O ye who believe! ...... And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. AlQuran 9:28.
Some years ago I was called to pay respect (a ziarah) to a family friend’s sister who passed way that morning. When I reached the house, I met the husband of the deceased, a new convert/ revert. After a few courteous exchanges, he recounted to me that his wife passed away due to breast cancer. For more than 2 years (when the cancer got really bad), he have not heard any ooh, ahh or anything of that sort from his wife.. not a word of complain or a sigh of pain.
That early morning during the heavy bout of pain, she asked the husband about an old man.. The following were the approximate conversation between the couple..
“What old man?” was all the very sad husband could muster.
“Oh, that old man that wore a long white robe and white turban and came to visit me just before Subuh (dawn).
“What did he want or said to you” the husband queried
“ Oh nothing. He said he wanted to invite me to his place”
The husband said he searched high and low for the old man to the point that he nearly missed to be at his wife bedside when she drew her last breath on this earth..
“You see” the husband continued in very sad tone “ I am a new revert (muallaf was his exact word) .. if not maybe I would have known that she is going to see Her Maker very soon.”.
A few months later, her mother died of stomach or colon cancer. I was not around to pay her my last respect.
On that particular weekend, I was back in KL and I made it a point to stop by and have breakfast at a small road-side stall that belonged to the deceased father / husband. It was rather early, there were not that many customers and the old man stopped at my table to talk to me. He recounted the two recent deaths of his daughter and his wife. After some nice words of condolence from me and some religious word/messages from the old man.. I did manage to frankly converse with him.
“I have a rather personal question to ask.. so if Pak Cik (Uncle) do not feel like answering .. please do not say anything”... Me and my big mouth starting to pry.
The Old man said “ Please ask.. I would answer if I can” .
I relate what has transpired between me and his son-in-law when I pay my last respect to his late daughter and said” I believed your daughter and wife were very good Muslimah.. it is rather puzzling to me that they passed away in the manner that they did.. You see.. I heard that Allah in his Grace/Mercy may inflict terrible pain to take away the sin of his servants.. sometimes He took away the bad/cancerous part of our body to cleanse our sin or the meat that grew from our bad sustenance(rezeki).. To have two deaths from cancer in a family spells something is not very right... is it the food ?( the moment I realised that those words have left my lips.. I started to wish that I was thousand meters in the sub-surface together with those drilling bits that were used to drill my exploration wells.. . my!... do I have to hit some raw nerves.. me and my super big mouth.
"I believed you are right, son! " the old man interjected, leaving me with my mouth gaping a huge “O”.
“Some years ago, I opened a reasonably good restaurant in an upcoming town J Jaya.. selling the normal mamak-fare and serve no liquor. There were two other restaurants nearby which serve liquor. Every time a non- muslim customer or group of customers stopped by at my restaurant he or they will ask if I sell liquor. On my negative response, he or they will go over to the other two restaurants. This continued for three months. J Jaya was a new thriving township, the number of people there then were not that many.. thus I have suffered some financial loss that if allowed to continue might have forced me to close shop within the next two or three months. When I finally succumbed to the pressure and started selling liquors, those who sneered at me for not selling liquor earlier became my staunch supporters bringing their friends and families to my restaurant. Within a few weeks, I started to recover most of my previous losses" he told me in a rather firm voice.
“Those were the money that I used to provide my family , I have since sold the restaurant, (after I have bequeathed the right to sell liquor) on hearing that my late daughter has contracted breast cancer. My late wife’s cancer was detected almost immediately after I sold the restaurant. I then opened this roadside stall close to my house, although I did not make 1/4 of the money I used to make on that restaurant, I am happy that at least I know the money is halal” he continued.
"I have regretted my previous actions and has since really repented (taubat nasuha). .. but it is too late.. I have already lost the two ladies that I loved very much” he lamented.
“ Now that you have repented, maybe you should keep the story of you selling liquor in your restaurant to yourself.. Allah might have forgiven you on that issue, recounting it over and over might undo your repentance. You might be late with your repentance with respect to the two ladies but Allah has more or less cleanse them both, preparing them for a meeting with Him .. I am sure they have been amply rewarded for their patience and perseverance (sabar). My Allah bless them both and guide us to the right path” I quickly chipped in.
The old man said “Ameen” and quickly moved away to serve his other customers.