Err... good or not I'll let you be the judge, but it got me in.
I went down to his apartment and knocked on the door for a good five minutes but got no answer. The last I had heard was that he was working the early morning shift and would have been home by that time so I freaked out just a little.
In desperation I slid a note under the door asking him to call me and hoped like heck he'd notice it. He did and he called me the next day from work.
He has no phone because he's broke. Why he's broke while still working and not paying bills I have no idea. If he's using, I have no idea.
But we made a date to have lunch on Saturday and then he said he would come with me to a cookware demonstration so I could win the "free" vacation they promised me if I showed up with a guest. They were some nice pots, but I was there for the "free" vacation.
We went to Quang's Deli on Eat Street in Minneapolis and partook of their wonderful pho tai. (Make it a point to stop there if you're ever in the Twin Cities.) And then on to the cooking/trying to sell us stuff we don't need demonstration and then I dropped him off home again.
And, like a dad should, he also put oil in my car and fixed my burned out tail light.
It was about as normal of an afternoon as anyone could get with their parent. He talked about work, the guy at work who annoys him to no end, and his female co-worker whom he's madly in love with (for the past two years every single time I've seen him he's talked about her.) I told him about my plans and talked about my husband, and also got in some of my own work frustrations. It was a good afternoon and I'm glad he's alright, but there's this wall in my mind between him and I. I want to reach out more, but I've forgotten how.
Why do I still try? What is it that keeps me thinking about my father? Why don't I- can't I- just let it go?
Its because everytime I think of giving up I remember that he is my father. And I remember that for the sake of Allah we must respect and care for our parents (they are on our head as my husband so arably puts it.) And then I remember the prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), peace and blessing upon him, and his father and the trials he went through in his relationship with him.
Taken from Forever Muslim:
Narrated Abu Harairah: The prophet Mohammed Swas said, “On the day of Resurrection prophet Ibrahim Sw will meet his father Azar, (the idol worshipper). Azar’s face will be dark and covered with dust. The prophet Ibrahim Sw will ask him: “Didn’t I tell you not to disobey me?" His father will reply: "Today I will not disobey you." Prophet Ibrahim Sw will say to Allah swt: "O Lord! You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day of Resurrection; and what will be more disgraceful to me than cursing and dishonouring my father?"
Those of you who know this hadeeth know that I have cut half of it off, be sure that I am not forgetting it but I will finish it after I make my point. Abraham loved his father, an idolator and sculptor of idols, enough to stand before Allah (swt) and plead on his behalf despite all the things his father had done and said to him.
Taken from here.
All was finished between Abraham and his people [after he tried to tell them about Allah] and the struggle began; the most amazed and furious was his father (or his uncle who had raised him), for as it is well known he not only worshipped idols but sculpted and sold them as well. Abraham felt that it was his duty as a good son to advise his father against this evil so that he could be saved from Allah's punishment.
From the Quran:
He (the father) said: "Do you reject my gods, O Abraham? If you stop not this, I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you." Abraham said: "Peace be on you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily! He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah." (Ch 19:43-48)
When Abraham (pbuh) brought the Truth of Allah to his father Azar (or uncle- the man who raised him) he instead threatened to stone and kill Abraham for his belief and for rejecting what he had taught him.
The parallels in this story to mine and many other converts' stories are astounding. Consider that Azar was a sculptor of idols as well as idolator, should he have begun to follow the Word of Allah he would have lost his very livelihood as well as rejected the beliefs of his fathers.
How many still continue to follow Christianity or Judaism or any other religions only because that is what their parents taught them? How many Muslims follow bid'ah because that is what their parents taught them? And how many have heard people say, "Sure Islam makes sense, but I can't work in banking/liquor stores/tobacco/etc if I convert"?
But I digress from how this applies to me. Abraham (pbuh) risked physical violence because he felt it was his duty as a son to save his father from the hellfires, and even in the final days he will stand before Allah and plead for his soul. Threats of murder will not have deterred him from his duties as a son.
And while Abraham's (pbuh) intercession will not save his father, who stayed an idolator until his death, he will still try.
So what can I truly say deterred me from caring for my father? When I stand before Allah and am accounted for how I treated my parents, can I make the excuse that he's hurt me in the past? That he let me down? That he robbed me of my childhood?
Who am I? I am no one. And my parents are on my head from now and for the future if not to lead them to Islam, then at least to care for them in their old age.
And there is a wall in my heart I'm not sure how to take down, but brick by brick I need to make my way through it.
I just don't know how.