I opened the door with the brightest smile a seven year old could muster. As my father approached the door to our home, I ran towards him and opened the door, and he patted my head gently. Proud of my achievements, I relayed to my father that I had made his bed. He laughed and smiled with a hearty laugh, and said, “you’re a smart girl.” Every time the adhan would go off, he’d go to the masjid to pray- a habit he never grew out of. He spent his life in dedication to his Lord, and he embedded the love of the deen in our hearts, of course with the help and permission of Allah. People speak of legends and heroes, but he was my legend and my heroe. He is my inspiration today, and will forever remain so. People speak of fallen stars, and extraordinary human beings. However, he was an ordinary human being, with exra-ordinary characteristics. I have never come across a man of his age who was as dedicated and as assured of Allah accepting his duas as my father was. Without exaggeration, he would stand in prayer most of the night, except for two or three hours. He would constantly make wudu, and pray two ra’kats no matter the time of day.He constantly made dua for the ummah at large, and for family members individually. He would name us one by one to assure himself that he had made du’a for us. He was a gem amidst the pebbles, but I failed to realize this till he had died because I was used to seeing my father indulge in ‘ibadah on a daily basis. My father had an addiction and his addiction was the Quran. He would read and read but never tire of it. He read the Quran day and night except for when he was napping between the asr and maghrib prayer and when eating meals. I asked him one day, “Dad, don’t you get bored of just sitting and reading all day?” and he responded beautifully with, “who can get bored when they’re reading the Quran?”- I could never fathom the strength he had in terms of worshipping Allah. He was physically ill, weak due to his illnesses and his age- a combination that can make anyone feel as if they shouldn’t get out of bed. But he was never weakened by such excuses. He would stand in prayer when he had the excuse to sit. It was a devastating blow and a painful thing to watch him lay in the hospital bed. His eyes would look towards my direction as if to say he was going – for good this time. It saddened me when his eyes looked at me that way. I kept wondering what thoughts were running through his head. I regretted all the moments that I had desired in my heart to say ‘I love you’ but hadn’t said so.. I regretted all the moments I may have been undutiful to him. I regretted the many missed opportunities that I could have seized but hadn’t seized. He raised us, travelled across cities and countries to ensure that we didn’t go by hungry for a day. The soles of his feet hardened, the edges of his feet rough- every mark a print of his journey for his children and wife. Without him, the lights in our home are dimmed but the love in our heart grows for him. At times it feels as though I am dreaming, but deep down I know all of it is real. Death is a reality we must face- it’s inevitable, and my father is indelible. HIs jokes and the way he laughed will be missed. His face that glowed like the moon will be missed. And we ask Allah to forgive him and grant him the highest ranks of paradise. Indeed he was the best father a girl could ever ask for. He was and will always be the shining star amidst the dark night sky, the gem amidst the pebbles, the pearl in the sea, the diamond beneath the ground, and best of all, the servant of Allah whom we hope Allah was pleased with and loved.
Allah yarxamhu (May Allah have mercy upon him).
note: he passed away in December of 2014