A Father’s Perspective
This morning I handed a piece of my soul over to my sworn enemy. It was indescribably painful, but I actually ripped it out myself and as if possessed, I stood at the gates and handed it over with a smile. I was left with a tortured, torn soul –confused and overwhelmed. How could I do such a thing? I should know better. How could this be right? Is it right? Is it wrong?
A hug, a kiss, a pat on the back and off he goes to school. The parents get expectedly emotional, but other than that, his first day at school is also expectedly as routine as all the other days to follow. No, it is not my kid’s first day of preschool or kindergarten; rather, it is my 15 year-old boy’s first day as a sophomore in high school.
By far, today’s farewell invoked a much worse feeling than his first day of preschool or kindergarten: How could I, his parent charged with his nurturing and protection, surrender him to the very same unrelenting enemy that tortured my own high school days? How would he be protected if I wasn’t there? Would my enemy treat him the same way it treated me… way back when?
Watching through my tears as a piece of my soul walks off into enemy lines set ablaze every fiber of both brain and heart. The two wrestled: The sea of temptation and corrupt influences is simply overwhelming. My son’s high school has mashallah an MSA of 40+ who hold jum’a on campus in addition to other MSA activities. My son has too easy of a time “blending in.” Maybe boys also should wear hjiab, a public banner reminding both themselves and others of their values. What if he doesn’t speak with other Muslims on campus? …but there will be a Muslim in each of his classes and always a hijabi within his line of sight. The world is too cruel… the world is so much more educated about Muslims today than my high school days. My son has non-Muslim friends on and off campus. My son has Muslim friends on and off campus. The wresting went on…
Despite the lingering pain of my own high school years, I had to consider the possibility that what lies inside those high school gates is not my son’s enemy. No matter their creed, gender, political opinions, attire, hidden or apparent agenda… for better or for God-forbid-worse, they are his friends. In the tradition of all our beloved prophets… “who said to their brothers”… I have resolved that the folks at my son’s high school are his Quranicly defined brothers.
I also reflected that unlike back in my time, my son does not stand alone in the same sea of temptation and animosity of his father’s high school. The sea is still vast and deep, but alhamdu lillah today my son sails proudly with many others who are contemporary proof “that Islam will flourish in all corners of the globe.”
I know that all my questions will never be fully answered nor all my fears resolved, but why do I feel so overwhelmed today since the Quran and Hadith have been there all along?
At the gates of his school this morning, it finally it hit me: No matter the extent of my fears or how I rationalize them away, the bottom line result of the fight between my brain and heart is simply that Allah can always be trusted.
To you, O Allah, I entrust my 15 year old boy today and every day. I trust you, O Allah to change what were my enemies into his brothers. I trust you, O Allah to calm the sea around him and send your gentle breezes to keep him sailing smoothly towards You. I know, O Allah that your promises never fail and that Islam will flourish in my son’s corner of this globe. I trust, O Allah that You know better why my son doesn’t wear hijab yet his sisters in faith do, and I trust that for a fact Your choices O Allah are always better for him.
This morning I have NOT handed a piece of my soul over to my sworn enemy. I have ripped out a piece of my soul, O Allah, and entrusted it only to You.
To my dearest Huthayfa on your first day of 10th grade, “Nastaw di’ukumullah allathee la tadee’oo wadaa’i’uh ~ I entrust you to God, with whom all trusts are never lost.”