Stories about sacrifice

Married to an “alien”

The threat of extremism appeared on the horizon about a decade and a half ago, plunging Pakistan into a different kind of war. The Armed Forces, until then, had been concerned with tackling and keeping malicious forces in check at the borders, but now they had a new enemy much closer to home. Each bombing and suicide attack has caused us great pain and we have lost thousands to senseless chaos since then. December 16, 2014 seemed just like another nightmare, but this incident had the entire nation in unparalleled shock. I remember the disbelief as I heard reports of terrorist ...

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The woman with hands of gold

I always gushed about how my Mother’s hands were beautiful; though, all wonder had ceased as I realised… Her hands tenderly held my vulnerable self as I opened my eyes in this big-bad world; her face comforted me, there was an angel in this world Allah had sent me down to, I was in safe hands. Her hands determinedly raised me to my tiny feet, every time I fell to the ground in the attempt to walk; her will to support me still gives me strength from then till today. Her hands would swiftly push my swing as she pointed towards the ...

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Ditch the pulao and nihari, and spruce up your Eid feast with mince capsicum, steak with Mushroom sauce and some divine creme caramel

Eidul Azha, also known as the feast of sacrifice, is an Islamic festival commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail (AS). Muslims around the world celebrate Eidul Azha in full fervour as it is considered one of the most important religious events on the Muslim calendar. A cow, sheep or goat is typically slaughtered during the celebrations as a symbol of Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) sacrifice. Just like each year, staggering sums will be spent on sacrificial animals this time around as well. A memory that stands clear in my head even now is from the ...

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This boy saved his mother when the crane fell in Makkah

September 11, 2015. It is a day when the tragedy at Masjid al Haram in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stunned the world. A massive crawler crane, one of many used to modernise the city, collapsed without warning on the Grand Mosque after 5pm on Friday, a time when the mosque is usually bustling with activity. The unfeeling steel indiscriminately took down concrete as well as flesh and bones standing in its path. In the aftermath, the sorrowful scenes saw 107 people dead and 238 injured. The stories emerging from the incident are horrifying. Many have lost their beloved family members in a few heartbeats. Yet, there is ...

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There is no difference between Christmas and Eid

Tis’ the season to be jolly! December always comes with great tidings; winter chills, hot chocolate, numerous holidays and an opportunity to make new resolutions. And along all this, it also brings the joyful day of Christmas. This day is an embodiment of religious beliefs, which celebrates a miraculous event and a time of togetherness. Two billion Christians all over the world celebrate this day with great spirit and felicity. As a child, the idea of Christmas for me was all about decorating Christmas trees, receiving presents and Santa stuffing himself down a chimney. I used to be most excited about meeting Santa ...

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Karbala and universal truths

There comes a moment in our lives when we realise the ‘Great Truths’ around us and this happened to me a decade back in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, India. I was taking part in a Muharram procession when I stopped to talk to a Sikh cloth seller. His shop’s porch was being used as a pulpit to read a eulogy of Imam Hussain (RA) and when it finished, I asked him why he allows the mourners to block his store’s entrance. “Syed Sahib, it is because of Hussain that we earn our living. If it was up to me I would ...

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This Eid, there was no spirit of sacrifice for me

Six-year-old Osama ran hurriedly down the stairs of his apartment, as did the other kids. Children came rushing out of their houses, some from their homework and others from their video games. Mothers shrieked and grandmothers grumbled but to no avail. The street was soon swarming with kids of all ages and sizes, running towards something that seemed to possess a magnetic prowess. At length, the Pied Piper of Pakistan stopped, and the children stood around it, anticipating the descent of the much awaited cow. Excitement was widespread in the crowd, every child and every man was discussing in hushed ...

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My Eid in a different Pakistan

I hold the bills and hard earned cash Mentally calculating if I have any left For the new shoes my two sons want For Eid-ul-Adha. But I know I don’t.   My husband had told me quietly in the morning, “Get some good shoe polish. I’ll make the old shoes new. They won’t mind”. But I know they will.   Eid is no longer cheery and blithe, The celebration it used to be For the middle-classes. It has become an ordeal; A trial for the common man. A supreme, exhausting test of nerves, Agonising over where corners to cut, In order to salvage some percentage of festivity In the two Eids At least for our children.   It had never been this ...

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Don’t take your soldiers for granted

*Saf Shikan post is one of the few posts at Siachen glacier that is inaccessible by animal transport. Hence, all the transport of ammunition and food items is done through man-portering, mostly because the gradient of the post is impassable by mules and because the approach to the post is over looked by the enemy sitting just a few meters away. Saf Shikan is located 18000 feet above mean sea level at a gradient of approximately 30 to 40 degrees. An officer’s 6x3x4 feet (LxWxH) igloo, shelter made from discarded jerry-cans and PSP sheets, and a 9x6x5 feet shell-proof bunker ...

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My beloved daughter, do not weep when I am gone

To my beloved Daughter, It seems that today may be my last day on earth, my last day with my family, my last day with you. Today, I managed to get a chance to reflect on all that I have done in my life as a father. It has been pretty interesting, in my opinion. I leave to you my final memories as I prepare for my transition into the life hereafter. The first time I held you in my arms and saw your smile, sweetheart, I felt more blessed than you can ever imagination. I gazed at you, God’s marvellous creation, wondering if you ...

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