by Tabassum Mosleh
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim,
‘Assalamu alaikum,’ said Aisha on the phone, between heavy sobs.
‘Walaikum assalam, what’s the matter honey?’ asked her friend Mishma. Strange, thought Mishma, I have never seen Aisha so upset. It must be something serious.
‘It’s mom. She’s just driving me c-crazy!’
‘Shh… it’s all right honey, tell me all about it.’
‘You know I told you I have a thyroid problem? So it’s like I have been feeling a bit ill for the last few weeks. You know I’m scared of blood and injections, and even the smell of disinfectant scares me. I was dreading going for the blood test. But finally I forced myself to go yesterday. So it’s bad . . . it seems my hormones have all gone up. I tried to tell mom. You know I was very scared.’
‘Yes I know, it must have been a shock.’
‘So she just goes, “You know it’s your fault! Why are you telling me this now? You don’t take medicines on time. I told you a hundred times, you eat too much, and you don’t exercise! So don’t complain that you’re sick. It’s all your fault.” I was just trying to share with her, and she did this to me. She never understands me! Oh I’m sick of it!’
Mishma understood. It might sound a bit like overreacting on Aisha’s part, especially to complain about one’s mother. But Mishma knew what it must feel to share such intense feeling of worry and fear, and then have it all slapped on your face instead.
‘And now I feel so stupid! I’m really good for nothing. I should have exercised harder. Oh I hate myself!’
Mishma said, ‘I know honey. It’s all right. I know it’s not your fault. You do try.’
‘Yes . . . yes exactly! She knows that I try! And it’s actually her fault. She knows I’m scared of blood. I told her a thousand times to take me there, but she’s just too busy to make time for her daughter. And now she goes and blames me!’
‘Well, maybe she really couldn’t make time, you know. She is your mother, and she loves you a lot. Maybe that’s why she got angry. We don’t get angry easily on strangers; it’s those we love who really get under our skin.’
‘So you mean that it is my fault?’ She suddenly sounded angry at Mishma.
‘No, no! How could you have predicted the future?’
‘Then whose fault is it?’ Mishma was shocked to realize that she was livid by now.
‘Darling, I don’t blame anyone. I don’t blame either of you. It’s no more your fault than the pathologist’s who wrote your crazy blood report! You both did what you felt was the best thing at the time. I understand how you’re feeling. But playing “pass the blame-ball” is not a solution. You know none of this happened without the permission of Allah Ta’ala. He could have fixed your hormones if He willed. He could have made it possible for your mother to make time.’
‘Yes that’s true. He could. But He didn’t.’
Mishma could sense Aisha’s anger shifting, yet again, but in a more dangerous direction. She hurriedly intervened.
‘Yes, He didn’t. Why didn’t He? We don’t know. But we know Him. He is the One who loves us more than we can imagine. He is the Most Merciful. So it follows that what He has decreed is in fact a manifestation of His love and mercy. And He is the Most Wise, so His decree is the wisest thing that could possibly happen. Your disease is the best thing that could happen to you. It’s an opportunity for you to learn patience, and raise your status with Allah higher and higher. It will make you learn to be optimistic, to look at the bright side.’
Aisha was silent, but Mishma knew she wasn’t angry anymore but ratheseriously thinking.
‘By the way, what about the thing which is the cause of all this fuss? Have you talked to a doctor about what can be done to fix you up?’
‘No, I was too upset.’
‘So! In the process of finding out who to blame, you forgot to find out what to do to fix the problem?’
Mishma started laughing heartily at this, and, reluctantly, Aisha joined her.