A Tribute to My Daughter
Salam and warm greetings to all from the holy city of Madinah, where the tranquility of the city has both inspired me and greatly helped me find the strength to write the initial words of remembrance for my dearest Baraka – my brave and wise daughter who exhibited grace under pressure, and by God’s grace became an example of patience, gratitude and fortitude.
I did the Umrah (a lesser Pilgrimage to Makkah in the Prophetic tradition) for and on behalf of Baraka on Friday 1st April 2016. It was the most uplifting, spiritually rewarding and enabling Umrah experience of my life. I felt Baraka’s presence deeply throughout the pilgrimage, during which everything became so easy – the weather turning from sunny and hot, to cool and cloudy. People gave me space and created a passage for me around the Kaaba, something which has never happened to me before.
I heard Baraka’s voice whispering the prayers which she wanted me to read. There were prayers for each and everyone – for her Mother, her sisters, her brothers specially her little prince Ebrahim, her husband, her many friends and family members, her teachers, her doctors and nursing staff and for the many people across the world who prayed for her. Then there were the heartfelt and aspirational hopes of Baraka… for peace in our our world and for prosperity in her beloved country United Kingdom.
At the end of the Umrah, it started to rain. Everything came into place, in the right way and at the right time, as a tribute to the memory of a blessed person.
As I went around the Kaaba, during each of the seven rounds of walking around the Kaaba, called the “Tawaf”, my eyes were filled with tears of joy on feeling Baraka’s presence.
If overflowing tears could build a stairway,
and a father’s heartfelt prayers construct a lane,
As a father I could have gone right up to Heaven,
to bring our Baraka back home again.
Though we knew Baraka’s prognosis, we had got used to the regimen of hospitalisation and Baraka fighting her lung cancer with everything she had, coming back home to us to our joy, and to the continuous surprise of her doctors. Sadly however, on 18th Feb 2016 at 11.38 pm, with no farewell words spoken, and with no time to say goodbye, Baraka’s breath became air and she was gone. My heart still aches in sadness for our Baraka.
Our Baraka was given to us as a gift for 24 years, 5 months and 27 blessed days. Though our children come from us they do not belong to us.
Secret tears of a father still flow,
Her lighthouse in my dream continues to glow;
With time what it meant to lose Baraka continues to grow,
All this and much more we are only beginning to know.
But we also know she has gone to her Creator who loved her more than we ever could do. She is, by God’s grace in a better place, where she is in a state of bliss, surrounded by all the kindred spirits she loved and admired.
I will leave you with the immortal words of the often quoted poet Ellen Brenneman, with words that continuously remind me of Baraka’s life:
“We can’t know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight’s kiss upon its face before it folds into its fragrance and bids the world good night to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost and no one who has touched a heart can really pass away because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they’ve been a part.”
– Iqbal Khan
Madinah, April 2016