Admittedly, much of my blog focuses on negative or quirky things I observe in the multiple worlds that I occupy. As I am going through these challenging times, I’m trying to remember all the things that inspire me. Time and time again we read about horror stories of the miskeena Muslim woman. One of the most common mantras you here in women’s gathering is how wack Muslim men can be. Even if the women aren’t implicating their own spouses, few hold up good examples that others should follow. That really raised a big question: Where are the examples of good men in general, and good Muslim men specifically? I know several who I really admire.
The other day I had a conversation with my friend where our mutual friend’s father’s name, Salah Lashin, came up. His name really set a smile on both of our faces. My friend said that she wanted to write him and tell him what deep impact he had on her life. Both my friend and I went to school with Salah’s daughters. Occassionally I’d spend the night and on the way to school or to the masjid he’d start the car and make a du’a. My friend pointed out it was a heartfelt du’a. All his bismillahs were. My friend and I were both moved by his constant dhikr. His heartfelt connection to Allah contrasted with the dry version that I was acquainted with. He was is hard working man, devout Muslim, and happily Muslim. His example showed me that you didn’t have to drop everything, perform hijrah, or join some Islamic program to be a good Muslim. Islam was about balance and the emodiment of ideals. I saw how his life was centered around Islam and it manifested itself in the love and care he expressed to his wife and three daughters. Masha’Allah, I really admire him for his role as a husband to Madeha (Allah Yarhumha) and as a father. Over the years I became convinced that this man was destined for jennah. I even have proof based upon Prophetic traditions:
The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, `Whoever had three daughters and showed patience in their keeping, their pleasure and displeasure, Allah admits him to Paradise for his mercy over them.
A household of four women is not easy. Women are moody and it is easy for the lone man to get ganged up on. That’s why I especially admired Salah. He didn’t have an complexes about his manhood being attacked. He never seemed mournful that he didn’t have sons. I never saw him be mean to anyone and he supported his wife and her community work. Did I mention he loved his wife? He defied all the stereotypes we read abut in the West about Arab and Muslim men. Masha’Allah for some of us salty Muslim sisters, he was proof that there were good men out there.
Salah and Madeha inspired me because they supported three daughters through college. One of the things that makes supporting daughters through school even more laudable than supporting sons is that parents invest in their daughter’s education not for prestige nor for future investment with an expectation that their daughters will take care of them. Daughters often go to their husband’s households, their careers may stop because they have children. But Salah and Madeha educated their daughters as a way to ensure their daughter’s future and to afford them all the opportunities young women should have. And they didn’t half step. They sent them to a prestigious private school. And that was no easy feat on their salary. They sacrificed and strove and made it happen. The third daughter to attend the university applied for financial aid so it would not be such a burden.
I was definitely inspired by the value that many of the immigrant Muslims placed on their daughters’ education. It contrasted with the culture in my family where when you were 18 you were expected to hold it down on your own. My mom pointed out that from age 16, I basically took care of myself. I gave up my college aspirations in high school because I felt like I could not afford to go to school. Years later, after I transferred to Santa Clara, withdrew in 1998, and finally went back in 2001 I got more family support. It took a lot of encouragement and some solid examples–the primary one being Salah and Madeha’s hard work. In the back of my mind, I felt that the way Salah and Madeha raised their daughters was the way to go. It was also my aspiration to work in Islamic schools at the time that drove my initial academic interest at Santa clara.
It just wasn’t in our rizq to have two dedicated parents. I have been blessed to see a wonderful Muslim man embody the beauty of our Islamic values. I witnessed the inner workings of a functional American Muslim family.They worked hard contribute to the Muslim community in Silicon Valley. The family pulled together during hard times and sickness. During that time, the only thing many of us could do was make du’a. Normally I don’t do this. I try not to name names on my blog. But for years I wanted to dedicate something to this brother, for all the hardship he endured with patience and constancy. I think that we should acknowledge everyday heroes. We should remember the people who touched our lives in positive ways. Mr. Salah Lashin, you have touched many people. I will ask anyone that knows you, and even those who don’t to make du’a. May Allah reward your efforts.