Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide in our hearts as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatsoever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah. {Quran, 14:38}


Wooden Spoon

Having witnessed a debilitated man who was a professor, an author of many award-winning books, and a poet unable to utter one word; having been at the bedside of a 32 year old mother of a young boy unable to comb her hair or get a bowl of cereal ready for her child; having had the experience of changing diapers of elderly people in fear that they would lie there too long without the attention they deserve; and teaching a child how to play with a ball are experiences I am reminded of when reading this forward below. Every independent ability we are granted can be taken away...and most likely will be if we live long enough. Allah tells us in the Quran {22:5}:

"Oh mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. offspring of Adam), then from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) then from a little lump of flesh, some formed and some unformed (miscarriage), that We may make clear to you (i.e. to show you Our Power and Ability to do what We will). And We cause whom We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term, then We bring you out as infants, then give you growth that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies young, and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down rain on it, it is stirred to life, it swells and puts forth every lovely kind of growth."

That verse is the proof, and no walk into any nursing home, any hospital, any school with children who have almost any sort of disability you will see the truth of this verse, whether you are a Muslim or not. For me, perhaps this was the verse that hit my heart so deep when I could no longer make sense of being with friends in their craziness one night and the next morning going in to help these people through my first days of this profession of occupational therapy. This was a decade ago, when I could see the clarity of it, and yet today I still find deeper meaning in this verse.

So as far as parents go, well even though I am a parent of four young children alhamdulilah...I know I still don't give my parents the attention they deserve. I honor them, but I am limited in how I can serve them due to my role as a mother and wife. So I am left to make duaa for them, to supplicate to Allah to show them Mercy, grant them Forgiveness, and overlook their faults granting them increased belief, patience, and righteousness as they grow we all grow older, the best of the Hereafter. Ameen.

"And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour." {Quran, 17:23}

So read this, and even though this might be an extreme example for most practicing Muslims, it is the reality of many people in this society. I hate to say this, but this is also why there are so many nursing homes too in this country. May Allah guide us and remind us of the times when it us that were dependent on our parents. So when and if the time comes that they lose their shouldn't be a matter of deciding what to do with them, but it should be a matter of something that is a given. This is the least that can be done for all the hardships they went through in raising us..and still that wouldn't count for much. Allah is the Witness.
Read this forward I just got.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and a four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass often milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table. Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. Sometimes when the family glanced in grandfather's direction, he had a tear in his eye as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled. Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day that building blocks are being laid for the child's future.
Let us all be wise builders and role models. Take care of yourself, ... and those you love, ... today, and everyday!


At December 19, 2006, Anonymous Mona UmIbrahim said...

salam Suhaa, lovely story. subhanAllah my mom and sisters were just talking about this. Heba told us there are nursing homes in Lebanon now, and ofcourse only the rich can afford to put their parents there. How ironic, the people who can afford to take care of their parents are putting them in nursing homes??? We should include in our du'as for us and our loved ones not to spend the last years of our lives dependent on others.


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