“Sam, can we talk, please?”, Mum asked as she sat looking down at her clasped finger in her lap. “Of course, Mum.”, I said feeling a little apprehensive about what she wanted to say.
It was almost midday and the kitchen was filled with the winter sunlight. I sat down at the table close to her. When she looked up, tears were coursing down her face. “Sam, I need you to pray for Dad and to ask God to let Mark come around. I miss them so much.”, she almost whispered her request as she sobbed.
Gathering her into my arms, I promised her that I would do so and that she was going to pray with me. “I’ve forgotten how to pray dear and it has been so long I doubt God would listen to me”, she said trembling in my arms as she sobbed. I was dumbstruck, especially as she always said that prayers were the same as wishing on a star pointless.
“Mom, do you know those words that the media say Muslims use when they commit acts of terror?” She looked at me shaking her head acknowledging that she did. “Well, those words actually mean: “God is Great.” Now, as Muslims, when we begin any act, big or small, we say: Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Rahim which means The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful“.”
“Mum, these are intrinsic beliefs that every Muslim holds and with this in mind, I have been praying constantly for Dad and for Mark too. So, I am happy to increase my prayers.” “Mum, will you sit with me, whilst, I pray?”
Before Mum could answer, I heard keys rattle in the front door, I smiled knowing that sound as Fatima was trying to get in. I rushed to open the door, and before she said a word, I threw my arms around her. I was so glad to see her at that moment.
She hugged me back tightly, and we began to chat. Suddenly, I realised that she hadn’t mentioned Umme. “Fatima, where’s Umme? Did you leave her alone?”, I asked, concerned.
“Hey, take a chill pill, you know I would never leave Umme by herself.”, she said smiling. “I’ve come home to talk to you regarding Umme, so my stay is going to be short as I have to go back. Umme is not alone, a friend is staying with her until I return.”
My curiosity got the better of me! ‘Is Umme okay?” “Sam, is your Mum not here? And yes, Umme is doing much better, algmadoelillah.” I realised then, that I had left my mother sitting in the kitchen by herself! I pulled Fatima into the kitchen and introduced her to Mum. “Mum, meet Fatima in person. Fatima, meet Mum in person.”, I said, glad that had got to meet each other. Mum gave Fatima a warm hug and Fatima couldn’t stop smiling. “A pleasure to meet you, Sam’s Mum.”, laughed Fatima returning the hug with as much fervour.
After making a cuppa for us, we spoke about work, Mum’s stay thus far and then Fatima asked if we could discuss Umme. “She’s asked to come to stay with us, as I will have to return soon, and she cannot return to Pakistan soon due to the restrictions and her health. Umme insisted that we discuss this together and decide. What do you think?”
“Fatima, dearest, what is there to talk about? Umme is welcome into our home at any time and for as long as she would like to stay. It would be great to have a motherly figure around to keep us in check.”, I said, laughing as I was remembering how Umme would call Fatima every evening to check if she had locked the front door and eaten her dinner!
Mum listened to our conversation and smiled at us both. “You two are such good and loving friends. I’m really happy for Sam to have you in her life.” Fatima squeezed my hand and thanked Mum, saying she was just as fortunate to have me. Just at that moment, the call to Asr was made and as soon as we m=had completed the dua, I quickly brought Fatima up to speed regarding my mother’s request.
Her face lit up, and she smiled from ear to ear, like the cat that had just got the cream! “Of course, we will make dua for your Dad and your brother. And for you to Mum.” “Come along, you’re going to sit in with us.”, Fatima said as she helped Mum up from the chair and arm in arm they walked to the prayer room.
Mum sat behind us, watching as we prayed together, and we heard her sobbing as Fatima made the dua audibly and in English, so Mum could understand. She ended asked Allah to guide my family to Islam.
Mum pulled us into a group hug when we had finished and thanked us both. “I used to go to church as a little girl, but I lost way as I grew older and allowed the world to change my views. But I see how happy and content you both are, even when faced with difficulties and I love it. May Allah, grant me that peace, amen.”
My heart soared as I heard her words! Ya Rabb, you are certainly in my corner, algamdoelillah. Fatima squeezed my should and smiled at me with tears glistening in her eyes. She knew all too well, the happiness I felt at that moment.
In my heart, I gave thanks to Allah and prayed for guidance for my mother: “Ya Rabb, you are Al Muqad- dimu, He who causes advancements and through You do we find comfort in such conflicting times. I am your ever-grateful servant in sha Allah. My mother is feeling lost but so did I for a long time, but I do know that there is only one Allah, and He guides whomever He wants to, and in sha Allah He will guide you to good too. Ameen.