Today was a day unlike any other. Everything seemed peculiarly odd. Humayra had been quietly wondering.
She hadn’t heard the roosters crowing one after another. Nor had she perplexed and teared over the reverberating sound of adzan, the call to prayer, soon after. She woke up in stillness, of creeping dawn she thought to be none other than wee hours of the night. She looked around. Everyone was asleep. Aba, Ummi, Hasan and Husain. So, she threw herself again, onto the flat mattress she, Hasan and Husain rest on every night. Her back against Hasan’s and her nose breathed onto Husain’s soft chin, Humayra closed her eyes hoping to wake up in time for fajr prayer.
“Humayra!” a low, whispering voice disrupted her deep slumber. A subtle nudge on her arm shook her consciousness.
“Humayra!” the voice got louder and desperate. A nudge turned into a punch on the back.
“Ouch!” Humayra screamed exaggeratedly. She knew it was Hasan waking her up for a while. It took her some time to regain complete awareness to react mischievously to simply get back to him.
Hasan turned pale, worrying that her big sister would be furious. He moved away from Humayra to give her some space to get herself together.
Humayra turned to her side and raised, infuriated, examining her brother’s guilty expression while saying thanks to Allah, in her heart, for having been awaken well.
Suddenly she realised, “How come the sun’s up? I haven’t done my subuh,” she was upset.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” she scolded Hasan. She knew she shouldn’t be mad at him. It’s not his fault. If there’s anyone she should be angry at were her parents. “Where are they?” she wondered.
Hasan, not wanting to be blamed, defended himself, “We were all late.”
“There, Aba and Ummi are at the back, taking wudhu,” he continued.
The whole family went frantic that day. Missing subh prayer was not a habit. So when they do miss the time, all morning chores get delayed. Aba quickly bathed Hasan and Husain. Ummi rushed to heat some leftover rice from yesterday for our so-called breakfast. And Humayra, dear Humayra, prostrated to Allah, regretful, and asking Him to forgive them and still bless their day ahead.
She remembered Shaykh Ja’far once said about angels roaming around the earth at dawn, looking for people who welcome heavenly winds of blessings of the moment through prayers and remembrance of God. For those who are fortunate to be in such state of remembrance, joyously, the angels will shower them with blissful bounties for the day. Enjoined by astral frequency of remembrance of other creatures—drops of refreshing dews, chirps of playful birds, countenance of blooming flowers—every beautiful prayers, hopes and wishes echoed across the Universe. Breathtaking!
Humayra didn’t want to miss such a beautiful moment. She needed that moment to help her family. Who knows with her subuh prayer and wishes resonating across the cosmic, who knows with her sincere love for her family, Allah will increase their livelihood. Who knows one day Aba won’t have to scrape other people’s garbage in exchange for decent meals. Who knows that some day she and Hasan won’t have to wait for days to enjoy sumptuous and cooling watermelon. Allah knows.
“Hurry up!” Aba urged us to start walking. Ummi quickly took Husain on her arms and locked the door. Hasan climbed onto the slowly moving cart Aba‘s pulling. And Humayra, dear Humayra, dragged her feet across the soil, still in regrets of missing her dawn prayer.
“What is it, Dear?” Ummi slowed down to walk with her daughter.
“I hate missing subh,” frowning Humayra explained. “Haven’t we missed the roaming dawn angels distributing our bounties for today?” she asked.
“I’m sure angels are always there, Dear, at any time, at any moment, anywhere we are,” Ummi tried to comfort her and continued, “Anytime you feel like saying your prayers, your good wishes and your beautiful hopes, I’m sure there are angels there to take note.”
“Besides isn’t God All-Hearing, All-Knowing?” Ummi questioned her.
“True…” Humayra nodded.
“So, be always grateful, Dear, for whatever we have, whatever we are given for today.” Ummi advised. “You still have me, Aba, Hasan and Husain, your loving family right?”
Humayra looked down and nodded.
“You can still breathe easily right?” Ummi continued making some sense to her beloved daughter.
“Yes…” Humayra responded hesitantly.
“And are you or aren’t you still able to enjoy your sambal rice this morning?” Ummi teased her to cheer her mood.
Humayra grinned. Her footsteps were lightened.
“You are the best, Ummi!” she stopped and hugged her.
Ummi grinned, “OK. Run along.”
Humayra caught up to Hasan who was off the cart and getting playful with a rugged stick he found on the ground. She knew she had a lot to be thankful of. But, she prayed to Allah, in her heart, that He would wake her up for fajr the next day, to welcome the angels of blessings and mercy. God-willing. Insya Allah…