Thursday, March 31, 2011

There was an old lady…

Back when I was in grade seven (not too long ago), our school was selling chocolates for a fundraiser. A friend and I decided to sell together and decided to take my younger sister along as well (cuteness factor). We were going to go to a couple of floors in our building until we sold out  (long shot) or got tired. Whichever came first.

We knocked on one door and elderly lady opened the door. She looked to be about 75-80 years old. White hair, wrinkled skin and short stature, she welcomed us in. She was wearing sunglasses. We told her we were selling these scrumptious chocolate covered almonds to raise money for something (it was quite a long time ago).  She kindly listened to us and said she doesn’t eat chocolate. Perhaps some kids or grandkids she would like to buy for? No. But she wouldn’t let us go empty handed. She went to grab a little coin jar and set it in front of me.

“You see, I can’t really see very well, that’s why I have these glasses on”.  Oh, that made sense.

“How much did you say the chocolates were?"

Two dollars for the box.

“Here each of you take a toonie and a loonie for the little darling.”

She pushed the jar towards me and I took five dollars from it.

We left with big grins on our faces. We got money and we could eat the chocolate ourselves. What more could we ask for?

I don’t know what spurred it, but I was thinking about her the other day. I didn’t at the time, but I wonder now. Why was she living all by herself? I remember the quiet calmness of her apartment. Where was her family? Why had they left her all alone?

I never thought of it back then. But perhaps I should have visited her again. Just drop by and say hello. Sit down for a spell and have a chat with her. Tell her about myself and ask about her. Ask her why she was all alone? Ask her what she did wrong to deserve to be left alone by all her loved ones when she needed them most. Not for chores and cooking…but just for company. Someone to remove the silence of her home.

And as I watch Heemu busy at play, I wonder if perhaps the same may happen to me. He turns to me every time he needs something, will he turn away when I’m in need of him.  He doesn’t like it that I busy myself with anything other than him. Will he, one day,  be too busy to even think about me.

What do I have that this old lady didn’t? Something that will encourage my Heemu to care for me when I’m in need of him. Allhumdulillah I have Islam. And the importance of being kind and caring towards your parents which is stressed by our deen. In trying to lead by example, I must behave towards my parents the way in which I would like for him to behave towards me. I should show compassion, patience, love and kindness when dealing with them. And I have du’a.  I pray that my offspring is kind and caring. I pray that he (and if Allah wills, any others) is righteous and steadfast on his deen. May Allah (swt) bless them and protect our children from the fitan of this duniya. Ameen.

“Rabbighfir lii wa liwaalidayya wa lilmu"miniina yauma yaquumul'hisaab, Rabbirhamhumaa kamaa rabbayaanii shaghiiraa."

O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they have nourished me when I was young.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love, for the Sake of Allah (SWT)

There is someone out there, right now, thinking of my son. And she loves him probably just as much as I do. Someone I haven’t known long and don’t know very well. Someone who I used to see around the mosque when she was a little child. This wonderful little girl would always have a little shy smile on her face. Big dark eyes would meet yours and two little dimples would appear on her cheeks, one on each side. Back then, she was just a little cute kid and I, a busy student who could only spare a fleeting smile.
After I got married, I moved away. My visits home were few and far in between. Eventually, S. and I left the country for 6 months and when I came back I was expecting. Most of my time was spent in Toronto.
I was going to deliver at my parent’s house. My doctor was in Waterloo and so there were lots of frequent visits to the city. Often at the mosque I would see her. It had been almost two years and she was older and taller. But she still had the shy, dimple embellished smile. Focused on the new baby, I was still pretty aloof with her. To me, she was a good little Muslimah with a cute little smile.
Ibraheem was born on the 7th of Ramadan. Still more than half the month to go and not wanting to be home alone with the baby, I was often at the mosque for taraweeh prayers. And this little girl, became a good companion. She was there, waiting at the door, ready to help me carry the bags and car seat to the basement. She sat right next to Ibraheem’s seat, stroking his hand and just gazing. There would be other kids too. All awed by the cute little baby boy…but long after they had left, she would still be sitting and stroking.
And then, when Ibraheem was about four months, we moved to KSA. We went back in the summer, the time was divided between Toronto and Waterloo. A regular at the masjid, we would see her throughout the day. And she would just be around Ibraheem. Holding him, chasing him, playing with him. During taraweeh, it was such a blessing to have an extra pair of eyes and hands to keep a look out for Ibraheem. And he was quite the handful.
I started calling her his special little friend. Because she was. Always there at the door of the mosque, waiting. Ready to help carry the bag or the baby down to the basement. Playing with him, sitting with him, feeding him… she was just so good with him. And when he started recognizing her, Ibraheem would be super happy to see her as well. She was the perfect older sister, the perfect little baji.
Ramadan was over, the moon had been sighted. And we were going back to Toronto for the remaining days before heading back to KSA. I felt sad when we said our last good byes. She said, “I hope he doesn’t forget me”. I assured her that I would remind him of his special baji and we’d stay in touch, Insha’Allah.
I still don’t know much about her. Our topic of conversation is always Ibraheem and his antics. I don’t know the little things; her favourite colour, what she likes to read, what her hobbies are. If  asked, I could barely muster a handful of facts about her. But all I know is that she loves and cares for my little baby.
Not because she’s related and she has too.
Not because my baby is the cutest little thing.
Not because there aren’t any other little babies, more cute and well mannered.
Not because she hopes to gain something from me by showing affection for my son.
No, she loves him for the sake of Allah.  She feels the same pride I do when I tell her about all the milestones Ibraheem has reached. She truly and sincerely cares. And in this world where everyone is looking to benefit from someone somehow, this unconditional love from an almost stranger is unheard of.
And so little girl with the shy smile, cute little dimples and big dark eyes…I love you for loving my baby, for being their for him, for being his special baji. I love you H. for the sake of Allah (SWT).
As Ibraheem gets older, he won’t remember all the loving hands and hearts that hold him close and care for him. If Allah wills and I’m still around when he’s able to understand. I’ll tell him about his infant and toddler days. And all the hands and hearts the cared for and loved him. Especially his special little friend.