Now that I am a grandmother, I remember mine with gratitude………….
And Allah has made for you mates (and companions) of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best: will they then believe in vain things, and be ungrateful for Allah’s favors? –
My grandmother as I remember her was a very stern and strict woman. All softness was washed out of her in 1947 with her sojourn in the cabbage field camp outside Amritsar where she waited with her son and nephew for a train to Pakistan.
That is how I remember her and being grateful for having her as a grandmother was not a part of the mosaic of my early life as a child. It is much later as the pieces of the puzzle started to form a picture that I was reminded of the gratitude that Allah speaks to us in the Quran.
It was partition (1947) and my mother was expecting her fourth child. She was limited to a small apartment in the Hospital where my father was working as a physician, with no help for her three rambunctious boys. Tight funds, social isolation and the heat did not help her state of motherhood
Meanwhile my father and my maternal grandfather who were both surgeons worked 24/7 upon the casualties from the trains to Pakistan from Amritsar. My maternal grandmother and my 13-year-old aunt were volunteered in as instant nurses due to the tremendous need for nurses as huge numbers of injured people were pouring into Lahore from India.
If you have watched “Gone with the wind” the scenario of the Confederate soldiers lying on a vast field in Atlanta with minimum nursing help is a similar picture if you multiply the injured by thousands.
I am grateful to my grandmother who rescued a distant relative from the train, who was almost blind and all her family was shot on the train to Pakistan.
She asked my mother to take care of the blind aunt, who at first seemed to be a burden but turned out to be a bilateral blessing.
The blind lady was Mami Muradi. Her mild temperament matched my mother’s soft temperament. She turned out to be such a blessing for my mother’s household that instead of being a burden (being blind) she became a second mother for my brothers and especially H (number three) who was gentle and mild and became very attached to her and she to him.
I sometimes look at her photo sitting on a charpoy, hugging H who shyly and affectionately leans into her.
I try to envision her on the train to Pakistan, with her family, blind and yet hearing the screams and sounds of killing and yet not losing her mind. She keeping her tasbeeh on her fingers and praying to Allah continuously.
My mother told me that she had an aura of purity around her and children flocked to her. I understand now why that was so. Allah sends his angels to those ebad who are in Dhirkr of Him, and with the amount and continuity of Dhikr that she did she probably was always surrounded by angels sprinkling the mercy of Allah on her and who ever was close to her. Thus she came to be very close to my brother who was the youngest at that time and he to her………He came to love her when she needed the love. She cared for him when my mother needed another pair of loving hands.
I am deeply grateful to Allah Subhanawataala that in the haze of blood and guts my grandmother had the sense that this aunt of hers would help and be helped by my mother and having children around her would be healing for her heart and a comfort to my mother who was heavy with her fourth child……
May Allah bless Mami Muradi, My grandmother Saeeda Begum and my dear mother. I am deeply grateful to Allah for a lot but especially for the three women, mothers and grandmothers. They were islands of rescue in the sea of chaos in 1947, as Pakistan was screaming with the agony of delivering freedom at the point of the kirpaan.
May Allah give these three the most fragrant spot in Jannah tul Firdous with not an iota of worry or anxiety. May the fragrance of honeysuckle (my mothers favorite, and Motia (my grandmothers favorite) assail their senses with many more beautiful fragrances of the flowers of Jannah!
I pledge my gratitude to Allah for my grandmother. My mother and Mami Muradi…….