Lifeless: Reflections on death
I had always wanted to experience washing a dead body. Not only would it be an honor, but it would also help me understand more about what will be one of my first experiences after my own death.
For a school project, I decided to make a video reflection on death, narrated by two women who regularly wash Muslim bodies in our Raleigh community.
I used this project as an opportunity to learn about the different aspects of death: I finally helped with a body, I visited the cadaver lab at my university’s medical school; I witnessed a burial for the first time.
One of the most difficult shots in the video is near the end, for which I had to lie down in a freshly dug grave. I’ve heard that a historic Islamic scholar dug his own grave and would lay down in it every morning to remember where he was headed. It’s funny to me that most people don’t notice this shot unless I point it out. That’s perhaps symbolic of the fact that all of us, including myself, are largely inattentive to our own end.
“From the earth We created you, into it shall We return you, and from it We shall raise you a second time.“
In the meantime, what can we do to prepare?
One of the narrator states, “Only goodness will count in the hereafter.”
Nushmia Khan is a multimedia journalist based in Chicago, USA.