For Those Gone

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By: Ramlah Aziz, Islamabad

I have weird ideas sometimes. Really weird ideas. They’re not really weird as you’ll see but everyone around me thinks them so. Here’s how one came to my head.
It was our last proper Urdu lesson, for a lifetime. After that we were going to go to universities and forget our lovely national language forever.
A girl read aloud the last lines of an essay on Allama Iqbal, and it was over.
“Finally!” the girl on my right breathed.
“Goodbye Urdu,” the left one murmured.
“I don’t suppose any of you are going for Masters in Urdu are you?” our Urdu teacher asked, sweeping her eyes over the faces of everyone. She couldn’t expect anyone in a Pre-engineering class to answer but she still looked a teensy bit hopeful.
“Why would we? We’ve had enough of Ghalib and Meer and their life stories. Good bye to them, I’d say,” another girl replied. And everyone else murmured their assent.
But I was somewhere else. Far away. Thinking about all those people whose dates of birth and death we learn. They’re gone, I was thinking. Dead. In their graves. And only Allah knows whether they’re being punished or rewarded. All their friends and close relatives are probably dead too. So being alive and able, shouldn’t we do something for them?
I know we’re stuck with trying to understand all their (seemingly) senseless poetry and cramming the explanations, but that’s surely another matter. (I’m sure if they were alive, they would never have allowed such oppression to take place, but our education board apparently thinks in a different way).
Like whenever we pass graves we are ordered to read the duaa
Assalaamu Alaikum ya ahlal quboor. Yaghfirullahu lana walakum. Antum qad salafana wa nahnu insha allahu bihi lahiqoon
(Peace be upon you O people of the graves. May Allah forgive us and you too. You have gone before us (from this world) and we, if Allah wills, will follow).
So every time I read a lesson or poetry written by a Muslim, or remember our national heroes and founders of Pakistan, I take out some time to recite Surah Fatihah, or Durood Sharif, or give some sadaqa to send thawab to him/her and all the Muslims that have died since our father Adam (علیہ السلام)
The reward we send is presented to those people on trays. Don’t they all deserve something from us? We’ve trashed up our reputation, ruined their country, and chucked away their sacrifices. We can do this at least, or can’t we?
I have made a resolution and I’m asking you to join me. Every time we come across a name from our past, we’ll send them something. Then when we go, someone will remember us too, and the angels will bring us gifts lightening up our graves. Insha’Allah.