August 29, 2008

*shakes head*

I cant believe it, how can she do this? he thought as he saw his daughter pull up outside the house. Its her mothers 50th for God sake he stood up from where he was sat on the bed and smoothed out the wrinkles in his trousers. He had been organising the party for his wife for a few months now, it was a surprise for her and their daughter had come over to take her mum out while he got the house ready for the guests and for when they arrived back from the little shopping outing they were taking. Maybe I can get to the door before her and make her change he thought to himself as he quickened his pace to get down the stairs. It was too late, she had stepped in the door and he could already hear his wife putting her cup of tea on the island in the kitchen which looked straight through to the front door. He heard her gasp as he watched his daughter take off her shoes, he was angry but at that moment he also felt proud of her. Here she was making a change in her life that not everyone agreed with, but still she was showing the world and strong in her decision. But still.... look at her
Her mum walked right up to her, she seemed too close and overpowering until he realised the angle that he was seeing the scene from and hurried down the stairs. Do you have to? her mother asked, he heard her sigh Mum, theres nothing I can do about this now, I made a decision and thats that, end of! They all walked into the living room listening to the soft sound of their feet on the tiled floor. We have always stood by you, even when we didnt agree but this is just too much now. You promised me, he saw his wifes eyes gleam as the tears started to over load in her tearducts, she tried to blink them away but it just caused them to fall. She was handed a tissue and he held her hand tightly. Mum, I promised you when I was 10. I never knew my life would turn out this way. God has a greater plan. Her dad sighed loudly.. here we go again. It had been 2 years since their daughter had told them she was changing her religion to something foreign and unknown to them from outside the media. In that time she had changed her clothes slightly, only slightly and a few months ago had started to cover her hair. A few weeks ago she had told them the news of her expected child to a man they had grown to love as their own, this was the shock. She was unmarried to her parents, (although she says in her religion they are married) and very young. Still only 17, the baby and now... she comes to the house in tighter than normal clothing showing an obvious baby bump for her 4 month pregnancy. What will everyone say? her mother asked, tell them that you are going to be a grandmother she said smiling with a tear in her eye as she stroked her swollen belly. Grandad to be was thinking things through in his head when he suddenly realised that someone had entered the house and was stood behind his daughter. He had his hand on her shoulder and stroked it gently, everything ok? he asked genuinely just look at her, now she decides to wear tight clothes, after all this time of me trying to get her to show some skin. I just dont understand. Ali talk some sense into your wife please. That was the difference between her mum and dad.. she accepted their marriage, in the eyes of their God they were married and that was that, she would not have even minded if they werent.... it was her age and like history repeating itself.
He sat next to her, I did tell you this morning bibti, Laylah looked away well I didnt listen to you this morning, she told him. Ok, ok... so why dont you girls go and do your shopping and buy her something more suitable for the day then? Something more modest, then we can all get through this as the adults we are. My wife blew her nose and smiled, Id like that she said, right on cue Laylah took her hand and nodded. Im sorry she said, I didnt mean to make this day about me, she held her husbands face with one hand as he sat next to her and said I dont know where this family would be without you and kissed him on the cheek. . Pff... I do her dad said, smiling before downing a big gulp of tea.

August 12, 2008

The day

I woke up early that morning, ready for whatever the day would bring, anxious to see what it would bring. I followed my usual routine, washed, got ready, ate breakfast, then headed out to my car, today was going to be different, something to remember and I was going to make sure of it. I placed my big bag on the seat next to me, full of things I would need today, and made my way over to a girls house. I had met this girl just a few months ago, but in that time she had opened my mind up to the impossible, the unspeakable, the unthinkable, or so I thought. After 20 minutes driving I pulled up outside her house and held onto my bag as I got out of the car and walked over to her doorstep. After ringing the bell I noticed the curtains twitch beside me and a few seconds later the door opened, there was noone there or so I thought until I heard a quiet 'hello' from behind the door. I stepped in and turned as the door closed to see this girl, this child, who could be my child, stood in a tshirt and jeans with a wild head of red hair. I smiled to myself and returned the greeting, she motioned me to the front room and asked if I was ready for today... I pushed my bag in full view and nodded smiling. We sat down and went through some details of what the day may bring and she answered a few of the questions that were swimming around my head. I moved a thin strand of grey hair from my eyes as we looked on the map for directions to the place that we were visiting for the first time together. I didnt know whether I was nervous, excited or just plain dilarious... I just knew that it was about time, and now I felt like a teenager again.
I had spoken to my children the night previous to tell them my plans for the day, their reply? 'your life mum, do what you want' which I was happy with, I just hoped I could show them the things that had turned me into this different person in such a short space of time. Anyways they were ok with it, that was the important thing, even my grandson climbed on my lap and asked if I would still make him cookies while mummy was working which made me giggle at the thought.
Now we were on our way, we left the house all dressed and somewhere to go! I opened the car door for Rosie and fixed my skirt length before stepping tentatively into my car. The drive to the building was quiet, many thoughts going through my head that I just couldnt, or didnt want to share. She took in the country roads as they wound up and down along the fields filled with cows, sheep and horses.
Upon arriving at the buliding I remember thinking it was smaller than I had expected and suddenly started worrying about what else would be different than I expected. I rang the bell and was greeted by a tall man wearing a little hat 'we've been expecting you' he said in a strong yet supportive voice. He stepped back to let us through, this was it.. I couldnt run now, he was stood at the side and Rosie was stood behind me, there was no escape. I started to panic, to sweat, to hallucinate until I was brought back with the man talking to me again. "so did you read the things I gave you?" I nodded meekly "would you like me to say it first?" He enquired, I shook my head... I had gone over this so often in my head and practised it so much I wanted to say it with my heart in my own words.. but I knew there was a routine, a way to do it so I did. I coughed and looked out of the window as I said the words to the beginning of the rest of my life
"ash hadu anna illah ha illallah, wa ash hadu anna muhammadan abduhu wa rasulallah" I cried, the beginning I told myself

August 1, 2008


Sadia woke up early that morning, wiped her sleepy eyes and tried to focus on the items in the room. At that point she remembered it was the school holidays and felt the excitement of what the day was to bring insha'allah. Everyone had talked about these holidays non stop for the past few months, the shops were filled with the latest fashion for this time of year and as she had walked around the city centre with her mother, holding her hand so as not to get lost, she wondered what the time would bring her.
Looking out of the bedroom window she saw the birds chirping away and the sun rising over the shops across the road from the house. She knew that she was always sent back to bed around this time if she woke her parents up, but surely not today... today was different. So Sadia wandered into their room slowly and quietly and sat at her mums side of the bed peering at her as she slept. She opened one eye to see her daughter watching her and smiled 'you want to get in?' she asked, Sadia thought for a minute 'just for a little bit' she replied after nodding her heavy head. She climbed over her mother and inbetween her parents, the bed was warm, cosy and soft, as soon as the duvet was pulled up to her chin she began to drift away again. She awoke startled sometime later and couldnt believe that she had fallen asleep, the excitement almost burst in her stomach as she shook her parents awake. Climbing over them and out the bed she almost shouted 'come on!' jumping up and down on the carpeted floor... 'it will all be downstairs' . Her mum looked at her dad slightly confused 'what will be?' she asked Sadia, Sadia laughed.. as if she didnt know.... 'my presents from Father Christmas' Her mother smiled almost not wanting to break the news to her that her parents had already decided a long time before Sadia and her older brother had been born. She pulled Sadia up on to the bed and sat her on her knee, 'remember when we had that big party a few months ago?' Sadia thought for a moment and eventually nodded 'well that was our celebration sweety, we dont have christmas. Remember me telling you? we have the two Eids instead when we dress up and give out presents and visit family and eat lots of yummy food,' she said trying to make it as fun sounding as she remembered christmas sounding to her when she was a small child. 'Christians have christmas,' she told Sadia, 'Muslims have Eid' Sadia looked up at her mother with a wobbly lip 'so no presents?' she asked... 'you already have many things you didnt play with from Eid, why dont you play with them? and later we can make cookies and go see Zaynab and auntie Fatima, would you like that?' Sadia nodded and wiped away the tears, 'Im sorry mummy... I forgot,' she said jumping off her mothers lap to walk to her room.
Sadia was 5 now, this had been going on for the past 3 years now. Her mother knew it was hard on the little girl, as it had been on Hamza her brother when he was younger, but she was determined to stay away from the confusion that celebrating the holiday would bring to her children. She tried to distract them as much as possible over the holidays and wondered how long this would go on, she hated seeing her children cry, especially as it was her decision to make. She felt a hand rub her back as her husband sat up and kissed her shoulder. 'We are doing it for the right reasons hanouni, they will thank us in the future. And insha'allah in Jannah they will thank us from keeping them away from the haram' She smiled 'insha'allah'