In the final analysis life is all about human relationships of love affection and security. The opposite of life is rage, fanaticism, and lack of love and security.
Today A’s father died as mine had many years ago. Felled by a blow, suddenly, never to regain that dignity in life again, separated irrevocably from his loved ones and they from him.
Inna lil lahi wa inna elayhe rajaeoon. It is to Allah we belong and it is to Him we return…….
All she could think as I had at that time, was those magical moments of security of closeness of having him always there for her ………our fathers, separated by thousands of miles yet close in our hearts, our secret warriors, who we could always call upon to defend us and they would be there in a heartbeat………….. And now her father and mine are no more, borne away by the angel of death into the netherlands out of our reach, and we out of his.
And what of the killer? Which one you may ask? The one who killed the children on the Norwegian island? Or the one who pulled the trigger on my friend’s father unhappy with his life and the hand it had dealt him?
The Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik hated his father who had abandoned him and his mother when he was a baby, finally cutting all ties as Breivik reached the tenuous age of puberty in a fatherless home.
I had always wondered why men were given the status of “Qawamuun “ over their women, qawamuun meaning protectors, saviors, breadwinners and generally security guards over their women. This has aroused a lot of ilk in the feminist circles and has been given a bad name by men who misused this status of security giver transforming it to a prison guard.
4:34 (Asad) MEN SHALL take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter,  and with what they may spend out of their possessions.
There can be no love without security and there can be no harmony in community without love. Thus the status given to men in the Quran of Qawammun to provide the security so that women can weave the pattern of love and harmony in a peaceful society.
It is women who weave the web of love to connect family community and relationships, slowly and carefully, over time. They are unable to do that if they do not have security.
The student who felled my friend’s father was considered to be “mentally ill” but his parents had insisted that he finish medical school. Only Allah knows the real reasons of why his rage boiled over and destroyed forever the chance of happiness, love and security for him and the family of his victim.
The unknown assailant who clubbed my father, ran away. My father, the surgeon tended to his own head wound and was able to reach his bedroom and lock it………..but he could not withstand the strike and succumbed to it, forever taking with him the opportunity of security, love, and forgiveness for his family or his assailant. Those were the early days of disorder and bandits in Karachi………….
I remember the waves of panic merging with freezing immobility. It was December and the flights to Pakistan were booked solid with happy Pakistanis going home to their families in the winter break.
As my brother and I stood by watching the PIA plane fill to capacity with passengers we wondered how many days we would have to wait at the New York Airport to get home to our father and family who grieved in Karachi.
May Allah bless those people, PIA flight attendants and the crew who decided to give us their seat and went standing and serving for the 22-hour flight to Karachi.
I remember looking at my Quran and reading it randomly trying to grasp what I needed to hang on to, my eyes heavy with crying and exhaustion. I would come out my trance of grief to look at my brother and found him almost continuously reciting the Quran for those surreal 22 hours when we were suspended in space, between grief and despair.
I shudder to think what A will find when she reaches her grieving home, the ashes of sadness, and the irrevocable sense of loss, his empty seat, the dash of blood on his watch………… the futility of time wasted in a foreign country.
I remember standing in my father’s petunia garden, which had almost gone to seed, with few struggling flowers. I remembered my medical school days when it would be a field of color with my father’s love of gardening speaking through the lavish blooms.
It has been so long since my father died yet watching A’s lost expression…….. I saw myself standing at the phone thinking I must call and get a flight to Pakistan, but I could not grasp how to do that?
Going back to the assailants……..Rage in the medical student who shot A’s father, rage……..a much maligned emotion in our faith, not to be suppressed but to be extinguished with the water of forgiveness and faith. Did his parents teach him that? Only the Lord knows!
Anders Behring Breivik killing the children in Norway……….inspired by the Crusaders, the Knights Templars who were monks turned into vicious, gold grabbing, violent killers. Jesus would have curled up and died if he knew what they were doing in his name. Did he get the love of his father ever?
Breivik, the seed of a passing fancy of his father, left to grow, untended, unloved and unguided, insecure and alone………..while his single mother struggled to make ends meet.
Father’s………….and husbands are our Qawwamuun,(قَوَّامُونَ)as long as they do not abuse this sacred privilege, granted to them by God Almighty, their status is precious to all that they protect. With its presence grows love, affection and that delicate web of goodwill and peace that makes for a harmonious society.