A Long Journey ~ Part 8

A Long Journey

By: Zaharah Nawawi

Translated by: Firuz Akhtar Mohamad Bohari


In a pain crisis that could no longer be sensed, Rugayah saw that the light was darkening. The world tightened as if she were exploring a long, black, dark, and damp tunnel. Only the streak of a flickering and gloomy ray was brightening the end of the route. She was floating and sinking in finding her way. Grasping for hope.

Doctor Ee shifted his gaze to the saline tube that was hanging at her other arm. Nurse Kiu, who was responsible for the saline, immediately did an inspection.

“Pitocin is also not flowing, doctor.” Her voice became a little louder. There was worry in her quivering tone.

Realizing that the blood and fluids intended to save Rugayah were already useless, the doctor and the nurses became more disturbed.

Doctor Ee walked quickly to an unknown destination. The nurses gathered, facing the cold body with mountains of prayers in their chests.

Rugayah’s body communicated with her mind, facing the terrifying moment. Is this is the end of our encounter?

The doctor tried his best to do anything he could, out of concern not only for his performance and his name but also that of the hospital. Although the blood flow and drip had already stopped, the surgery had to go on. Had to be performed until the end.

Rugayah’s condition became more critical.

“Sister, say the syahadah,[1] sister,” Nurse Ji whispered to Rugayah’s eyes. She knew that Rugayah could hear her voice. Rugayah moved her eyes under her closed eyelids. And her lips moved, wanting to respond.

“Sister, say the syahadah. Say the syahadah,” repeated Nurse Ji, coaching Rugayah to utter the syahadah. Rugayah opened her mouth. Her tongue seemed to move, following Ji’s words.

In the senseless pain, Rugayah followed the rhythm of Nurse Ji, without a voice. She uttered her syahadah. Done. Second time, done. On the third time, she uttered the syahadah only half-way and her tongue cramped up. Hard. Her throat stiffened. Only Nurse Ji continued the syahadah, reciting it through to the end. Rugayah could only complete the syahadah in her heart.

After finishing the syahadah, Rugayah felt her soul exit from her head. Simultaneously, she stopped suffering from the great pain. She felt her soul, so light, floating in the air.

“Rugayah.” She suddenly heard an unfamiliar male voice calling her name at her right ear. The voice was soothing.

“Rugayah. You have died as a martyr,” the voice announced to her.

“What? I’m dead? Died as a martyr? If I am a martyr, I could escape the grave’s torture. But it’s no guarantee of escaping from the pain of the hereafter,” said Rugayah with awe and consciousness. In disbelief, suddenly, Rugayah heard another voice at her left ear.

“No. You don’t want to die yet.” The voice was similar to hers. Or Sham’s voice. “Not yet. Not yet.” It was full of confidence. And urgency.

[1] Syahadah is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of Allah and acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet. It is uttered on many occasions. In this case, it is the final declaration as a Muslim before dying.