Thursday, October 19, 2017

Perspective: Grandparents | Zujaja Khan

I am sure that any person who has lost a beloved family member understands the depths of that grief, and its formative influence on the rest of one’s life.

Imam Bashir Ahmad Rafiq (1931 - 2016) 
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Personal Musings - Blog
By Zujaja Khan | October 18, 2017

In the backdrop of Quranic teachings about kindness towards parents,  Zujaja Khan remembers her grandfather, renowned scholar, author and former Imam of the London Mosque, late Bashir Ahmad Rafiq.

In his book ‘Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues’, His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) expounds on a verse from the Holy Quran, in which Allah states:
Thy Lord has commanded, ‘Worship none but Him, and show kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, never say unto them any word expressive of disgust nor reproach them, but always address them with kind word. ‘And lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness.’ And say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them even as they nourished me in my childhood.’ (17:24-25)

His Holiness explains that the teachings in this verse should not be strictly limited to treatment of our parents, drawing attention to the significance our grandparents as sources of wisdom.

Indeed, our lives are affected and influenced by an ever-expanding network of people in an age when communication is constantly evolving. But it is important not to neglect the ties we have closer to home. His Holiness wrote that nurturing the bonds between different generations would ensure the transmission of good Islamic moral values for many years to come. In my experience, this has come to fruition most powerfully in the last year, since the passing of my beloved grandfather.

Many long years have passed since the days when we would spend the weekend with my grandparents, when they would serve us warm honey toast in the morning, or when my grandfather would whip out his walking stick and take us to the library. 12 months after his passing, I still desperately miss his scratchy brown hat, his woollen sweaters with pockets full of sweets, and his soothing voice reciting the Holy Quran every time I visited.

Now I feel a lingering and deep-seated sadness when I step into his study and see the walls lined with his abundant book collection. I am sure that any person who has lost a beloved family member understands the depths of that grief, and its formative influence on the rest of one’s life.

But it is ultimately through Allah’s mercy and guidance that I have been able overcome the worst of this grief, and have been able to rekindle my closeness to my grandfather in the past year. After his passing, I learned more about the dignity and humility with which my grandfather prevailed over the obstacles he faced as an Imam, and in his personal life.

To me he was always just my grandfather– kind, witty and generous. But in the weeks and months that passed, I was brought closer to the person that everyone else knew him as. I heard countless stories that I had never known before: about his childhood, his Waqf, his services to our Ahmadiyya Muslim community, and even his poetry! Deprived of my grandfather in one way, Allah blessed me with the opportunity to connect with him in an unpredictable way.

I came to realise that his shining example of humility and devotion to the community would outlive any memory that I had of him. Equally, I came to see that his loss would not create a void between generations; in fact, it would strengthen our ties. Allah creates and nurtures love between His people, even in the absence of those loved ones.

For example, apart from the first few years of his life, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) grew up without his parents or grandparents however, this did not prevent him from showing the utmost respect for the parents of his wives, and indeed advocating vehemently for kindness towards our elders and parents. The Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) pious example is a testament to the vital importance of sustaining our family networks. Each of our elders has the potential to pass on their wisdom and religious knowledge, transmitting and reproducing good morals through every generation.

It is important that one does not allow the materialism of this world to impede one’s ability to nurture real relationships with one’s grandparents. Through the newly-made bonds I have found with family, through the testimonies given by all those who held him dear, through the heartfelt messages received from his friends across the world, I was introduced to a different side of my grandfather. I finally came to understand the true beauty of his heart, the conviction of his faith, and the lasting example he set for all those who knew him. Striving to emulate those characteristics is the least I can do for the man who nourished my faith, my curiosity and my love for honey toast.

Read original post here: Perspective: Grandparents | Zujaja Khan

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