Aabida explained that she had been in deep depression for quite a while because her parents forbade her from pursuing her dreams of higher education and a career.
By Shagufta Khan
As the month of Ramzan was drawing to a close, Rehana decided to visit a relative, Sayeed, and his wife Aliya and their children, who had recently shifted to a new home. It was an unplanned visit. Rehana assumed she would be there for 15 minutes or so, wish them and then return. But she stayed considerably longer. It turned out to be an occasion for a very useful spiritual lesson!
After having worked hard for many years, Sayeed had saved up money to acquire this “state-of the art” apartment, which was equipped with all sorts of modern gadgets. “I wanted my children to be comfortable and at least enjoy a bit of nature every day,” said Sayeed as he showed Rehana around.
Aliya, Sayeed’s wife, set about preparing snacks for iftar in the kitchen, and the couple’s daughters helped her. Rehana was impressed by the respectful obedience of girls towards their parents.
After iftar, they prayed, and then the girls whisked Rehana out of the apartment for a stroll. It was lovely and windy outside.
“Aunty, could I share something that’s troubling me?” Aabida asked Rehana after a while.
“Of course, yes, please,” Rehana said.
“It’s like this Aunty: I’d love to do a course in counselling as I like to listen to people and their problems. If they feel happy having someone to listen to them, I’ll feel happy too,” Aabida said. Then, she added, “But you know what Aunty? My parents won’t let me do this as they don’t want me to meet strangers. They’re already looking for a husband for me even though I’m not at all ready for marriage. I love studying, and when I see all my friends going on to do their Masters’, I feel very hurt.”
Rehana felt deeply for Aabida.
Aabida explained that she had been in deep depression for quite a while because her parents forbade her from pursuing her dreams of higher education and a career. “I began praying regularly and seeking God’s help, and it was then that the depression left me,” she went on. “Yet, I feel sort of stuck. I wonder why my parents are forcing marriage on me when I am not ready.”
Aabida’s sister Shamima echoed the same sentiments: “We don’t want our education to be just a degree for the sake of getting a husband. We want to work and be economically independent. We aren’t materialistic. We only want to live a dignified life, using our education for a good purpose within the limits that our faith sets.”
Rehana listened patiently as the girls shared their anguish.
“Aabida speaks her minds to our parents, but I am just too scared to voice my opinion,” Shamima explained. “So, guess what I do Aunty? I park all my problems with God to solve!”
“Yes, yes, we all have parked our problems with God to solve! He knows what’s best for us. We understand our parent’s struggles to provide us all the material comforts we have in our home that we never asked for. We are grateful, but our emotions too matter, and we know it’s only God who truly understands us”, Rehana could imagine the sisters saying in unison.
It was time to leave. Thanking Sayeed and Aaliya for the wonderful iftar and dinner, Rehana wished the girls all the best. Stepping out of the apartment, Rehana said a silent prayer to God, requesting God to help the girls.
What better way can there be for problems to be handled than to park them with God?