KUALA LUMPUR: Muhammad Hafiz Iskandar, 11, had earlier this year, asked his uncle about where he would go when he dies.
“Kalau mati, masuk syurga tak (Will I go to heaven if I die)?,” was the question the boy posed.
“Ya, jika mati syahid (yes, if you become a martyr),” came the reply.
That was Mas Zaitun Murni Mohd Shahid’s enduring memory of her nephew, who perished in a fire which razed the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz centre in Datuk Keramat, this morning.
The fire claimed not only the life of Mohd Hafiz, but also that of his two brothers, Muhammad Syafiq Haikal Sulaiman, 13, and Muhammad Harris Ikhwan, 10.
Mas Zaitun was getting ready for her day this morning when she saw a WhatsApp message alerting her that the boys’ religious school was on fire.
Stunned, she immediately rushed to the school to check on them. However, her heart sank when she saw that their names were not on the list of those who survived.
“One of the teachers then told me that they might have been among those trapped in one of the dormitory rooms on the third floor," she said.
Despite being overcome with grief, she followed the teacher’s advise and went to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital mortuary to identify the remains of the three brothers.
Mas Zaitun said it was she who had helped register the boys at the religious school in January this year. She said the brothers were previously enrolled at another religious school in Bangi.
"At first they were reluctant to be transferred to the school. But after a while, they told me that they were happy there (in Keramat)."
She said the boys’ mother, Mas Hawani Mohd Shahid, has given her DNA samples in order to identify the brothers’ remains.