Special thanks to Al-Madina Institute for sharing this powerful piece.
On March 6th 2011 Sister Rehab El Buri died of cancer at the age of 25. Rehab, an Islamic activist, was loved by all those who knew her and a cause of inspiration for those who didn’t. We would like to share some of Rehab’s own reflections on her trial taken from her personal blog. We ask Allah to shower his mercy on Rehab, enter her into the company of our beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). We leave you with Rehab’s words:
I know I ended my last post pretty abruptly. At the time I was writing it, going through the play by play was difficult.
It took me about three days to accept my death. On the first day, as you read, my mind was in chaos. On the second day, I was numb. And on the third day, my husband and mother began talking sense to me, and I finally came to some important realizations:
1. We are all going to die. The people who took the news of my disease calmly and those who panicked- they are going to die one day too. Death is one of the few realities we can be certain of in this life, and yet we somehow slip into thinking that we are exempt.
2. We live this life for the next. I was living my life as a Muslim…praying and fasting, but I had somehow allowed my real goal in life to be swallowed by buying salad plates for my next dinner party, and trying to get free shipping on my next jcrew order, and finding pillows that popped against my cream sofa. In between being a consumer and entertaining myself to death, I let what really matters in my life slip away from me. If I was truly living my life for the Hereafter, I should not be so fearful of the future I had created for myself. The Quran says, “And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life- did they but know!” [29.64]
3. I am in the same boat as everyone else. None of us are given anyguarantees in life. Our health, our wealth, and our families are trusts give to us by Allah- and they are His to take when He, in his infinite wisdom, deems fit. We all claim to believe this, but in practice we often falter. I don’t know why I thought I could push the thought of death out of my mind for at least a good 30 or 40 years. Allah (SWT) could claim any of us at any time. I am in the same boat as everyone else- I have no idea when my time is, but I should try to live everyday as if it is my last.
4. Each day is a gift. Receiving this wake up call is such a blessing in that each day Allah grants me is an opportunity to do some more good and try to make up for some of the mistakes I made in the past. For some reason, the mornings are usually a little rough for me. I think it’s just waking up from my dreams and realizing that I still have to live with this disease. But every morning I try to tell myself, “Alhamdulilah, I feel good today, what good can I do today?”
These realizations, and the support of my mother, husband, his mother, my sisters, his sisters, my father, his father, my friends, and my community have helped me not merely cope with what I’m going through, but actually seek the reward of going through this trial, and try to sincerely accept what Allah wills for me.