The Children of Rani Bibi

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    Three years ago, Rani Bibi was a young happily married woman with three children. Though she and her family faced the daily hardships that many in Pakistan faced, they managed to get by on their subsistence lifestyle in rural Sindh. 
    No one but Allāh however, would have foreseen the trials that awaited this family in the years to come.

    Rani’s husband, one day disillusioned with the difficulties of rural life, headed out to Karachi to look for work. A dynamic that occurs throughout the developing world, the plan was for him to earn enough in the city to upkeep his rurally-based family.

    The income though never came and neither did he. As the weeks and months passed, Rani and her children lost contact with him. Like all honourable women however, Rani continued to wait patiently for his return.

    But despite her longing, the painful reality was that Rani would never actually see her husband again. Some in the village said he had passed away following a blast in the city; others whispered that he had married again and started a new life. For Rani however, whatever the story, the outcome was the same.  She and her children were now alone, with no income and no support. Her youngest child, Ijaz, was just three years old when his father left. The oldest, Sajjada, was just seven.

    A tough life as a single mother in rural Pakistan lay ahead of her, but like so many Muslims who are mired in hardship, her resolve and faith in Allāhdid not diminish. She found work as a housemaid for the more affluent families in the area and slowly started to earn a regular income of 1000 rupees (just over £7) per month.

    Rani did however have a long standing kidney problem which often gave her severe pains in the lower back. With no money to pay for treatment, her condition deteriorated over the years. Under such circumstances, a more comfortable life for her and her children would be nothing more than a dream.

    Sajjada, 10 years old Ijaz, 6 years old

    Devastating Floods

    Three years passed in this state and then in late July 2010, the most devastating floods ever to hit Pakistan engulfed the province of Sindh.

    As the flood waters advanced into the Sujawal area, the family’s straw-based home – their sole possession – was destroyed. Rani Bibi and her children - barefooted and with just the clothes on their back - hastened towards the district of Thatta, but with no money to hire a lift, they were forced to take up the long walk.

    It was here that Allāh, who is immune from the plans of mankind, was soon to end the trials of Rani in this life.  After walking 10km, an exhausted Rani suffering from kidney failure, collapsed and died. Tested so much in this life like all the beloved of Allah, Rani now went to meet her Lord.

    Her three children, Sajjada, Sajid and Ijaz – who had already gone through so much difficulty in their short lives - were now orphans. Limited help did come from an uncle, but destitute himself, he barely had enough to cover the needs of his own family.

    The floods destroyed their home. The three orphans have no-one to turn to.

    These beloved children of the Ummah of Rasulullāh salallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, now have nowhere to turn to.

    And so finally we ask ourselves, What have we given them?
    And where are their dues as our children of the Ummah?
    And where are their rights of la - ilaaha- illallah?
    Was it not Rasulullāh salallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam who said:

    “Show Mercy on the dwellers of Earth and Mercy will be shown to you from the one in the heavens?”

    May Allah save us from our indifference.