I met a wonderful brother who is a volunteer at one of our local masjid. We heard one day that his wife passed away, but he was back at the masjid a couple of days after her demise, performing his routine volunteer duties as usual such that one would not realise that her death affected him unless one looked for the subtle changes in his normal demeanour.
He recently spoke of his wife – they had been married for close to thirty years and he said that while she was battling her illness, her face belied her agony, but once she died, her face was relaxed, serene and she even looked like a young woman again. Insha Allah this was a good ending for her.
He had nothing but praise for her, calling her an "extinct species", because in all their years of marriage, she never once raised her voice at him. In fact, he admitted that the way she took care of him bordered on perfection – she attended to his needs without him needing to ask, and all his memories of her were positive. He was slightly shame faced to admit that he was, once in a while, irritable with her without good reason.
Yet, as Allah had taken her life first, he has forgiven her entirely for whatever mistakes she might have made during their marriage. Insha Allah, as a wife, this has put her in such a good standing in akhirah because she passed away in a state where her husband, being a pious man who spends his time in servitude to Allah, was pleased with her. When he recalled times where he was curt with her, it made him appreciate her patience even more and increase his supplications for her.
She did not bother proving herself right on the small things. Their marriage was harmonious because she always kept her peace, and never tried to assert her superiority over him. It was not because she was uneducated or oppressed. It was because she had a higher vision.
He now admits that he finally understands why she always let him win – not because he was the better or cleverer one, but because she wanted a better ranking in jannah. Hence, her goal of jannah overrode her ego and pride, because the preservation of a happy marriage and gaining the pleasure of Allah through serving her husband was her objective. He then smiled and said that she was the better person between them, and insha Allah she will be in a much higher rank of jannah than he in akhirah, and he hopes that she will remember him on the Day of Judgment if that were so.
He also laughed and said that even though she was always the one to give in, she had the upper hand over him all along without him realising it – because in keeping the peace within the marriage, and always putting her ego second, she now has the last laugh, as she has earned his continued pleasure, forgiveness and du'a, more so that she has now passed away.
Time to reflect.