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MUSLIMAH NAVIGATING ISLAM

Apr 29, 2021

I spent the night at my parents home. Having had little sleep that night, I decided to nap after Fajr salah. My deep slumber was interrupted by loud voices coming from the kitchen.

I dragged myself out of bed, pulled on a gown and wrapped my khimar. I made my way down to the kitchen to see what the commotion was all about. “Ya Allah, You are Malik-al-Mulk whatever good or bad is to come is from you. As I got closer to the kitchen, I realised my brother Mark and Mum were in a heated argument.

As I entered, Mark turned around and began shouting angrily at me, “Get out! You’re only here to grab whatever you can. You don’t deserve any of it as you’re no longer of us.”

I tasted bitter gall in my mouth as the hurtful words escaped from his lips, but I held back, knowing that any further confrontation would only upset Mum more.

Instead, I walked over to my mother; my instincts were to protect her. “Mark, is this the time and place for this discussion? And why are you raising your voice at Mum when your beef is with me?” I asked cautiously.

Seeing that he wasn’t going to get a rise out of me, he seemed deflated and eventually sat down at the breakfast nook. “Mark, it’s okay for you to feel angry at me; I understand. But, it would be better if we sat down and discussed this rather than scream and shout, don’t you think?”

We all became quiet then except for Mum, who was puttering around the kitchen as she fixed tea for herself and Mark. I sat down at the nook and watched as my brother tried to manage the several emotions he was feeling. As Mum placed a steaming mug of tea in front of him, he grabbed her hand and apologised softly. Mum reached over and hugged him.

That set the flood gates open, and Mark sobbed as she held him to her bosom. His pain at losing Dad, his anger toward me as he probably felt that I had betrayed him and whatever other emotions he had bottled up for so long were released.

After what seemed like an eternity, he quieted down and began talking whilst sipping at his brew. “Sam, I will be contesting Dad’s will.”, he said matter-of-factly. It surprised me that Mark was privy to the contents of Dad’s will.

“And why would you want to do that, Mark?” I asked, confused but curious. “Well, it is pretty apparent that you’re Muslim now and that you would use your inheritance to find terrorist activities?”

The laughter bubbled up before I could stop myself. “How very stereotypical and Islamophobic is that?” “Mark, I would do no such thing, Muslim or not. You’ve been brainwashed by the media and other ignorant people who either misinterpret the Qur’an for their selfish agendas or are just too darn lazy to inquire from a Muslim.”

Mum, cut in then, diffusing what seemed to be turning into another argument. “Can you please both stop this immediately. Your father has only just passed, and you have no regard for me as I grieve, and instead, you fight over money.” Her tone and demeanour were enough to stop us both in our tracks. We apologised to Mum and agreed that this was a topic we’d all discuss at another, more suitable time.

Mark left to sort out a few issues with the hospital, and Mum and I sat in the living room, each with her thoughts. After some time, Mum began asking questions about how Muslim women handled the death of a spouse and the rituals attached to it. I explained as best as I could about the period of Iddah, her rights and, of course, inheritance.

She seemed very interested in the aspect of Iddah as I had explained that this was a period when a woman took the time to evaluate her situation and her life going forward as a widow. I also informed her that during this period, connecting to Allah was encouraged as it allowed one to find solace and peace.

She smiled as I spoke and said that she liked the idea. “Sam, do you realise that so many people are grieving by themselves because of COVID-19. It must be so sad and lonely to go through this alone. I am so grateful to have you beside me, thank you.”

Allah is Al-Hakeem, the All-wise, and it is He who knows how, when and why, and it is with Him that I leave my requests. In Him is my faith.

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