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.