“MOM”

By: Jennifer (Sumayah) Fayed

It’s late in the evening now and you can say that I have become some sort of a night owl lately. I have so many thoughts in my head tonight. The main thought in my mind lately is my mom… I was in New York visiting my family this past November. This has spiraled a flashback which I would like to share with the intention that good will come from this and inshallah I can get some sleep tonight. My mom and I are close but when I reverted to Islam she felt like she didn’t know me anymore. There I was this scarf covered woman that she considered a stranger and not her daughter. Well at least not the daughter she knew before becoming Muslim. She would constantly make jokes and rude remarks about hijab and Muslims. At the time, I was so sensitive to her reactions and would usually breakdown in tears. Now that I have been Muslim for three years I’m able to put myself into her shoes in order to understand her perspective. This was so sudden for her and not only that but I then decided to get hitched to my wonderful husband four months after my reversion. This would be a blow to any parent who has this on their plate. It was so uncomfortable I felt like a stranger to her. We couldn’t talk about anything without it breaking into a heated arguement. I really didn’t have time to spend with my mother shortly after becoming Muslim she had many responsibilities to take care of overseas; and we were left with ties that were somehow severed. It was so ackward, she really didn’t say anything after a while. There was this silent wall between us and no matter how much I explained Islam to her she just didn’t understand. She soon left to Dominican Republic and the next meeting would be after the short arrival of my third baby. This would be such a short visit; I was only there for three days because I only went to pick up my two children from my previous marriage so they could spend the summer with us in North Carolina. While staying there my mom would criticize certain things in Islam, but not with the same intensity as before; although, I could obviously tell that she was still uneasy about the whole Muslim thing. I tried to speak to my mother about Islam over the telephone but she would usually loose her temper and I would eventually change the topic. Eighteen months went by after that last visit. It felt like years and I really educated myself about Islam so I would know how to approach her about general questions regarding the religion. I did this intensely for two weeks before my trip to New York.This visit meant so much to me for I hadn’t seen my mom for a year and a half (talk about a long time). When I saw her I felt like her little girl again. I had missed her so much and to think that I only had a month to cherish my time with her I was heartbroken just thinking about how quickly those four weeks would pass. The time I spent with her was truly a blessing from Allah (swt) she would ask questions about Islam and I would give her answers in a context that she would understand. It was great, she was accepting me in her heart and respecting my decisions as a woman. I would tell her about Isa (Jesus) alahi salaam and what our beliefs in Islam were about him. She found many common grounds and although there are major differences in Christianity and Islam she would feel cornered and passionately say “Well I worship God the way I think he should be worshipped I don’t follow the church”. I guess we all have to start somewhere right? She is an amazing woman. She has been very successful in her professional life and has been a wonderful mom. I wouldn’t change her for another. She is a strong woman who knows what she wants and will openly speak her mind no matter the circumstance. That month flew so fast, I think I remember almost everyday I spent with her. I’m feeling homesick I guess. I miss her. She is more that one thousand miles away and all I have at the moment of her is the memories that I hold so close to my heart. I hugged my mom everyday I was with her in New York. I still remember her smell. She smells of cocoa butter and soft perfume (just like my abuelita). I’m glad I reflected this in writing tonight. It is now 3:51 a.m. and alhamdulilah I feel at peace to sleep now. This reflection was for you mom. Te quiero mucho mommy y te extrano bastante(I love you very much mommy and I miss you tremendously)!!!!!!

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