تصویر بنا کر میں تیری …. جیون دا بہانہ لبّھِیا اے

A letter from a son to his father.

Dear Abboo Jan…

I fell in love with you only after you had gone…

When it comes to their kids, most fathers are inexpressive. Yes, I feel it today. To quote Baano Aapa here, “Bachchay kay muaamlay mein mard ummooman bad-naseeb hua karta hai. Wo kisi bachchay ka maalik nahin ban sakta. Iska kafeel ban sakta hai, laikin darwaazay par kharra sirf andar aanay ki ijaazat maangta rehta hai. Ijaazat kabhi nahin miltee…” [Haasil Ghaatt]

You were so unkind to yourself, that you sent me far away at such a tender age, to make myself a good future and education……and missed me like hell, and never told me that; until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

You never let me knew what you would like the best as a gift, which perfume, which brand of suit and shoes, since you never had made such choices….. You were always happy and content with whatever came across… Every time I asked you, what gift should I bring preferably……..you always did that taal matol, “phir le lein gey”…. I now know why… (Aslam Koulsry had said, “shehr mein aa karr parrhnay waalay bhool gaye… kis ki maan ne kitna zewar becha thaa…”)… You never shared with me what it was like, to raise kids, and manage their training and well-being and education and grooming and nourishment – all at once…….until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

You were the simplest soul I saw in my life. Your world was not big. You focused on work and family. But after you had gone, so many people came looking for you, whom you took care of. I at times think I never knew you at all. Those people had stories, narratives and at least one of them was who accepted Islam on your hand. Hundreds of them came back to life because of you, in one way or the other. Well, you always told me to focus on my things first, my studies, my duties as a citizen and as a family member. I remember you never consciously told me the tricks of the trade (like Khaala Billi doesn’t teach the Nephew Lion to climb a tree), until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

Like the saying goes, the time you realize your father was right, you have a son who thinks you are wrong. In this age of technology and generation gap, this thing has become a reality. It was never there with you, though there were times when I did not understand your viewpoint on any count of my (il-)logic or (non-)sense, and even disagreed (Alhamdolillah, never disobeyed), until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

I must say I did not make an excellent sonny. May be I was satisfactory, or even good, but your standards were too good. I say it on the basis of my performance. Or may be it is natural that we do not find ourselves come-up to what our mentors expect of us, due to certain insecurities / lack of self-trust. Or may be you raised the bar every-time….. 🙂 …… Either way, I feel I should have been better, and I must have strived for it. But one thing is clear. You always believed in me, even when I failed and I was down and the whole world was opposite to my direction. In my most blue days and nights, you instilled confidence in me and your gentle words elevated my spirits. At that time, I used to think why did you pat instead of scoulding me, until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

Like most fathers, you never told us in words how much you loved us. I understand now, that we at times never used to see you for days. You would set-off for work before we woke up, and would be back after we had slept at night. I used to ask Ammi about it, and she would narrate a story and then another, until I had to grow up to be a father to feel, know and understand it.

Whenever I see your picture, I feel so adored and happy that my eyes become wet, my lips become dry, my tongue feels saltish and I cut myself from everything. Strangely though, my wife tells me its not happiness, its sadness coupled with reverence. And I tell her she doesn’t understand….

I do not share your memories with Ammi….. Because, whenever we visit your resting place, she breaks down in my arms and cries like hell. I keep myself composed. I don’t know why. I think I learnt it from you… But when no one is around, I cry to myself… You know me, I am trained to be strong on nerves and emotions. My work demands so. But when it comes to you, I feel feeble to control myself.

I rarely talk to siblings about you. Either of us changes the topic, lest there will be no more talk…..only watery eyes. They are smart enough to understand that I want them to tell me stories about you, for I missed you most part as I was out of home for long – something they will always be one-up on me.

You taught me the basic things in life.

You taught me…… To walk…… To talk…… To walk my talk.

You were with me when for the first time in my life, I crossed the road……when I walked for the first time……when I wrote my first letter……when I drove the motor-bike for the first time……when I performed by first sajdah in Masjid……when I drove my first car……when I graduated……when I landed in my dream job……when I did my final semester project…… You were with me in all my awe-ful days too……when I got a term-relegation……when I crashed into another car……when I received multiple shocks from friends-who-were-not……

My each memory of life has one thing in common: You.

You were with me in all the days of my life.

I was not.

I could not come back frequently. I could not call / text / write to you every day. I could not make it on every weekend. I could not very efficiently manage and juggle at once, so many balls of family, work, relations, friends, pursuits, etc. Most sadly, I could not tell you how much you meant to me, and how much I cared for you. I never had an idea that time does not stay, nor does it come back, so better to convey the feelings and express the love ‘here’ and ‘now’ – on as-is-where-is basis.

In spite of my distant job and my casual attitude, Allah helped me to be with you in your last days. Your last 96 hours with me, was an honour for me. I cannot thank Allah enough for blessing me with the toufeeq and capacity to serve you in your last moments. I cannot thank Allah enough for letting me take care of you, like you did when I was small. May be not like that… With my trembling hands, I gave you ghusl, shroud and prepared you for your heavenly abode (I remember when you used to help me prepare for school). Your face was were so content, as always. You appeared asleep like you used to. Composed and cool, as you were. I recited each and every prayer that you had taught me. I tried to keep myself calm, for I had no shoulder to cry on. After everyone left the graveyard, I sat there besides your place, and cried loud to myself and to my God. I know you always forbade to do it, but I couldn’t stop myself.

You taught me that there is only one God…..and that there is only one Islam… You used to pray in different Masjids, irrespective of sect / maslak…. I tried that too, but was not as lucky as you were… 🙂

You taught me that the best and noblest are those who are best in conduct. You actually taught me this through your own example. I later referred to that in Al Quran (Al Hujraat – 13)

You taught me that I need to go through, understand, and act upon, the translation of the Holy Book, and Sunnat e Nabwi (PBUH). I tried to do that, and am still trying. I hope and pray that I may become even a minor fraction of you wanted me to be. I wish and pray that up there, you will be proud inshaAllah. That you will be standing in front of your God, with acts worth gold and silver. Yes, you were worth gold and silver…….well much above that. You were a true Muslim, an excellent human being, a great father to us, an exemplary husband to Ammi, a loving soul to every relation and friend, and a devout, committed Allah ka Banda.

You taught me to respect elders, for their prayers and wishes are our taqdeer. You taught me that naseeb (fate) is related to ‘adab’.

You taught me to take care of the younger and under-command, for Prophet (PBUH)’s last instructions clearly mentioned it.

You taught me that in spite of rough days, there is always something which I can smile and laugh upon.

You created such a beautiful environment at home. I remember Ammi taught me 6 kalmas, and I remember them by-heart till-date. Well, it was you and your friends, who I used to recite these Kalmas to, because all of you would love to listen to me (see, I was just four years young!), and I would get toffees from you after that… 🙂

You taught me to respect, honour and adore ladies in every relationship…….for they are like crystals and diamonds, and most valuable to us in our homes and schools and everywhere……for they groom and shape us, the society, the community and the nation….. You taught me the meaning of the words “valuable” and “values”: things which are of value (it’s just that those are priceless), and which are to be kept in care, and protected, and defended…..

You taught me to treat everyone with dignity…… Especially elders, since they had a right to it, and more especially youngers, since they deserved it. You demonstrated good ethics to me, and the best practices, and the care of colleagues at work-place. You taught me that professionalism is not about job or output or maximization, its about people and responsibility and optimization.

You taught me to love the kids especially……to nurture them with good example, and to take care of their health. You especially liked healthy kids, who were carefree and less in “nakhraa”, especially towards meals. Your grand-children are just like that (with two ‘Pisces’ exceptions 🙂 ). They are healthy and hearty. You’d love to see them as they are growing up fast into ‘bhaalooz’ and ‘chipmunks’ (some of their nicks)…

You taught me that I could join any profession, for my rizq was ordained; but to serve in the line of duty, for my sacred motherland, and in the supreme way of God was the best profession. Win-Win.

You taught me to read through the texts, books and newspapers. You taught me, that each word of knowledge, wisdom and hikmat is a very small fraction of Allah’s Grace and Qudrat, and His Beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s rehmat. You taught me to co-relate (acts of) people and events in time and space, to read into the news, to analyze and authenticate words, and to prioritize acts over words. You taught me in real terms, that “Solomon made a book of a thousand quotations, but a thousand books of quotations could not make one Solomon”.

You taught me that respect comes first……even before relations, love, attachment and every good thing that I had heard of. You taught me that ‘adab’ is the first step to learn, love and live. You taught me that there may be a thousand codes of conduct, yet they all stem from the same universal line of action that Allah sent us in the form of Prophets’ examples. You demonstrated to me that even in the moments of debate and disagreement as well as in the moments of humour and laughter, respect and dignity of people and their view-points / beliefs must be upheld.

“Men are what their mothers make them”.… Whenever I read this sentence, I remember my Grand-mother… She was indeed among the best of mothers. You not only received your poise from her, but your decision-power, maturity, glitter and smile too… 🙂

You are in my thoughts and prayers…..

You know, when I show the night’s sky to your grand-sons, I tell them, your Daada Jan was not a far flung star….. He was a moon…..a moon which never sets….

A Hadees e Rasool (PBUH) says: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah; knowledge which is beneficial; or a virtuous descendant who prays for him.” [Sahih Muslim]

I wish and pray that I may become a son, whom you can be proud of…..

By virtue of my job and stature, I am supposed to be a man of strength. Therefore, I do not show my eyes to anyone, nor do I talk to anyone on phone after I see your picture……for they will think there’s something wrong. And I won’t be able to tell them, that there is nothing wrong… Its just a love-struck son whose world changed at 4 am on 27 October 2012.

“Rabb-ir Hum huma kamaa Rabb-ayaani sagheera”

May Allah bless you with best of His blessings, and may he make us Sadqah e Jaariah for you…

Literally yours,

Baita Ji


[Writing this letter finds inspiration from Leena Hashir – The mastermind of letter-writing….]


Other blog links (added later):-



36 thoughts on “تصویر بنا کر میں تیری …. جیون دا بہانہ لبّھِیا اے

  1. I dont know what to say at this moment when i have tears in my eyes and memories in my mind…… but i must say u wrote it with heart thats why feelings are coming out from each n every line.. i wish i could write and express my self in such way… jazak Allah for such a great words

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great expression…Uncle was a great inspirational person…i would always remember him as one of those who lighten up the darkest of days n nights…may Allah Bless him with the best of the next world..ameen…
    P.S. Keep writing…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Umer,
    Once upon a time I wrote a lengthy reply upon reading the article you dedicated to your father. Of course I would say that I was speechless but still had some good words to share before it actually got deleted by mistake somehow. Perhaps a fault of my own.
    You learned so much from your father. From all that you wrote that was coming straight from your heart I could sense the love, care, admiration and respect that you had for him. You appreciated him and put him on a pedestal. You held him at a very high rank in your heart and soul. Even though he was not there as often as you wished he was and you were busy in your professional life, he left behind a legacy for you and your siblings to remember him by. Of course it will bring peace to your hearts knowing that you can come together and recall all those fond memories of what he said and did. Many times fathers are placed on the backburner. They do a lot infact for their families as they have a huge responsibility to carry out. But may not get as much recognition for it as they are not always around and miss out on quite a bit with their families. We know we have high regard for them and especially when they are no longer amongst us we remember and live on with all those teachings and special memories we have saved in our hearts and minds of them. They do care for all of their family members and fathers are very emotional and sensitive when it comes to their loved ones but they don’t have a tendency to show it and display their ” jazbaat” at all times. That’s what they are just made of. But they love with all their heart and we must not forget that.

    You are doing a great job raising your family and I am sure you are sharing and passing along this great legacy to your kids that your wonderful father has left behind for you.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us and remembering the greatness that your father was.
    May Allah swt rest his soul in peace and grant him a precious place in Jannat ul Ferdous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AoA Rafia…

      I knew you’d write a reply, someday…… A reply that is typical….. And a day that is here 🙂

      The amount of attachment of fathers with their kids is largely unknown, heavily under-estimated and unappreciated until you wear those shoes one day… Most fathers are adept at displaying anonymous affection to their kids, rather than in explicit flamboyance… We live in the world of “haazir o moujood”, and expect things to be uttered, spoken, conveyed and expressed through word of mouth necessarily… However, love has its own language….per se.

      The post that I wrote went straight from my heart…. Yes, it was time-delayed, for some……..or a late come back, or more loudly so a hypocritical approach (on one count)… But to most of us, it was something right from the soul, a natural response, a meaning to most of our lifetime questions… almost everyone felt it relatable….. I don’t read it over, as I can’t keep composed… Yes, anything and everything that stems from heart is sure to bring tears up our eyes…. Like, so very often we find our old buddies back in flag-clad coffins, a particular aayat or a narration of hadees e Nabi SAAW………even some special scenes of films, some odd paragraphs of books or may be an old photograph……

      You are right…. I learned everything from my father…… Well, The amount of concern that a father has for kids is more of a subtle type, deep rooted into hesitations and day to day chores, packaged into silent kisses when they fall asleep, when they score big, when they drive for the first time, and when they for the first time come back home after sunset…. There are critical moments in our lives, and our fathers are always communicating, not in general terms, but in special ways……… Messages get drilled into our personalities unconsciously.

      The love, care, admiration and respect cannot be purt in words….. Your words and felicitations mark my day brighter… Yes, he was worthy of the pedestal and appreciation – even more…… Yes, I hold him at a very high rank in my heart and soul.

      You have rightly pointed out that many times fathers are placed on the back-burner. Their lives are spent in responsibilities, and thus they miss family, recognition and showing of sentiments…. May be that’s the way fathers must work… May be that’s the way they are supposed to be. But their love is unending and their guidance is constant.

      P.S. Barri dair ki mehrbaan aatay aatay…. 🙂

      It is heartening to see your comment on the blog. Time travels faster than our expectations, wishes, situations and cravings.
      Its only the sincerest of relations those endure.

      JazaakAllah for the wishes, prayers always.
      Bless you and family….
      Salaam and love to all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Assalam Alaikum 🙂

        Indeed I was going to reply. Thank you for the warm welcome.
        As they say ke ” Dair Ayee Drust Ayee ” so having said that I had to make an appearance. But also I had made a promise to as well because as you know having lost my own father as well at least 16 years ago I could relate and sense the feelings you shared in your writing.
        Even those moments are so vivid in my mind and all those special times where my father celebrated days like my birthday with such love in his eyes. I think amongst the three sisters, my birthday was never compromised upon and for that I am very grateful.
        If I were to start to remember those moments, those gifts, I will definitely become emotional so let me just say at this time, may Allah swt give fathers a long, healthy and prosperous life in which they may hold the courage and strength to teach their kids life’s many beautiful lessons. May their talks, their advice, their teachings never go awaste, unappreciated or unnoticed Insh’Allah. They are a unique species of its own kind and we must never forget their love and sacfrifices which come straight from the heart.
        Ameen! 😍😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for coming back.. 🙂

          You are right….. You can relate to it as you’ve been through it some years back.

          We are all sick, tired, sad and gloomed by one or other other harsh turn of life…….and nothing else gives us the strength and resolve, but God’s infinite blessings, the good memories of our dear ones and the people who support us all the way – be it a patting palm, a helping hand, a caring heart or a comment…. These seemingly little things make big difference in life…


  4. Asalamualaikum Sir,
    Just read this letter and I am still struggling to wipe my tears…
    I can relate to the emotions that are exuberating from the words, having lost my own father just a few months before I graduated in 2005. He died in my elder brother’s and my arms. Avalanche of memories again…
    You are right, fathers hardly express themselves verbally. I realized the love for my father when he was bedridden after a debilitating accident. Memories like a hard pat on the back, which used to jostle my being (as an appreciation for a good deed), and him asking the “ghamlay walla” to bring potted plants for me every time he passed our house, when he discovered that I had taken an interest in gardening, became aching memories. He never said the words ,” I love you, beti.” But to me those few acts of his were priceless.
    The fact that he used to take an interest in every art or science project that I used to be assigned from school. He helped me build a “Box-guitar” from a drawer, copper wires and screws. It was my project- i kept reminding him and he was to “help” me not the either way round.Fond of doing things by myself, I could only say”Abba,mein kerloon?” and his enthusiasm made me follow along with the task with pursed lips. That was love. I realize that all too late.
    When I first got admission in the dental school his happiness inspite of his diagnosis of depression was “qabil e deedd” as he distributed mithai to the relatives as well in our new muhalla , although he was retired by then and times were tough, He proudly shared the news with the family dentist that his daughter was now enrolled in the dental college.
    I’m still struggling to make him proud.
    I’m sorry, just got carried away with this loving account of a son’s tribute to his father.
    May Allah bless you, Sir.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Walykum assalaam…
      Allah’s Blessings, rehmat, barkat be upon you.

      You are right… The tribute to those lovely beings are always late……and that’s something by design.

      The amount of craving, care, love and remembrance is evident from each word of yours…..and that amount is exactly equal to the legacy of your father (may be just lesser)…. The pats those make us feel out of this world, the silent words those we don’t hear but feel, the empowerment & confidence those unconsciously become part of us, and the never ending concern, pride and care for us… Their eyes are filled with our images only…

      Fathers have excellent memories.
      They never forget our gifts….and prayers.

      They never forget to teach us the best way… The other day I was teaching my kid, and during the course of study (when there was mention of a paper-boat), I asked him if he knew how to make a paper-boat…….to which he replied in negative…. So we first made a paper-boat (and made it to float too…), and then resumed study…
      My wife said, “He will lose focus on study, if you people make boats and planes during that…”…. And I smiled at her and said, “You will not understand this… That’s not about study.. That’s about a son and a father….”.. 🙂

      That was love…

      “How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet
      “You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Pooh”

      Well, that’s how love is…. That’s how it ought to be……and will always be.

      May Allah elevate the darjaat of our departed ones; they spent their lives on us, and we are thankful for each moment of theirs..

      Thank you for a rejoinder… Your comments and likes fill my emotional blanks with prayers and a big word: relatable… In your equation of life, he was the biggest constant…. And he always will be. They say, there is something common between a father and his daughter; both love their doll.

      …and yes, you are making him proud….and prouder.
      Each good word and worthy act of yours is a sadqa e jaariah, of him…

      Allah Keep you in His Command. Aameen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This was such a beautiful reponse of yours for what Hafsa wrote. Both were so beautiful to read. I loved what piglet and Pooh said. Will not forget that. And what a father and daughter have in common, that they both love their doll.

        Just wonderfully put the feelings into words.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Received this as a WhatsApp msg….

          میرا کسی بات پر اپنے والد صاحب سے کچھ ایسا اختلاف ہوا کہ ہماری آوازیں اونچی ہو گئیں ۔۔ میرے ہاتھ میں کچھ کاغذات تھے، جو میں نے غصے میں ان کے سامنے میز پر پٹخے اور دروازہ دھڑام سے بند کرتے ہوئے اپنے کمرے میں آگیا…
          بستر پر گر کر، ہونے والی اس بحث پر ایسا دماغ الجھا کہ نیند ہی اڑ گئی،
          صبح آفس گیا تو بھی دماغ کل والے واقعے پر اٹکا رہا… ندامت اور خجالت کے مارے ، دوپہر تک صبر جواب دے گیا… میں نے موبائل نکالا اور اپنے پیارے اباجی کو یوں پیغام بھیجا…
          “میں نے کہاوت سن رکھی ہے کہ پاؤں کا تلوہ پاؤں کے اوپرکے حصے سے زیادہ نرم ہوتا ہے ، گھر آ رہا ہوں ، قدم بوسی کرنے دیجیئے گا تاکہ کہاوت کی تصدیق ہو سکے”…
          میں جب گھر پہنچا تو ابا جی صحن میں کھڑے میرا ہی انتظار کر رہے تھے ، اپنی نمناک آنکھوں سے مجھے گلے سے لگایا اور کہا…
          “قدم بوسی کی تو میں تمہیں اجازت نہیں دیتا ، تاہم کہاوت بالکل سچی ہے کیونکہ جب تم چھوٹے سے تھے تو میں خود جب تیرے پاوں چوما کرتا تھا تو مجھے پاؤں کے تلوے اوپر والے حصے سے زیادہ نرم لگا کرتے تھے”…
          یہ سن کر… اب رونے کی باری میری تھی-😓😓😓


  5. رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ

    رَبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

    Liked by 1 person

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