Everyone was struck by the careful thought and detail of the My Newham map that Sairah Maryum drew for Richard House…”Aah the Town Hall. Our very own Big Ben. Life wouldn’t be the same without the dramatic chimes echoing through our house…’
So of course we asked if we could interview Sairah. During the interview she told me (Yasmin) about her aunt who works at the funeral services at her local mosque in Newham. And so Sairah became the interviewer. Here is an extract from a short interview, mainly in Urdu, that Sairah did with her aunt Mrs Rifat Parvez. Mrs Parvez has been working at the mosque for seven years and has given ghusl (ceremonial washing of the dead) to over 300 women.
Sairah: What brought you to doing this work?
Mrs Parvez: Uh, I’ll be honest with you, at first I didn’t know this would be such a good and rewarding job…And I had an interest, I used to talk to other women, so after that I used to go and just pour some water. I spoke to a woman, spoke to the mosque people, they said “Fine come”. So slowly, slowly, slowly, I found out what life is until you reach this point (death). One day we have to leave this place. And it’s rewarding and the heart is at peace… I have a lot of mental peace and you become less attached to worldly life and your attachment towards Allah increases and this is the most important thing.