Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Khawlah: When the sun was at its brightest
I giggled in unison with Ahmed, my elder brother, running down the darkened passage as we tried to hide from Foi Nani. Glittering gleams of light streamed through the study window blinds as we entered it, shedding strips of sunlight onto the oak sideboard that filled up the small room. We grinned at each other in childhood ecstasy as Ahmed peeped out, before hearing little footsteps coming towards us.
“They’re here, Foi Nani,” our baby brother screamed excitedly, as if he was the one we were playing hide and seek with. I rolled my eyes at Ahmed, and he shook his head at me with a knowing glance. Yunus always spoilt the fun.
“Let’s act like we are invisible,” I said to Ahmed, grinning again and squinting my eyes in the famous way I always did when I wanted to appear a little dorky. I cocked my head from side to side, letting my childish locks sway, finding the whole game even more amusing as we tried to hide behind the curtains and completely ‘disappear’. I supposed it was my way of escaping reality, even though I didn’t know it at that time. All I knew was that I was having fun. Lots of it.
I knew the reality too.
Mama was sick. But that didn’t mean that we couldn’t have fun. We were just trying to make the most of the situation. We were only kids.
When Mama was well, Abba would take us to the most extraordinary places when we were on holiday. Now that Mama was always in bed, life had taken a turn towards monotony. Day in and day out, the routine was the same for a while.
She was sick for a long time before she eventually gave up. It wasn’t that she was fighting to stay alive for the world. At that tender age, I understood that she was worried about us. I knew what she wanted from us… and as I grew up, I understood what she feared.
Abba was different. Don’t get me wrong. He loved Mama in a way that no-one could comprehend. But he was born into a background of confusion, disunity and even abuse.
Dadi was a revert, and he always said that she was awesome. It was just that Dada and Dadi had to work hard in the shop and would sometimes leave him at the family house to be taken care of. From what I understood at that time, the family people weren’t the nicest of people, and they didn’t like him much. I couldn’t understand why, because to me, my Abba was the best. Well, at that point- he was better than a super hero to me.
“Not everyone in life has it easy like you’ll,” he always said. “Some people work. Some people work really hard, and sometimes they still don’t come out.”
Obviously we didn’t know what he was going on about. For us, the sun was at its brightest. Dada would just look from his space at the end at the table, and nod his head. Yes, even if Mama wasn’t going to fully recover, it didn’t mean that everything would just diminish, right?
Wel, that’s the thing with this world. What a facade. It even fools us into thinking that we will always be the way we are… always stay the way that we were. They had it tough, but that was over now, right?
Yes, we had been duped. Abba worked hard to get to where he was. We weren’t living in a mansion with multiple servants or anything, but we lived a comfortable life. Really comfortable. Some would say even spoilt.
And then of course, it happened. Our worst fears, and the doom that was pending. Mama died. One day we woke up and Mama and Abba weren’t there. No one had to explain to us because we already knew.
The day of Mama’s funeral was the day that a lot of things came into perspective for me. People were rushing around in a sort of frenzy, doing all sorts of things at the same time. Yunus and I just sat in a corner of the room, not really knowing what else to do. I wished I could go sit in my room and play with my new doll house, but Foi Nani had said that we must read.
I was only 6. What did I know?
I didn’t even know what to read. Since mama couldn’t do madrassa with us for a few months, I had even forgotten what I could say. How I could pray. I moved the beads on the tasbeeh I held in my hands saying ‘Allah’, because that’s all I remembered.
Allah. Allah. Wasn’t He always there? Allah.
The body was brought in as we sat, all clad in white.
Mama. That was our mama.
I shivered as the cold winter air creeped through the open door, making me feel as if I was more alone than ever. Even though I was surrounded by people, my heart held an emptiness that only my siblings could comprehend.
Death was hard. Brutal. Painful and imposing. It didn’t wait until your children were old enough. It didn’t wait till you had prepared for it. It was sudden and savage, and it ripped people apart. It tore up homes and it bruised our inner-most souls. It hurt. Yes, it hurt so much. So so much.
We looked at each other, all four of us, but none of us smiled.
Today, there would be no smiles. Not from us. No running in the passage. No playing hide and seek. No laughter or giggles.
For once, the silence in our house was a sweet one to our ears.
We didn’t want to hear joyful outbursts. We couldn’t even manage any sad smiles. Today everything was different.
Our entire world was in limbo.
Everything had changed.
I know I have been off the radar for ages, and this post is a bit sad. But it’s only the beginning and I’m hoping to add some really beneficial lessons. 🌷InshaAllah. Instead of a always having romance, and making that a central theme, I thought it would be good to add some other genres in to our Muslim blogs.
May it be beneficial.