Another foot massage tonight. Not for me, for my mom. I rub her feet to honour Allah subhana wa ta'ala. I rub her feet to acknowledge the thousands upon thousands of hours that she has spent serving me on her feet throughout, from before I was born, until now. Sadly, she blames me for everything negative that happens these days. If she is depressed, it is my fault. If she overeats, it is my fault. Most troubling of all, she blames me for her imminent death, saying that she will be killed, because of my conversion ( لا سمح الله ). I walk into the house from work, and she looks me in the eyes and calls me names: "idiot," "stupid," and so on. She tells me to get out of her face, or to leave, so that she does not have to look at me. No child wishes to hear such disappointment from their parent, especially her mother.
Yesterday I gave my mother a heartfelt Mother's day card; my mother of five children received only one card, including mine. Although I did not attend church with her, I stayed at home and cleaned the house, planted tomato plants, and suffered with allergies as I hovered over her peonies in order to unravel an endless length of vines, which were choking her flowers. I only glean the patience to perform such tedious chores from the command of Allah that I honor my mother and respect her requests. By the time she returned home, I had also baked Banana Bread and Roasted Butternut Squash. Nevertheless, my poor mom glares at me with disdain. It is pulling teeth to even persuade her to sit with me and eat, instead of sitting at her laptop. I observed that she was enjoying rap and pop songs about mothers, which were posted on Facebook by her beloved Bishop Savas Zembillas. Therefore, I thought I would also wish my mother Happy Mother's Day on her Facebook page, by posting Maher Zain's moving song 'Number One For Me.' Immediately she refused to watch it, saying it was 'too Muslim,' based on the artist's name. I was able to persuade her to click play - I sat beside her and watched it, while tears streamed down my face. I had already checked to be sure there was nothing overtly Muslim, such as prayer rugs or hijabs, in the video, so as not to make her uncomfortable. Although she was semi-smiling throughout the song, she deleted my Happy Mother's Day wish from her Facebook wall after we watched it, saying that his (beanie) hat was 'too Muslim.' My mom also commented that I was not a bad child, even that I never did anything wrong, but it is now, as an adult, that I am causing her problems.
Clearly, I am quite disheartened that my mother constantly disproves of my religion and behaviour. Even today she called me "stupid," adding that "anybody that is a Muslim, they're stupid." Despite her cruel words, I thank Allah for the patience to bear them. Aya 63 of Surah 24 Al-Furqan (The Criterion) in the Quran states that "the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace."
Meanwhile, in the face of these tests I am becoming increasingly more grounded in this vast faith, that is Islam. I'm grasping more and more what it means to be a slave of Allah, as opposed to conducting myself on this earth, as if I am entitled to a particular treatment or blessing from the Creator of the Worlds. The truth be told, Allah owes me nothing. Everything that I have is a mercy of Allah. I immerse myself in the Quran and Tafsir in order to become more grounded. I lack a local community of faith, partly because I do not have the freedom to visit local mosques, but I pray again:
Oh Allah guide me, and put me in the company of those whom you have guided.
Oh Allah, protect me and put me in the company of protected people.
and Oh Allah, befriend me, and put me in the company of your friends and allies.