Innalillahi Wainnailairajun – From Allah we come and to Him we return.
By: Eden Care Volunteer
I am 48 years old and started as a volunteer with Eden Care UK a few years ago. I took part in over 136 burials with the Muslim Burial Fund and supported 42 Grenfell burials. Today was the first time I witnessed a brother die in front of me. The experience left me feeling numb and emotional, that is the best way I can describe my feelings. The experience upset me so much that I seriously considered leaving Eden Care.
I’ve done lots of challenging things in my life e.g. having guns pointed at me, knife attack, gang mediation, sexual exploitation, sexual assaults on children in my capacity as a Social Worker and other roles.
But death and dying work is on another level. I am usually a people’s person, and am able to make friends quickly. I like to work with those reaching the end life of their lives , I like to add value to their time while they are alive. But when my friends die, I find it difficult to handle.
10 days ago me and two Eden Care volunteers visited our brother Gulam Rabbani in St Bartholomew Hospital – see full interview here:
Brother Rabbani was full of life only 10 days ago despite suffering from terminal illness and other challenges like seeking help from food bank. He was a very charismatic figure and looked to be at peace. He thanked Eden Care for helping him during the last stages of his life. He personally thanked Jusna, Tahera, Nasima, Shakil his befriender and others.
The day of my friend’s death:
Today I was helping a friend out with wedding arrangements and later I took part in a business meeting. I am part of the Eden Care Rapid Response Team- which is a 24/7 emergency end of life response service. I received a telephone call around 11pm from Eden Care central team. They explained that brother Gulam Rabbani’s situation was deteriorating and required an urgent visit. I stopped the meeting immediately and took my business partner from Ilford to St Joseph’s Hospice. We were accompanied by another Eden Care volunteer at the Hospice.
Our brother Gulam Rabbani was alive but grasping for life. I started reading Sura Ar-Rahman as he loved listening to this Surah. While I recited the versus of the Quran I could sense his life fading. I nervously continued with the recitation. Our eyes were connected.
The Angel of Death arrived:
At around 12.30am he took his last breath in front of me, I stopped the recitation making way for his family. The family requested help so I carefully straightened his legs, body, gently closed his eyes and slightly faced his head towards his right shoulder. This is done so the deceased can be gently placed in his grave and his face would be facing towards the Kaba – direction Muslims pray.
That night I came home, but I could not sleep. My thoughts were with our brother Gulam Rabbani and his family.
The Eden Care team meticulously planned his burial according to his wishes. We sent out the burial appeal the day before the burial. As for me, I went into reclusion and just didn’t feel like doing anything. My colleagues advised me to rest and get involved.
The day of the burial:
I felt a sense of obligation to take part in our brother’s burial despite my feelings. Without saying anything, I went to his burial.
Alhamdulillah we had a good number of people attend his burial, with many Eden Care volunteers also attending. Our volunteer Aminur Chowdhury lead on the prayers at the grave side.
His Janazah and burial have both taken place, However Eden Care still need to raise funds in order to pay for the service.
Please make a small donation if you can:
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Help Muslim Burials, End of Life and Legal Burial Support
Give £3 a month
Account name: Eden Care
Reference: HELP | Bank: HSBC
Account no: 31826697
Sort Code: 40-01-18
www.edencareuk.com – A simple Act of Kindness
Reproduced with permission from the author