I met my friend’s 7 year old nephew a few days ago. I immediately loved the kid. Maybe it was because I know how much my friend loves him. Maybe it was because he is such a lovable kid, so comfortable and trusting with people he had just met. But I know it had nothing to do with his skin colour.
In the light of recent events, I can’t help thinking of him. In a decade, inshaAllah, he will be a 17 year old young, black male. I’m not related to him yet I can’t help but feel so over protective. I want to shield him from the terrible things in this world. I want to ensure he is never pulled over by a cop for no reason. I want to know that he had every opportunity he longed for without being turned away because of his race, gender, or religion. I want him to succeed in every possible way based on his determination and ability.
I feel like a parent. I thought of my parents bringing us to grow up in North America, a far cry from the village my Dad grew up in. As a teenager, being told ‘No, you can’t go there,’ or being questioned about who you’re going with and when you’ll be back is infuriating. I get it (or so I think). It’s for our safety and out of love. It is a tough pill to swallow. We just don’t understand the unconditional love and sacrifice our parents make for us every day – and never will until we become parents and face the same choices.
I’m grateful for all the things my parents did protect me from – a negative experience while crossing the border, running into the police at the wrong time and place, getting involved with the ‘wrong’ crowd, living in a not-so-nice neighbourhood. Just like I realized with my friend’s nephew, our parents have done this with us as we’ve gotten older: Tied their camel and trusted in Allah. Some things in life you will have to experience to learn. Life is not, nor will be, perfect – if it were, we’d be chilling in Jannah.
Ramadan reminds us that when things are taken away from us in the dunya (for example, food while fasting), the tools of the deen are still available. Tawakkul and du’aa. Our parents know that they can only do for us what is in their ability – so they taught us and pushed us onto our own two feet. After that, they trusted in Allah and made du’aa to Him alone for our future. So I remind myself first that even though this world is a scary place, you do your part and leave the rest to Allah swt. I have faith my friend’s nephew will be okay, inshaAllah because just as He took care of us in our mother’s wombs, He will take care of us in the chasms of the dunya.
Side note: Thank your parents for all they have done for you and ask them for their du’aas this Ramadan. The du’aa in Ramadan and the du’aa of a parent for his or her child is answered. What more could you ask for?