When I was 12, I got myself my first kitten. She was dark grey. Her whiskers had been cut off. Her tail looked as spiky as a bottle brush. Her tummy was weirdly bloated. They told us that her mother had died and that all her siblings had died soon after. She was the only one who survived.
Bobo, the fighter.
Bobo came into our lives during Ramadan. Every single time we woke up for sahur, she would wake up too.
“Meow! Meow! Meow!”
Her incessant mewing made us laugh. Because she was so young, she stumbled each time she tried to walk. We had to hold her gently just like a baby and bottle-feed her.
As Bobo grew older, we started to notice her quirks. If she was locked out of Mama and Papa’s room, they would soon see her huge, beautiful eyes and adorable paws under the door.
Her tail totally had a life of its own. When it was time to eat, she always let Baby go first. The back of her ears was the softest to kiss. If any of us happened to scream at the top of our lungs (because of something silly like Mama tickling us), Bobo would come running to see what was wrong. Even after she was sterilised and dizzy from the surgery, Bobo would still walk slowly to her litter tray. She valued cleanliness so much that her fur was always soft and shiny. Bobo’s adab can put a lot of us to shame.
On Monday, I watched helplessly as Bobo’s breaths became shorter and shorter. When it got too much for her to bear, she mustered all her strength to get on her feet, struggling to breathe. I kissed her and kissed her and kissed her. Each gasp brought my Bobo one step away from me. Then, she pawed at her favourite basket. I lifted her inside and yelled for everyone to gather. She started puking out all the food that we had given her merely an hour ago. We all spoke to her in soft voices, comforting her.
“It’s okay, Bobo. Don’t be scared. We love you. If you want to go, just go Bobo.”
With a few spasms, her cute pink nose went pale. One of her hind legs started kicking uncontrollably. In a few seconds, my Bobo was gone.
Death is not like what you see in the movies. Death is unpleasant. Death is uncomfortable. Death is painful.
‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I have never seen anyone going through pain which is harsher than that which the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam suffered (during his death sickness).” (Bukhari & Muslim).
Death is the only constant. It may be that we human beings are so forgetful because we get lulled into complacency. We delude ourselves into thinking that death won’t happen to us so soon. It’s a weird paradox of life. We are so frightened of the idea of dying that we pretend that it’s not happening.
We are dying every day.
My fellow seekers, keep the world in your hands but not in your heart. This is truly not the eternal life that we want. When Allah blesses you with something, be thankful. But remember that you will leave it someday.
Every single night our soul is taken, and every single night the Angel asks before bringing it back, “Ya Allah what about this one? Do You want to send it back? Do You want to pull the plug or should we keep the Rûh (soul)?” And every night Allah gives permission to the Angel to let us live one more time.
– Nouman Ali Khan
What are we going to do with this one chance?