by Sadia Virk

When I was getting married, friends and family members alike were busy sharing advice and tips for the new life ahead of me. Conflict resolution skills, how to divide up household chores, keeping good relations with your in-laws, how to whip up a dinner in 30 minutes or less, getting grease stains out of your husband’s shirt. Only after marriage did I realize that no one, absolutely no one, had offered any wisdom on what seemed to be one of the biggest challenges: how to deal with the ache of separation from your family.

Although Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) blessed me with a loving, caring husband and a happy, peaceful marriage life, I was still painfully missing my family, especially my mother and father. Many times I would sit and cry, as I thought of all the things I should have said to my parents when I was living with them, all the ‘I love yous’ and ‘I’m sorrys’ that I had left unspoken, all the things I should have done for them without them asking me. So much I had meant to tell them but didn’t; so much I had wanted to do for them, but fell short. Over and over in my mind I played back memories of the days, months and years I had spent living with them. How many times had I hurt them without even knowing? When was the last time I told them how much I love them? Did I truly ever thank them for everything they did for me? Did I ever take the time to sit down and really talk to them about their day, to really understand them as the wonderful people they are? Did I ever even come close to comprehending what an immense blessing Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) bestowed upon me when He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in His Infinite Mercy and Bounty, gave me my parents?

My first Ramadan away from home brought with it a surge of bittersweet memories and worry. Preparing suhoor for my husband, I wondered how many hundreds of suhoor meals my mother had prepared for me over the years, rising before everyone else in the family in the dark of the night, never complaining. Didn’t she ever get tired, didn’t she ever miss that extra hour of sleep? Why did I never stop to acknowledge all that she had sacrificed for my comfort and well-being?

In the darkness of the Ramadan nights, it was in the beautiful words of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that my heart finally found comfort and rest, in the supplication taught to us by He who hears the call of all who supplicate to Him. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. (17:24) My Lord! Bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. My Lord! My Lord! Bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. Please my Lord. Please.

My face pressed against the ground in sujood, over and over again I implored Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), night after blessed night of Ramadan. My shortcomings were many; my sins enough to bury me. I did not trust my own words. So I turned to the blessed words from the Qurʾān. The blessed words from my Rabb. My Lord! Bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. Each word I prayed from my heart, with whatever semblance of sincerity I could muster, my tears washing away the pain of my heart. It was in this prayer that my heart felt light and comfort. It was only in the words of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that I felt peace.

I realized that Ramadan that none of us is promised another day. Whatever you want to say to your parents, say it now before it is too late. Don’t wait; do something nice for them today. Tell them you love them, tell them thank you for what they have done for you. Give them a gift to show you care. Take the time to really listen to them. Never go to bed with them being upset or angry with you. Truly whatever time we have to spend with them is worth more than the riches of the whole world. Value this time, treasure this time. And pray that I am able to do the same.

Ya Allāh, I ask you to forgive my parents and forgive me for all that I have wronged them. I pray that they will live and die with your Blessing, Mercy and Love. Ease all of their hardships and fill their lives with Your Light. Write their names amongst those most beloved to you, my Lord and give them Your Shade on the Day when there will be no shade save Yours. As we lived together in this world, join us together again in a home in Jannah al Firdaus. Bestow on them your Mercy, bestow on them your Mercy, bestow on them your Mercy, just as they cherished me in my childhood and continue to do so today. āmīn, Ya Rabb, āmīn.

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