you, I know his heart is screaming out in pain. Thus, I call upon the Precious Beloved Lord to send down from on high His most beautiful comfort and His most restful peace.
For all the young people standing here upon this grave, know this: I know that you frequently don’t see eye to eye with your parents; I know that, sometimes, you think your parents are the craziest people in the world; I know that, sometimes, you wish you didn’t have to deal with your parents. But, let me tell you, as someone who fought constantly with his mother when he was a teenager, you don’t know how much your parents love you. As someone who has lost his own child, and who always rolled his eyes when his mother told him that he will only understand when he has his own children, I must say that you really don’t know how much your parents love you. It was torture – and still is torture – to have to bury my child like we are doing today. So know that, with all their craziness, your parents love you more than you will ever know, so be good to them as much as you possibly can.
As we commend this beautiful boy to the Lord, let us pray for his swift path to Paradise. Let us pray that he sails back to his Lord and greets the Precious Beloved with a smiling face, free of the tortures of illness, free from the pain of therapy, free from the cares of human life. Let us pray that the Lord receives his young servant with a bigger Smiling Face, and that He opens the gates of the highest of Gardens for our beloved brother Bilal. Let us pray that his parents are given Divine comfort, Divine pain relief, and Divine mercy. Let us pray that the Lord pours down upon his family sweet comfort and grace, that He makes the subsequent days and nights easy for them to bear, that He grants them the tremendous rewards of Paradise for their patience in the face of the loss of their beloved son. Let us pray that his siblings can also find comfort from the Lord, for they are now faced with having to move on without their beautiful brother. Let us pray for this beautiful family, that they see many, many days of ease after these dark days of difficulty.
O Precious Beloved Lord, we ask you all of these things in all of Your Most Holy Names, the known and the unknown, the hidden and the manifest. O Precious Beloved Lord, Hear our prayers, Amen.