This blog is all about my little sister, Asma, who lost her life in the battle against cancer on February 11, 2005 at the age of 12.

All About My Baby Sister, Asma

Feel free to pass this blog along to others, Insha'Allah. (To read the very first post/entry, click on "February 2005" under "Archives" and scroll all the way to the bottom and you should see the first entry). Please keep my parents and family in your dua'as. Jazak'Allah. May Allah reward all of you and keep you guys on the straight path. Ameen May Allah reunite us with Asma once again. Ameen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Asma in Ramadan: Disciplined, Determined, Courageous

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh,

May Allah Subhanawatalaa accept our fasts and our worship to Him. Ameen
May Allah guide us and keep us on the straight path. Ameen

Well, Ramadan is almost over. This blessed of Ramadan has been full of memories. Memories of Asma were always on our minds.

When Ramadan started, I was full of mixed emotions. I was happy, yet sad at the same time. I was excited, yet depressed.

I was happy and excited because it gave me a chance to bring my Imaan back up again and really commit myself to Allah Subhanawatalaa. It was a chance for me to do some soul searching and fix/improve my weaknesses and become a better Muslim, better person.

On the other hand, I was sad and depressed (actually still am) because it was the first Ramadan without Asma. I keep thinking about what Asma used to do during Ramadan.

Last year, I spent Ramadan with my parents and Asma in Mexico. We were in Mexico for Asma's treatment. Subhana'Allah, very depressing time.

Insha'Allah, I will write about the time in Mexico at a later time, but in this post I will talk about our time with Asma during Ramadan over the years.

Asma was a very disciplined person. She kept her word. She had determination. She was a true fighter. Subhana'Allah.

She started to fast at the age of seven. No one told her to do nor did anyone hint it to her. She did it on her own. I still remember when she first told us she was going to fast. On one hand, we believed her, but then on the other hand we didnt take her seriously.

Well, we didnt wake her up for Suhoor in fear that she would really fast if we woke her up. While the rest of the family ate Suhoor, Asma was sleeping. After Suhoor, we prayed and went back to sleep.

Morning comes and we all wake up. lol Subhana'Allah Asma tells us shes fasting! We told her no since she didnt eat Suhoor. She kept insisting that shes fasting.

We then thought that she will eat when she becomes hungry as the day goes on. Well, time passed by. She still hasnt eaten. lol At this point, we knew she was serious.

Finally, it was time for Iftar. There she was, sitting with us breaking her fast. We were all so happy and proud of her.

Everyday after that, she would walk down for Suhoor. She would be really sleepy, yet she still would come down to eat. lol

I never even thought of fasting at the age of seven, yet here she is fasting.

She didnt stop there. She fasted for 27 days without take a break! Allahu Akbar!

Actually she was going to complete Ramadan, but my mom was afraid and thought her health would decline. My mom made her eat and not fast for the remaining days.

Only if I had the courage and determination that Asma had...Subhana'Allah.

Im always going to remember that. That itself is an example and a lesson for me.

Although Asma wanted to fast the following year, she couldnt do it because that was when she started to become ill. Subhana'Allah, even though she was becoming ill, she STILL wanted to fast. Look at her courage and determination. Allahu Akbar!

After she became sick, we didnt wake her up for Suhoor since there was no point. We let her sleep and rest.

Well, when we would be eating Suhoor downstairs, we would hear Asma's voice. She would wake up either from the smell of food or our voices.

In soft voice, she would yell out, "Omarrrrrr."

I would then run upstairs and ask her and say, "Kiya howa?" ("What happened?")

Asma would say, "Take me downstairs."

I would then pick up her and carry her downstairs. Keep in mind, she became immobile because of the massive tumor in her /knee leg which didnt allow her to walk.

There have been times where I would walk out of my room towards the stairs. As I would do that, Asma somehow knew and she whisper my name, "Omar..."

I would then go towards her and ask, "Kiya howa?" ("What happened?")

Asma would reply, "Shhh...dont tell mom and dad. Take me downstairs."

I would smile and so would she. I pick her and carry her downstairs. Everyone is thinking Asma is asleep, but to their surprise, Asma is coming downstairs.

As I would walk down the stairs, everyone would start cheering for her yelling her name.

They would say, "WOOOOOOO! Asma aagaye neechay! WOOOOOOO!" ("WOOOOOOO! Asma came downstairs! WOOOOOOO!")

Then my father would make room for her since she always sat by him.

Sometimes she didnt even eat. She would just come downstairs because it was fun for her. It was fun for her to sit around us and talk.

Subhana'Allah, memories of her make me smile. Sometimes I burst into laughter. lol

Last year, my parents, Asma and I went to Mexico for Asma's treatment. We left 3-4 days after Ramadan had started. So basically, we spent much of Ramadan in Mexico.

It was so lonely. I mean it was the first time we were ever actually apart from the rest of the family. Half of my family was back home in Chicago while the other half was in Mexico.

We were in the area where there were hardly any Muslims. Because of that, we were very limited as to what we could eat.

Sometimes we went the local grocery store and got something from the bakery or cereal. We would even get fruits and milk sometimes.

But for the most part, we had pizza for 3 weeks straight for Suhoor and Iftar. To be honest, I got sick of it when I came back home. It took me a while to get over it.

Our Ramadan passed by with uncertainty and anxiety. Soon it was Eid. Subhana'Allah, I felt so sad because Asma wanted to be home for Eid. She wanted to be with Aysha and my brothers. Asma was so used to having our whole family around even if my relatives didnt come to see her.

She loved it when guests came over on Eid to see her. She loved eating foods on Eid. But Alhamdulillah, she was very wise, mature, and patient. She understood and didnt get upset about it.

My dad's friend came over with his younger brother and an old friend of his from Los Angeles, California to see us. They drove for about 4-5 hours just to see us. They brought over so much food for us. Asma was very happy. She had fun and basically her version of Eid away from home.

May Allah reward them. Ameen

May Allah accept their good deeds and keep them on the straight path. Ameen

Who would have thought that it would be Asma's last Ramadan? I cetainly didnt. Subhana'Allah death can come anytime. It doesnt come with a warning.

Nothing can fill that empty space. Nothing can bring her back. Alhamdulillah Im just glad I got to spend time with her and have these memories of her.

We laughed. We played. We joked. We did everything. Alhamdulillah.

When I look back and think about her and her attitude towards life, I certainly look at it as a lesson in life.

I learned something from her attitude about Ramadan. Her determination, courage, and discipline has taught me the same. Although Im nowhere near it, its definately a reminder.

Allahu Akbar!

May Allah accept our fasts and keep us on the straigth path. Ameen

May Allah make us better Muslims. Ameen

May Allah raise Asma's status to the highest level in Jannah. Ameen

May Allah reunite us with Asma again. Ameen

May Allah give my parents, along with my family, shiffa and sabr. Ameen

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Friday, October 9th, 1992

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh,

Friday, October 9th, 1992; the day Asma was born.

Who would have thought, when she was born, that she would leave before us?

Who would have thought, when she was born, that she would only be with us for 12 years?

Who would have thought, when she was born, that she would go through so much in 12 years?

Cancer wasnt even a thought. Asma and cancer? Impossible...or so we thought. If anything, it'd be us who would get sick or become terminally ill. Not Asma.

She looked just like any other baby. She laughed and played like everyone else.

I still remember holding her and putting her to sleep when she was a little baby. I would lay in bed with Asma on top of me on my chest. I would slowly pat and rub her back as I hummed waiting for her to fall asleep.

Even till recently before she passed away, she would sometimes tell me to put her to sleep by massaging her arms or legs. Sometimes her head, too.

Hey favorite phrase for it was, "Omar, salai me." ("Omar, massage me.") lol She mixed Urdu with English. I guess the best word I think of to translate "salai" into English is "massage."

I even remember that one evening when she was a baby, I was feeding her milk from a bottle while my mom was cooking. She was in my lap drinking milk as I held the bottle. I was watching TV while I was feeding her. I guess I lost track and wasnt paying attention to how much milk Asma had because all of a sudden she throws all the milk back up. lol Subhana'Allah the milk went all over face including her eyes. My mom got upset while my brothers were laughing.

Once Asma got older, I told her about the milk incident and everytime she would laugh so hard. lol Subhana'Allah.

She would ask questions such as, "Did you get in trouble?" or "Did I cry?" or "Were you scared?"

After I would answer, she would laugh. lol Subhana'Allah.

There are so many stories of her childhood that I remember. Insha'Allah sometime in the future I will write about it.

I know it doesnt mean anything, but something interesting I realized after talking to my mom. Asma was born on a Friday at 11:20 A.M.

She passed away on a Friday at 10:20 A.M. I just thought I'd mention this.

As I look back and think about Asma and her life and the things she used to say, two things come to my mind. At the time, we would get upset and tell Asma to refrain from saying such things. However, now that I think about it, it leaves me along with everyone else, speechless.

One of the things that Asma told my mom was, "Mujey teenager nahi ban na." ("I dont want to be a teenager.")

Subhana'Allah, just look at that. She never wanted to be a teenager. She passed away eight months prior to becoming a teenager. She would have become a teenager today as she would have been 13 years old.

Something to think about...

There was another time when Asma said something similar to my mom. One day my mom was talking to Asma about how she will get to do things when shes older. She told Asma how she will get to drive and do various things once shes older.

Asma replied by saying, "No. Watch, I wont make it to be 18. I wont be older."

Imagine what my mom went through. Subhana'Allah, that just breaks your heart.

I also remember what Asma said to me. One day, couple months prior to Asma passing away, I was talking to her about various, random things. One of the things that came up was marriage.

It went something like this:

Me: Are you going to dance at my wedding?
Asma: No.
Me (with a confused/surprised look): Why not?
Asma: Because I might die before that. I dont know if I will be there.

Subhana'Allah, I was speechless. Oh my God, I wanted to cry.

The thing was that whenever she said things like this, she said it casually. In fact, many times she would have a smile on her face while saying it. It was as if dying was no big deal. Wow Subhana'Allah.

Last night after Taraweeh, I was talking to this beautiful brother I have met, Ahmed (may Allah keep him on the straight path and reward him. Ameen). I was showing him around the masjid. I took him down to the basement where they had Salat-ul-Janazah for Asma. It brought back memories of February 12th. Gives me goosebumps whenever I go down there. Subhana'Allah.

Before, I end this, I just want to mention something that Ahmed has said to me last night. Subhana'Allah, its so true. He told me how Asma was a true soldier...a Mujahidah.

Subhana'Allah its so true. No matter what life brought her, all the trials and tribulations, Asma kept firm faith in Allah SubhanaWatalaa. Before EVERY surgery and ANYTIME she would be put to sleep or sedated, last thing Asma always said was, "LA ILLAHA ILALLAHU MUHAMMAD RASOOLALLAH."


Even till the end, Asma always said, "Its a test from Allah. He tests those whom He loves the most."


Can you imagine saying that at the age of 12? I didnt. Subhana'Allah.

I'm afraid to think whats going to happen today. I know my mom and dad will cry...alot. I just hope I can comfort them. I doubt I will say anything though. What can I say? Not much. Subhana'Allah.

Oh Allah, please elevate Asma's status in Jannah to the highest level. Ameen.
Oh Allah, please reunite us with Asma in Jannah. Ameen.
Oh Allah, please give my parents sabr and shiffa. Ameen.
Oh Allah, please give the rest of my family sabr and shiffa. Ameen.
Oh Allah, please keep us all on the straight path and cleanse our hearts of evil. Ameen.
Oh Allah, please save us all from the fitnah of the grave and Akirah. Ameen.

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Day of Uncertainty: Asma's Very First Surgery

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh,

Exactly three years ago, Asma underwent her very first (major) surgery.

It was probably one of the most stressful days during Amsa's battle with cancer. Subhana'Allah, I really dont think I can handle the amount of stress and uncertainty (that we went through) all over again.

Her surgery was on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2002. We had been preparing for this day for a several weeks. However, as each day went by, the closer we got to the date, the feeling of uncertainty grew. We were nervous...scared...we dreaded this day.

The week before the surgery, we met up with the surgeon. Everytime we went to the hospital, his office, it felt eerie.

Whenever we went to his office, we would always try to anticipate what would happen next. No one knew what the doctor would say next.

Anyways, the doctor examined Asma's tumor and told us that although the chemotherapy seemed to work (judging by how her tumor was fluid-like in the x-rays), he never dealt with such a massive-sized tumor.

Asma's tumor was HUGE. I mean HUGE. If I were to describe it, I would say it looked like a football or a soccer ball inside her leg where her knee was. Subhana'Allah, I cant even begin to imagine what she felt like. What a brave girl she was.

Her tumor was at such a place that it made her immobile. Ever since she was dianosed, she never was able to walk again.

Anyhow, the surgeon asked a question that basically ripped our hearts out.

Asma was sitting on the bench (the ones that the patient sits on in the doctors office). My parents and I were sitting on the chairs; my mom on the far right, my dad in the middle while I sat on the far left. The surgeon was sitting on his stool across the room.

He asked, "If I go in and see that I cant do it, should I close it back up or amputate her leg?"

The reason he said that was because since the tumor was massive in size, he didnt know if he would be able to operate and remove the tumor. When he asked us that, Asma started to cry and said, "Meri zindhigi kharab ho gaye. Meri life khatab ho gaye." ("My life is ruined. My life is done.")

My mom started to cry to at this point. My father, even though he wanted to cry, just sat there motionless, expressionless.

He then told the surgeon to close it back up and to allow us to think for our next option.

He agreed and we then went home.


Comes next week. It was Monday night. I was at school, in class. I wasnt even able to do anything. I couldnt concentrate. I was shaking. I was nervous. I wanted to cry. Asma was in my head the whole time.

If I was feeling like that, imagine how Asma and my parents felt. Subahna'Allah, they are so brave.

After class, I spoke to my friend. He just gave me words of support and told me to hang in there and have faith in Allah Subhanawatalaa. Alhamdulillah. May Allah reward him. Ameen.

I went home. Nobody is really saying much. What do we say? What can we say?

Asma knows whats going on. Shes watching television. Shes anxious, yet scared. Shes anxious because she wants to get rid of her tumor and become "normal" again. Yet, she was scared because didnt know what would happen.

It was getting late. My mom packed her stuff for her her stay at the hospital with Asma. She packed her clothes and other belongings along with Asma's clothes.

We had to make sure Asma had stopped eating and drinking (even water) after midnight.

We went to sleep (or atleast tried to).


It was morning. I think it was my mom who woke me up. Either her or my dad. Anyways, it was almost 5 AM. We got ready. Asma woke up. Even though she didnt say anything, we knew she was scared. I could tell she was. Subhana'Allah I just wanted to hold and tell her everything will be ok.

She got dressed and I carried her into the van. It was just my parents, Asma, and myself. I went in a separate car. I followed my dad.

It was a really eerie feeling. It was still dark out. The temperature was cool and the air was crisp. You could hear the winds howling. The streets were empty.

Soon, we got there. We dropped my mother and Asma off. Asma was sitting in her wheel chair. She was quiet. Didnt say anything. She had her head down with her little blanket over her lap.

I parked the cars while my parents and Asma waited.

We went inside to the registration booth. We checked in. As we did, we saw something which depressed us even more. We saw a man in a wheel chair with one leg missing. Subhana'Allah, thats what we feared for Asma. Ironic, isnt it?

We completed the registration process. We then were headed towards the room where Asma had to undress and change into the hospital gown. I was told to go to the waiting area.

I said Salaam to Asma and I hugged and kissed her and told her Insha'Allah I will see her later. I didnt want to leave her. :'( I left and went to the Smith Lounge (name of the waiting area). Thats where I prayed Fajr.

Since Asma was young, they allowed my parents to stay with her until she changed clothes. After she did that, the nurses were there to take her away and into the operating room. I think they already started to give her Anesthesia.

My parents told me that Asma was crying so much...she was weeping and didnt want to let my parents go. She was begging them. However, they had no choice but to let her go. :'(

My parents slowly walked over to the waiting area where I was. My dad was pushing Asma's wheelchair and her belongings while my mom was walking next to him. They both were crying.

We got a private room in the waiting area. We prayed. We made dua'a. We did everything.

We were waiting anxiously. We were told that we would get a phone call (we had a phone inside the private room) from the Nurse informing us of the situation (whether they can remove it or not).

We were just talking to each other. We didnt have our appetites. We had lost the desire to do anything. We just constantly made dua'a and prayed and comforted each other.

The phone rang. Oh my god...the moment of truth...

We looked at each other. We were speechless. Scared. Nervous.

We all simultaneously said, its the nurse.

My dad answered the phone. It was dead silent. You could have heard a pin drop.

My mom and I were patiently waiting for some (good) news.

Then it happened...

The nurse said, "Mr. Haq, the tumor is out!"

My dad, with a huge smile and a sigh of relief gave a thumbs up. He hung up on the phone and stood up.

He looked at us...told us its out and they are finishing up the surgery.

Allahu Akbar... never felt that great before.

My parents started to weep. They were crying...and crying...and crying...

My dad hugged my mom and wept.

He then came to me and we hugged.


We then had to wait until Asma was in the recovery room. They only allowed the parents to go in. So I had to wait there in the waiting area. Subhana'Allah, that time seemed forever. I watned to just meet Asma and smile and kiss her.

Shortly after, I went in. There she was...wearing the green hospital gown. She was very puffy from the drugs she had recieved. Asma even joked about that. LOL Subhana'Allah, she had a sense of humor even during the most trying times.

Her leg was straight after several months. Prior to her surgery, her leg was always in a 90 degree angle. Imagine ur leg that way for many, many months. Im telling you, Asma was such a brave, strong girl.

Subhana'Allah, the feeling of joy that we had is somethjng I cannot describe.

I later on asked Asma what was her first reaction after the surgery when she woke up. What did she do? Think of?

Asma said, "When I woke up, I was afraid to look down because I didnt know if I had my leg or not. So I just tried to feel it with my hand. When I touched my leg, I was so happy and I knew I had my leg."

Asma was laughing when she said that.

After a few days at the hospital Asma came home. She was very excited as we were all. Subhana'Allah.

When I think back, the time of the surgery was very joyous because we were on our path to the recovery. We thought we "won." I mean, the pathology report indicated 99.9% of the cancer was dead. The surgeon even showed my parents the actual tumor. My parents describe it as one of the most horrifying experience. Subhana'Allah.

However, now that think I about it, that exprience almost seems more like an illusion more than anything. Even when it does seem real, its overshadowed by the fact that shes gone.

I really miss her. I wish she was here. I wish I can kiss her.

Man, I feel like crying. :'(

May Allah Subhanawatalaa elevate her status in Jannah to the highest level. Ameen.
May Allah Subhanawatalaa reunite us with her in the Akirah. Ameen.
May Allah Subhanawatalaa reward my parents for their sabr and faith in Allah. Ameen.

Assalaamualaikum Warahmutallahi Wabarakatuh.