Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dreaming of death before I was Muslim

Last night I dreamt that I died of a chest infection. I didn't go anywhere, I became a ghost. Some people could see me and I could talk to them. I explained that I could only stay until my funeral and then I had to leave, but I didn't know where I was going, I just had to go.

I felt so angry and powerless. I didn't want to be dead and I didn't want to leave my parents, I didn't want them to have to bury me.

My corpse was placed in my bed (not my bed in real life, my bed in the dream). I wanted to slap it, to shake it, I was so angry! How could I die of something like a chest infection? I am strong, I enjoy good health, why did this happen?

I woke up crying and this woke my husband. I explained the dream to him. He reassured and me and reminded me that Muslims don't fear death.

I thought about this and said "I think I was younger in this dream, I don't think I was Muslim then".

Just like when I was vegan, I had dreams where I ate chocolate (of the non-vegan variety). I still have dreams where I'm not Muslim. I don't know if this is a weakness in my faith, or just my brain processing memories from my pre-Muslim life. Certainly, Alhamdulilah, I'm always mindful and grateful to be Muslim in my waking life.

Indeed, one of the best things about being Muslim, is the certainty about death and dying.

There is a hadith about not sharing bad dreams, but this dream is a reminder to me. In Islam, like in many other religions and spiritual traditions, there is an emphasis on reflecting upon death every day. This sounds gloomy but I feel that only from awareness of death can we really appreciate life.

Ya Allah, Alhamdulilah for every heartbeat, for every breath in my lungs. The efforts my body makes without me even realising. Ya Allah, I may not ever be your most pious servant, but help me to always be a grateful one. Ameen.

5 comments:

Ali la Loca said...

Safiya, I relate so well to this post. I often dream of prior chapters of my life and wonder what this means - am I just processing through old memories, like you said, or is it an indication of some small doubt about my present path. Specifically I often dream of ex-boyfriends - not sensual dreams, but dreams where I have a completely different life with a partner who is not Rico. I hate these dreams, I wake up in such a state. But I am also grateful for them in a way - they force me to evaluate my relationship, and not to take anything for granted.

Same thing with the death dreams (I have them frequently). From my blog maybe you have picked up on the fact that I contemplate death a lot. Like you mentioned about the role of death for Muslims, I agree that it is very important for me (personally) to think about death, to have it always as a reminder not to get tangled up in material things, to have courage and faith, to live my life knowing that it will not be eternal on earth.

Very interesting post...you made me think a lot (obviously). Thank you.

Alina said...

I don't know if I fear death or not. What I know for sure is I fear dying before my mom. If we indeed remain conscious afterwards, I doubt i could take causing her such a great pain. I'm the closest person she's got, I would never want her to go through something like that. She's gone through quite enough as it is.

As for death in itself...I fear not living my life the right way. Right by me and my beliefs.

You know, in my grandma's village, they say people sense death and most of them try to leave their house. My great-grandma died of cancer. She could not walk or stand up for months before she died. The night she died she got up and got dressed as she felt there was somewhere she should go. They say it's fear that drives them. I think it's something else. A time and place where things are supposed to happen.

Sorry, this is a lot off-topic! :)

otowi said...

I understand why he said it, but I don't know that it is true that Muslims do not fear death. It is natural for people to fear change. What is true, is that a person truly submitted to God has no reason to fear death and than for him/her it will be a relief and benefit rather than a harm.

Death dreams are normal, as are dreams of other parts of your life.

Safiya said...

Thank you for your comments, I shall try to follow your wonderful examples and answer comments more promptly, insha Allah.

Ali - I agree, sometimes dreams are like peeks at a path not taken.

Alina - I love hearing about the old traditions of Romania, don't apologise about going off topic :)

Otowi - He was so tired when he was comforting me, he'd only just gotten to sleep when I woke him up!

I know how Muslims should feel about death and I don't think I'm there yet.

Maxxed`ouT said...

Thank you for sharing.