She has left a great and huge vacuum in my life. I miss her motherly advice and care… May Almighty Allah be Merciful to them and reunite us in the Gardens of Paradise where we will not part anymore.
The Sunday of 26th/Almuharram/1439AH (15th/10/2017G) is indeed a day that will remain forever in my memory to the end of my life in this cosmos. It was the day that my dearest and beloved mother passed away by 8:15am at the National Hospital, Abuja, where she had spent 45 days, after she was brought from the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, where she had also spent 46 days. In total, she spent 91 days of severe sickness in hospitals. Interestingly, this is also the sign of a good end, religiously.
My dearest mother, Hajiya Ameenah, the daughter of Alhaji ‘Umar, the son of Malam Idris, was born in Malala District, Dukku Local Government, Gombe State, approximately 75 years ago (1942). She gave birth to eleven children. I am the fifth. Four of her children passed away before her, and she left seven of us behind. May Almighty Allah forgive and be merciful to her.
The pain of loosing a caring, kind and upright mother cannot be expressed theoretically. No tongue can explain it at all. When it happens to you, only you know the psychological trauma, pain and distress that engulfs you.
However, the pain can be regulated and managed relatively, if surrounded by sympathisers and the unending encomiums of her good deeds, appreciation of her kindness and the praise of her virtues and moral uprightness. I personally, benefited from all of these, particularly the visits of sympathisers, testimonies and encomiums of good people, about the good deeds of my late dearest mother.
Religiously, if someone passes on, it is encouraged to broadcast and amplify his/her good deeds without transgression. We are Allah’s witnesses on earth.
One day, the Prophet’s companions (RA) were sitting with the Prophet (PBUH) when a funeral procession passed. Some of them made nice comments about the deceased. The Prophet instantly said, “He will certainly enter it.” After a short moment, another funeral procession passed and the same people made uncomplimentary remarks about the second deceased. The Prophet similarly said, “He will certainly enter it.” Umar Bn Khaddab (RA) asked the Prophet for clarification (of the same statement in two opposite cases). He said that in the case of the first deceased, his entry into Paradise was approved by their good comments about him. Further, in the case of the second, Hell fire was approved as a result of their negative comments. The Prophet further explained the significance of the comments that people usually make about the dead. “You are Allah’s witnesses on earth”, he clarified. (Bukhari & Muslim reported).
It is usually uncomfortable to praise your own. However, due to the stated prophetic teaching, it will be unfair and unjust to conceal a deceased’s virtues, because you could be among those who Allah accepts their testimony. As a result, it is commendable to extol the virtues and broadcast his/her qualities.
The virtues and qualities of our late mother were applauded by all her relatives, neighbours and associates. She demonstrated them throughout her life. Some of them can be summarised here.
The first is generosity: She really excelled in supporting all orphans, the needy, poor and average people who visited or crossed her path. It has been her attitude that as long as she perceived that she was economically better than a person, she would definitely offer such person something, either in cash or in kind. She sacrificed more than 90 percent of whatever came to her. Children came to her on their way to school to collect money for breakfast. Most of her associates sought her intervention economically when in need. She always supported all of them with a smiling face.
A few days to her terminal sickness, she secretly gave a significant amount of money to her brother to distribute to the needy confidentially. I only knew of the charity after she passed on.
Furthermore, an Imam of a Masjeed (popularly known as a Mosque) near her house, while he came to condole us, stated that she supported the Masjeed financially in buying books, praying mats, copies of the Glorious Qur’an etc. She insisted that her name should not be disclosed, but that the congregation of the Masjeed be asked to pray for her.
Secondly, visitation: She always kept in touch with relatives and associates through thick and thin. Even when sick, she insisted on going out on condolence to those who had expereienced loss, visited or commiserated with other sick people. In fact, she travelled on a condolence visit when her terminal sickness befell her. She really taught me a lot about visiting and supporting the needy.
Thirdly, consistency: She has been very consistent in performing all good deeds. I have never seen her observing her daily prayers late, or stopping any support she used to extend to anyone, or severing ties with kith and kin. She remained consistent in performing good deeds throughout her life.
Fourthly, Patience: Hajiya, as we fondly called her, demonstrated to us through her actions that, victory and success come with patience. I am indeed a product of her patience. She had gone through trials in life, but remained patient. She lost many important personalities in life, but remained patient and steadfast. She lost her father; then her eldest sister; her two eldest children – Abubakar and ‘Umar; another immediate elder sister; then her mother passed away; and her husband; and then her last born and many others. In all these situations, she kept uttering, “Inna Lil Laahi wa inna ilaiHi Raji’un.”
Similarly, as a mother that I spent over forty years with, I cannot remember seeing her angry, because of personal reasons. She always encouraged us, saying, “Kuyi hakuri da juna.”
Fifthly, goodness: She always avoided and discouraged us from retaliating by paying evil with evil when wronged. “You are to repay evil with goodness and kindness,” she taught us in words and actions. When offended, you could hardly see any bad reaction from her.
She taught us to be good to all and sundry. You would hardly visit her for three minutes without being advised on patience and kindness in life.
She was my first teacher in life. I learnt the Opening Chapter of the Glorious Qur’an from her. She also taught me “The most beautiful names of Allah” and many other religious rites. Most importantly, she has never taught me evil, in any way. She loved all children sincerely. She appreciated all our gifts to her, not matter how insignificant this could be. She always smiled. She kept in touch with all. She always prayed for us. She carefully monitored our health conditions and advised accordingly. She always spoke the truth, but politely.
She has left a great and huge vacuum in my life. I miss her motherly advice and care. We are to live our remaining days on this earth without our biological parents, as both our father and mother are no longer with us. May Almighty Allah be Merciful to them and reunite us in the Gardens of Paradise where we will not part anymore.
The last time she spoke in this world was a few days to her final departure, when she repeated “Inna Lil Laahi wa inna ilaiHi Raji’un” and “Laa Ilaaha illal Laah.” I pray to Allah (SWT) to forgive and be merciful to her. May He reunite us once again in Jannatul Firdaus and all our pious predecessors.
Finally, I thank all those who observed the funeral prayer, accompanied her to the graveyard, visited us, and consoled us through different media. The names of sympathisers are endless. I have never seen this kind of brotherhood from fellow Nigerians, before. May Almighty Allah guide all of us to a successful and good end.
Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).