Fire


It is 4am in the morning. Or dead of the night would be a better definition for this particular moment. I am sitting in Lahore next to my sick mother’s bed. She finally dozed off after screaming in unbearable pain for at least the past hour. It has made me wonder about an old concept in Islam and theology. The age old concept of hell. 




The concept is very simple. You be good in this life and you live happily ever after in the next. You be bad and you burn in the eternal fire of Hell. Hell is supposed to be very painful. It’s supposed to make you suffer. It’s supposed to be inescapable. It’s supposed to be unbearable. But dear God, there is a confusion here.  Hell is supposed to reside in the next world. Not here. Not right now. And especially not with someone who has devoted her life to Islam and prayed 5 times a day without break MashaAllah since her childhood.

I wonder why bad things happen to good people. We have some politicians running my country, at the very top of the hierarchy who are literally looting money from the poor and hungry. Yet they are happily snoring away right now, in their extremely comfortable, luxuriously soft beds, bought of course at the expense of the sweat and blood of the Pakistani people.

I console myself with another concept in Islam. The concept that being human beings and not angels, each of us commits sin at one point or the other in their lives. And of course sins must be punished. However, punishment in this world is much less compared to that in the next world. The concept that Allah tests those whom Allah loves with sickness before they enter the next world, so that they are forgiven for their sins, not punished in the next world and automatically enter heaven.
                                       
This particular perspective should help me feel better. It should soothe my soul a bit. But when your own mother is screaming in pain and shaking your hand in desperation, asking you to some how save her from the pain. And there is nothing you can do to ease her misery. Well, in this case I need a better reason than that to soothe my broken soul right now.

I remember as a child I used to hear stories about how people made pacts with the devil and sold their soul in order to have the best in their lives in this world. I used to believe with a passion that come what may, if offered a chance I would never do that. But now I wonder if I would do just that, sell my soul. Not for riches, eternal youth or even love. But for the good health of my beloved mother. The most courageous lady and the best mom in the whole wide universe. Love you mom.