Yesterday, while driving home from my daughter’s ballet recital, alone in the car (the kids’ weekend with their dad), I saw a picture I wanted to send to Muslim-A-Day: a very elderly Muslim man, dressed in his very traditional clothes, pausing on his walk to lean over, close his eyes and smell white flowers on a great green shrub. He stood there for a while and I could see he was a good man.

This image brought to mind my grandfather (dad’s dad), who passed away almost 2 years ago. Though he was a lean, strong man with a no-nonsense character, he would always tuck a fragrant white flower behind one ear when he went walking – and although he was extremely wealthy and could afford a driver, he walked everywhere (which accounted for his leanness). He educated each of his children in Islam and Arabic primarily but also supported the full extent of each of their educational priorities – including his daughters (which was odd for the time and place).

My grandfather never went a day without starting it with the Qur’an right after Fajr. That’s the image I have when I think of him: sitting on the porch in the lightening day, with a white scarf draped on his bent head, the Qur’an open in his arms. That kind of image stays with you and compels you to imitate it.

On Friday, June 1, my mom, sister and I took part in the Toronto Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. I was walking for my grandfather, my mother for her sister and my sis for her mom-in-law – may Allah have mercy on their souls.