aging muslims in these foreign big cities…alone -Updated-

So for the past three days we have searched for a 75-year-old Muslim man whose health is failing and lives alone.

Armed with his full name we called every hospital in his immediate area- those that the Paramedics would have taken him to by ambulance. We even called the police to see if his apartment could be opened up to find out if he was injured, sick or, God forbid, dead for days.

We went to the morgue looking for possible John Doe’s of same age and appearance. Thankfully, he wasn’t found there.

But today, finally, we found him in the ICU of one of the neighboring Jewish hospitals. He had been brought in, apparently, unconscious. His name not revealed until he awoke today and spoke his name; reason why we couldn’t find him.

So…off go two men; one is a neighbor and the other a hospital employee, to visit him and see if he needs anything for him or his apartment or family in the Middle East. They found a very sick man, no didn’t ask what was wrong- we just wanted to assure him and settle any fears about what would happen next.

What the two men were not ready to hear was a very sick man with no family here, tell them that “thank you for coming, but I don’t want any one to know I’m here”. End of conversation and visit.

So why am I upset? That’s his choice. True, and if he again loses consciousness, we as outsiders- non family members, would not be able to help him or gain access to him. If he died, we wouldn’t be able to recover his body for proper burial. His would be a “Potter’s Field” destination- our cities’ burial ground for unclaimed and unknown bodies.

But when I was told, all I could say was- “Make Dua for his recovery- that he may leave the hospital alive and well; able to walk and talk. Because otherwise we won’t be able to even make a collection for his janaza.”

Is that the destiny of our aging Muslim Umma that lives alone- by choice or by obligation- in this country (or any other non-muslim country)? Are we suppose to let someone of our own die and be buried in anonymity, never to be recovered, with no solemn words to ease the time in the grave? What of the countless family members- mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, fathers who will never know what happened to a loved one, a family member that left them for greener pastures (soaked in unending toil when you take a less than hard look)?

I have seen the program televised in Yemen about families searching for the one that left and has not been heard of since. At times I think of those missing people as selfish- but then I think of those missing who have lost communication; are incarcerated; are sick- who have died never being able to say, “I’m here”.

Where does this very sick 75-year-old man fall? And what then, if anything, can we do?

Just pray?


I regret to say that our very sick brother passed away last night. In an effort to stop his body from being interred in Potter’s Field, our community reached out to the Consulate of the deceased’s home country. Because we had his full name, they were able to contact the family overseas; and are making all efforts to send his body home. If all else fails, at the very least he will be interred in the Muslim cemetery in New Jersey.

May Allah have Mercy on his soul.


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