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Yemeni Journey

Ten Years

Ten years since I last saw my older sister, Shaakirah. Ten years since I saw her daughter, then a blond haired whirlwind rushing through our house on a one night visit on their way to Morocco. Ten years since my sister and I had one of our long conversations, which covered every subject from Islaam to baby diapers. Ten very long years, in which our family was whittled down by the loss of our sister Patty, and my father, Ray.

The timing couldn’t have been better. As we approached the Charlotte airport the cell phone rang. My daughter, Sukhailah, telling me that her aunt had called and said they were in the baggage area. A few minutes later, I called my sister, and they were waiting outside for us.

“You look for them, I’ll do my best not to run over anyone,” was my husband’s injunction. I craned my neck trying to see them, thinking that it couldn’t be too hard to spot two women in hijaab and a kind looking man with a long grey beard.

“There they are!” said my husband, who, of course, spotted them before me while managing not to crash into any pedestrians. I looked, but still didn’t see them. Then, I saw Abdul Ghani, looking trim and distinguished in his suit coat. And next to him was my sister.

Never having been one to worry too much about my dignity, I began waving madly as my husband swerved over to the curb. I leapt out of the car and grabbed my sister, hugging her hard. She felt like I remembered her- sweet and soft and like home. I vaguely heard my husband greeting hers, then leaned back to look at her eyes. Same blue eyes, crinkling in smile, peering out from her veil. I hugged her again, giving her another squeeze. Whatever deep, thoughtful thing that would have been said had this been a movie never got said. Instead, my sister said,

“You’ve gotten taller!” That was when I realized that she was right- instead of looking up at her, as I had for all of my life, I was now looking down. We both looked at our shoes, to see if that could be the cause- it wasn’t- and when I looked up I saw my niece, Ayesha.

No longer little, no longer blond, but still resembling my sister enough that their relationship was very clear. I hugged her to me as well. We climbed into the car, and I waved goodbye to Abdul Ghani as we headed for home.

Shaakira has been here for a week now. We have done a lot of remembering, laughing and dancing. One of the first things she told me was that I reminded her of our sister, Patty, now. So funny, because I always thought Patty was so wonderful, and I can’t see her in me at all. We measured ourselves- I had actually grown an inch, go figure. We’ve gone shopping and stayed up late talking and caused our children to roll their eyes at us just as we used to roll our eyes at our mother

Ten years may have passed, but within ten minutes of being together, it was like they were nothing.

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13 comments

umm qaasim on June 25, 2012 4:06 am Reply

as salaamu alaikum!kayfa halekum.i miss u guys so much.i am very happy to have found this site.your writings are very in dept and deeply expressive .contact me whenever you get a chance .i don’t have your e-mail adress.

Khadijah on June 25, 2012 10:27 am Reply

I miss you too, my sweet sister. I will certainly contact you, insh’Allaah!

Oum Assia on July 1, 2012 9:27 pm Reply

Assalam aleyki wa rahmatulah ukhti UmmMujahid ,

I hope that you and your family are fine inshalah ; please I have a question : do you know French sisters or sisters who speaking french language in Yemen ?

Jazakilahi kheyran ( big kisses to baby Yasmeen )

Khadijah on July 2, 2012 8:10 pm Reply

I do. Insh’Allaah I will email you an address privately.

Faisa on July 2, 2012 8:05 pm Reply

as-Salamu ‘aleykom wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuh ukhti fillaah. I am your sister in Islam, Faisa. I have thought about studying in Yemen in ma’bar with shaykh Muhammad al Imam and his wife Umm AbdurRahman al Imam. I have heard about that they have a learning centre. Can you please confirm this and have you been their. How is it? is it possible for me to study Islaam with them ? is it just like dammajs learning centre. I would really want to be in ma’bar and study Islam their specielly with Shaykh/shaykha al Imam hafidahullaah. You can take your time tom responed to this comment but please live a comment back to me so that I know that you’ve seen it. May Allaah reward you with good. Allaahomma amiin! Faisa Umm Muqbil!

Khadijah on July 2, 2012 8:10 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
The issue with studying in Ma’bar is obtaining the visa to do so, mash’Allaah. Have your husband contact Sheikh Muhammad, hafidhahuAllaah, and find out what it is like there at this time, insh’Allaah. Insh’Allaah, read some of my past posts concerning studying in Ma’bar, to see how the center was set up and working when I went there, insh’Allaah. May Allaah grant you success in your endeavor to seek knowledge seeking His face, Ameen.

Faisa on July 3, 2012 2:22 pm Reply

Ukhti, how do you contact shaykh Muhammad al Imam. Is there any way to contact the shaykh hafidahullaah? Can I get the phonenumber of the center? jazakallaahu khayr. You can contact me on my e-Mail with information. InshaAllaah!
Amiin and may Allaah make it the same for you.
May Allaah reward you with good. Amiin!

Oum Assia on July 3, 2012 3:05 pm Reply

Barakalahoufeekee ukhti Umm Mujaahid !!!!

Ukhti Faisa here is the phone number of the Sheykh – hafidhaoulah – : 00967773211211 you can find it on the website olamayemen http://www.olamayemen.net/default_ar.aspx and this is his website : http://www.sh-emam.com/

May Allah bless you sisters .

Faisa on July 3, 2012 10:16 pm Reply

Amiin and you too ukhti <3
Jazakallaahu khair for the information. I really appreciate it.

Holly on August 9, 2012 4:18 pm Reply

Asalaamu alaiki waramatulahi wabarakatahu MashaAllah this was a beautiful read this morning MashaAllah. I love all your work MashaAllah.

May Allah preserve you, protect your family and grant you goodness ameen!

Khadijah on August 9, 2012 5:24 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
Alhamdulillah, may Allaah join our hearts in love of Him and striving for the good. It’s good to “see” you outside of class, mash’Allaah.
And Ameen to your du’a, as Allaah is the Only One Who can grant the success.

Holly on August 10, 2012 2:40 am Reply

Ameen, ameen, ameen

=) Na’aam I was very pleased to find you online

amina on September 7, 2012 12:30 pm Reply

Sister Khadija, I dont know what to say, I wish I was as eloquent as you, I too love Shakira and reading of your reunion made me cry. In a way I feel like I know you. Through a meaningful but short lived friendship with your sister, we sat endless hours talking about her life, her youth, her sisters and brothers and her parents. Her worries when you went to Yemen, your illness and hardship, your inner strength, through Shakiras gentle teaching, I have grown to the Muslim I am now. I remember her pain and mixed feelings of Patty and she described you as Mother earth once refering to a picture of you when you were pregnant with Mujahid; I hope to be able to connect with you inchallah, you are an inspiration