How a Shawl Affected My Relationship With Faith

My mom has had a bunch of solid coloured chaadars (shawls) which she wraps around herself while offering namaz (prayers). Now, these are chaadars I’ve literally grown up watching her pray her namaz in. I have always felt a weird sort of attachment to them. Probably because I can smell my mom in them.

A few months ago, my mom commented on how she wanted to discard these chaadars as they were tearing apart. This invoked such profound sadness in me. It felt like I was being separated from something really valuable. It did strike me as funny that I was being so dramatic and emotional over a few yards of cloth. Whatever the reason, that feeling was there in my heart and I felt it quite strongly, so I just couldn’t ignore it.

I quietly took one of the chaadars home with me and started praying my namaz in it. The sense of peace and security I felt just by having it wrapped around me was overwhelming.

Waking up and watching it nestled in between my prayer mat was a special type of joy, as was smelling my mom while I offered prayers. Call me childish, but I felt like a part of my amma was always with me, protecting me, watching over me.

Amma came to visit me a few weeks later, and just smiled at me when she spotted her chaadar wrapped around my neck.

“Mujhe pata tha ye tum hi le gayi ho jab mujhe mili nahi.” (I knew you had taken it when I couldn’t find it.)

That’s all she had to say while she smiled through tears.

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