No Parents and No Home

    Listen to Audio

    No parents and no home

    Ghulam Shabbir, the son of Ahmad Bakhsh, was 25 and the father of two young girls. He and his wife, Farzana Bibi, lived in Jhandewali in the Muzafar Garh district. They lived in Ghulam’s parents’ mud-brick home. That however was up until the onslaught of last July’s floods.

    The family was overcome on the second day of the deluge. Powerful tides overwhelmed the villagers of Jhandewali leaving them with no choice but to flee. Amidst this disaster, Ghulam’s mud-brick home did not stand a chance. Within an hour of the flood’s arrival, it was totally washed away along with all the family’s possessions. Still one of the fortunate ones however, the family managed to seek refuge in one of the sturdier-built homes on higher ground. From here they watched on as the deluge destroyed the surrounding areas, ignoring the faint cries of its victims.

    Against the deep and fast flowing waters there was no way out. Patience was the family’s only defence. They survived the next few days on handouts delivered by air from the provincial government.

    A week on however, any feeling of respite for the family quickly dissipated as Ghulam was stricken with malaria. Essentially living on a make-shift island, he had no access to medical care. The family could do nothing now but watch on, as he slowly lost his battle against the illness. Three days later, Ghulam’s soul departed his body. He died leaving behind his wife Farzana, two young daughters and his elderly parents. His daughters, in their innocence, were unable to comprehend how desperate their situation had become.

    Farzana Bibi, who was still only 20 at the time of her loss, married the brother of Ghulam in the few months after his demise.  The couple though, in the face of financial difficulties, had to move to Karachi to find work. Here however, Ghulam’s daughters – unable to be supported – were left behind with the grandparents.

    Ghlam Shabbir and Daughters
    The late Ghulam’s parents along with his two daughters

    The grandparents in their old age are now striving hard to ensure these two young girls survive. The severity of their rural poverty means their own rights in Islam cannot be fulfilled while they tend to these children. A fractured family, they just wait for each dawn to bring another set of hardships.

    Their tent – depressingly called a ‘home’ – involves tattered pieces of cloth thrown over a flimsy scaffold, while a plastic sheet is used to cover the ground. This construction barely passes as shelter against the vagaries of the Sindhi weather.

    While we, in the UK, look for second and third homes, Ghulam’s children and his parents are currently enduring these miserable conditions hoping that their fellow Ummatis will respond.

    Hopefully, we in the UK can respond and help mitigate their suffering insha’Allah.

    May Allāh save us from our apathy.

    May Allāh save us from our miserliness.

    And May Allāh give us the ability to take heed of the verse:

    Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allāh – but among you are those who withhold. And whoever withholds only withholds from himself; and Allah is Self-Sufficient, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.”(Surah Muhammad, verse 38)