I am in WS checking out living accommodation at the request of my daughter……..we stop for lunch and I order bread pudding, but instead of the usual bread pudding this concoction is far more sophisticated and delicious than the usual bread pudding and I am transported to my childhood….
I am a child, definitely less than seven years of age. We are having a large party for my father’s colleagues. We children are to stay away. My mother has cooked chicken fricassee and all types of gourmet dishes, the aroma of which fills the house.
It is a garden party and in our muslim Pakistani culture the women of the house do not mix with the husbands colleagues. Business associates and family socialization is separated by a wall of reserve that is well understood by all factions of society.
I am curious as to who is coming to the party, so I peek around the corner as the helpers carry the food to the garden,
Meanwhile, inside the kitchen I can smell the heady aroma of the bread pudding baking………..I want to ask for it but dare not as I know what the answer will be/
I see her putting away a tray of the bread pudding. I cannot resist asking, ” who is that for?” with the full confidence that it is for us…….. She looks straight into my eyes and names the servant/helper, “it is for his family”, she says firmly. Her words filling me with disappointment and I pray that the guests don’t eat all of their share.
I fail to understand her logic of giving the choicest part of the meal to the servants first…………..It is many years later when I see this as her regular practice, do I understand it in the light of the Quran and Sunnah.
She treated the servants as guests; giving them the best food even before it was served to our guests, and all her life the servants, the disadvantaged and the oppressed, from every walk of life, loved her and almost worshipped the ground she walked upon.
She, my mother gave her sadaqa before she put a morsel of the delicious food in her mouth and her family’s mouth. She practiced what is mentioned in the Quran thousands of times coupled with salat ( wa aqimus salaat wa atuz zakaat)
Today she lies buried in a garden where the branches bow low with the burden of the wisteria that drapes them like garlands. The dogwoods bloom with an explosion of delicate white and pink. I sit in this restaurant away from home with the delicious taste of bread pudding in my mouth with a wish………that I had learned more from her wordless actions of the Sunnah and the path of Tazkiyah that she traveled on bravely, and without hesitation in the face of discouragement by the burgeoning greed of the world around her.
I miss my mother…………………..
May Allah grant her the best part of Jannah as her final abode, and never let her feel the pain she felt in this world as she silently walked in the path of Sunnah and practiced her Tazkiyah Nafs uncomplainingly.