It is December the first and I am sitting in the living room. The ultrasound shows that we are going to have a boy. It has been a challenge to come up with a name for a boy that we both like. In naming our first born it had was easy, Shireen was an instant favorite. After discussion, we decide to name the baby Zain or Zane. I do not much care for the name. Zain ul Abedin in Islamic History was a sickly child, and a weak and sad man who came to a sad end. I do not care for the name as well as the alphabet; it is the last in the series.
I decide to look for names in the Quran. I recall when Bhaijan was looking for the name of his eldest daughter we had opened the Quran and there it said ”Hoor –e – Iram! Hoore she is! I pull out Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Quran, and open the book randomly and it opens at Surah Tariq. The literal meaning of the Surah is complex but the summary is riveting and holds great promise:
Through the darkest night comes the penetrating light of a glorious star. Such is the power of Revelation: It protects and guides the erring.
For what is man? But a creature of flesh and bones!
But God by His power doth raise
Mans state to a life beyond!——–when Lo!
All things hidden will be made plain.
Mans help will then be but the Word of God, which none can thwart.
So wait with gentle patience___for His Decision.
I close the book and muse. Tariq! The hero of my childhood. He conquered Spain and brought culture to the ignorant. He was also very handsome, debonair and brave. What a lovely name. Paul and Ammi agree. We have a new name for our baby: Tariq. Ammi is off to the printer to gets a new set of announcements printed.
This pregnancy has been easy physically. I have done prenatal aerobics and feel physically fit. I have eaten more melon in the summer than imaginable. However, my professional life has not been easy. I am being denied paid pregnancy leave because my medical school does not have a history of such a leave. I check into that and it is true. In the last fifteen years, there has been only one woman of childbearing age on the faculty. Its says something about being in the Deep South. My place in the research grant that I was developing is being stolen, and my husband who is also on the faculty has been placed on my health insurance. Thus in a fit of frustration if I decide to resign I cannot, for we will both be out of health insurance.
My delivery is easy, Paul is with me, Ammi is with Shireen, Tariq is in my lap. Life and love is secure for all. I smell his head and inhale his own unique fragrance. Each of my children has a unique fragrance perhaps discernible only to a mother. A fragrance which I can sense when I kiss their head at bedtime or on their way to school. A fragrance, that was gone when I kissed Tariq’s head on July 14 two years ago. A fragrance that only I can sense and bonds me to my children in life.
Tariq’s birthdays, Whitney’s birthdays, Teepu’s birthdays have been a time for Thanksgiving and cake eating galore. Latter that cake eating doubled with what became a tradition: Ims and Tariq’s birthday together. Lots of cake, lots of laughter and lots of friends. There was a lot of joy around December 2, and the spirit of Thanksgiving continued into that time.
Unbenow’est to me what was to come. Had I read the first line of the Surah carefully and with cognizance, perhaps I would have had an inkling of my future with Tariq.
By the Sky and the Night Visitant
Who is the Night Visitant? In the explanation by Yusuf Ali, “it is the star of Piercing brightness, in the darkest sky shines out brilliantly the light of the most brilliant star. So in the night of spiritual darkness—whether through ignorance or distress —-shines the glorious star of Gods revelation”.
Yusuf Ali continues:
The star of piercing brightness is understood by some to be “The Morning Star”
The Morning star shines brightly though briefly with great intensity illuminating the darkness on earth and then disappears. It has a very short life though it brings very bright light to many, and promises the advent of dawn.
The Name chosen has a very profound effect on the person. Thus was with Tariq! In his nineteen years, he has illuminated many a hardened heart and brought joy and laughter using his own brand of humor to ease the stress for many.
It is December 2, and he would have been twenty-two counting in this world’s numbers. He is ageless where he is. He will not be touched by time or disappointment, nor will the light he brought into our lives dim with time. May Allah bless him and keep him in the best possible place.
What is with us will vanish, What is with Allah remains. (Quran: Surah Baqarah)
And for Tariq’s friends and family, Allah subhanawataala says:
Be sure we will test you
with something of fear & hunger,
some loss in goods or lives,
or the fruits (of your toil)
but give Glad Tidings to those who patiently persevere——–
who say when afflicted with calamity: “to God we belong, and to Him is our return”