Imam Khalid Latif is blogging his reflections during the month of Ramadan, featured daily on HuffPost Religion. For a complete record of his previous posts, click over to the Islamic Center at New York University or visit his author page, and to follow along with the rest of his reflections, sign up for an author email alert above.
Living by yourself can be pretty tough, especially during Ramadan. I got home around 1am last night and found my apartment empty. Usually a friend or two stays over, but last night was the first night this Ramadan that it was just me by myself. I read a little bit, took a nap, and then woke up to eat suhoor, a pre-dawn meal that is recommended to eat before one's fast starts for the day. It hit me pretty hard eating that meal by myself and reminded me of what Ramadan was like when I was younger.
My family is pretty amazing and it's at these times I appreciate and miss them the most. My older brother and I would play Nintendo together when everyone had gone to sleep after our Fajr prayer, the first prayer of the day, and then fall asleep in front of the tv. My sister and I would make jokes about my father as we ate our suhoor of Fruit Loops and Captain Crunch while he ate curries and breads and all kinds of random food that no one should be eating that early in the morning. Out of all of them though, the one I miss the most is my mother, Mohsina.
Regardless of what part of the world I am in or what I am doing, I can always be certain that my mom will check up on me. If I drop by to NJ to visit at any time of the year, even it its at 2am and the rest of the house is asleep, my mother will wait up to make sure I got in ok and make me some food if I hadn't eaten yet. Thinking back to Ramadan, my mother's day was probably longer than the rest of ours. She would get up early, make food for all of us, wake us up, and would only eat her suhoor after she was certain that all of us were taken care of. After we all prayed our Fajr prayer, we would go to bed but my mom would still be awake. She had to make sure everything was cleaned up and only then would she spend some time on herself and start reading the Qur'an.
"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents; his mother carried him in hardship, and in hardship did she give him birth" ~ The Holy Qur'an, 46:15.
A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and asked, 'Oh Messenger of God, who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: 'Your mother'. The man said, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: 'Then your mother.' The man further asked, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: 'Then your mother.' The man asked again, 'Then who?' The Prophet said: 'Then your father.'"
In another narration, the Prophet Muhammad said, "Heaven lies under the feet of your mother."
These days, my mom is running around to help plan my wedding this September. No matter how far away I am or how old I get, she doesn't hesitate to show me that she loves me and cares for me. I, on the other hand, have not done remotely enough to show her how important and precious she is.
Thank you Ami for all of your continued support, affection and love. Thank you for every kiss and every hug. Thank you for staying up with me late at night when I was sick, for waking me up early to drive me to my football games, and calling me even today to make sure I am getting enough sleep. Thank you for making me spinach every time I come home to visit - no one makes it as good as you do. Thank you for coming to watch every one of my games when I was younger and for encouraging me in everything I do in my life today. Thank you for being someone who listens and doesn't make me do things just because you did them a certain way. Thank you for not forcing me to be a doctor or a lawyer or anything else that most desi parents force their children to become. Thank you for treating Priya like she is your own daughter and welcoming her into our family with open arms and embraces. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, and your commitment. Thank you for overlooking my mistakes and for teaching me so much. I would not be anything today if not for you. Thank you for being such an inspiration and great example to me of how a person should be. I pray that every child in this world is blessed with having a mother such as you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are the most amazing person that I know and I love you.