Tonight, we dropped off Shaheen and Br Eshan at the airport. They're leaving for Makkah and insha Allah, we hope to catch up with them in Madinah. They're treating us to McDonalds! :-)
Earlier, my husband and I had rushed home from work, drove over to their place and rang the doorbell. The wind was cold, but my cheeks were flushed from the excitement of going to the airport. The door opened, my husband walked in first and I followed close behind, shutting the door quickly from the below average temperatures outside.
Suitcases in the front hall, carry on ready to go, a travel pillow hanging gingerly off to one side. Masha Allah, they were ready! Shaheen looked so calm and relaxed. Not a sign of stress or worry on her face masha Allah. I wondered if I could be the same when it came time for me to leave. Not sure yet.
A few last minute tasks, some departure pictures from the house and we were off!
Arriving at the airport, they quickly checked in their luggage and we walked quickly to pray Maghrib in the prayer hall of Terminal 1. If you haven't been there, it's a beautiful place to make your salah masha Allah. Quiet and serene, you can always see the many Muslim airport employees always coming and going.
Moments later, with their last Timmies in their hands for awhile, we walked back with Shaheen and Br Eshan to the area where their family was waiting. Subhan Allah, what a group! To see off 4 people for Hajj, masha Allah, more than 40 showed up! Hugs and kisses, warmth and love, we left before the potential tears. But really, when else would all these people come to see you off like this? Is there any other religion/faith/time/place that would have such an outpouring of love at the airport of all places?
It reminded me of the last time I was seeing someone off at the airport for Hajj. My Khala and Khalu (aunt and uncle), over 9 years ago. My Khalu, no more than 60, had been suffering from cancer for sometime and the chemotherapy had almost broken him. But subhan Allah, he made the niyyah to make Hajj on behalf of his mother, and Allah bestowed him with enough of a burst of energy and health that he was able to get on a plane. As he stood in the line for security, with so many of our family and friends at the airport, we waved goodbye as his head disappeared into the crowds.
He went to Makkah! He made it! He began his Hajj! He even completed it subhan Allah!
And then, this man who's last act was Hajj, died. My khalu died. In Madinah. Buried in Janatul Baki. My khala came back to her 3 sons a widow. My cousins lost their father. Everyone told them how lucky and blessed they were.
My khalu was a scrupulously honest man. And not one person ever had a complaint against him. He lived life simply, with few expectations from others, but many from himself. He treated children like they were his friends. He treated us like we were his own kids. He had a love and compassion for people that was incomparable.
I'm not sure which of these acts led to his blessed end, but I wish that I could live up to even one of them.
As our turn for departure comes insha Allah, the preparation for Hajj turns into high gear! Fifth Walmart trip, final packing, clean the house, few more phone calls, but can't forget the purpose. My Khalu's life and death remind me of that purpose. The purpose is it to make it. Make it to Jannah. As Naila (my sister in law) always says, there's only 2 places to go from here - let's make it the right one.