Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seeking Ibrahim's (pbuh) Father

I met my dad this weekend. He's alive alhumdulillah and apparently in good health and still working. Last week after work I went to his apartment with Mariah, who kept me company, and managed to slip in through the locked door by ambushing someone who lived there. Thankfully Minnesota is still a friendly place where neighbors let strangers into locked buildings.

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.

The history:

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.


janene said...

Really amazing post.

You absolutely have a responsibility towards your dad. I too had a rough childhood, and I still have some bitterness and resentment towards my father (who was muslim, btw).

It makes a difference that you are a caring and concerned; you are a light in the darkness. You will never regret being there for him. Do it for Allah, do it for yourself, do it for your father, do it because it is the right thing to do.

You have a good heart Molly.

Amira said...

Salaam Sister,

I understand how you feel. I am estranged from both my parents and I do not even know how to even start up the communications again.
There are alot of "skeletons in our closets" that need to be brought out but will have serious consequences when we do.

Insha'Allah you will saty strong to care for your father and I may take an example how you care and Insha'Allah may soon do the same.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Dear:

Janene is correct.

Keep saying dua for your dad. Only Allah (swt) knows what the future holds.

I'm so happy that you had a nice day with him.

ammena said...

masha'allah thanks for this sis.. why do we do it eh? nice to know Im not the only sucker for punishment with my dad :P alhamdulillah

Miss Muslimah said...

Sigh..i know all too well about this...i keep trying to move forward with my father and not dwell in the past but at times issues come up that reminds me of the past..all I can do is try to look towards the future and hope that things get better(and they have somewhat)...we cant cut off ties with our parents so just keep trying molly.. :)


Molly said...

Janene- thank you dear. :) I really appreciate your sweet words. I am doing it for Allah, and only for Allah because it would be so much easier to let it go and not try.

Sooo hard. Do you still see your dad?

Amira- InshAllah everything will work out for the best, I think its even harder when there's a complete cut-off in relationship. I hope that those wounds can be healed inshAllah one day.

Thankfully there's not really skeletons between my dad and I; he knows that I know his issues. But sometimes its this huge cloud of words unsaid. Thanks for stopping by.

Safiyyah- thank you darling.

Ammena- nope, I'm right there with you. InshAllah your relationship will get better as well. Its sometimes the hardest thing to admit that your parents are flawed people, and disenchanting when you do.

Miss Muslimah- your relationship is hard with your dad as well? Allah be with you and with me and with Amira and Janene and Ammena and everyone who deals with this.

I think its really hard with converts, because our parents can be hurtful with regards to our choice in Islam. It adds burden to relationships.

I thank Allah that of all the things I deal with, my parents degrading my conversion is not one of them.

My dad once made the statement that he wished I hadn't become a Muslim, but in the silence right after he said it echoed all the things I wish he hadn't done as well.

And he's never said it again.

Allahu alem.

Mona said...

I too am somewhat estranged from my father or the other way around, I dont know anyway. When I do keep in touch, I do it for Allah. Its so hard but afterwards,I feel a great weight has lifted.

Molly said...

Alhumdulillah. Allah gives us blessings for all the trials we go through. :)

janene said...

just to answer, no i don't see my dad as he passed away a long time ago (i sent an email to you regarding this, just wanted to let you know you are not the only one with difficult circumstances and relationships with her father)

its actually reassuring in a strange way that there are others in simiiar situations -- sometimes we think we are the only ones in the world with such problems

i sense that it is particularly difiicult sometimes for converts/reverts to maintain close ties

janene said...

whoops, "their fathers" instead

gulnari said...

Tienes un corazon de oro. Que Dios te bendiga.