0267/Anwar’s column

First God, then your mother

In Syria it is every day Mother’s Day. In the Qur’an, obedience to God is as important as obedience to your parents, especially to your mother. Syrians also experience that. A mother is number 1, 2 and 3. At number 4 the father comes. It is a statement by Prophet Muhammad. I also, like most Syrians, have the conviction that I can only be happy if my mother is satisfied with me. My mother only has to do with sons, but I’m the daughter she never had for her. She always says that. So I have to help my whole life in the kitchen, with the groceries and the brushing. If I were to marry, my wife would take over my job. My mother would then be served by my wife because of her age. If I was a little older, I would also call very strict ‘coffee’ to my wife. To show to my mother that I am a strong husband. But in my generation, that’s no longer happening, we’re laughing at it. This week my mother sent me a video of our house in Aleppo. At least, what’s left of it. My parents have done 20 years for the payment of the house. Now that it has been destroyed by the war they have nothing anymore, because there is no insurance. We have been pulled into the house of my aunt flown to the countryside, but she wants to go back to her own house. My mother was crying when I called her about the movie. Talking to her is difficult because she has become deaf all the time by all bombings. Good doctors have fled, so she has treated her ears by a doctor who has helped her hearing even further. My light, my beauty, you are the love in my heart, my deer and the glory in my eyes: all the greetings of a Syrian son to his mother, she hears more.

Your parents and your grandparents are your lives

In the Netherlands people discuss the suicide pill. From the age of 70, you should have the opportunity to put an end to your life with a pill, because it has been beautiful. I think that very much because it shows that old people in the Netherlands do not like it. They are lonely and unnecessary. I know Dutch who visit their parents or grandparents only once a month and just drink a cup of coffee and make a puzzle together. Then they go back to their own lives. In Syria that is the other way around. Your parents and grandparents are yours. As grandpa or grandmother you are also in the main phase of your life. You are the center of the whole family. The most wise and the most important. In every case, the opinion of grandfather gives the breakdown. As grandparents there will not be a day without your family on the sidewalk. If you are too old to take care of yourself, you will live at your eldest son. Syrians do it out of tradition, out of family love, but there is also a financial aspect. If you lose your duty as a son or daughter, there is a chance that your legacy will pass by your nose. Cosy – Grandchildren visit faithfully their grandfather and grandmother. Every day you do not work, you go to your grandparents as a grandchild. On all public holidays, on all weekends. That’s no punishment, because it’s always cozy. It is the house where everyone meets. A suicide pill for the elderly is not necessary in Syria. They may be in the most beautiful phase of their lives. Should they nevertheless be tired, they do not need a pill. Just walk out and rebel against the government or any arbitrary rebel group is enough.

“I’m a muslim, but I do not mind my girlfriend is not”

A relationship with a Dutch woman, becomes complicated if it gets serious. I’m a Muslim, but I do not mind my girlfriend being not. A non believing girl can be as good as a muslim. Still, I can not erase the Syrian culture for 26 years. I was raised with the idea that marrying is important. You can not live together in a house without an imam really connected to the girl. I think that is important and I believe that God wants to. My girlfriend finds it difficult, but would have it for me. She is not faithful, but would be married by an imam if I really need it. Now it is only apparent that an imam does not really connect people whose one does not have faith. A friend of mine has recently married a Dutch girl. That girl is Christian, he is Muslim. That may be possible. But marry a girl who does not believe in a God, that does not make imams. To me, this is a serious problem. I do not know what to do now. I have to marry in my life, I certainly do not want to remain an unmarried man with a girlfriend. For my family, I would not want that, but not for myself. Just pretend my girlfriend is faithful is also not an option. We would lie to Imam and to God. Since I’ve been in the Netherlands, I’ve investigated many things. I have not been the perfect Muslim that I might have been to. A relationship with a girl is actually something that can not be done from my background. I think so, and I think so. Nevertheless, I notice that I have reached a limit now. Unmarried living together does not fit me. Certainly, knowing that Islamic marriage does not belong at all. I still have some hope. Maybe there are imams that are less strict and really want to connect us in the future. At least, we have enough to think about.

Exams

I am busy with my state examination at B2 level. I have acquired knowledge of society, I have to get the results from the listening and reading test. I suspect I did not get it, it was very difficult. In that case, I can not start a HBO study at the Hogeschool Arnheim Nimwegen in September. I’m already following colleges of physics. The content of the subject is not new to me, but to follow the courses in Dutch is difficult. The teachers speak quickly and use concepts that I do not know yet. The State Examination Knowledge of Society was easy. I had the trick soon. The answer to the questions is in most cases the last one that comes up to me.

Question: “Your mother in Morocco has died and you have to go there. What are you doing?

A. You report your child sick and leave for Morocco.

B. You do not report anything to the school and go to Morocco.

C. You make an appointment with the school director and discuss the situation.

The last answer would never come up in me, so that was the right one. Dutch people often think exactly the opposite of what I used to be, so I could easily answer each question in this way.

Question: ‘You will see a vacancy to apply for. You do not know how to write a good letter in Dutch.

A. You ask someone else to write the letter for you.

B. You do not ask for help and write the letter yourself

C. You are going to write a course where you will learn to write application letters.

The good answer, C, again does not come close to my first impulses. If I have passed the exams, I will have to get a good deal before September. Some classmates who follow the colleges of physics have decided to go to the mbo. Now, teachers take our tempo into account, no more. Reading lessons with Dutch people by Dutch seems a lot more difficult than I thought.

Orphans

I have good news. Dutch will all be in paradise! Ever since childhood, I learned that the prophet Mohammed promised a place in paradise to people who care for orphans. In Syria is an orphanage for that reason a favorite charity. Donate money or time to essentially constitutes a ticket to heaven. I recently went looking for an orphanage in Arnhem where I can volunteer. Nobody could tell me of my Dutch friends where the nearest orphanage. “In fact, I think we have that do not in the Netherlands”, I got every time as response. An elderly woman was able to tell me that orphans are housed in the Netherlands with families. So they always live in a family. I got tears in my eyes when I heard that. I could not believe it. Dutch people have devised a system that essentially orphans always have a family. The most striking I find it incredulous Dutch to also participate in that system. So they catch a child of someone else, because they find it easy to do so. When I just arrived in the Netherlands, I assumed that all the people who helped me were believers. Gradually revealed that many of them adhered to no religion. Dutch do good deeds just from their hearts. Because they want to help others. Although Syria anyone assist orphans, is their inclusion in a family usually not an option. It would mean that a boy and a girl, not each other’s brothers and sister live under the same roof. And there would be so anything can happen. There is one exception. If a baby is so small that he or she is breastfeeding. If a girl could have drinks with my mother, she would be my sister in milk. And it is allowed.

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