There is a light in my existence, a comfort I have known, from the earliest moments I could remember till this very day. A comfort I have craved, leaned upon and at times, completely taken for granted. One I knew would be with me wherever I went and whatever I did. Even without conscious appreciation, I knew deep within my being, that I could always depend upon my maternal grandmother, my Naniama and the copious prayers – duas to be precise – that she sent out for me.
We lived nearly half a world away from each other, separated by countries, oceans and time zones. Our physical meetings numbered less than ten, so I sometimes wondered what inspired the fierce love and devotion I was blessed to have.
I always thought it was because I was the favourite granddaughter but have come to realise this is probably not true. I don’t know how she did it, but it seems that all us grandchildren, we each felt the most favourite. Perhaps because she sent her power duas out to all of us and as old age crept up on her, she found more time to make more duas.
It got to be that her and I would have entire conversations which would begin with me saying salam and her responding by making continuous dua after dua for the next fifteen to twenty minutes – for me, my health, my happiness, my spouse, my children, my spiritual state – for just everything. I never wanted to hang up. I never wanted her to stop. I would close my eyes and soak her words in. Imagine them rising like golden orbs from her beautiful, weathered hands up into the sacred realms, where they would then be collected and accepted without question or reserve.
Nothing really ever felt impossible or hopeless because I knew Naniama was there, making those duas like it was her job. The few times I called to request her prayers for something specific, she would listen but also remind me that I was in her duas always – which to me meant, I was in her heart always. What can I give you she would ask other than dua? But truly, I sit now and wonder, could there have been anything else?
My strong, magnificent, phenomenal Naniama died today. She went with a calm serenity and a passing that was peaceful and gentle. She has gone back to her Maker, whom she loved so deeply and lived for so completely. I am not sad for her, but I am sad for us. Who now will hold me in their heart always? Whose blessings will surround us at all moments? Lift us at all times? Our unstoppable dua giver has moved on.
And now it’s time for us to give back: Lovely Naniama, best Bari-Amee, what else can I give you other than dua?