By Mumtaz Saley-Moosa
The final stretch of Ramadan was upon us as we entered the twentieth fast.
We were sitting around the kitchen table, looking like exhausted pigeons, except for Firecracker, who spoke nine to the dozen.
“Nana, do you know that you and I are the same? Luqmaan asked. I was curious to know what was transpiring in his mind, so I responded, “Yes, my boy, please tell me how we are the same?”
“Well, you see, Nana, we both forget things. Some days I forget I am fasting, and you forget where you left your glasses. Now, Nana, that is not all.” The wise guy said with a serious look on his face.
The little imp wasn’t done yet as he continued, “We are both the same, like when we eat sweets after our bedtimes have passed, we can’t sleep, but we still eat sweets and regret it later as Mummy shouts at us for being greedy. But that doesn’t stop us, and each week, we sit in our beds repeating the cycle. Oh, wait, we both need afternoon naps, especially after visiting people, and it’s always in the car on the way home.
The boy was terrific candid, especially as I could feel that I was on the brink of my second childhood with my hard of hearing ears and ageing body.
Nusaybah wouldn’t allow me any respite as she jumped onto the bandwagon; Nana, wait. We are also the same. “, she said, smiling.
Amused, I turned to listen to what she had found that we had in common.
“See, Nana, we both look at our rooms, and our eyes tell us that it is clean; but Mummy will walk in, and suddenly the room looks like a freak storm had left its rain of destruction behind.”, she said, looking in her mother’s direction trying to bait her.
“We also sneak out of the house to go on random adventures. You’re fun to these things with, as you always have my back.”, she said, mischief dancing in her brown eyes. Nusaybah was trying very hard to get Ayesha to involve herself in the conversation, but she seemed not to have noticed.
“Nusaybah, you had better not say more, or we will both be punished, I said whilst making signals toward Ayesha with my eyes.
Suddenly, Ayesha asked me, concerned, who had been texting me so often lately as the beeping was getting on her nerves. It was my cue to inform her that I was chatting with her older brother. I explained how Farouk had suggested texting with Mohamed would be a great way to mend fences and keep in touch. Ayesha looked at me with a huge smile and squeezed my hand.
“Well, then I will not stop, but please convey my love and salaam to my brother and ask him to make some time for me.
People say that phones are enslaving us, but this time it allowed me to form a bond with my son, and I was so happy to have this. I couldn’t imagine myself trying to sustain conversations via letters or even fax. It was amazing how much we had come to rely on the technology serving us.
Ahmed asked If I had ever considered visiting Mohammed for a few weeks. It was something I wanted to do desperately, but it pained me to answer truthfully. I no longer had the financial means and even the stamina to travel long distances. Making up a simple excuse, I changed the topic.
Travelling by plane in my day was a luxury that most could only afford when making the journey for Hajj, and people made a big deal out of it. Almost the entire family would travel to the airport to see you off. It gave you celebrity status!
I voiced my thoughts out loud, and Nusaybah asked if I would accompany her for her Hajj instead of giving her an expensive wedding. I remembered how my uncle would say to us that we should instil in our children the importance of going for Hajj and thus the importance of saving up enough to do so instead of spending our hard-earned money on frivolous things.
Ayesha smiled at me as she remembered the argument we had had over purchasing a house. I encouraged her and Ahmed to live with her in-laws or me until they performed their Hajj and then save toward buying a home. Ayesha was not impressed with me, and she moped for a few weeks.
But, shortly after, Ahmed was promoted to a more senior position, which meant a raise in his salary. This allowed them to rent out a tiny apartment whilst saving for their pilgrimage.
Ahmed smiled as he too recalled that episode, “Allah is the best of planners.” You told me that if you make a sincere intention, Allah will fulfil the how and when. And you were so right.”
Watching them reminisce, I decided to suggest I hoped they would agree. “Why don’t we invite your parents over for Eid, Ahmed? It’s been ages since we’ve seen them, with the pandemic.”
Ahmed looked at Ayesha, and she smiled in agreement. “But Ahmed, let’s make it a real family affair and invite Uncle Baboo and even Uncle Farouk. It will be such fun.”
So, it was agreed that Eid would be a family affair, and with that, we went off to pray the Fajr salah.
Narrated/Authority of Aisha R.A. “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, is Jihad obligatory for women?’ He ﷺ said: “Yes: Upon them is a Jihad in which there is no fighting: Al-Hajj and Al-Umrah.” Sunan Ibn Majah 2901