Monday, September 26, 2005

My Best Friend

As Salaamu Alaikum

The follwoing is a diary entry of 14 yr Muslimah

My Best Friend
By Amatullah Abdullah

Dear Diary ,

When I hear anyone telling me about their best friend, I would feel "Oh I wish I had a friend like that!"

The fact is I had many friends. They were countless. Whomever I meet ,I called them my friend but I never had any best friend in my life. I saw my mother, my sisters, my brothers, my cousins, my classmates, etc talking about their friends and heard them talking about the strength in their bond of friendship. Many times I heard them say to each other " We have been through a lot together, we shared good times and bad times, laughter and tears, and no matter what, we were there for each other." These words made me yearn to have a best friend. I realized best friends are a blessing from Allah , subhanahu wa ta`ala (the Exalted and Glorified) and no matter what we do we cannot earn best friends unless Allah (swt) wills. A year back I was too silly that I used to have an imaginary friend who I always shared my feelings with and made everybody believe that this friend was real. My imaginary friend was my best friend who was with me during times of joy and hardship.

Sometimes I would not have control over my tears and it would flow through my cheeks and would drench my scarf. I wondered why? I then realized it is because I lack something precious in life…A BEST FRIEND! No imaginary friend can replace a real friend. I became desperate and wondered " Am I so cruel that nobody wants to be close to me even if I try to be close to them?" I sunk deep inside but never showed my emotions and pretended I didn't give way to my emotions.

I cried so much when I was alone! One day when I was crying for a friend, suddenly fears of shiver ran up my body…

I wondered why? Then felt a voice inside me saying,

"Stop!…Stop this nonsense!….How can you cry? And Why are you crying?…Don't you know Allah is the Walee of the believer?…Are you a believer?…If so then stop! And talk to your Best Friend!"

" Allah is the Walee (The Protector) of those who believe and takes them from darkness into light." (Qur'an 2:257)

SubhaanAllah!(Glory be to Allah)
He (Allah (swt), my Protector and my Friend) had been there with me even before I was born. He is there for at all times. He would never abandon me. His word (Qur’an) is a source of encouragement, hope and a counsel for me …He is The Best of all best friends anybody can have!

And I know my Best Friend will surround me with many more companions in the Hereafter. I will ask Allah (swt) to surround me with friends like Fathima ,radi Allahu `anha (may Allah be pleased with her) bint Muhammad salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings be upon him), one of the noble woman in the entire world ,because I read her story was so impressed and touched by her wonderful noble quality!

Now will I say " Oh I yearn for a best friend!”?

No! I will try my best to work according to the way my Best Friend advised and InshaAllah I will get to see my other friends like Fathima (ra) bint Muhammad (saws) in the Hereafter!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Prophet’s Compassion for Children

Alhamdulilah! one of my article entitled:

The Prophet's Compassion for Children

is published on Islam (IOL)

Here is the link : The Prophet’s Compassion for Children

The Prophet’s Compassion for Children
By Amatullah Abdullah

Children are a great blessing from Allah. With their tender hearts, children can be molded into righteous people only with a positive and tender approach. Islam considers children to be an amanah (trust) given to the family and says it is fard (obligatory) for the family to raise a child in a righteous manner. One should not favor one child over another. In Islam, both male and female children should be treated equally and should be loved and cherished. The children have certain rights over their parents; it is the family’s obligation to shelter, feed, clothe, educate, support, nurture, and love them.

In today’s world many parents are so immersed in worldly life that they forget to pay attention to their children. Many parents think that providing financial support for their child is enough. The fact is, financial support alone doesn’t fulfill a parent’s duty towards their child. One can only win a child’s heart through love and a gentle attitude. It is the child’s right to be loved and cherished.

I remember that, as a child, I yearned for the attention of my family, but being in a joint family—my family and my uncle’s family lived together and a few other cousins stayed with us as their parents were working abroad—did not give me the opportunity to experience the kind of attention I expected. My parents felt that they should not express their love for their children in front of others, as people might think they were favoring us. As a child (and even now), I heard people saying “We need not to express our love to prove that it is there, it is enough to have a loving heart.” But the fact is that only when one expresses love to a child will the child feel more confident and stronger. Children have the capacity to easily distinguish when there is a difference in the attitude of the adults. Whether an adult shows or does not show love will have a significant impact on a child. Hence, we adults have to be conscious with our behavior in the child’s presence and be constantly aware of the emotions we project to our children.

Nowadays, we see people have become hardhearted so that their attitude towards children is unpleasant. There are some who show much partiality toward one gender, and there are some who don’t treat others’ children with the same kindness or affection which they show to their own children. It is common to see even people who claim that they act on the Qur’an and Sunnah showing less interest in playing with their children or giving them the due attention or expression of love.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the model for the whole of humankind. His attitude towards children was always compassionate and merciful. Being fond of children, Prophet Muhammad showed great interest in playing with them. His involvement in children’s games shows us the great importance in playing with our children. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys.

Prophet Muhammad never held back his love for the children and always expressed his fondness to them. In one hadith Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

I went along with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached the market of Banu Qainuqa`. He came back to the tent of Fatimah and said, “Is the little chap (meaning Al-Hasan) there?” We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Al-Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him.” (Muslim)

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the servant of the Prophet, had another recollection:

I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim)

The Prophet’s love for children was not restricted to his children and grandchildren. The scope of his mercy and affection embraced all children, and he showed the same interest and gentleness to his Companion’s children. The following hadith narrated by Usamah ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) shows this humane aspect of the Prophet’s personality:

Allah’s Messenger used to put me on (one of) his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn `Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say, “O Allah! Please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.” (Bukhari)

Some people who were not able to understand the power of expressing love to children wondered why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) played with children and took such an interest in them. Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him),

Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet was always concerned about everyone’s thought and feeling. The following hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) proves his thoughtful character:

The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet was always patient and considerate with children and took great pain not to hurt their tender feelings.

Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.” (Al-Bukhari)

In a another hadith,

Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!” (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.” The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice. (Al-Bukhari)

In another narration we see the Prophet’s tolerance towards children.

Narrated `A’ishah: The Prophet took a child in his lap … and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. (Al-Bukhari)

Finally I would like to add another saying of the Prophet that proves that Muslims should be conscious to treat their sons and daughters justly:

“Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

From all the above hadith we see Prophet Muhammad’s attitude toward children is an example for the whole human race that shows how to treat them and cherish them at all times.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Marriage: It’s your choice!

Marriage: It’s your choice!

By Amatullah Abdullah

Saleema was sitting on the bed in her bedroom, staring at the beautiful red sari which had rich jardosi embroidery on the borders.

"Saleema baaji … Saleema baaji!" Sabeera sounded excited as she entered Saleema’s room.

"Baaji , guess what?!…." The excitement in her tone increased

"Papa has agreed to take me to perform Hajj after your wedding…"

Saleema forced a light smile and said in a low voice," "Oh that’s good Sabeera. I am happy for you."

"Baaji you don’t sound too good… are you ok?" Sabeera asked with concern.

"I’m ok, don’t worry …I haven’t slept properly for the past two days so I’m just tired," Saleema patted her sister’s head and smiled.

"Oh ok! I understand , you’re gonna be married in a week, so you must be nervous and excited and the excitement is not allowing you to sleep I guess! "Sabeera winked at her sister. Her eyes fell on the red sari.

"Wow this is so beautiful baaji, you’re gonna look like a doll in this sari!" Sabeera exclaimed pointing to the red sari on Saleema’s bed.

Saleema smiled, "Is Ummi back from mousy’s house? "

"Not yet," Sabeera answered, "I just got a call from the tailor and she said she would finish Ummi’s sari in another two days. I wanted to inform Ummi about this. Please inform her about this because I might forget. My memory hasn’t been good for the past few days" Saleema told her.

"Sure Baaji I’ll do that, but now I better go and clean my room before Ummi comes!" Sabeera pecked a kiss on her sister’s cheek and left her room.

Saleema was alone. She latched her door, leaned against it, and closed her eyes, tears gushed from her eyes flowing on her cheeks. Her heart told her, "Saleema, you have your freedom of choice, you have the right to choose and you need to express your feelings before it is too late. Marriage is for tranquility. Will you have tranquility in this marriage, which you don’t want?"

Saleema asked herself, "but how will I tell them, what if they alienate me and hate me for expressing my feelings about this man?" She struggled with her heart, which was insisting her to express her feelings. Finally, she decided to tell aunt Najeeba, her father’s sister who she considered to be the most understanding and considerate member in the family.

After an hour had passed, Saleema heard her mother’s voice downstairs and went down slowly on the steps to speak to her mother. Saleema’s mother came back from her aunt’s house. She brought a dazzling traditional jewelry set for her to wear on the wedding day.

"As Salaamu Alaikum , ummi…" Saleema said softly. Her mother turned around with a big smile on her face when she saw Saleema.

"Wa Alaikum Salaam. Saleema, look at this! I got this jewelry set for you. See whether you like it?"

"It’s beautiful," Saleema said with a smile.

"I know, and you will look gorgeous in this. I can’t wait to see you as a bride!" her mother was euphoric at the thought.

Saleema smiled faintly and said "Ummi, will mousy be coming home today….?" before she completed her sentence, she heard the door bell. Saleema answered the door hoping and wishing that it would be Aunt Najeeba and it was…

"As Salaamu Alaikum!" Najeeba greeted as she entered the house.

Saleema was glad that her aunt came and hugged and kissed her, "Wa alaikum salaam mousy. I knew you would be coming today …"

Najeeba laughed and said "I come here almost every day, especially since your wedding got fixed. Tasneem would not leave me even if I don’t come…" pointing to her mother.

Tasneem laughed and greeted her "As Salaamu Alaikum, of course, how could I leave you? You are not only my SIL but also my best friend and the bride’s to be aunt." Najeeba sat on the sofa with a huge grin and remarked to Saleema, "So, you must be counting your days now…"

Saleema sat quietly next to her aunt. Her mother and aunt were busy discussing the wedding and other ceremonies, which would be held before and after the wedding. Indian weddings have a lot of add-on ceremonies; a mehndi function, another reception after the wedding, etc.

Saleema pretended to read a magazine till her mother left to set the table and prepare lunch for them. Saleema was alone with her aunt Najeeba. She became restless and was wondering how to approach the subject about her feelings for the man who she is going to marry. Najeeba noticed Saleema’s restlessness and asked her "Do you want to say something Saleema?"

Najeeba could sense Saleema’s attitude as Saleema usually poured out her feelings and thoughts only to her aunt. Saleema always approached Najeeba if she had any problem and needed counsel.

"Yes mousy , I want to talk to you alone" she said. Najeeba got up, saying "Okay let’s go to your room." They both went to Saleema’s room and Saleema latched her door. Najeeba was looking at Saleema with worry.

"What is it Saleema ?" she asked. Saleema was thinking of how to start the topic and then said , "It is about my wedding Mousy."

"What about it?" Najeeba asked

"Oh mousy I really don’t know how to start…" Saleema’s eyes were filled with tears, "Mousy let me be honest with you. I don’t want to marry Ahmed"

Najeeba was shocked to hear this; her eyes widened. "But why, what’s wrong with him?"

"I grew up with him Mousy and my heart has always seen him as my own brother and now suddenly everybody says I am gonna marry him and my marriage date is fixed without my permission." Saleema said tearfully.

"My heart is not inclined towards him. I cannot accept him as my husband. Oh please Mousy help me," Saleema pleaded.

"Saleema sweetie, the marriage is fixed and now don’t you think it is too late…" Najeeba said softly. Saleema’s tone rose, "Mousy it will be too late only after marriage!" she busted into tears.

Najeeba hugged her niece and said, "Sweetie, even I had the same feeling when I married my husband but in course of time I started getting comfortable with him especially after having children…"

"What if I end up not being compatible after marriage?" Saleema asked her hurriedly

"But you will… I was not happy for 15 years but now I am happy, in fact very happy," Najeeba said trying to persuade her.

"GOOD!" Saleema said irritably.

"So you want me to marry him and wait till I become forty to have a comfortable married life?" Saleema was angry and disappointed, "I thought you would be the only one who would understand me." She added, sadly, "Nobody asked my permission Mousy. Everybody arranged this and then they come and tell me that I am gonna marry Ahmed and my marriage is fixed."

"I do understand sweetie but this is our culture. We all went through the same thing which you are going through," Najeeba said pathetically and hugged her niece.

"So I HAVE to marry him and I have no other choice?" Saleema asked desolately.

"Yes sweetie, being born as girls, we need to be patient and undergo all this. Allah will reward you for your patience," Najeeba said. Saleema was unable to hold back her tears and cried so much that Najeeba’s sari blouse got soaked with them. Najeeba kissed Saleema and tried to pacify her…

* * *

Islam, a way of life, is a religion that is moderate and balanced. Islam has the Qur’an and Sunnah to guide the people. Now what does Islam say about this situation?

Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya, that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah’s Apostle and he declared that marriage invalid. (Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 69)

He (saws) also said:

"The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their order is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained." (AlBukhari)

"Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise." (Ibn Hanbal, No. 1957).

Marriage is a beautiful and a sacred bond which allows each spouse to live in tranquility.

"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect." (Qur’an 30:21)

There are thousands of "Saleemas" in different parts of the world. They are forced into marriages and the result is that they too ruin their own daughters’ lives. Parents or guardians need to reflect on the words of Prophet Muhammad and the Noble Qur’an before they give in to their culture, if they call themselves Muslims.

After knowing what the Prophet (saws) said, can we still consider forced marriages to be valid in the sight of Allah???


© Amatullah Abdullah 2005.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Discovered A Friend!

As a writer I wanted to explore different areas of writing. This is my first fiction piece.

I Discovered A Friend!

Aisha was lying in bed 207 in the main block of Sumathi hospital, used by the less privileged in society. The shoddy furnishings that made up the ward exposed the quality of the Hospital. Dark deep cuts ran across Aisha’s pretty face. Salma and Shrin, about 16 stood at her bedside. Their dressings seemed trendy, in line with the latest in teen magazines. Salma was normally a poised young lady, but she looked somewhat uncomfortable on that particular morning.

Aisha looked at Salma and Shrin and asked them in a weak voice, “Where is Chitti?”

“She is outside,” replied Salma.

“Do you want me to call her?” asked Shrin.

“I want to tell her something” Aisha said in a fragile tone.

“You stay with her Salma I’ll go and get Aunt Jamilah” Shrin instructed as she left the room in search of Aunt Jamilah.

Salma nodded.

Salma was left alone with Aisha. She went and sat on the chair, which was near the bed. She placed her elbow on the edge of the bed in which Aisha was lying and placed her hand on her cheeks. Few minutes had passed and still Shrin was not back. Salma lowered her left hand looked at her watch without making it obvious that she was bored. This time, when she raised her head and looked at Aisha, she froze, a tinge of concern and shiver ran through her body when she saw at Aisha’s face losing colour.

“Goodness! What’s going to happen!?” she thought to herself.

Salma stood up and stroked Aisha’s head.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be all right,” Salma said and fought with her tears.

Aisha had been in the hospital for the past 3 days after a truck ran down on her. Salma, reluctant at first to pay her sick classmate a visit, agreed to pay a visit to Aisha in the hospital only after Shrin told her that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him had highly recommended to visit people who are old and sick.

“I’m sorry; because of me everybody’s summer vacation is ruined.” Aisha sounded guilty and sad.

Aisha was always considerate, helpful and concerned about others. Her helpless state caused her more pain than the hurt of her wounds. She always found happiness in helping other. She hated troubling anyone and always preferred to help than being helped. Now being in this plight, she thought she bothered others and this made her feel miserable.

Salma held Aisha’s hand tightly and said “No, not at all. Our dear friend is more important to us than our vacation…”

Aisha’s lips curved lightly into a light smile and said,” Thank you.”

“Salma, can you please open that drawer and take that envelope from there?” Aisha asked

Salma pointing to a table, which was in the corner. The table looked old and crooked with a rusted handle. Salma went to the table that was in the corner, pulled the draw, and took the envelope. It was a white long envelope. Salma was surprised to see that it was addressed to her. She looked at Aisha who nodded,
“That is for you Salma,” Aisha said.

Just then, Shrin entered the room with Jamilah. Jamilah, a woman who seemed to be in her mid forties looked elegant in her black burkha and scarf inspite of her stout stature. Aisha gestured the woman to come and sit next to her.

“Chitti...” she wanted to say something but found it difficult to speak.

“What is it sweetheart?” Jamilah touched Aisha’s cheeks gently.

“Chitthi, they will take me to the operation theatre for my surgery in another one hour….” Aisha paused and then continued. “Before I leave I wanted to tell you something.” She paused again for a minute and then continued, “Since the time I have known you, you have taken care of me like your own daughter. I never saw my parents...” Aisha could not hold back her tears this time. She held Jamilah’s hands and kissed it with her dimmed energy.

“You have been my mother Chitti and you are my mother…only Allah knows whether I will be alive or dead after the surgery,” Aisha told her and fought with her breath.

“Insha’Allah you’ll be fine sweetheart,” told Jamilah holding back her emotions that poured while Aisha spoke.

Jamilah was a strong woman who raised her sister’s daughter after her sister and her brother-in-law died in a car accident. Now, she sees Aisha in the same condition in which her sister and brother-in-law were 14 years back. Though Jamilah had two children of her own, she took care of Aisha who was always obedient and well mannered, like her own daughter. Jamilah was unable to see her beloved niece like this. The doctor had informed them that Aisha would need to undergo a surgery.

“Yes Chitti I do want to live if Allah wills and want to be always helpful to you and everyone,” Aisha said sincerely.

Jamliah hugged her niece, “Insha’Allah you’ll be fine after the surgery…” she kissed her niece’s forehead. Jamilah took her hands away from Aisha.

“No!” Jamilah shrieked.

Aisha was bleeding and she saw blood on her hands and pillow and shuddered. When Shrin saw the blood she almost fainted and Salma froze.

“We need to call the doctor immediately,” Jamilah told Salma. Icy shivers of anxiety ran up Salma’s spine.

“Please call the doctor…” Jamilah cried.

Salma was unable to move and her heart was beating wildly. Shrin dialed the emergency number on the intercom. The doctor arrived with two nurses and checked Aisha’s pulse.

“Hurry we need to rush her to the operating theatre,” the doctor told the nurse.

Before they took Aisha to the operating theatre her pulse stopped and her soul left her body. Jamilah who held back her emotions all this time burst into tears and broke down. Salma remained frozen till she heard Jamilah’s cry. Salma and Shrin tried to help Aunt Jamilah and tried to pacify her…


Salma rang the doorbell. She looked pale and exhausted as though she had not slept for weeks. A tall beautiful and elegant looking woman opened the door.

“As Salaamu Alaikum Salma!” she greeted Salma with a smile.

“Wa Alaikum salaam Amma,” Salma replied in a weary voice.

Anisa, Salma’s mother was in her late thirties. She found the usual warm beautiful smile on her daughter’s face was missing. She looked at Salma worried as Salma went and sat on the cushioned sofa and opened the letter, which Aisha gave her. Anisa saw tears rolling down Salma’s cheeks who was reading the letter,

“I don’t believe this!” Salma cried shaking her head, trying to balance herself physically and emotionally.

“What’s wrong Salma?” Anisa asked her.

“A…A...Ammaa…” Salma could not talk and bursted into tears.

Anisa never saw her daughter crying like this before. She came and sat next to Salma. Salma tucked her head on her mother’s shoulders. Anisa hugged her and patted her back gently.

“Relax sweetie…what happened? I have never seen you crying like this before.” Anisa asked her.

Salma wiped her tears from her cheeks and eyes. Her long beautiful eyelashes were still wet with her tears. Salma gathered her energy to talk to her mother,

“Amma …” She said, “Do you remember Aisha?”

Anisa nodded her head, “Isn’t she the one who always kept calling you up and always invited you to her place.”

“Yes Amma, she is the one,” she said.

“What about her?” Anisa asked.

"She died this morning…” Salma buried her face in her hands and cried.

Anisa immediately said, “To Allah we belong and to Allah we will return.”

And then continued, “What happened …was she unwell?”

Salma said, “She met with an accident. A truck ran down on her and she was admitted in the hospital. The doctor said there was nothing to worry about and we thought she would be fine … she suddenly started bleeding terribly … and she died…I am feeling guilty Amma!”

Anisa hugged her daughter and said, “Sweetie, everybody has an appointed time and it was time for her soul to leave this temporary abode…why do you feel guilty, this is all Allah’s will, nothing can stop anybody’s death.”

“I know Amma …I am guilty because I was a horrible friend!” Salma cried.

Baffled by these words, Anisa looked at Salma. Salma continued with her eyes filled with tears, “Every time she called me, I was annoyed and found her boring. I felt she was unpopular. She did not have the same interest I had…no music, no movies, no fashion…I kept ignoring her and she told me she yearned to have a friend like me and she wanted me to be her friend.”

Anisa was listening to her daughter patiently nodding her head. Salma looked up at her mother and continued confessing her attitude and her behaviour towards her friend when she was alive.
“She was a great friend. She always tried to give me gifts and tried inviting me home so many times. But… I kept ignoring all this and secretly wished she would leave me alone, and spoke ill of her when I was with my other friends. The last time she called me was yesterday and asked me if I could visit her…I became agitated but Shrin insisted that we would go visit her as she is sick.”

“Alhamdulillah, she never knew -- she really thought you were a good friend. At least you gave her that happiness.” Anisa said thoughtfully.

Salma paused and stammered to get the words again to speak, “ W…w…when I… I… I… read the letter she gave me…I feel horrible after reading the words ‘Good friends are precious! Thank you for being my friend’.”

She continued, “The only people around her when she died were me, Shrin and her aunt. She is an orphan so only her aunt was the only relative near her when she died. Her face was so beautiful after her soul left her body.” She raced with her words breathing hard.

She paused and then continued, “Do you know Amma what she wrote in that letter?”

Anisa asked her, “What did she write?” She sounded eager to know the content of the letter thinking that it might be the content which is upsetting her daughter.

Salma said, “The letter said I was her best friend. She was an orphan. She mentioned that she yearned to have a best friend but she never had any, till she met me…” Salma buried her face in her hands and started to cry …

Anisa poured some water into the glass and gave her to drink. After a glass of water she continued,” The truth is, I never treated her like my friend. Friends are supposed to care for each other but I didn’t and instead I spoke ill of her behind her back. I was never proud to have her around me…but to be honest; she was the best friend I have ever had…. She never expected anything from me though she was needy, she was always smiling and helpful and she never hesitated to correct me when I was wrong but I used to hate that and always snubbed her…she always praised me if I did a good job at work.”

“Amma, I have lost a wonderful opportunity of taking her and treating her as my best friend.” Salma said.

“No! Only now you got a friend” Anisa said smiling at her daughter.

“What makes you say that Amma?” Salma asked earnestly.

“Aisha made you realise your faults after her soul left this world. Now every time you do something, you will remember her and her words of advice… won't you?” Anisa asked.

Salma nodded.

“Well, her words are living in your heart and those words are your friend! Salma…A friend is someone who would make us almost invincible and helps us with his or her counsel when we face a problem.”

Anisa added, “Many people will walk in and out of your life; but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart…Aisha has left footprints in your heart which will never be wiped out!”
Salma nodded “Yes Amma, you are right, I have discovered my true friend!”


Amatullah Abdullah 2005.