Written by the daughter of the late Sultan Mahmood Anwar Sahib, former nazir islah-o-irshad in Pakistan, read to see why it is important to remember parents in our day to day lives and not just on dedicated days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Fauzia Mansoor, USA
My dear father, it has been five months since you left this world. Since then, not a day has gone by when I don’t miss you.
While the world celebrated Father’s Day, I could not help but think about you. You must be wondering when I started celebrating Father’s Day as we don’t believe in a mere one-day ritualistic celebration. The real celebration is respecting and following a parent’s example and advice every day. However, I have my reasons to celebrate it this year.
My dear father, let me celebrate it because you are the one who gave me the courage to stand up for my faith.
I still remember the day when I returned from school and told you what had happened to me that day. I was a fifth-grader at the time. I had arrived a little late to school. My teacher did not let me enter the classroom and punished me for being late. She made me stand in the scorching sun outside the classroom for an hour or so. I got tired and thirsty. I apologised several times but she did not listen.
Another teacher who was watching asked my teacher to let me go. My teacher replied, “Let her stand there, she is a Qadiani anyway” [a term attributed to Ahmadi Muslims by their opponents so they are not classed as Muslims].
I don’t remember when the teacher let me enter the classroom and allowed me to sit, but I do remember how I felt that day. I came home and told you about this with tears in my eyes. Instead of sympathising, you smiled and said “I am so proud of you that you did not hide or lie about your faith because of the fear of being rejected”.
From that day onwards, I never felt scared. I always wear my identity proudly and stand up for my faith. You made me courageous.
Father, let me celebrate Father’s Day because you are the one who taught me, by your example, not to forget the less fortunate during festive celebrations.
I remember it was the day after Eid when a lady came to our house. She was crying as she told Mother that she came to pay her gratitude to you. She was a widow who had recently lost her husband. She said her husband was the breadwinner of her family. You went to her house the night before Eid with bags full of groceries and dropped them at her door. She said her children were so happy that they had a full meal not just on Eid day, but had enough for the whole month. Your practical example has taught me to be compassionate.
Father, you always took care of our wishes and needs by staying within your limited resources.
I still remember one Eid when Mother asked us to wear our barely used clothes instead of having brand new ones. It so happened that a few days before Eid, someone gifted a new dress to my sister which she planned to wear on Eid. Mother felt this would be an injustice to me so she decided to sew a new dress for me the night before Eid. She took out a piece of fabric from her collection and spent the whole night making that dress for me. The dress needed a matching dupatta (scarf) to be completed. She asked you and at 3 am, you went to buy that scarf.
When I woke up in the morning, a new red dress was sitting there for me. It was the best surprise I ever received. You and Mother spent your whole night just to make my Eid so special for me. I will never forget that.
My dear father, let me celebrate this day because you are the one who taught me how to write from a very young age.
I remember I used to ask you to write speeches for me. When I was in middle school, I once had to prepare for a school competition. I asked you to write a speech for me but that day, you refused and asked me to write it myself. I did not know how to start and what to write, but you guided me.
The same evening, my friend came to you with the same request and you immediately agreed to write the speech for her. I was upset that you wrote it for my friend but not for me.
Upon seeing me upset, you very lovingly told me that you wanted me to learn writing and get better every time.
If it wasn’t for you, I would not have the ability to write this letter to you. It was you who instilled the love for writing and reading in me. You were the best teacher.
Father, you taught me the most valuable lessons of life by setting examples. You gave me the best piece of advice when I was leaving your home after getting married. You told me to remain thankful to our Lord in every situation and then would I never be unsatisfied.
You always waited for the best time to give a piece of advice. I learned from you that a timely reminder is the best reminder that stays with the recipient always.
You had the best sense of humour. It always filled our family time with fun. Your ever-smiling face taught me to stay positive in every situation. You were a loving husband, a caring father and a loving grandfather who is missed a lot.
You were compassionate, confident, friendly and pious – one who never wasted a minute of his life. You led a successful life full of accomplishments and achievements, yet you always remained humble.
In short, you were an amazing role model for me, my siblings and many others. Let me celebrate, as I am not celebrating Father’s Day, but I am celebrating you, my dear father, and I will keep doing so till my last breath.
Rest in peace.
Your loving daughter, Fauzia Mansoor