From the recesses of my mind seep out memories that have been uncalled for.  My two cousins and I have been asked to divide up my Aunt’s jewelry that she has left us after she died. This story belongs to one of them……………

They are diplomats on holiday. They are on the train from Karachi to Lahore. The entire air-conditioned first class compartment has been reserved for their family and the nanny.

Multan Station has been left behind and the train is on its last stretch to Lahore, with not much in the way of habitation between the two cities at least not in those days.

She is on the top berth and her baby brother is below, with the Nanny and her parents. She is a joyous kid, sensitive, kind, loving to the extreme and hungry for love.

She cries on parting from us even after a session of play while we live in the same town, and would soon see each other again.  I older than her has caught her imagination and she comes to me for hugs in between play with my youngest brother. She an immensely affectionate child in a family of what appears to me cynical detached parents from the diplomatic corp.

The Nanny is peeling an apple……….her knife pointing upwards as she expertly peels around it without interrupting the circle of the peel. “Who wants apple?” she asks in broken English, holding the knife and apple firmly in her hand and without taking her eyes of the peeling apple. The peel half hanging on to the last bit of apple.

“Me! Me! N jumps up and down in the upper berth and then she turns to jump down to be next to the Nanny. The knife is pointing upwards as the Nanny steadies the apple for its final separation from the peel, the trains lurches and N falls on top of the Nanny.

Suddenly the first class compartment becomes pandemonic. Confusion, shock and disbelief are written all over each person witnessing this horrific event.

As the Nanny tries to get out from under N, a rhythmic spurting of blood is noted from the heart of the child.

Someone pulls the chain and the train comes to a slow grinding halt, it is one of the village stations where normally Tezgaam does not stop.

The father, with the bleeding child in his arms, gets off the train and is running up and down the station platform, screaming……………….”is there a doctor somewhere, please save my child!” “Koi hay jo meri bacchi ko bacha lay”

I don’t know the condition of the others, the mother, the nanny, and the little boy.

The heart never keeps its lifeblood, like all unselfish beings it pushes the blood out to those parts of the body that need them most. N was like that, she was the life blood of affection of that family always gushing out her love to everyone around her but never getting as much back.

Her heart like her affection pumped all her lifeblood out onto the concrete platform, not even keeping a drop within her limp body. As the last vestiges of life left her body, her spirit melded into the hot winds of the unknown village., and no one answered the father’s call in this wilderness.

She is buried in Lahore and lies next to her grandfather who has joined her many years later.

The parents went back to their mundane life of a diplomat. Sometime later they had another daughter born to them, but never was there a child that had so much love to give than N.

Never was there a child who brought so much joy to everyone who played with her. Never was there a moment while I was with her that I would not feel sad and sorry for her and would then talk myself out of it, for this uncalled for emotion without a base.

I often wonder how her parents continued to live and laugh never sharing the depth of their sorrow with their family, or if they did, being a child myself I would not know, even though I was the confidante of my mother.

Why is it that now this memory seeps out of my mind? Is it compassion, or is it that the box in which it has been tightly held has opened and all painful memories are spilling out, and there is a need to be purged of pain by feeling pain?

I often wonder if N’s parents were aware of the Hadith about the predetermination of our life span and sustenance in the womb, and was it a source of comfort for them? But something tells me that they remained unaware of it. They buried all the grief deep within them, and trudged through life, behind smiling faces and cynical remarks.

If the grief ever surfaced, I thank God that I was never witness to it, for it would be another painful memory that would have to be held in the box.

Hadith: BUKHARI Volume 1, Book 6, Number 315: Narrated Anas bin Malik:

The Prophet said,

“At every womb Allah appoints an angel who says, ‘O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of flesh.” Then if Allah wishes (to complete) its creation, the angel asks, (O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed, and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?’ So all that is written while the child is still in the mother’s womb.”


  1. Walaikum Asalaam,
    Inshallah Nabeel was taken to where no pain can touch him, thus Allah Subhanawataala gave him a better place than where he was.
    The fact that we miss our boys remain; However no one could know better what was and is good for them, this dunya or the next and when except Allah Subhanawataala.
    Parting from a loved one brings great pain, but readies us for the final parting from loved ones in this dunya and hopefully reunion in the next, if He so wills.

    Have a blessed journey to Mecca and Medina. Please give my salaam and durrood at the Roza of our beloved Rasool Allah.

    Please keep me, my family and all the readers of this blog from all over the world in your duas.

    May Allah Subhanawataala keep you and your family in His protection.


  2. Dear sister,
    Assalamualikum. You entrust me with a heavy responsibility that I am not worthy of. When Nabeel was in severe pain, I had his head in my lap and I was asking him to pray to Allah for relief. Nabeel looked at me and said “Abbu He is not listening”. That was one of the last things that he said to me. Nabeel was a much better person than I. If his dua was ignored, I donot see how Allah will listen to me. But I know I have to try, for Nabeel’s sake and for our sake.
    Thank you again, and I would take this oppurtunity to request your readers to pray for Nabeel, my wife and for me.
    We fly on the 15th Nov Inshallah.


  3. Walaikum Asalaam wa rahmatullah e wa barakatahu Brother Anis,

    As I read more and more about our Deen and our relationship with Him Subhanawataala…………..I find, regretfully, too late in many instances that many things/events can be changed by Dua………… After all Allah Subhanawataala is encharge of the Loh e Mahfooz, He can change the writing on it if He so wishes (about Qadaa wal Qadar).

    The pre requisite for the potency of the dua lies as I understand it, in the quality and purity of the intention and emaan of the person making the dua.

    I therefore, humbly request you to make dua for me at Hajj. Please pray for me at His House that I become, in all sincerity such a person whose dua when it reaches Allah Subhanawataala, He may even consider changing his orders on the Loh e Mahfooz.

    This may sound ambitious, but Allah Subhanawataala tells us to ASK! and thus I am!

    I pray for a safe and easy journey for you to Hajj, for all wordly difficulties to be eased so that you can ask your Rabb, what you want, without distractions and that you may find the peace and Khushuu that you are looking for, wrapped in solace for your heart.
    Hajj e Mabroor!
    When do you leave?


  4. Dear Sister
    I didnot mean that I wanted to know about my son’s time of death 20 years back. What I meant was that one’s fate /taqdir should depend on one’s work. When I operate on a patient, I make sure that the patient has a stable vitals to stand the surgery, then at least he has chance that he may recover. I shall never opertae on a patient who is so sick that he may not stand the surgery. Any way I can say so many thing but nothing will change. Many scholars have thought about this and came up with zero, except the fact that “Allah Knows Best”. I suppose only time one will be sure about life and creation is on the Last Day of Judgement.


  5. Walaikum Asalaam,
    I dont know if I would have been happier if I had known that I only had nineteen years with Tariq.

    Inshallah you will find yourself alone with your Lord on Arafaat, and inshallah He will be merciful and may you have a Hajj e Mabroor! Please remember to pray for me and my family, and for my return to His house soon, inshallah!


  6. Dera Sister,
    I donot know whether they knew about the hadith but I came to know about it within days of my son’s death, as I was trying to find an answer. It never comforted me. It seemed very cruel that we led a life for 20 years never knowing that a time bomb was ticking. Why give us this joy, love and happiness, knowing very well that He is going to take it away. Why give my son the dream to be a cardiac surgeon, knowing very well that he wouldnot even pass the first year. I know your answer will be Allah knows best. Maybe I shall find an answer if Allah takes me to Arafat or maybe when I am lying under the night sky in Mujdalefa….Maybe maybe not. But I have this feeling that something is waiting for me there. Pray for me, so that I may die in peace with my questions answered.


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