Imanie Eldably is an American Muslim from Chicago. Both her parents are from Egypt, so the Egyptian blood runs through her veins. She hopes to become a child psychologist, or a psychologist that deals with the youth, especially in the Muslim community due to the stigma that is involved with mental health within the community. She loves to write and read.
This story is part of “American Muslims”, a photo series created by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist based in NYC. The project is dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States. We will not only be sharing the images from the project, but each image will be accompanied by a personal and unique story to show our shared humanity. To read more about Imanie and the rest of the faces from “American Muslims” click here.
Who is the most important person in your life?
Whenever questions like these are asked, there always has to be a disclaimer “besides your mother”, because often times people will always deem their mom as the most important person in their life. For me, I would still pick my mother, again and again. Of course my relationship with my mother was like any other motherly daughter relationship in the beginning. When I hit the teen years and thought I had all the wisdom in the world, I had many arguments with my mother; I thought she would NEVER understand me. It would frustrate me because in my little egocentric mind at the time, I would think that I knew what I wanted, but I did not give her the chance to voice how she wanted things to look like for me. I was too caught up in my demands that it took me a while to realize there was absolutely nothing in this for her except to secure my well being.
As I grew older, I started listening to the words my mother did not say. Behind every “no” there was a “I’m worried about you”, “That happened to me, I don’t want it to happen to you”, “I want you safe”; and behind this concern all together was a huge, fat “I love you.” My mother has seen a lot in her life. My mother has a million and one reasons not to be the caring, loving, considerate, gentle woman she is today, I swear by Allah she does, but she is all this and more. Her strength and determination to make sure she gives us what she was deprived of makes me want to carry her over my head all the way to Jennat il Firdaws (may Allah have it written for her). SubhanAllah, growing up I thought I missed a lot of opportunities because of my mom, but now I thank Allah she did what she did for me. When people tell me I am indeed my mother’s daughter, nothing makes me happier. I wish I can be with my kids the way my mother is with me. She made us her entire life, and now she is mine.
Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
Allah (SWT). The fact that I am able to type this up right now, be articulate in speech, breathe, and am able-bodied at this very moment while I am nowhere near the best kind of Muslim I can be is the BIGGEST proof that He, the most merciful and the most gracious is and always will be the kindest to me. The kindness Allah has is not the only part of His greatness; Allah has taught me to love myself and that is something many struggle with today. Finding myself was not easy though, it took a lot of research, all of which ended in the discovery of knowing just how much Allah loves us and is on OUR side. Allah is Akbar! He is not waiting for me or you to worship Him, He will always be the Greatest, then why all this? Why all these commands? It’s simply for us; Allah wants to help us. His kindness and gentleness with our sins and forgiveness that is waiting for us with Him is more than enough to melt one’s heart.
The way Allah treats me, I treat myself. It has taught me that I can screw up because I am human, and He will forgive me because I am just that. I do not only feel Allah’s kindness towards me, but it has made me an active believer. It makes me always want to become my best for the One who has always been the best to me. I am always finding myself wanting to repay His kindness when sometimes He is not even waiting for it. At any second He is capable of turning my life upside down, yet He keeps it flowing for me, EVEN when I could be doing something that displeases Him.
His kindness to me is endless.