Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajioon. From Allah we have come, and to Him we shall return.

I didn’t know her too well, and I’m sure she didn’t know me, but I had been following her story and her journey for the last little while. She was a friend’s sister, but an inspiration to many around her, and anyone else that heard of her struggle, including myself.

Hearing about Sanabel Abubaker’s return to Allah this morning struck my heart more than any story like this had before. She was merely 25 years old, the same age as I, but she had experienced so much more than I could imagine. Born with a fatal lung disease, she fought for twenty-five years to survive, but from what I’ve seen, she has done far more than that with her life – she has lived. This is far more than most of us can say we’ve done. Sanabel inspired hundreds of people and reminded them of the importance of honoring one’s body.

I ask each and everyone one out there to count your blessings. Allah gave you your body and organs for you to take care of them. They are Ammanah (a trust) to you. Those who smoke, think twice about the consequences you may come across later in life. Those who drink or do drugs think about the harmful things that can happen while you’re under influence. You may take your own life and the life of others. I was born imperfect with a fatal lung disease and Alhamdulilah Im 25 yrs old. With all new medical discoveries I’ve lived this long, but I didn’t have a choice. YOU do! I’m currently at the hospital suffering from 2 bloodclots that traveled to my lungs in addition to a case of pneumonia. Alhamdulilah I could be in much worse condition. I’m fighting through… I want your prayers and your promise to yourself and to Allah that you will take care of your body…. – Sanabel Abubaker

For the last few nights, I’ve struggled to sleep as I’ve been thinking about my own challenges in life. I would make dua for Sanabel and her family, but for some reason, I would continuously feel like my struggle needed more dua. Perhaps because it was closer to home, and so it felt more real. But, I was wrong. I’ve learned that our love for a person for the sake of Allah is not one that is impacted by relation or distance, but by a sincere awareness of Allah’s blessings upon us. I look at Sanabel’s pictures on her Facebook page, and quite honestly, off the top of my head, I can’t recall any one in which she isn’t smiling. Her contagious smile makes your heart smile and tear up, as you realize that you’ve been so ungrateful and need to change and become a better person inside and out.

You know how sometimes, you learn about someone, and even if you’ve never met them in person or even spoken to them, you get this sense that they are truly touched by God? That their sheer existence is to be a symbol of hope, optimism, and faith? That was Sanabel to me. She was and will continue to be, insha Allah, a reminder of hope, faith, and sincerity in my life, as I move forward with my own life. She may no longer be with us to shine a new smile, but I know for certain that her smile has left enough sparks in the hearts of other to ignite a shine so bright that her love and soul will always have a place in this world, just as I pray it will continue to have in the Hereafter.

Take a note from Sanabel’s books and try to inspire change for the better. Make that change within yourself first, and then strive to help others do the same. Ensure that you taking the best care of your health – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Ask yourself if you’re really doing your best to take care of yourself. You never know when you’ll lose that opportunity, or if your children will lose that opportunity because of your carelessness. Be wise, be kind, be righteous, and be happy.

The greatest Jihad (struggle) one will face is the struggle against his own soul.  Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”  Quran (2:286)

I ask you all to join me in taking a moment to pray for Sanabel and her family. I also ask that you share some kind and supportive words on Sanabel’s Facebook page, called Sanabel’s Promise, as I’m sure her friends and family would truly appreciate it. May Allah forgive her of her sins and grant her a coolness in her resting place. May He enter her into Heaven without account, simply through His Infinite Mercy. May He grant her family and friends strength to continue moving forward with memories of her that inspire them to become stronger in their faith and closeness to Allah, as well as to give them the patience, guidance, and support they need in order to face this. And finally, may Allah give them the courage to continue their lives with Sanabel in the hearts forever, and have them all reach Paradise to meet her again one day.

Ameen.