A Minor Memoir
My father lost his job in Ramadan
About five years ago, I pulled into my driveway and saw my father’s car. I immediately knew that something was wrong. He never came home earlier than 5:30 or 6. My father being home at 1:30 on a weekday just didn’t make sense. Confused, I walked inside.
“Daddy, how come you’re home so early today?”
“I got laid off.”
“I got laid off.”
His voice was calm. His response almost nonchalant. Me on the other hand, I was crushed. I rushed to give him a hug, wanting to provide him some sort of comfort and to hide the tears that I couldn’t control.
My father, a brilliant computer software engineer, had worked at the same company since before I was born. Almost three decades of the same commute to the same building, working in same cubicle, with the same colleagues.
I didn’t understand. I didn’t pry or ask why, afraid I might make things worse. All I could muster was, “Are you okay?”
“Alhamdulillah. I don’t have to work during Ramadan.”
While I was a mess, worrying about his self-esteem, his feelings, my mother’s reaction, he was in a completely different place. This was my father’s third Ramadan and my fifth.
I marveled at his acceptance of the situation. He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t upset. He chose to believe that Allah was the Best of Planners. He chose to see the blessing in the trial.
That Ramadan my father and I made the thirty minute drive to and from the masjid every night for isha and taraweeh prayers, returning home after 1AM. This wouldn’t have been possible given his normal work hours and demand. Because he no longer had to work during Ramadan he also had the opportunity to perform itikaaf in our masjid, another goal on his bucketlist that he thought would have to wait until retirement.
During those 10 days and nights, my mother and I would cook and bring our Iftar to the masjid. We’d sit downstairs and open our fast together as a family, along with the other individuals who were staying in the masjid. There were many nights that I stayed upstairs in the women’s area after taraweeh. Then after tahujjud, we’d meet downstairs and keep each other company as we ate suhoor.
I remember my father being incredibly happy that month. I remember continuing to be inspired by his trust in Allah. I remember spending more quality time with him in that month than any other.
On the day of Eid we celebrated. As was our tradition, we prayed the Eid salah and then enjoyed breakfast at iHop with many of our close friends. Shortly after breakfast, my father had a job interview and then a job offer.
Alhamdulillah for the many blessings of this very special month. May Allah swt continue to increase my parents in His blessings, health, rizq, iman, and grant them the best in this life and the next.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful remainder of Ramadan.