Goodbye, dearest uncle [Archives:2007/1103/Community]

November 19 2007

By: Lamis Abdulkarim Shuga'a
[email protected]

First, an actual event occurred behind what I'm going to write. A month ago, I received my usual call from my friendly 37-year-old uncle. He used to phone me from time to time to talk as if we're friends and not as an uncle and his niece. Actually, he was a kind man, not only to me, but also to others.

Five days after that call, I unexpectedly received another call informing me that my uncle had just died.

I remember several events and many things I heard on that ill-fated day, but only one thing drove me out of my mind – a traffic accident lasting less than five minutes took my uncle from me forever. Really? Alas, I'll never see him again. What ugliness of this present life, to deprive us of those dearest to us. I pray that Allah, the most merciful and gracious, will show mercy toward my uncle.

I know some amazed readers may say that what I've described is regarded as a usual and normal daily event. Of course, I agree completely, but hearing something like that is absolutely different than experiencing it yourself.

In fact, it's difficult to describe my state at that time. Whatever I've written thus far, my pen still is unable to express my inner feeling and my sadness. Simply, I see everything in this life as if I'm wearing dark glasses. This has been my feeling, but what about his family's feelings, i.e., his wife and children? They seem as if they've lost their way. I ask God to help them and grant them patience and forgetting.

Actually, I want to take this occasion to convey an important message to drivers and motorists to avoid such a situation first for their families and then for themselves. I hope my advice is heeded. A point that mustn't be denied is that death is guaranteed to us all; everyone must satisfy his fate and destiny. However, we should be more careful and cautious in all aspects and situations in this life.

Allah grants us innumerable gifts; for instance, He created ears for us to listen, eyes to see and, above all, minds to think. The latter is what distinguishes humans from animals. Therefore, we must use each gift more correctly and appropriately; otherwise, we may deliver ourselves and our lives to destruction or, at the very least, we'll certainly face many problems and difficulties.

Dear drivers, obey the rules of the road, take care while driving, drive as slowly as you possibly can and always remember one thing: arriving late is better than not coming at all.

Many drivers, especially youth, don't adhere to speed limits and furthermore, they are proud of it. In other words, the faster they drive, the prouder they become. On the other hand, another group drives so fast in competing with others – bus drivers in particular – to gain more riders and thereby, more money, neglecting the fact that Allah is the provider. Still others drive hurriedly, as if they're driving on a racetrack.

Dear drivers, you must know that it's just a race to the end, to death and the afterlife. The Qur'an asserts, “Don't throw yourselves away by your hands to destruction, but do well because Allah loves beneficent ones.” (Surat Al-Baqarah: 195)

Indeed, compared to other countries, many laws and traffic rules aren't strict enough in Yemen; for example, seat belts, speed limits, obtaining licenses, drunk driving, using mobiles, etc.

Everyone must consider himself master of his situation or like a traffic officer, whose job is to make the roads safe for all users. Drivers may apply these rules to the road, even if there are no obligatory rules in our country in particular and in other countries in general. Of course, this is for their sake as well as for that of others.

Another piece of advice for all is that we must always be aware of the fact that this present life is transient and we are just passersby, whereas the afterlife is eternal. As the Qur'an says, “The present life is just fun and amusement, while the afterlife is good for those who fear Allah.” (Surat Al-An'am: 32) It also states, “You prefer life in this world, but the afterlife is good and eternal.” (Surat Al-A'ala: 16-17)

Finally, everyone must live his life as if he'll live forever and live for the afterlife as if he'll die tomorrow. In fact, I often hear such words, but I've never felt and appreciated them as I have at this moment.

Lamis Abdulkarim Ahmed Shuga'a is an English teacher from Taiz currently pursuing her master's at Taiz University in the English Department's Language Center.