Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Father

As salaam alaikum,

Today, insha'Allah I'm on my way to Kansas City for a Family Medicine conference. I'm praying for a safe and comfortable flight.

Speaking of dreams, I think I had a dream I was married last night. I don't remember any of it, therefore, I don't remember who I was married to or anything. I also had a dream about sprinklers running in Boston after the rain. I'm not sure where in Boston the sprinklers were running. The only dream I really remember was that I got my Step 2 CK score back, and I had failed, meaning I'd have to reschedule it and take it over. It took me a while upon waking to realize that it wasn't true...badness.

My mother suggested the other day that I should go to church with my father one of these Sundays, that "it would mean a lot to him." This made me angry...not because I absolutely refuse to attend church with my father, but that I couldn't have done this of my own volition without her getting that motherly look on her face and being an interloper in my relationship with my father.

When I argue with my father, she always gets nervous and wants to go somewhere else, even if it's just good-natured joking between us.

I didn't appreciate her telling me what to do that would "mean a lot" to my father. I don't feel like I owe it to him to go to church, and...ugh, she put the mother guilt trip on me with the "it'll mean a lot to him." It's like, can't I cook him something? That would mean a lot to him...if I learned to cook soup.

But her request did give me pause.

I spend so much time worrying about how my father wants me to embrace Christianity and how not to insult him because of my Islam, that maybe in the process our relationship is dissolving and I'm not being a good enough daughter. It's hard to tell.

My mother said that she thought it wasn't fair of me to say that my father doesn't respect my choice of religion and/or Islam. I didn't argue with her too much, because I think that this is a delusion she keeps up that helps their marriage make sense. There are degrees of respect. No, my father would never defile a Qur'an, and honestly, I'm not sure where he stands on Islam. I don't know if he thinks it's completely a false religion or if it's not the right way, I don't know.

Nor does he really know how I stand, how I stand on Christianity. I think we've both been avoiding that topic not to offend each other, but it's kind of essential for us to move forward.

In essence, I don't feel like I'm being unfair to him by saying that he doesn't respect my choice in Islam. I feel like that's entirely accurate. It's accurate in the way that he thinks he's going to come along, after I've made my decision after 23 years of not exposing me to Christianity and here I am, now 25, and he thinks if I listen to his pastor and read Romans and other things in the Bible, I'll be like, "Oh, Christianity..."

My mother herself says that he thinks I'm easily influenced, that the reason that I'm Muslim is because of my best friend, who is Muslim.

At which point I father doesn't really know me. My journey to practicing Islam was my own. Not even MQ had a hand in that. That was me, myself and Allah (swt).

At the same time...I have to make sure I'm not biting the hand that feeds me and thereafter shooting myself in the foot. Although I am frustrated with his efforts to convert me, he is my father, and I owe him love and respect, first and foremost. I need to remember that. My love and respect for my father is more important than any self-righteousness I may feel as a Muslim, which I shouldn't feel anyway. Like my father, I will answer to God at the end of this all, and kindness to my parents is one of the things, the easy things, that I'm supposed to let me not forget that.

"And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [hence, O man,] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end. [Revere thy parents;] yet should they endeavour to make thee ascribe divinity, side by side with Me, to something which thy mind cannot accept [as divine], obey them not; but [even then] bear them company in this world’s life with kindness, and follow the path of those who turn towards Me. In the end, unto Me you all must return; and thereupon I shall make you [truly] understand all that you were doing [in life]." (Qur'an, 31:14-15)


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