Words can be so powerful, let me show you!
Honestly speaking, it is hard to keep pace with all I have to share with you. Life is so interesting and hectic. (Isn’t that how it should be?) The last few days have been pretty awesome mostly. But what happened a couple of days ago to Zainab, has shattered everyone. Enough has been said about it, so I do not need to add to it. But I’d certainly like to talk about the topic of child abuse, there are similar horrific issues too like honor killings etc. which deserve another platform. Most of the public keeps a blind eye to many such horrific things going on – sometimes even condoning it – none of the public seems to blink an eye to those. Thank God, there are many organizations and people trying to bring justice and sanity.
Each of us is trying to face personal hardships, diversions, struggles along with the collective ones that we share with each other. There are tragedies and struggles that we all are facing at some level or the other. We need to just be kind to each other. That’s all. Be careful with words and how we use them.
Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose roots is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens, – of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition.
Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: All doeth what He willeth.
-Surah Ibrahim: 14, 24-27.) Al- Quran.
As we struggle, we need to have ‘tools’ to help us remain strong. This strength is found by each individual in a different way. When we depend on human beings, we find that they are not always ‘there’ for us. So, we need to depend on something or Some One who is always available, whose number is never ‘busy’. That Some One whom you can connect to, just by sitting on a prayer mat and concentrating your mind to. Yes, I’m talking about God, Allah and our Maker. He is there for us, and this is why reading the Holy book does make a helluva difference to one’s day. Previously, I’d read a section or a ‘ruku’ every Friday, and realized that is not enough. There has to be a daily connection. So, now I read the translations of half or complete siparah. This feels great. Just takes half an hour – (you need to have spiritual connection for one hour per day, so half an hour Quran, and five prayers spread throughout the day, are enough.) While reading the sipara I always find something which really connects to my current struggle. This gives me strength and direction throughout the day, making me feel very strong.
Along with the Maker, we need some human connection. That connection is through words. There are always words which connect you to your friends, and loved ones. Then there are words that connect you to other amazing people we didn’t know could affect our lives so strongly.
In 1973 when I was in college (I was one to two years younger than my class,) my father wrote these words on the complete works of Allama Iqbal in Urdu. Mum got this book for me. Dad was a POW in Indian camps then. Yes, when Pakistan lost East Pakistan, my father was serving there. So, finally when he returned, he wrote these words on the book which Mum got for me. (She can’t read Urdu!) :
When he wrote them, I was like any other teenager of today. Yes, very confident, fluent in English, and pathetic in Urdu. I wondered how my father had so much hope from me, there was no way I could ever understand all that gibberish written here in this book. I had seen him and many others swooning over the poetry but it didn’t touch me at all. This was my state, as I’ve written in this blog: Allama Iqbal and I
Now, you are a witness to what I’ve done so far … over forty years later. So, never underestimate the power of the written words nor of the intent and love with which they were written. That goes for my father, and of course of Iqbal too.
It also goes for us. We‘ve got to watch what we say and write. Here is my translation of what my father wrote for me:
‘For my lovely daughter Shireen, with the hopeful prayer to my Allah, and the wish that she may have as much knowledge of Urdu language, Islamic History, and religion to be able to understand the sayings of this great philosopher of Islam, and it is hoped that she can benefit from his words. It is my wish that she may understand Iqbal and be able to practice it. This would be a great blessing of God, if every Muslim man and woman does his and her best to achieve this.’
From your mother and father,
The words of Iqbal does give us a lot of strength, as it is from one mortal to another. His words give one the strength to be proactive in your own life.
As far as the case of this child abuse is concerned, there is one golden rule of protection. Keep the child in your own surveillance always. In this case there was no need for going on Umra without the child. God never asked you to do it when you have responsibilities. They could have easily taken her along. So, as a parent, I’d ask you to just keep your child with you at all times, or in good care in school. Would you leave all your properties and gold in the hands of a servant? Or a helper or anyone? Why leave your child with someone else? No job or anything is more important than your child. Simple. That is the rule I’ve lived with. All my jobs were near my home, and I took my children along. I gave up any job that didn’t suit my children’s routine. I did freelance work precisely for this reason: so I could take my children along wherever I went. I can write on and on about this topic. But I’ll stop here. Yes, now a days, there are day care facilities within premises in offices. Then, those jobs are fine, where you can take your child with you and meet the child off and on during the day.
Having said that, you have to be truthful with your child always. Explain to your child that there are bad people everywhere, and there are bad people within good people also, so never to trust anyone, not even a person you know. You have to talk to your child. Give the child the trust to share everything with you. Give time to your child, and opportunities to open up with you. Yes, I’ll certainly handle this vital subject properly very soon. I cannot stress enough about being with your child, and taking the child along, wherever you go. In fact, in the Dawn office my editor Najma Babar knew me as ‘that writer who always takes her three children wherever she goes!’ You can do it too. Its no big deal.
This being winters, I’ve done a bit of sprucing up of my poor lawn by getting some chairs which hopefully my dog cannot destroy. He has destroyed every flowerpot in my lawn. Then I got indoor plants and put warm colors in my home too.
When I went for my art class on Saturday, I did a painting in warm colors which had the autumn colors in it. Needed the warm glow of red inside my home too.
Last weekend was just amazing too. I had friends over Couldn’t help inviting my favorite family home. Haroon, Uzma and Daniyal. This time I called Aisha and her wonderful children too. We had brunch at my place on Sunday, and it was great having my wonderful friends over .
In the afternoon around 3.00 pm, Atle had invited me for a cup of tea at Chaye Khana to meet Sobia.
She has come from Norway, and is an amazing personality. Truly. She has flown a plane, driven cars and is a bus driver now. She is in process of opening a day care for the elderly in Gujrat, Pakistan.
Across the table I met Naji and Ambereen, you can see them standing behind me. The former is a traveler and the later works in PTV world. We just clicked. Within minutes we became friends. We made plans to go for movies at Centaurus. We quickly rang up our Mom’s to inform, and left for the movies. We saw the wonderful film Greatest Showman which we really loved.
But we posed beside the next movie we plan to watch: Parchi.
This is what I call a weekend.
Of course I was tired out. Next day, I went for such a long walk in the park that I was ‘off the road’ for two days!
Sigh. Life is good, bad and ugly, all rolled into one. Stay blessed through it all, my fragile human being.