Personal from Kaukab Siddique, Editor NT: It’s my mother’s birthday anniversary. We are strange people. Let me explain. My ancestors came from Arabia to India and married among the proud Rajputs who were starting to embrace Islam. My mother inherited the generosity and gentleness of the Arab woman along with the self-respect and sense of honor and pride of the Rajputs. She was a beautiful woman both physically and spiritually. She stood with the Qaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan, at a time when most women did not speak out. India could hear the thunder of the awakening Muslim masses chanting: Pakistan ka matlab kiya? La illaha illalah. It was the invincible call of history in the making. Pakistan, a new nation, emerged from the heart of darkness that was India. Both the Hindus and the British were determined that Pakistan should not be born or should die soon after birth. People like my mother through hard, honest, work made Pakistan a reality.
For my mother, success was the future which she would never see in her own life but which she made possible. For her Pakistan was a dream from the life of the Prophet, pbuh, as sung in the lilting verses of Hafiz Jullundhri and in the visionary power of the cadences of Allama Iqbal’s Masjide Qurtuba. She suffered much but nothing could defeat her. One would think she was soft but her endurance showed that she was made of spiritual steel.
In her own quiet, mild, way she encouraged me to think about the rights of women in Islam. She made my books possible.
Now I see the spiritual beauty of my mother and her sublime faith in Allah emerging in my sister. For my sister, Islam was even more difficult because she was almost secularized by the seductive call of America. I see in her, Islam victorious in the battle for the hearts and souls of highly educated Muslims. Islam is not easy to live in America, but my sister is winning. She is praying, going to Makka and Madinah, loving the hijab. For a highly secularized woman to voluntarily accept the hijab is a sign for us. We can see in her the miracle of Allah’s message. As she moves forward, I sense my mother’s spirit behind her, smiling with joy.