They’re not my enemies
Maulana Arshad Aslam Attari Madani
Uzayr looked back to find his classmate, Faraz, running towards him. ‘Uzayr! I don’t see you around these days,’ he muttered, trying to get his breath back. ‘You don’t meet up much anymore either. Has something happened?’ he asked. ‘No, not at all. Exams are coming up and father told me to work hard so that I achieve good grades you know how important these exams are,’ he explained.
‘Okay Mum, I’m going to Rayyan’s house,’ said Uzayr, as he tried to walk out of the front door. ‘Tell me who you’re going with,’ interrogated his mother, stopping him before he could leave. ‘Mum! I’m only going with Faraz and his dad to test out the new motorbike they bought. After that, we’re going to meet up with some friends.’
A look of concern cast over Uzayr’s mum. ‘That doesn’t sound very safe at all. Faraz doesn’t know how to ride a motorbike properly. You might have a collision. I want both of you to walk to your friends.’
Before she could say anymore, Faraz parked outside, sounding the bike’s horn in anticipation. ‘Uzayr! Uzayr!’ he bellowed.
Uzayr walked out of the house, the words of his mother resonating in his head simultaneously with the sound of the bike’s engine. ‘Let’s go,’ cried Faraz as he revved the engine even more. ‘Come on, sit down,’ he said, pointing to the seat with his head. ‘No,’ said Uzayr. ‘We‘re not going on the bike. We’re going to walk instead.’ Faraz was surprised. ‘But why?’ he asked, the signs of confusion evident on his face. ‘My mum told me not to go on the motorbike,’ explained Uzayr.
Faraz tapped Uzayr’s shoulder and asked: ‘You didn’t say whether you’re going to the picnic or not.’ ‘I did ask my dad but he didn’t allow me to go,’ explained Uzayr. ‘He said that if an adult was to go with us, then I could go too.’ Faraz huffed but tried to convince his friend: ‘If you were coming too, then we could have had a lot of fun.’
As soon as they arrived at the cafe, Uzayr ordered a pot of tea before proceeding with Faraz to their usual table. They had only sat down when Faraz took out something from his pocket: ‘Look at my new phone. Hold it carefully, it’s expensive,’ he cautioned, precariously handing over the phone to his friend. Uzayr examined it carefully, feeling each side of the device with intrigue. ‘What’s this you’ve put on the screen? And why have you placed it in this cover?’ enquired Uzayr.
‘Don’t you know! I’ve put a good protector on the screen and a cover on the back so that it doesn’t get damaged if it drops,’ explained Faraz.
The tea arrived at the table and Faraz poured a cup for each of them. ‘Uzayr!’ he said quietly, before taking a sip of his tea. ‘I have still not understood one thing. Why do your parents always stop you from doing things? They don’t let you sit on the motorbike or go to the picnic. They just want you to study all the time. Doesn’t it feel like they are treating you like a prisoner?’ Uzayr listened in silence.
After listening to Faraz, Uzayr smiled and said: ‘Can you tell me something?’ Faraz immediately said: ‘Yes, of course. Why not?’ Uzayr continued: ‘Tell me why you have put a screen protector and cover on your phone.’ Faraz was quick to reply: ‘Because it’s valuable.’
‘Absolutely Faraz!’ cried Uzayr. ‘Now understand this: I’m very valuable to my parents. They don’t want me to suffer any harm. They know what’s best for me and they have been fulfilling my needs since before I even knew what a need was. My parents care for me greatly and protect me. They have my best interests at heart.’
‘Now tell me, when we were at the restaurant, why did nobody else tell me to go home because it’s getting late? Why didn’t anybody else stop me from sitting on the motorbike? Why doesn’t this server tell me to study hard?’ Faraz listened attentively as Uzayr continued: ‘Whenever my parents tell me off, they must be doing it for my own good, because they are not my enemies.’
The tea had finished by now. As Uzayr went to pay, Faraz thought to himself: ‘If only others would understand what Uzayr explained to me today; that whenever our parents stop us from doing something, it’s not for their benefit, but ours.’