During the monsoons in Pakistan,
the news of my grandmother’s death
made our lives rainier, showing me
my father’s tears for the first time.
I wanted to take his pain away
But didn’t know how.
After the long day of the funeral,
he slept on a mattress.
sitting close to him,
I crossed my legs
My hands touched his forehead;
I put my head on his.
He woke up nervous
as if he did not know where he was.
How is my love doing?
he asked and went to pray
for his mother’s soul.
I decided, at age six,
I was old enough to pray with him
God will listen to me more.
He spread out two green prayer rugs
We stood facing the qiblah
he took my small hands in his large ones
and put the right on the left,
close to my chest.
Repeat after me, he said.
Now we both sat in Sajda,
placing our foreheads on the rug.
His head was still on the rug
when I stole a glance at him.
He looked back, reminding me
that I was not supposed to do that.
Looking at the peace on his face,
Was probably worth the sin.
~ Meena was born in Kabul but spent much of her early childhood as a refugee living in Peshawar. She says her goal, once she finishes her education, is to work to help Afghan women gain financial independence, education and political freedom.
Qiblah: a niche which indicates the direction Muslims should face during prayer
Sajda: prostration in worship
From the Afghan Women’s Writing Project
“To tell one’s story is a human right.”