"Safiyyah, stop Facebooking and go do your homework ...NOW!" screams Safiyyah's mother, Khadijah, from the kitchen down the hall.
As her mum had expected, out comes Safiyyah's protest even before her mother could finish her sentence. "But, mum...!" Safiyyah wails.
As usual, Safiyyah ignores her mum's order and continues to 'stalk' people on Facebook. She just can't see the point of doing her Biology homework now. It is due next week anyway.
"Ha! I knew you'd still be here gawking at the computer screen. Who is that? Your new crush? Come, let me see!" Safiyyah's sister, Siti, ambushes her out of nowhere.
"Wha...? No! No way! Ew!" Safiyyah tries to hide her embarrassment. Her sister smirks.
"Safiyyah! What did I tell you? Stop Facebooking and do your homework NOW!" Safiyyah's mum appears out of nowhere.
"But, mum...!" Safiyyah replies with annoyance. 'Where the heck do these people come from, anyway? I didn't notice them coming at all. They must be some kind of ninjas,' Safiyyah thinks to herself.
"Safiyyah, can you please not argue with me? I'm already tired from all the cooking and washing I did today," her mum pleads.
"Okay, okaaay. Whatever you saaay..." Safiyyah says, again, with a hint of annoyance. Her mum sighs exasperatedly. Safiyyah does not see it, but her mum's eyes start to water.
Up in her room, Safiyyah can't seem to concentrate on the simple diffusion process that she is told to understand by next week. Her mind is still thinking about Facebook and all the updates she is missing. "Urgh, why does mum have to be so annoying?" she screams into the pillow.
Her sister hears a muffle coming from Safiyyah's room and decides to check on her.
"Hey, are you okay?" Siti asks with concern after seeing Safiyyah lying motionless on the bed.
"Uh, I'm alright," Safiyyah replies unconvincingly.
"Does this have something to do with mum?" Siti says while gesturing to Safiyyah's moody facial expression.
Safiyyah hesitates before answering. "Um, yeah..." she starts. "Well, you know how she is, right? She always orders people around! And when we don't want to follow her orders because they're unreasonable, she has to use the "sympathy" trick by saying that she's tired blablabla..." Safiyyah finishes her story by making an annoyed face.
"Hurm. I see where you're getting at. I was a teenager, too, remember? And it was not that long ago..." Siti ponders.
Safiyyah throws a pillow at her sister. "It was SO long ago!" she jokes.
"Alright, alright. But it was not that long ago that I can't remember it," Siti sticks out her tongue at her sister. "My point is, yeah, I did get annoyed when mum ordered me around NOT that long time ago. But in restrospect, she did have her point. I mean, if I didn't follow what she told me to, I might as well had flunked out of school for watching too much TV and not doing my homework," explains Siti.
"TV? Are you serious? Nobody watches TV anymore. We have internet..." Safiyyah jokes.
Siti shoots a playful dagger look at her sister. "What I'm trying to say is, mum does not order us around without thinking about our well-beings. All parents want the best for their children. If they didn't, then they would not care at all. They would just let us do what we want and see us fail and stuff. Okay, maybe parents can be annoying at times, but they are still our parents. They provide food, shelter, clothes and INTERNET for us because they love us. They want us to live a good life so we'd be happy in this world AND the hereafter. They just ...LOVE us too much to see us make the wrong decisions in life," Siti contemplates. 'Wow, where did that come from? ... Of course, it's from Allah. Subhanallah,' she thinks to herself.
Safiyyah stares at he hands in silence.
"And come to think of it, how can we ever repay mum who had fought for her life when giving birth to us? Mum who had smiled and cried and thanked Allah with joy when she first cradled us in her arms..." Siti can't seem to continue. She suddenly feels a lump in her throat.
Safiyyah is already sobbing with tears.
Siti tries to toughen up and console her sister. "It's okay, I cried in my teenage years NOT that long ago too," she jokes.
Safiyyah laughs softly.
"Hey, do you wanna know the two ayats from Allah's love letter (the Qur'an) about parents that I have bookmarked in my heart and mind?" Siti asks.
"Sure..." Safiyyah replies while wiping her tears.
"Allah SWT says in Surah Al-Isra', ayat 23 and 24: "And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word..And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, "My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.." recites Siti.
Safiyyah smiles a small smile. "Thanks, sis," she utters.
"What? I get only a 'thank'? You have to treat me Chocolate Shake for this!" Siti says jokingly.
Safiyyah shoots a dagger look at her sister.
"No, no, no. I was just kidding. No need to thank me. Thank Allah for guiding us both today, Alhamdulillah," Siti winks.
Safiyyah smiles, cups her hands, and prays to Allah, "Alhamdulillah for every thing, Allah. Please bestow on my parents your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. Amin."
"Safiyyah! Siti! Come down now and let's have dinner together!" screams mum from downstairs.
Siti smiles and Safiyyah nods. Both of them descend down the stairs and give their mum a group hug.
"What? Not the group hug thing again..." their mum grunts but deep down inside, she is smiling.