Hanif, a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in Newark, NJ brings two young men under his wing. But as their lives become more complicated Hanif learns that he must fix himself on his path to redemption to show these kids how to beat the streets and live better lives.
In Newark, NJ, a casket shop sits on the corner of North 15th and William Streets. Behind its walls are piles of wood and coatings of sawdust. Here we see Hanif Muhammad. The casket maker. The mentor. The mortician. Growing up, Hanif found himself in and out of prison and a drug habit that shrouded his life in darkness. When he was released from prison for the last time, he met Rashad. He told Hanif about his work as a casket maker and the funerals he performed- the janazahs (Islamic ritual of washing the deceased before burial). Rashad said, according to Islam, with every body washing you perform leads to 40 sins forgiven. Here was Hanif's chance for redemption. Furquan is a 12-year-old who lives down the street from the casket shop. He learned how to survive coming from a rough home. One day, he saw Hanif loading caskets onto a truck. Looking for a quick buck, Furquan asked if they needed help. The two quickly form a bond. We also meet another kid Hanif works with, Naz. He’s 17 and baby-faced but carries himself like a person twice his age and with an air of confidence. He’s been arrested a couple of times for small offenses. But in the confines of his bedroom, lined with pictures of loved ones on the walls, he seems truly vulnerable. Both Naz and Furquan's lives go through a series of hardships. Furquan's home life becomes more turbulent while Naz becomes increasingly fearful of his life on the block. Hanif fears he has failed as a mentor and begins to fall through a downward spiral himself. During each of our character's darkest moments, we see the adversity they must face in order to pull through. And the path they learn to go on to find their redemption. This film takes what we know about a coming of age story- grappling with the pressures of family, heartbreak and first time experiences - and adds layers of spirituality, uncertainty and vulnerability. To confront mortality and loss while your life is supposed to just begin is a complicated journey for Furquan and Naz. For Hanif, it’s about finally coming into his own after years of searching for purpose.