Tag Archives: business

For My Dad. My Quiet Hero

I have three sisters. My house was usually overflowing with girlish giggles, chit chat about hair, shoes and even sensitive topics that would make any man writhe in his seat. Our girlfriends would often come to visit, adding to the weight on the feminine side of the scale in our home.

But my father, although often quiet and reserved, didn’t fade into the shadows. His example and support shaped each one of our lives. From the honest integrity with which he ran his business, to his passion for cars, he provided an independent, brave example that was unwilling to compromise on ethics to get ahead.

Some of my fondest memories are the exciting swap meets I enjoyed with him as a child, and watching him restore regal, but dated cars to their original glory in our garage on weekends. I grew to love all the smells of oil and polish, grease, and metal. I loved when he would take me with him on an errand, like a trip to a special parts supplier far away, or to job sites for his business.

In Highschool I wound up the only girl in car care class, where I learned how to change the oil and brakes on my ’87 Monte Carlo. I was proud to hear its small block 305 engine rumbling as I drove it into the high school shop. My Dad’s influence is clear in many of my own passions and aspirations.

He taught me about how to handle turns on a race track and I think of him everytime I take curves on the parkways (even in my minivan). But more than love of cars, hard work and getting dirty, he provided numerous other examples and a special kind of support. My Dad never pushed me to go in any particular direction. Instead he listened, and payed attention to what mattered to me. What I was passionate about. What made me happy. Then, with his quiet demeanor he stepped in to make it happen. He never announced his favors, or reminded me about them. They were always just there. Just right.

Like many fathers, my Dad worked hard (and still does!) for his family. Successfully running his own business, the stress of which I recognize more keenly now. Even with the ups and downs and uncertainty of that difficult endeavor, we were his primary concern, before himself.

He invested so much in my family – in me.

I’m sure when I announced my decision, that I had become Muslim, it couldn’t have been easy for him. But he put my happiness first. He affirmed that I could believe whatever I wanted to.

The stage following my decision to enter Islam was tough for me and my family at times. When I moved back to my parent’s house after a year or so developing as a Muslim away from home, there was inevitably some tension.

I knew my mom felt uncomfortable about me covering my head. It must have been hard, seeing her daughter looking so unlike the girl she had raised.

I was torn between not hurting my mom and wearing a piece of cloth – an identity that had become beloved to me. So, When I would go off to work in the morning, I’d wear the hood on my jacket from the house to the car. Once in my car I would awkwardly struggle to fix my hijab in the rearview mirror. Upon returning home, I would remove my scarf and replace it with my hood once again.

I thought no one knew.

But, my Dad was so aware. He always seemed to somehow know what was going on. One day he approached me and informed me, he had seen what I had been doing.

“You don’t have to do that.” He gently told me.

He assured me I didn’t have to hide my hijab. I saw the compassion in his eyes.

Though all my family has gradually become somewhat more comfortable with my Muslim identity and my choice  to cover more of my body, my Dad has perhaps shown the most support. Warning me when a Man is coming over or at the door and making sure I am dressed before he allows them in.

When he met my then to-be husband, he asked “How are you going to take care of my daughter?”

He held my hand at my marriage. kneeling on the floor in a mosque, he facilitated yet another happiness for me.

That is real love. The kind of love to ponder – that boggles the mind and fills the heart.

I pray I will grow to be a better daughter, to express that same kind of love to my father. To give back a little, even a fraction of what he’s provided me. To make him know that he’s my hero.

dadwedding

My Dad and I, on my wedding day

Advertisements

Unlocked

Islam is liberation.

Freedom.

Every person has the ability to be free through Islam if they choose.

Even if they are poor.
Even if they are oppressed.
Even if they are physically in chains-

In the bowels of a torturous prison.

Because Islam straddles every rift;

It’s able to encompass every one and every thing.

It’s kind of like this:

Think of a type of success; say, via business.

You want to be successful-

Rather, you need a successful form of sustenance.

So you decide to start a business.

But you don’t know what kind of business will be successful; how to start one, how to run it.

You know nothing about being an entrepreneur.

If you have to go through the process all alone and figure out every detail from knowing absolutely nothing,

it will surely be a struggle.

If your success and wellbeing depend entirely on running that business flawlessly, the process will no doubt be stressful.

Your lack of knowledge is a burden.

Let’s say you are receiving conflicting information about the correct way to run a business. It will be hard to decide which advice will be more beneficial. You may fail many times over.

You struggle everyday.

And then suddenly an experienced and highly successful business person comes along. They provide everything you need to make your business more than you even imagined it could be.

They give you the money, the knowhow, the contacts. They educate you on what to do every step of the way. They are entirely at your disposal.

Can you imagine the burden lifted? The relief?

That’s how Islam works.

The tools to surmount every obstacle are provided for you. Handed to you.

For free.

So naturally: implementing it is freeing.

The burden of not knowing is lifted.

Guidance is provided at every step.

You see and feel the results.

And it all has to do with the self, or the soul.

So, that self can adapt to be in the best state relative to its particular situation.

Contrary to what you might think, even wealth and comfort are tests in this life.

So someone seemingly living an easy life is also in need of guidance on how to reach true success.

Pitfalls exist in every situation. We need knowledge to avoid them.

Opportunities for benefit exist in every situation. We need knowledge to recognize them.

To be successful in the life we all have been given, we need knowledge from the One who gave life to us.

Naturally.

When you have that knowledge, it liberates you from the shackles of ignorance and the burdens of incorrect advice.

It’s like driving on a smoothly paved, straight road as opposed to an uneven ground covered in stones and obstacles.

Wouldn’t you feel free once you get off the rocky terrain onto that smooth road?

Woohoo! That’s the free life.

And I think whatever way someone might follow, the satisfaction can never compare to the complete satisfaction of living the way you are intended to live: Driving on that straight, clean road.

According to the guidance given by the manufacturer. Your manufacturer.

So one might ask how do we know which is the right set of instructions?

If you really want to know, it just takes a little dedication.

Truth stands out amongst falsehood.

If you want it, really want it, it will be shown to you. Given to you.

Handed to you with utmost Mercy.

That smooth road you were hoping for.
Comfort.
Peace.

Then if you choose it and put effort into following it:

Success.

Freedom.

“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.” (7:157)

“Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it; it is a revelation from the Most Wise, the Worthy of Praise.” (41:42)