We’re having Sunday morning conversation at our house, as my three kiddos (for once) sit together calmly at the dinner table with me and eat their breakfast. Lil D, who is hungry because we all slept in a little (though he awoke bright and early like he always does), is sitting down nicely and eating – no trying to run around and come back for bites, none of the recent rigmarole of me trying to make him sit down and eat with him resisting me at every step.
A nice Sunday morning family breakfast (minus their dad, who unfortunately was at work).
Lil D’s younger siblings took notice, as they always do when we have a relatively quiet, nice time together or the rare times when Lil D is smiling and seems happy.
Says Amal, “Bhai is happy this morning. I wish he will be happy all day.”
Hamza one ups her: “I want Bhai to be happy the rest of his whole life!”
“Oh Hamza,” I remark, “That is one of the best things you could ever pray for.”
“I pray for him to be happy and peaceful all the time, Mamma,” says Amal.
“I pray for Bhai to be able to talk,” Hamza chimes in. (They always try to compete, even in what they pray for.)
“That’s great,” I tell them. “I’m glad you pray for those things in every namaz [the five daily prayers Muslims do]. You should pray for those things in between namaz as well – whenever you can remember too.”
“But Mamma, Bhai doesn’t do namaz,” Hamza says in a worried voice. He’s been asking me this a lot lately, worried that Lil D doesn’t often join us when we stand together as a family to pray. I’ve been teaching Hamza how to do the rituals of prayer and imparting upon him the importance of the prayer requirement in Islam. So it’s sinking in, and the flip side is that he worries that his older brother is not praying like he and Amal does.
“Bhai has namaz in his heart,” I say. “Allah knows this. Bhai has Allah in his heart all the time.
“You know Bhai has problems, and that we are doing our best to help him. And for someone like Bhai, Allah makes things different for them. Even if Bhai can’t pray like we do, he prays in his own way, and Allah loves him for it,” I add.
The kids consider this. Amal, my thoughtful daughter who is wise in Autism-lore beyond her tender years, knows this conversation well. We’ve had it many times. Hamza is new to this. I see him puzzling through this in mind.
“You know guys, I always say that though things are pretty hard for Bhai in this life, in this world, he Insha’Allah [God willing] already has his ticket to Jannah (heaven). We all are being tested in this life by everything we do, every decision we make. But Bhai? His ticket to Jannah is already there for him on a golden platter.”
“Do you know that for sure, Mamma?” Amal asks me.
“Well, I can’t say I know anything for sure. I always tell you guys that Allah knows best, that only He knows what will happen. But I can say I’m preeeeeettttttyyyy sure that Bhai has his ticket to Jannah, that it doesn’t matter what he does here in this life. He will, Insha’Allah, be going to Jannah.”
“Awesome!” Hamza declares. And we move on to our next conversation – what Garfield is doing in the Sunday comics, while everyone finishes up their breakfast. Can’t have a better Sunday morning breakfast than that.