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a horrid little kid? I hope not

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a horrid little kid? I hope not
05/24/04 at 09:06:39

I was a horrid little kid - selfish to the extreme. I thought very highly of myself. I considered myself the most intelligent person on earth, wise way beyond my years, so I was also very impatient and quick to take offence. Once I got angry with my maternal aunt (khala), and just avoided going to her house for years. It is only the attacks of asthma that I had which kept me in check, reminding me that i am human, but I thought I was way, way above lesser mortals. My illnesses kept me back at times, but my academic accomplishments fed my conceit.

When I was working in the UK, I got angry with my manager, resigned, took out an immigration to Canada, bought a plane ticket to Toronto, and left not just the company or the country, but the continent as well, very smug that I had kicked the UK in the teeth. I thought my credentials would gain me admission anywhere in the world. They did indeed, but what was the use?

Did I say I was a horrid kid? Nay, I was and have been horrid all my life.

I made only one friend in my life, and I broke off with him in 1971. I wouldn't talk to colleagues or relatives at the smallest slight to my pride, or difference of opinion from me. In my view they were plain stupid, if they did not agree with me, the ultimate wise man, wise from the age of ten. I didn't need the world. The world was in need of such a person as me, and if it did not recognize the genius that was me, so much the worse for the world.

One day lightning struck: I would go blind in six months. Well, I have had a reprieve for the last 37 years. That reprieve is now over. The sentence is now nearing its execution time. The vision in my eyes gets dimmer every day. I have grown old but although not any wiser, at least I know how foolish I have been. The day of reckoning is approaching fast.

I saw the murder and mayhem in 1971 in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. My family has lived through the sectarian and ethnic violence of Karachi.

In my past, although I did not offer Salah regularly or fast at all, I was a political Muslim. The Ummah is what I thought I believed in.

Today I ask myself: If only I could take back the hurt I caused my brethren and sisters because I took offence at the slights I perceived to be from them. It is true I put them  in their place, but at what cost? What have I gained, and has their loss been of use to me or the Ummah? No, I don't think it was worth it. Whatever they said to me, I should have been able to absorb it. They are my brothers and sisters. Maybe they were going through a tough time. Maybe I was the one in the wrong.

One night at Birmingham, an English flatmate of mine came to our kitchenette drunk as a fish, and start calling me the most abusive names anyone can think of. I kept quiet. His friends took him to his room. The next day at breakfast, he comes and apologizes profusely. And since that time, he was always courteous to foreigners. Recently, on a couple of accassions on IOL discussion forum, some Christian ladies responded to me in very harsh and negative manner. I replied to them that I think they are having some personal problems. I made prayers for them, and they immediately replied back that yes, they had problems which were reflected in their posts, and they mellowed down.

A little more understanding, a little more tolerance, a little more love and care, go a long way. That is what is Islam - the religion of peace and brotherhood.

I don't mean to hurt or point at any one but myself. I shouldn't be confessing to my sins here, but I tell this behind the screen so that maybe someone is about to kick his brother verbally, and remembers my story, and stops. Just think what the prophet [saw] would say when our sayings and writings are produced on the Day of Judgment.

I love you all, for the sake of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) grant you the best in both worlds.

05/27/04 at 21:01:59
Re: a horrid little kid
05/24/04 at 12:48:52
as salaamu alaykum,

timbuktu, jazak Allahu khayran for writing this post.. it has served as so much food for thought and reflection for me, especially this part:

[quote]I didn't need the world. The world was in need of such a person as me, and if it did not recognize the genius that was me, so much the worse for the world. [/quote]


[quote]The Ummah is what I thought I believed in. [/quote]

may Allah grant us clear vision to see ourselves truthfully, and grant us understanding of our own imperfections and faults, and ways to efface them; and grant us the capacity to act in the world with khayr, justice, gentleness and kindness, ameen.

br. timbuktu, sometimes from reading your posts I feel like you are very harsh with yourself.. and you strike me as such a sincere person.  Just know that Allah's rahma is vast, and even a hundred or a hundred thousand lifetimes of sin doesn't overwhelm His compassion, mercy and kindness, as long as you approach Him with sincere repentance.

the past is written; but today is a new day, and every hour, every inhale-exhale pattern of breath, is a new moment, a fresh page, teeming with possibility :)

wasalaamu alaykum,

05/30/04 at 17:17:49
Re: a horrid little kid
05/25/04 at 02:23:46
[slm] sister se7en :)

Thanks a lot for the positive feedback. I guess this perception that my posts convey is a reasonable one, but let me assure you that I am not harsh with anyone at all, including myself. I eat, sleep, joke and laugh and live a normal life.

but I relate my life episodes here, so people know I am not some high-sounding pontiff, just an ordinary person, who made and continues to make many a mistake, and yet Allah (swt) is so kind that He gives His servant so much.

what sustains me is what you said: that Allah's rahma is infinitely vast.

About the above post of mine, I felt the loss of this sense of brotherhood on this forum, so I thought I would pen down what it means when one is nearing the end. I have torn many a person to shreds, and revelled in it, but now it seems so pointless. If from my story, even one person checks himself in time from hurting another, my purpose will have been served.

I don't know if I should write another short but true story. It is a tragic folly of mine, but again it has a purpose. Yet, after reading your post I hesitate. Perhaps it would hurt sensitive people like you, and I don't want to hurt anyone.
Re: a horrid little kid
05/25/04 at 04:46:06

Brother Timbuktu, mashallah, excellent post, may Allah bless you for being so honest and yet at the same time providing us with a lesson within your story. :)

I must say at first I was a little suprised. :o In your posts you always come across us very patient humble and understanding of others' viewpoints, I could never imagine you as how you described yourself.  :)

I guess it just goes to show that *everyone* is on a journey, and sometimes we go through different phases of life (and different phases of ourself even!), to get where we are today.  

[Quote]A little more understanding, a little more tolerance, a little more love and care, go a long way. [/quote]

This was my favourite line of your post.  Everyone is different, has different ways of expressing themselves, of course, this is part of the beauty of the variety of peoples and places.  But I feel if we all just kept this quote of yours in the back of our heads everytime we feel ourselves getting a little annoyed at someone or a situation, it would do us the world of good.

jazakallah khair for sharing this with us.

Re: a horrid little kid
05/27/04 at 08:53:37
Assalamu alaikum

Jazakallah for sharing your story.
Re: a horrid little kid
05/27/04 at 16:19:20

as salaamu alaykum,

nah, I'm not that sensitive  :P  please continue to share your stories, they are always beneficial for me.

wasalaamu alaykum :)

aapa bibi is dead!
05/27/04 at 21:13:25

on reflection, I will admit that I wasn't exactly the Devil incarnate,  :)

but I did have this feeling of being wiser than the others. Why I remember my horrid tales and not any good that I may have done, is that I am not able to make amends now. Here is one example of my cruelty as a child..

"you know, aapa bibi died last week". Many years ago, my sister informed me suddenly, while we were talking of something else.

"She had TB, baaji also died a year ago of the same", my sister added.

This was all so out the blue, it left me speechless.

My first and last interaction with aapa bibi was when I visited my grandfather when I was eight. I saw this sixteen year old girl, who was my cousin, and lived in our grandfather's house with her elder sister. Her mother was one of my phuppos (paternal aunts). Funny, I don't recall the other cousin or the phuppo. I think her father must have been dead. Since I don't recall her mother (my phuppo), maybe she was dead too.

I remember aapa bibi, because I was cruel to her. I went up to the second floor of my grandfather's house, which had a single room and she was there, looking happy, and singing, and I said to her: "What right do you have to be here, and to sing"?

It was the most stupid thing I have said in my life, and I cannot figure out why I said it. I think it must have stung her. She went quiet. As soon as I said it, I knew it was wrong, but I did not know how to make amends. If my parents or grandfather had known I said something like this, I would have been scolded and asked to apologise. Once I repeated a swear word I had heard to my elder brother, and my mother was so furious, she took out an ember, and caught hold of me, and would have burnt my tongue. I was let go only after many promises. I was so scared, that for 35 years (or so) after that, I did not swear at anyone, despite the utmost provocation.

I don't think there ever was a conversation between aapa bibi and me, before or after that stupid remark. But I do know that although I was a quiet child, after saying this to her, I became quieter, and more engrossed in my own little world.

I am not good at remembering relatives, and haven't shown an interest in any I have. It was the first time in perhaps 48 years that aapa bibi was mentioned directly to me. That is why it was such a shock.

may Allah (swt) grant both baaji and bibi Firdaws-e-aalaa. aameen. They had a tough time here in this world.

My grandfather was a very successful businessman, and also had vast properties. Baaji and bibi were unlucky to have lost their father when they were young, and shortly after that my grandfather and my father also died. While we lived in Pakistan, where my mother pushed us towards education, these cousins of mine had to live at Delhi under the supervision of my taaya (father's elder brother) and his wife, and their children.

Last time I visited my mother, I tried to ask her about these cousins of mine, but since I had never shown any interest earlier, my mother said: why are you asking? and I had to change the subject. I don't know for sure, but from what I have gathered Baji and Bibi lived miserable lives in that household. They should have inherited enough property from my grandfather's if their mother was alive at the time of my grandfather's death, or perhaps as wali, my Taaya did not let them have any recourse to the property they inherited. Why didn't they marry and move away? Perhaps my Taaya, as wali, did not let them marry. His wife and children tried to hold us too in bondage, but my mother was scared of her sister-in-law. Fortunately, we were residents of another country, so we forgot all about our inheritence, and simply got on with our lives in Pakistan.

I can just imagine the sort of insults, and the back-breaking work, and the loss of hope my cousins must have endured at the hands of my taayee. and I think of many others today who are undergoing similar or worse torture at the hands of those who are supposed to guard the interests of their wards. As I think of this, I get angry inside at the injustices in this world.

[i]aapa bibi, I am sorry I said that stupid thing to you. If time could be rolled back to when I was eight, I would say: "aapa, I love you. You have every right to be here and to enjoy yourself - a right equal to mine".[/i]
05/27/04 at 22:56:00
Re: a horrid little kid? I hope not
05/29/04 at 03:53:39

I could relate to some parts of regretting how you treat others and especially family members…close ones.  I would be so mean to my 3 younger cousins who were brothers to me and I regret those days so much and wish I could take them back.  I’d used to hide food from them cause they ate all the time, or frighten them till they cried because they were afraid that I’d actually throw them down the high flight of stairs.  Yell at them all the time and push them around.  I don’t know if they hated me then, but they always kept coming over.

Then my cousin died who was a sister to me (sister to the 3 young ones).  She’s been there with me since the day I was born.  I missed her so much when we came to America that my sponsor had to sponsor them to come here as well.  And I remember she used to give me piggy back rides on the way home from school cause I was so tired and she was only a year older then me.)  She was 19 when she died.  We used to do everything together. We even planned our future together.  When she died, I kept it inside cause I don’t like showing that side of me.  Everyone around me would take the heat for my hatred to the world and everyone and everything around me. The day she died, I went into a room and there was the youngest one, her favorite, crying and I couldn’t comfort him.  I shut the door and left him alone.  I was angry all the time.  But everyone knew to just let me be but the things I said and how disrespectful I was to everybody…well, let’s just say I never made any new friends and I wouldn’t let anyone, close or not, to comfort me.  I stopped going to my Aunt and Uncle’s house and I never paid much attention to the 3 younger cousins as they were going through the same (I’m sure it was harder on them because she was the only sister they had, and she took care of them since the day they were born like an older sister should).

After she died, I hated her husband and I hated her in laws for not taking care of her.  It’s been over a decade and I still have this grudge I can’t seem to let go.  I know it wasn’t their fault cause it was her time according to Allah (SWT).  But still I only visit them when Mother makes me.  But I’ve finally visited my Aunt and Uncle like really go to their house and open their fridge, sit down and watch tv with them and stuff and just visit.  But still no one dares speak of her in front of me cause then I just get mad and walk away.

I only realized this when the older of the 3 was getting married and asked for his wife to be to wear our (mine and hers) wedding dress ( we bought it together because she was going to wear it first which she did and I second then we’d give it to our daughters if they wanted.)  I didn’t want anyone else to wear it and he told me that he made his fiancé not rent or buy a wedding dress because he wanted her to wear his sisters, but that wasn’t my fault.  He and I got into a huge argument.  I made him cry (a grown man now) and then I remembered how I used to make him cry all the time and then how I never was there for him after his sister died.  

I couldn’t make him cry anymore, it wasn’t the same.  I felt so much guilt so I gave his bride the wedding dress and became her personal photographer like I was with his sister.  They both made beautiful brides masha-Allah.  That was 4 years ago.  Thereafter, slowly I started making amends with the boys and became what I should’ve been, their sister, the one that’s living.  And today, we are all much happier and less angry with the world.  It was just me and the boys that couldn’t handle her death.  Our parents and older brothers handled it, but we couldn’t for some reason.

Only the older of the 3 young ones go and visit her grave.  The other 2 and I, just can’t make ourselves to go.  I drive by it wanting to go, but just keep driving by.  And I feel that’s wrong in my heart to do, but I just can’t go.

The boys don’t know I don’t visit, but we’re happy now so insha-Allah one day I’ll go.  Forgive me jannah, I have not set a flower on her grave for you like you asked to me.  When I go, I’ll remember to, insha-Allah.

Anyways….sorry bout that.  Writing about it is helping me a little.  I wrote about it once, but got one paragraph, got mad, and never wrote about it again.  I’ve never asked anyone not even the Imam about if what I’m doing is wrong which is not going to visit her grave or even cried her passing.  

But yeah, I can relate but at least I was able to make amends, Al-hamdulillah.  So Br. Timbuktu is right.  Do it before it’s too late.  I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if my Uncle, Aunt, or cousins died before I could make amends.


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