“There is goodness in everything”, a phrase that Umme had always said since we had met. Umme is that Pakistani mum who adopts every one that enters her home, like all Pakistani ladies. Umme, means mother and I call her by this title as she has been a mother to me since I entered the Deen.
We’d grown up with a few nannies, but with Umme, she was not like a nanny at all. She was like a grandma, and mum rolled into one. She was never too busy to give advice or help you make a dish you had been craving; she would walk you through the steps as if she was teaching her daughter to cook. So, when she said she asked to move in with us, it was the best news I could have received.
I was a little concerned that there would be some friction between her and my mother, who stayed with us. Umme was old school, and her ways were very different from Mum’s, so we were bound to see some sparks fly at times.
My mother was excited that she would have someone her age staying with us. I suppose we sometimes forget how often how lonely it became as we grew older. With Dad still in hospital, Mum had grown lonelier. Even though she may be from another culture and religious background, having another woman around may help. She had already taken over the kitchen and was baking up a storm before Umme’s arrival. Now, I had yet to inform Mum that Umme was in full niqaab.
Our cultures may differ, but as humans, we always have much in common.
When Fatima and I became friends, she laughed and said we had little in common as our cultures differed, but I retorted that we mostly had too much culture and not enough Deen. Amazingly, it made us realise that we were different, but we were also the same.
More good news! Umme was a Muallimah, and I was happy as she would help me increase my knowledge. As open as my mother is, she found the Niqab to be so oppressive, and I did too. But recently, I had spoken to many “niqaabis”, and I was starting to see that it was a most liberating act and even a form of worship. Hopefully, Mum will soon learn about that on her own.
While writing this, I realised that not every day is a struggle; some days are happy. You find contentment and other days, well life gets to you, but at the end of the day, nothing can happen without Allah’s will, for He is Al Mu’ Minu, the Giver of Peace.