Thinking about the Extended Family

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Qainaf Najam

Qainaf Najam is a freelance writer, based in Lahore.

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By Qainaf Najam

family6“The world is a very big house, many people living in many boxes,” says Dawud Wharnsby Ali in one of his Nasheeds. Every day I walk around in this big house – I explore new pathways, discover fresh stones and cross numerous boxes on the way. I peek inside each box and see people. Each box is unique… each box has its own type of people, and every person is different in their own tremendous way.

I interviewed a couple of youngsters, posing to them the following question: “Who is your favourite relative and why?” Here are the choices they made:

  • 13-year-old Maryam Sharif said: “I like and prefer Ayesha Tahir, my female cousin, the most. I idealize her for her caring nature towards her young cousins and everybody else. Apart from that, she loves art and crafts, which is a common trait in us. So naturally I enjoy, when she stays over at our place, and we watch movies and do fun stuff together.”
  • Hamza Arshad, a 9th grade student, says that his favourites would be the sons of his cousin, namely Khursund and Asfand. “They are my best pals, because we are almost the same age and, hence, share similar interests. I love playing cricket, and it is like a blessing, when I get the company of other two in it as well. Also, I feel close to them, because I can totally open up to them and talk about anything,” observes Hamza.
  • “My cousin Aidah,” replied Saman Arif promptly, without a moment’s hesitation. Saman, a 19-year-old girl doing her A’levels from a prestigious institution, says: “I hate people, who talk when I want them to just listen, and Aidah is my best ‘silent’ listener, who is always there to hear my long and never ending gossips patiently… and giving wise advices often. We have a lot in common. Even though she lacks the ‘adventure’ genes that I have inherited, I usually drag her into my activities, which makes them even more enjoyable. My stomach literally aches, until I have rattled off my day’s routine to her. I often wonder, if her ears ache after my talking, but it doesn’t matter… she would be too sweet to admit even if it did. She’s my best friend, sister, helper and advisor.”
  • Another teenager Tanzila Raza speaks about an extraordinary relative of hers: “My favourite relative is Daboo. He is the son of my nana’s driver. It may sound funny, but he is as good as a relative to me. He is a man, who knows how to manage blood ties, when no blood ties exist. He has always devotedly served our family just like his father. Despite having children as a doctor and a lawyer in Melbourne, Daboo continued his love and care for us and dropped us to school as always. He remained our dear caretaker and butler, and I salute his loyalty and love for my Nana. Unfortunately, he died three years ago in his late sixties. People like him are rare to find and must be treated with great care and warmth.”
  • This is how a 20-year-old undergraduate Dabeer answered the query: “It has to be my elder cousin, simply because we have lots in common, and she is about the only person, who understands me, so I can totally confide in her. She is the only person and that’s the only reason.”
  • “I like my Mamun most. He is generous, sympathetic and helps others without any worldly intentions. I’m not sure, whether he takes care of his prayers or not, but I bet he is always ahead to help humanity just for the sake of humanity and for the sake of Almighty Allah (swt),” came the wise response from FD Sheikh, a 22-year-old student doing his CA.

Allah (swt) has laid great importance on maintaining blood relations, so much so that those, who break blood ties, have openly been declared as losers. Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us all the beautiful earthly relations. It is mandatory for us as Muslims to enjoy these relations, handle them with love and teach the same values to those under our care. May Allah (swt) guide us all towards the right path, Ameen.

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