A Beautiful Soul Returns To The Beautiful One

Today, my maternal grandmother Zainab passed away. She had been sick for quite a while, and she finally returned to her Lord this morning. Thank God, she was not in pain, not in distress, and she was not in an ICU with tubes and lines running in and out of her. She was 96-years-old.

She was such a beautiful soul. I would always love going over to her house growing up because, unlike my own mother, she would let me eat whatever and how much I wanted. She would always say “yes,” to whatever I wanted, and she always greeted me with a smile on her face.

She was so warm, so loving, so jovial. She just made you happy to be around her, and I don’t think I remember her without a smile on her face. The mother of 7 children, she truly was the pillar of our family. She survived the death of her husband, my maternal grandfather, for more than 30 years. So, she was truly the matriarch who kept the family together.

I owe my relationship with God to my grandmother, and for this, I am eternally grateful to the Lord Almighty.

More that just this, she was an incredibly strong woman, way ahead of her time. Her strength, grace, dignity — together with God’s grace — gave birth to a beautiful family and an inspiring success story.

I was blessed to be the oldest child on my mother’s side, and there is not a time where she was not part of my life. She told me stories about myself that I did not — and could not — know, like how I — as a baby — tortured the family cat, Mishmish, whenever I would be at her house in Chicago. She truly helped raise me, and her deep and strong faith in God not only molded my mother, but me as well. I owe my relationship with God to my grandmother, and for this, I am eternally grateful to the Lord Almighty.

To know my mother, my aunts, and my uncles is to know how amazing my grandmother truly was. These are some of the best people on earth — deep in their commitment to God, deep in their commitment to their families, and people with beautiful hearts. That is who my grandmother was, and our world is just a little darker today without her presence on it.

Losing a member of the family is always hard. You will miss the good times, the smiles, the laughs, and the comfort of their presence. At the same time, I look at that picture at the top, and I know she is in a better place.

That’s how she is right now with our Lord. I know she is finally at peace, free from the pain, suffering, and sickness of the human condition. Why, I am confident she is saying hello once again to my own daughter, her first great grandchild, who passed away 10 years ago. I am sure they are laughing together once more. And most importantly, I know she has finally been reunited with the two loves of her life — God, first and foremost, and then my grandfather — in a garden of bliss. And, in this sad time, the thought of this cannot help but make me smile.

Reflections on Faith by Hesham A. Hassaballa. Books: “Beliefnet Guide to Islam” and “Noble Brother,” the Prophet Muhammad’s story entirely in poetry.