The Lone Dandelion

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Rahim

"You forgot one dandelion" the little boy informed his grandfather. They spent some time in the garden tending to the flower beds, lawn, and the many weeds. The astute four-year-old was an eager helper enjoying his time with his grandparents. But this young assistant takes his surroundings for granted as he has to yet to discover his family's history and all that it entails. It is a history of migration and something that he must learn to embrace.

The term "immigrant" is tossed around in various political or economic arenas. People question the wisdom in allowing "others" into "their" country often times neglecting their own histories of migration. Regardless, countries are dependent on migrants, and citizens owe it to themselves to recognize that a country only grows richer with increased cooperation.

My family was like that lone dandelion in the garden. We immigrated to Canada almost twenty years ago from a life of relative comfort in a country of despicable corruption to a life of sacrifice in a country of relative peace. It was not easy trying to build a new life for ourselves as we faced a new array of challenges in a place where we lacked social networks and supports. But God takes care of our affairs, and after some time it has become the only place that we are familiar enough with to call home.

I am very grateful for my history of migration as it offers me an alternate lens to view the world. It's almost as good as travelling except that the "them" that my fellow citizens use to refer to immigrants will always be an "us" for me.

There are a host of psychological readjustments that immigrants must adopt in their new homes. Tariq Ramadan speaks of these, and once mentioned a very simplistic yet profound idea, "there is no such thing as a minority citizen." The implications of such a truthful statement are vast and demand the attention of all citizens.

The challenges that refugees face are a lot more multifaceted and increasingly more difficult. A refugee, by definition, is one who flees for safety, especially to another (foreign) country. A forced migration often times means one comes from an unstable environment to a new land without the means to easily establish oneself there.

Al Amaanah is an organization based in Houston, Texas that strives to serve the needs of the refugee population in that vicinity. Their name points directly to the responsibility that they acknowledge each community has towards the struggling (refugee) segment of the population. It was very inspiring watching these three (1, 2, 3) videos regarding their work.

One young man specifically mentioned that it is difficult for people in need to ask for a helping hand and it is upon those who are able to offer themselves and their contributions before a person is forced to ask. He also mentioned that every community has people who are need and it is up the rest of the community to seek these people out and offer them help in honourable ways.

I pray that God gives this organization divine success (tawfiq) and facilitates their efforts for His sake. May He help other communities combine and utilize their resources in the service of others for His sake, and may He give ease to all those who are suffering worldwide, ameen.

In closing, my use of the term dandelion in reference to immigrants is absolutely not meant to belittle. In fact, I'm hoping that it would invite us to think deeper about how we classify newcomers in our midst. Those who know the value of the dandelion plant actually seek it, collect it, and use it to improve their health. Most of us though cannot see its beauty and instead take cheap shots as we uproot it from a place it deserves to flourish.

As with many things, it only takes an initial effort to put ourselves in other people's shoes in order for us to be more productive and empathetic towards the situations that we face as communities.

And success is from God alone.

1 comment:

Mustafa said...

Assalam a'laikum Sister Farzeen,

Awesome work this is...really enjoy reading your posts...

Please when you offer namaz, do say dua for me...

May Allah bless you.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]