Dunya is the Arabic word for This World

This is the first photo taken when in 2008 we landed in Tunisia for Nizar and Sissina’s wedding. It is with my aunt, over the moon was she that her son had found that his best friend was also his soul mate.

I had not seen my aunt since my late teens and it was the first time I had the honour of knowing her as a woman and God damn, is she something. Brilliant, caring, generous, patient and always with a ready laugh.

Among many of the things learned from her was in behaviour. My grandmother, her mum, had just discovered that Khaldoon — Amto Arwah’s other son — was engaged to Ming Chao. Phone call after phone call after phone call we received in succession from my grandmother; always the same questions, always answered by amto in the gentlest and most patient way. At one point I asked wasn’t she exhausted to keep answering the same questions repeatedly when the answer hadn’t changed?

“No. Because I know that it is still a blessing that I have my mother’s questions to answer. No; because I know that the moment my mother leaves this dunya, she will take with her 90% of the love I feel.”

One of my favourite scholars once said of dunya “If you take a child and you throw the child up there is a point where you see this, they go into this state of complete panic and then when they come back to your arms they are laughing. That is dunya, I guarantee you, that moment, that is your life, you came from God and you are going back to God and there is just a moment when you are in a complete state of panic but just relax, you are in good hands. Just relax.”

Her moment of panic passed on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, her final words “AlhamduliLah,” which is what one says when something good is happening, when something bad has passed, and even when calamity befalls someone with the strongest of Faith.

AlhamduliLah. AlhamduliLah. AlhamduliLah.

May she be wrapped in God’s mercy; and may her mother endure her passing, alhamduliLah.

Thank you for introducing me to Tom Jones ya amto. I hope that Heaven is a place where on repeat, he does nothing but set you dancing.


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