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  • Writer's pictureShawn Ullah

Murder : قتل

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

Naz Qureshi : Edmonton, Alberta

“I grabbed the detective’s hands, looked him in the eyes, and plead with him, ‘Please tell me if it’s my brother...”

Irfan was not only my brother; he was my best friend. I was his life coach, financial advisor, his everything, you name it. He would literally call me 5-10 times a day. We would spend hours talking about books, life, politics, religion, everything. He phoned me once, while I was making Koftay (meatballs). I remember him telling me how much he missed our mom’s Koftay. What I would do now, for just that one call.

Last year my brother was killed. He was murdered in his house while sleeping. I vividly remember the day before it happened. I had this weird feeling that something just wasn’t sitting right. I still remember our last conversation that night ending in a “Thank you” and a “Goodnight”. Around 4:30 PM the next day, I received a call from one of my brother’s friends, asking if I had spoken with Irfan. He told me that there had been a shooting at Irfan’s house, that two bodies were found, and it was on the news. Immediately I started getting another call. I hung up the phone and called my eldest brother's wife. I started running from the kitchen to the front door, back and forth, screaming and crying. I couldn’t get any words out of my mouth. Deep down a part of me knew that he was gone.

His friends had picked me up and taken me to his house. I remember the entire car ride there. My hands clenched together, restless, praying to god, “Ya Allah (Oh, God), please don’t let it be Irfan, I will do anything”. We arrived at his house, but the police weren’t letting anyone in. I grabbed the detective’s hands, looked him in the eyes, and plead with him, ‘Please tell me if it’s my brother. My parents are on their way and my father is elderly, a diabetic, they won’t be able to handle this. I need to know.’ I begged. I knew he felt bad, but he was unable to tell me as they had yet to identify the bodies.

Eventually, we went back to my house. My family and relatives had all come over, everyone waiting with strands of hope. It wasn’t until midnight that the officer had called and confirmed that one of the bodies in the house was my brother, Irfan. I hung up and let my mother know. That was it. My life had just changed in the blink of an eye.

Seeing my mother grieve just broke my heart. I remember consoling her, and telling her, “Mom he belonged to Allah (God) before he belonged to you. He was an Amaanat (a valuable possession given to someone to keep safe) that Allah gave to you. Yes, he was your son, and yes you are grieving but he was Allah’s. Allah gave you a loan and now he has taken it back”. I was devastated. I’ll never forget how I cried. I had never cried like that before. It wasn’t a normal cry, rather a sound coming from deep within me. It was the sound of a weeping wounded soul. I used to see Irfan in my dreams, I still do sometimes. Even in my dreams I can feel the sadness. It pains me to know Irfan will never get to see the kids I have.

After his death it was ‘Go, Go, Go!'. I was running around non-stop. My brother relied on me for so much. I had to take care of everything, from funeral arrangements, to mortgage payments, the house, bills, business, the estate, and now a court case. It tore me apart, having to go to his house and remove all the furniture, the things we bought for his house together, so ecstatically one year before. It was stressful and it still is, but I will continue to be there for him. I am going to show him that even after his death, that bond is still there.

I think my faith in god has been the one thing that has helped me get through all this the most. I find solace in the fact that this is all from Allah. Yes, I am angry at the situation, but not at God. I understand that there is a wisdom far beyond my comprehension, and I continue to put my trust in him. This is my Fitnah (trial) that I must push through. I believe with full Yaqeen (conviction), that there is something that I will learn or get from all of this. There was a quote that really sat with me, it read, "The Devil whispered in my ear, 'You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.' Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear, 'I am the storm.'"

I know my brother would want me to move on with my life and be happy and make more of myself. Irfan had a passion for life, and if anything, his death has given me even more of a drive.

(Naz Qureshi - Edmonton, Alberta)

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