The deadly customs post death

The deadly customs post death

Samiya Bint Nazir

We come to this world only to return back. Inna lillah wa inna ilahi rajaoon. There isn’t a single exception to this divine law. Those who are born are to pass through the gate of death one day. No modern science can unravel the mysteries of this span between birth and death. Even though death separates the soul from the body but at the same time it doesn’t mean the end itself. Death is rather another beginning in our existential march towards our Creator. It is principally the ceaseless continuation of the same earthly life in another form. Every living person has to prepare for this rendezvous.
About the finality of death, the Lord of the worlds addresses His creation in numerous verses in the holy Quran, like “Every soul will taste death” (3:185), “Whatsoever is therein, is bound to perish” (26:26). Undoubtedly, the death of a loved one causes devastation in the family and disrupts the rhythm of life for a while, but we have to submit to the Divine order and remain ready to drink this bitter cup any time.
Death, though, has become occasion of toxic post-death customs and practices which we have normalised as a society. In the past, people would visit the family of the bereaved to share their grief, and strengthen and support the family without expecting anything in return. But we have reached a stage when we don’t hesitate to utilise these tragedies to polish our own societal image. Customs like carrying of fruits, juice crates, egg trays, cash, shawls, or spending hours and hours in the home of the bereaved family are done for our own public image and not for the peace and prayers of the departed soul. We utilise the helplessness of the affected family, play with their emotions, and pay little attention to fragile sentiments only because we want to showcase our presence. In our tasks of Sawaab, we indulge in acts of Riya and Israaf. It becomes increasingly difficult for us to distinguish between a wedding celebration and a mourning over death. We have reduced the fine line between the two for the sake of our own self. A death becomes an excuse to follow exactly the same manual as is meant for celebrations.
Since when did it become important to carry tonnes of edible items, costly shawls and hefty cash in our bid to condole the demise of a person? Which hungry soul has directed us to prepare sumptuous meals to gain the unseen grounds for our departed souls? Why is it needed to do faction-oriented funeral prayers? The genuine condolences to the family of the deceased will be as simple as selfless prayers directed towards his/her soul and offering every support to the family to bear this unexpected devastation. Every other thing falls in the category of the costly Dunyadari, making it difficult for us even to die peacefully. It is no longer the weight of death people fear but the ever-increasing burden of the customs and rituals being dovetailed with it. We can’t expect any solution from the self-appointed mangers of God who very much depend on the flow of such customs in the very name of religion. Their reductionist approach to the Deen-e-Mubeen is the fundamental flaw we are paying a hefty cost for. Most of them are not qualified enough to decode the secrets lying behind this veil called death. They have only exploited it to create fear in our hearts.
The culture of extravagancy has become so normal that not a single person can escape its grip. We invent newer kinds of burdens that are hard to manage for most people. May God give us wisdom to better understand death so that we appreciate what our existence is in reality.

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