Memories do not wilt like flowers. The colors do not fade and become old like black and white movies. They do not wrinkle at the edges like old photographs. They remain fresh like the day they were formed: crystal clear sound, color and scent, the touch of a loved one, the taste of a favorite dish, a simple piece of sincere advice. And they are recorded with equal clarity by the angels. It is our memories that fill the pages of our deeds.
Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register. (Surah Yaseen 36:12)
‘Atharohum’ in the above ayat refers to among others things your legacy, your traces, any trends you set, a continuous charity that you left behind and the memories others carry of you. Do you have special memories of someone? Will the memories others carry of you be special?
There is a tree rooted in my past. I am sure there is one in yours as well. What does your tree look like? Did you climb it? Did you pluck its fruit? My tree was in my Aunt’s front yard. It was a ‘falsa’ tree and it had tiny clusters of purple fruit with a plump seed in the center. We played games under that tree as we munched on its fruit. We hung a rope on its limb and swung each other back and forth. My aunt was always there. Sometimes smiling, sometimes quiet. She would greet guests to her house, send food to someone who was sick, make delicacies on Eid, sew and knit and read Quran. I do not remember from her a harsh word, never even a scowl. From her came this softness and calmness that I am awed by to this day.
When I was very young I told my Mom, “Aunty is going to Jannah!”
She smiled and replied, “Really? You are sure? Where do you think I am going?
I giggled and ran away. (Inshallah my Mom is going to Jannah too!)
My aunt told me to read Sura Yusuf. She said it is a beautiful sura. She had not read several tafaseer of Sura Yusuf. She had not even understood the original Arabic…but she understood the message of patience that it taught. Patience was what she lived by. Her last words to me were, “Always be patient. Always.” The promise of Allah is that patience guarantees Paradise. Inshallah He will fill her grave with light and grant her the highest place in Paradise.
We will all leave this earth soon. Not all of us will be remembered for our grand achievements. Sadly even those that might be remembered for their grand ventures were horrible to those that they lived with. Disloyal husbands, nasty wives, disrespectful children have their names scrawled on the pages of history as presidents, inventors and reformers. The angels that write your deeds are more interested in our character than in our titles. When you become a part of someone else’s memories make sure that they remember you fondly. That when they recall times spent with you a prayer comes to their lips that the angels can keep writing in your book even when you are lying helpless in your grave.