I Smile for My Sister

21

Turning in a moment of sincere du’aa to Allah, how will the prayer unfold?

The swirls and patterns of my pale pink prayer mat are blurred through my tired tears. I blink and my clouded eyes water as tears tickle my flushed cheek. I bend down into sujood – I cry my heart out. Alhamdulillah.

The wind is howling outside, but I feel the warmth of faith in my heart. I raise my hands for d’ua while I look to the bed on which my elder, nineteen-year-old sister is fast asleep. I look at her and I feel a purge of submission to my Lord. More tears stream out as I pray and plead for her to see the beauty of hijab, and for her to be guided along the right path. My salty tears are damp on my cheeks when I finally fall asleep; my lips moist with dhikr.

A few months later…

It’s the Christmas holidays and the same elder sister has come home from University. She has just come upstairs from watching Pirates of the Carribean, and it is about 1 am. She nips downstairs to retrieve some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream – bliss in a tub. Even though it’s winter, my sister and I are addicted to this ice cream. I’m sitting on my bed reading old texts on my phone to pass some time when my sister comes upstairs and, sitting next to me, offers me some ice cream. While we silently share the tub, she tells me: “I’m going to tell you something. I haven’t told anyone else. Not Mum or anyone else…”

“What’s the matter?” I ask, a little worried at this point, but still totally engrossed in the ice cream.

“I’ve decided… I’m… I’m going to start wearing hijab…”

The broadest smile creeps across my face, my heart, and my very soul. Tears have suddenly formed in the corners of my light-filled eyes and I drop my spoon and hug her with so much love and adoration. I tightly close my eyes as I thank my Lord from the bottom of my heart; my prayer has been answered. A prayer which I thought would never come to be. It is truly a miracle.

She then tells me how she has come to know how important it is – my fingers and toes have gone numb from the cold and the shock. But I am so happy. It is like my whole body is filled with candy floss and light and rainbows and everything else happy and blissful in the world.

I ask her when she is going to start. Unfortunately, she says she wants to wait for one more summer, and then in the next academic year she will start. I suggest that she starts in a few days when the new year begins, but she is nervous, she wants to wait. I respect this decision, still overflowing with happiness.

A few more months later, March 3rd…

I come back from a rather good day at school, I log onto facebook to see my sister’s status as she was at University during the week. It is something along the lines of “SubhanAllah, the decision has been made.” At this very moment in time, I suddenly know something is up and I call her at University straight away. I asked her what’s up, what’s happened. I can hear a change in her voice – I just want her to tell me.

She tells me she’s coming home tonight for the weekend, so she’ll fill me in then – but I am persistent. I carry on chatting to her about my day and what’s been happening when she eventually says: “Fine. I’ll tell you… I’ll tell you. I’ve started. I’ve started hijab, this morning…”

“I KNEW IT!” I scream into my mobile with sheer excitement. She then tells me about her journey, and how she’s been thinking about it and how she feels a need for it, while I listen attentively sitting on my bedroom floor, with tears of bliss trickling down my smiling face. I feel so proud of her and so, so thankful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for letting her see the beauty and light and peace which is hijab.

She wants to “surprise” everyone else when she arrives home that night, so I have to keep it quiet! I attend a Muslim Roleplay Event for the youth that night, so I don’t get to see my parents’ and brother’s reaction when she is picked up from the train station, but when I get home, I give her a big hug, and I must say, this is one of the happiest moments of my life so far. Alhamdulillah, Allah can guide anyone, if we pray and and keep our faith in Him.

That night, I gather together my savings and present them to my mother, asking if my sisters and brother can go out to Pizza Hut that night for my elder sister. My mother looks at me lovingly and laughs a little, giving me back my money.

That evening, at the restaurant, I can sense the paranoia which tries to cloud my sister. She is telling us how the waitress has never acted like this before, even though there is nothing different. I try to calm her down and we make jokes and ultimately have a lovely meal. At one point, during the hot, sticky cookie-dough dessert, I look at my sister in her pink hijab. She is tugging at the ends to make sure it is perfect. I chuckle a little inside and smile so much – I look at her and I feel such a sense of love towards her – I am so, so happy for her. I then look through the window up at the night sky. It is a surprisingly clear night and I can see a number of beautiful stars lighting up the black sky like fireflies. “Alhamdulillah” I mutter to myself. I have never been so happy.

The love I feel for my Lord after this is truly the purest and most beautiful love ever. I am so thankful to Him for guiding my elder sister – as well as guiding hundreds of other sisters around the world.

Allah will never leave you, sisters. You can always be guided, even if it seems too late, even if it seems like it will never happen. Keep your trust in Him and pray with all of your heart and soul. Be patient and don’t worry, you will never be alone – and smile.