Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Janazah

ART: "Janazah" (Artist Unknown)


My co-worker's husband died suddenly early Friday morning. It was kinda weird because just the day before, she and I were talking and she said that he was sick. A person can be sick and there are several degrees of being sick. You can have a cold or the flu-kinda sick or you can be on your deathbed-kinda sick. She didn't say how sick he was and my mind didn't go there.

They had just gotten married on September 30th of last year and I recall her telling me that her husband had taken ill right around the Thanksgiving holidays. She was very depressed then. Around Christmas, I inquired about him again and her spirits were up because he was home and he appeared to be doing better. I was surprised to hear last month that he was back in the hospital again. I didn't inquire about his illness. We are friendly on the job and I would even go as far as to say we are somewhat friends... but, not friendly enough that I feel as though I could inquire that deeply about something like that. That may sound a bit harsh but, it is what it is... every relationship and every friendship is different.

Friday morning, when I didn't see my co-worker at the coffee shop, I figured that she just took the day off. I was saddened to hear that her new husband of five months had passed away. She waited a long time to find him and I do know that right after they got married and she returned from her honeymoon, I'd never seen her happier. They were both Muslim and in that religion's custom, the body can not be above ground over three sundowns so, his Janazah (funeral) service was held today. I attended with four of my other co-workers and it was the first time I'd been in a Mosque in over thirty years.

I knew the ceremony would be different from the Christian ceremony that I am accustomed to. First off, everyone must remove their shoes. One thing my mother always taught me in addition to bathing daily was to always wear clean underwear and socks. I have to thank her... I've always been fastidious like that and, Thank God, today was no different.

After removing our footwear, the men were ushered into a separate room, blocked by a glass partition. The women (including the widow) were seated in an adjoining room. The casket was in the room with us. The Iman said a prayer and all of the men got on their knees and kneeled with their faces to the floor.

The prayer was in Arabic so, I couldn't tell you what was said but, we kneeled and then we stood up a number of times before the prayer was through. Next, we stood in quiet meditation around the casket. In the quiet somberness, I heard someone crying softly... I believe it was the brother of the deceased. Several men walked over to him and put their arms around him. Then, there was nothing but a very peaceful quietness and the pall bears took the casket out the backdoor.

As we all dismissed, I walked over into the room where the women were and embraced my co-worker. I was politely told that I could not be in the room with the women and I quietly walked out into the street. It was a very quiet and efficient ceremony. It started on time and was over in 50 minutes. I wish all funerals and weddings could run that well. I stand and applaud these brothers and sisters in this mosque.

As I rode back to work in my co-worker's car, I was silent. I was thankful that I've had nearly twenty years to love and enjoy my spouse. I was sad that my co-worker only had five months and I thought about how life can be unfair to some people sometimes but, how we have to go on and how we have to savor every moment in our lives that is good. At times like this, these moments help us to keep going on.

20 comments:

Blu Jewel said...

Sorry for your friends loss. I'm perversely facinated by the funeral process of other cultures/religions.

Love to live; live to love!

Toni said...

This made me tear up Keith...This was such a moving post. Thank you for it.

Angie B. said...

I've been to a Janazah before, what you described was accurate..Sorry for your co-worker's loss.

Sunflower said...

A very moving and thoughtful post as usual Keith. Sorry for your co-worker's loss.

Halo said...

Sorry for your co-worker's loss.
This was very interesting. I've never been to a Muslim funeral before.

Vanessa said...

This was very touching Keith, I almost shed a tear reading this.

Lisa said...

Awwww, I'm so sorry for your friend's loss, I can't imagine how
bad she must feel...having just married him ,only to lose him so soon.

Political Sean said...

I've been to a Janazah before..That was pretty accurate as to how the ceremony goes.

So Sorry for your friend's loss.

Captain Jack said...

This made me shed a few tears..Sometimes life is unfair.

James Perkins said...

My condolences to your co-worker Keith!

Simon Bastion said...

The Janazah is the funeral prayer
Keith. You accurately described the precedings...I am very sorry for your co-worker's loss.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

That's messed up man, that she just got married and the poor guy is gone....Like you said..sometimes life just aint fair.

Tate2 said...

Man...That was deep, So sorry for your co-worker's loss.

Jazzy said...

It is always interesting how other religions conduct both their funeral services and weddings amongst other things. My condolences to your friend.

Swaggie said...

I am very sorry for your friend's loss...That must be something..to just get married and then be going to a funeral less than six month's later. I can't imagine how I'd feel after something like that.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Sorry for your coworker's loss. I can't imagine what she is feeling.

Interesting about the funeral. Never been to a Muslim funeral before.

12kyle said...

anutha great post, fam.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there Keith,

This is soooo terribly sad.

It was wonderful that you showed up and delivered the ministry of compassion and the ministry of presence.

Peace, blessings and godliness,
Lisa

Kofi Bofah said...

This is a sad story...

The F$%K it List said...

Very sad story. God gave her the love of her life for a short time but at least she was able to find him.

Oh yes, Muslim weddings and funerals are very proficient. I've always had a good time at the weddings.




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