By Maryam Qadeer
She walked with a steady pace born of resignation and sank to the floor for respite. It was uncharacteristic of her, as most days she would get to work straightaway.
Lady: Would you like some tea, N?
N: No ma’am.
Lady: Have some breakfast then, you must be hungry.
N: *after a pause* Ma’am, why do men love to hit so?
N: My brother. If I’m even a little bit late to make his roti, he hits me.
Lady: Isn’t your brother younger than you?
N: By 10 years. Doesn’t stop him though.
Lady: But your mother, she doesn’t say anything to him?
N: She says he is a guy. He can hit.
Lady: That’s faulty logic! Why don’t you tell him he can’t have his roti if he hits you?
N: I did. He says he doesn’t care. That he’ll get his food from anywhere.
Lady: He is pathetic, but he is just the way he has been brought up. If your mother is strict with him, he won’t be able to touch a hair of your head.
N: But it’s always been this way ma’am. We saw our mother being beat up every day by our father. My cousin’s husband is an ‘aalim and educated. He beats her like crazy.
Lady: Isn’t she the one who goes around kicking up arguments?
N: *tiny smile turning up one corner* Oh she is, but her ten year old brother hits her too. It’s just the way…
Her story is nothing short of bleak and agonising. The above is just a brief glimpse into her life. There are countless N’s out there, who are in desperate need. We have to reach out to them. This is my ummah.
She was having the time of her life. Two good friends beside her, as they walked towards the university gate after classes, making fun of the third amongst them.
Her: Hahh, you’re under-weight they said and low Hb too!
A: Oh shut up, you!
T: But that’s just the simple truth, A. You, can’t give blood. We, on the other hand…-
A: Yeah, yeah, whatever. You just watch out for yourself. Don’t go fainting anywhere now that you’ve given blood.
Her: Hmph. I feel perfect, and good. You eat, dearie. You couldn’t donate.
T: Heheh. A, I feel for you, really I do. *snickers* That’s my bus, ta!
A: And that’s mine. Thanks a lot for making me feel good!
Her: Ahan, completely my pleasure.
A short while later, Her feels her energy draining. Listening to some inner voice, she rushes to the nearest shop and asks for two toffees, while she rummages around for change in a sense of urgency. They say things done in haste are the work of the devil (i.e. they don’t go well), and lo and behold, the first toffee found itself upon the ground, soon as it was out of the wrapper. The second one landed in her mouth and as she chewed she found some energy coming back. “Lord, please, let things be okay!”
But the next minute, darkness was clouding her vision, and as the brain started calling upon its troops, vision and balance were the first to go. She crouched on the ground, clutching on her bag for support, trying to hold herself steady. Hearing was sharper now, and she heard a clear, male voice nearby.
Guy: Please see what’s happened to her.
Girl (coming closer to speak to her): Listen, what’s happened to you?
Her: I can’t see, I can’t see at all!
Girl: She says she can’t see. Listen, can you walk? Please get up.
Meanwhile there was talk of calling the ambulance! To cut down on the long story, the girl supported her to a nearby rickshaw, and then force-fed her cookies, while the guy stood watching and sent his friend to bring a pack of juice and a cold bottle of water. They then made her eat and drink until she came to herself, chatted with her a little bit, exchanged numbers in order to check up on her, and sent her home in the same rickshaw.
This is my ummah too, Alhamdulillah. Do you know how long and how often she prayed for those who helped her at her time of need? Definitely not enough, for those unnamed individuals who forgot their lives for that short span of time, seem like angels in these dark times.
There is always hope, but we are not letting it through. We are not letting our hearts be soft-er. We forget to let the ihsaan shine through. Wake up ummah, please do!