Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Bell Tolls for the Alarm-Clock King.

"Athaan?", my nearly-deaf and almost blind father-in-law asks as he pops his head out of his bedroom at 1am to see if the call to the pre-dawn prayer has passed.

"Not yet Dad, it's still early", I'd assure him at the top of my lungs.

He brought me his alarm clock almost every night before going to bed to make sure the time was accurate and the alarm was set to go off about a half-hour before the athaan was called so he'd make sure to be up, washed, dressed and sitting in the first row by the time they got around to calling for prayer.

"Set it to a quarter-to-4" he'd instruct me then hold the clock at the end of his nose, straining to confirm my settings after handing it back to him.

Despite my assuring him of it's accuracy, he'd proceed to fiddle with it after returning to his bedroom, usually to set it a bit earlier just in case so he'd be sure not to miss prayer. This meant that his alarm was going off at all times during the night. Sometimes he'd pop out 3 times a night to ask if it was time to pray yet or not because he couldn't hear it himself nor see a clock well enough to check the time. Each time we send him back to his bed to await pleasing his Lord a few hours longer.

My father-in-law spent his last few weeks in this life asking every few minutes if it was time to pray. Much of the speech he was capable of in the days after his stroke in September was used to invoke the name of God and thank him for everything in his life that he could remember through his delirium. May Allah have mercy on him, forgive him of his sins and accept him into the highest levels of heaven. He passed away last night, Allah yarhamma.

His alarm went off at 3:30 this morning.