For those of you interested in Part 2, Ya Sin: a hifdh journey in America, alhumduilah it is now available via Amazon & Createspace. See below for a taste of Part 3, Chapter 1:
From Surah Al Kahf: journey of a lifetime (forthcoming part 3 in the Qur’anic Odyssey series)
See About for more information on the series, Glossary for any definition of terms appearing in italics below and Cast of Characters for further description of characters.
Chapter 1: A departure
Setting: Kitchen, family home, Houston, February 2015
Characters: Khadijah and Abdurrahman
“Do you think they’ll understand?” I whisper to Abdurrahman, who is seated next to me at our kitchen table. We’ve just said goodnight to the children and I’m concerned they may still be awake and listening to our conversation, despite the fact doors are closed, upstairs.
“I do,” he responds clearly, nodding his head for emphasis. “And I also don’t think you need to whisper, but it’s your call,” he adds, smiling at me, and brushing a crumb off the table. He stands up to get a glass of water.
A residual pots soaks in the sink, but otherwise, the dinner dishes are done. There is a sense of closure to the day when everything is put away in the kitchen—the hub of every home I know. At least that’s how it feels for me, but probably Abdurrahman would have another perspective.
“My parents went before we were born, and then Ammi went later with Abdullah, but before their children,” I explain, while simultaneously wrapping a loose purple thread from my dupata around my index finger, as if that might help put things in order. My back is turned to Abdurrahman, though I watch his reflection in the window. Eventually comes back to sit down next to me with his glass.
“I know, janu. I’m well aware of that, but, with all due respect, we’re not you’re parents. Every year, I’ve asked you, and every year, you’ve told me that they are too young, but Khadija do you see us now? At some point, we might be too old. It’s already been eleven years. Ibrahim is almost ten masha’Allah; Amna will soon be seven. They are going to be ok. Quite honestly, it’s you I’m more worried about,” he says, putting his hand on my index finger, where I’m starting to the cut off the circulation by incessant winding.
I look at him and let go of the thread. Tears start to form in my eyes at the prospect of leaving the children. I wasn’t expecting the struggles of hajj to start so early. We haven’t even booked our tickets, and my heart feels as though it’s being squeezed.
“Listen, let’s not talk about this anymore tonight,” suggests Abdurrahman. “Why don’t you speak to your mother in the next couple of days? Hafidha Rabia and Ruqiyyah should also have some ideas. Let’s head up,” he says beckoning to me. “Maybe I can even help you review tonight?”
I nod my head in agreement, as tears continue to fall gently. Part of me senses that we’ve already left.