By Shumaysa Faruqi
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
She was a good friend of mine. We had been together all through high school and college. After that, she got busy with her studies and I got married and moved to another city. We were out of touch for a long time.
In 2004, my father was diagnosed with bone cancer and was completely bedridden. I had an opportunity to visit and serve him during his last days. I was at my parent’s home when I came to know that my friend, too, was diagnosed with blood cancer. She had been going through chemotherapy and other treatments for a long time by then. I wanted to visit her but was told that since I had small children I should not visit the hospital or the patient. I regretted not planning a visit to her by leaving my kids at home with the other members of family.
One morning, when my father woke up from his sleep, he told me that he saw one of my friends in his dream telling him that he should not worry about anything, and that she would take care of everything for him. I asked him who she was but he said he did not remember.
The next day, when the phone rang and I picked it up, it was none other than that old friend of mine now in the last stage of cancer. She had called me up to inquire about my father. She heard about my father and wanted to help him get treated by the best doctors she knew. She proposed that our brothers meet with doctors at the hospital to discuss the diagnosis and treatment. Our brothers met and consulted the doctor. He showed some positive response after seeing my father’s reports, who was in the last stage of cancer as well.
The very next day, a phone call informed me that this friend of mine had passed away! I was shocked as we had spoken just the day before. Even though she was in the last stages of her disease and too frail to talk, she had shown such consideration for my suffering father. She had told me on the phone that I should not worry about my father and that she would see to it that he was cured! When I heard of her demise, I suddenly remembered my dad’s words when had told me about his dream … as far as I remembered he did not know this friend of mine and he did not know about the phone call!
That day, I decided to at least visit her family.
I took a friend along and when we reached, my friend’s body had already been taken for the burial rites. We sat there for sometime and then took a taxi back home. On our way back, I felt a strange, strong urge to visit my father at the hospital. Though it was out of the way, we turned the taxi around and paid him a visit. I did not get to talk to him as he was resting. But I came near him and touched his forehead and prayed for his speedy recovery.
Later that night, we received the news of his demise.
Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned.
I was in shock and grief. It took me a long time to get over that sorrow in my life, but when I recalled all that had happened, it always surprised me and got me to think deeply about the connection between souls.
The souls that were nearing their release from the temporary bodies they were breathed into. The souls that were connected in some way. We can never unravel the mysteries of the unseen world but this incident made me realise that there surely is some connection between our souls. Why was a friend of mine, who was dying herself, so interested and caring about another person in the same state as her?
Moreover, why did my father see a friend of mine in his dream telling him not to worry about anything, and that she would take care of everything? Though both were bedridden, and on the verge of death, they still had some connection.
Even a layperson would understand that there is some thing that connects people. There is something that attracts you to, or repels you from, certain people. You are not comfortable with all kinds of people and neither do you get along well with everyone. Sometimes, you do not know someone, and still you feel as if you know him or her well and you tend to be so positive in their company. These are all mysteries that cannot be known until we ourselves go into that world, a world of souls, the world unseen, the world of life after death!
Aishah (رضي الله عنها) narrated that I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) say,
“Souls are like recruited troops: Those who are like qualities are inclined to each other, but those who have dissimilar qualities, differ.”
(Sahih Al Bukhari 3336)
And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, “The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little.”