Its What He Would Do

My father is a very religious man. The kind of man whose faith is undeniably strong. He not only tries his best to live according to the Sunnahs but makes sure that others do as well. He has traveled all over the world, dedicating his life to what is called “Tableeg” which is basically trying to become better Muslims and working hard to convey this to others as well.

I am very proud of my father for that. His eyes light up, words gain speed when he starts talking about Islam and trying to be bettet Muslims. Its his passion. Despite that he has never forced any of us to do the same. He has given us that freedom to do things because we believe in them and because its Allah’s order. Not because he has forced them upon us.

His journey started in University and since that he has had a beard. Its almost white now with bits of black here and there. But its something that signifies who he is. And what he loves doing. Its not just a beard for him. Its his whole life in form of memory cards with each detail meticulously catolouged. So what do you do when you are given the task of choosing between his love and his life ? Do you choose life because that id what you want ? Or you choose love because that is what he would want ? What do you do when you are forced to take a decision as hard as bombing a nation ?

After almost three weeks in the ICU, doctors said that they need to perform Tracheostomy, a procedure to help a patient breath. Now this is done by making a opening where your neck meets your body. And a pipe is inserted there with a suppory sustem to hold all that in place. The doctors said that its standard procedure to have certain portion where you are go to operate, be sanitized. They needed to shave his beard.

Huzaifa immediately said no. Me and amma said the same. We talked about it. First of all, my father himself had strictly told us not to do anything of the sort if something happens to him. Secondly, it wasnt our place to do that. Its his beard. Something that he has kept all his life. How can we take any decision regarding his beliefs ? You see, I believe in health being above it all. Had it been anyone else, I would have cared less. But this was someone who had spent his life leaving his family to do something good. It was not just a mop of hair on his chin. It was his life’s work, staring right at us.

So at first the nurses trimmed it a bit and cut some from the sides after getting our permission. But then it was noy working out. Because there was a high chance of infection where his beard touched the pipe.

We decided to ask someone more knowledgable and called my brother in Pakistan. He asked Muftis (a person who has learnt 50000 Hadees and is most knowledgeable about Islam). He said that you can shave the beard if its absolutely necessary. Even then Huzaifa relented. He kept saying no. The doctors were very cooperative and did their best to help us.

In the end, aftet a suggestion from a nurse, Huzaifa decided to trim his beard himself. He tied the longest at the chin. And then trimmed the rest.

My point is I am not that religious. Neither is Huzaifa. And it was really hard to take these decisions. It was like questioning whether to throw all my books or keep them in storage. The answer was hard and not ours to give. But under the circumstances we had to.

This was not about what we wanted to do. This was about what Abbu would want to be done in such a situation. Life has a sick sense of humour to do these kind of things. It throws oranges at you while asking you to make lemonade. What you have to do is make Orangeade.

Sometimes you do what the other person wants while putting your thoughts behind. You do it because deep down you know that you would want someone to follow your wishes if you were the one in that situation. We all have different things wr believe in. What we need to remember is what the other person believes in.



From A Daughter To A Father

Dear Abbu,

I am sitting in bed, blankets around me, writing this to you while you are probably sleeping in a not so similar bed, miles away in a hospital. Where should I start from ? What should I tell you first ?

Let me start from your eldest son. He has grown up. He is not that little kid anymore who used to walk in the house with a towel around his waist. (Who am I kidding, he still does.) He was the one you called at the time of your accident. He saw you while getting taken care of at the hospital. You were reciting the Kalma loudly and you waved at him. He took care of everything. He spent the night at the hospital, alone while you were in surgery. He tried telling Abdullah but it did not work out. I cannot even imagine what he went through during those hours.

Amma was the strongest of us all. You know her and her endless Wazeefas. She had full faith that you will be okay. She kept asking me, Sumaica, he is going to be okay ? Right ? And I keep saying, YES ! She has barely eaten since the day you had your accident. I keep telling her to eat something and she keeps saying that it does not matter.

Your middle son is still in Pakistan, away from all of us, studying and giving his exams. We made the decision to call him when we saw you. But than Huzaifa said it was better to not disturb him. He himself said that I would never come back if I left now. So right now, he is studying hard and praying even harder for your fast recovery. He is among the best of people, Muftis and Ulmas, who are all praying for your health. What more can we ask for ?

Your son by relation instead of blood. People address him as your son because no one can guess that he is actually the son in law. Because he has been there, day and night like you were his own father. He has been by our sides since day 1 being the best that he is.

Now let us talk about the last one. Moawiz is 8. Yet his strength is higher than all of us. He has not seen you since Day 1. Not once has he been stubborn about seeing you or made a fuss on coming to the hospital. He gave his exams like a trooper. And now he sits in the waiting room every time we visit you. He misses his Abbu Jee. Because Abbu, he sleeps with you. He fights with you. He does everything with you. Like Amma says, he is a younger Sumaica.

Abbu Jee, I am very thankful for who you are. For the religious person you have been all your life. Every time we come to the hospital, there are at least ten people outside those dreary grey doors, waiting their turn to go inside the ICU and pray for you. You are an incredible human being. I thought Amma was social. I never knew how amazing you were. People we have never met, never known about, are calling from all over the world to ask how you are. Abbu Taya even went as far as to ask a favour from someone to get somethings done.

I love you. Because you are kind, humble, fun, cool and amazing. You are an amazing artist who took pictures 20 years ago, that people take today. You are that person who gives something to every security guard, sweeper, car washer etc. You say dude to sound hip and annoy your kids. You are someone who I look up to every day of my life. You are someone who has raised me with good values and good manners. You are someone who has never forced me into anything. You make me a better person. You inspire me to be a better person. To be a better Muslim. You are my Abbu.

You are that person I want to call “Old Grandpa” when you do not admit being old. You are that person I want to enjoy endless meaningless, laughter filled chats with. I want to go out for dinners and admit that I like hanging out with my old, uncool parents.

You are love. You are that person who even strangers pray for.

I hope that you read this when you are well enough. And bask in the glory of being called all those things. I love you as much as a daughter can ever love a father.

Yours always,


Nothing Else Matters

My father opened his eyes today, after being kept on sedatives for 22 days. I don’t know where to start from. I walked in and his eyes were open, darting left and right, trying to recognize us. But I could see that he was in pain. A lot of pain. Pain that I wish I could help him carry. Unfortunately I like many others am helpless. 

How do you do it ? How do you watch your father in agonizing pain and just stand there ? You can feel the ground beneath you, its still there, firm and standing proud. 
I have spent the last 22 days, in and out of the hospital, dealing with hundreds of people, talking and updating his friends, family, strangers from all around the world, standing beside my mom, talking to the doctors and just living. I did not even have time to think about what had happen. I was just going on with my life, trying to get everything done. 
My father has gone through 6 major and four minor surgeries up till now and he still needs more surgery. He was being kept on ventilator and sedatives. 
Its not that I love my father. We all do. Its that I need him in my life. I am that spoiled papa’s princess whose every wish is granted before she even utters it. I have had that life. He has given me that life. Being the only daughter, I have taken full advantage of that and he has let me take it. 
During this whole time, I had full faith in Allah. I told my mom that we need to do it. We need to pray as hard as we can. We need that conviction that he will be alright because his health is in Allah’s hands. Doctors can do their best but to do everything right is only in His hand. 
I hope that no one ever has to see their fathers like that. Because it hurts too much. You stand there, looking at them, knowing that you cannot help them despite being desperate to do so. You wish that you were a better person, a better Muslim so your prayers had more conviction, more power. Or you were a doctor, so you had the knowledge to do something. Just something. 
We are nothing, We can do nothing. We just watch while the world slips by in its own pace and time. All this money, clothes, restaurants, movies, diamonds etc does not matter when someone you love is in the OR under those big lights. 
Because believe me, money does not buy health. It buys doctors but health, not really. 
He was responding today, trying to speak but because of a pipe for oxygen in his throat, he couldn’t. But he was awake. He was awake and doing okay. 
I am so grateful that I cannot even express it. Sometimes Allah grants you a gift. Because He is Merciful. 
Trust me, nothing in life matters except the ones you love. Except the ones who love you. Except the ones who stand by you. Except the ones who cherish you. Except the ones who are your blood.