Kholah, Omm ‘Omar, the Good Neighbor

Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu
Was Salaam ‘ala Rasulillah

As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

Continuing my series of people who have affected my life in Islam in a positive way, I would like to tell you about my friend and neighbor, Omm ‘Omar (Kholah).

{Omm ‘Omar}

I first noticed her on the university bus. She used to get off about 2 blocks before my stop. We lived in the neighborhood called Al Aziziyyah. Each time we got to her house, her children would be in the street waiting for her – all 7 of them. That was nice. I’d see her at the university as she was in the English Dept. I was still in the language program at the Mahad. Her oldest daughter was in the same grade as my oldest daughter, Falaqi. The two girls used to go to Qur’an classes at Asr time. I didn’t really have a sit-down conversation with her until we moved to our current neighborhood, near Arafat, different house, though, and she moved to a house just in front of us. The new neighborhood was called Al Awaali and was behind Jabal Thaur, where the Prophet, peace be upon him, and Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, hid when they were making Hijrah on their way to Madinah.

Then we visited frequently, especially the children. They moved to Awali in order to build a house which took about 2 years to complete. The new house was only 2 blocks away and even when we moved to another house, they were still just down the street. I can’t begin to tell you how many times they helped us out and we them. The whole family was the type of neighbors that you pray for. Kind, polite, generous, never imposing, friendly, religious. Kholah’s mother was quite old, but you could still see that she had once been a very beautiful woman. She had 10 children, masha Allah, but was living with Omm ‘Omar and her family because they lived in Makkah. Their family room was quite large and while we used to be on one side of the room talking and visiting, her mother would sit across the room and make extra rakats (she prayed sitting), dhikring Allah and reading Qur’an. She read Ya-Sin daily as many of the other recommended surahs for daily reading, like Mulk and Kahf every Friday. She would join the conversation from time to time, but usually she was busy with Allah. She died about 5 years ago with the words constantly coming from her mouth – la ilaha ila Allah Muhammadar Rasoulullah – even though they were trying to give her oxygen – she kept turning her head away from it so she could keep saying the shahaadah. May Allah have mercy on her.


Shall I tell you the summit of this family’s generosity? The day of the fatal auto accident of my two daughters, Allah have mercy on them, Omm ‘Omar and her husband were the ones who rushed me to the hospital. She was crying so hard that I wanted to comfort HER. She had to leave after a while as her blood pressure went up and she was having trouble breathing, but she stayed with me as long as she could. Maymunah (Allah yarhamaha) had died instantly, so her Janazah was at the Haram the next day, and, as is customary, people come to give condolences. Omm ‘Omar and her family told us that they wanted to open their home for that purpose. The men sat in one of their huge guest rooms and we women were in their very large family room. We were not prepared for the hundreds of people who came and our house would not have been sufficient, but somehow Omm ‘Omar and her family had taken this into consideration. The whole time she was running back and forth with some of her friends serving coffee and water to the guests. This went on for 3 days. Tahirah, may Allah have mercy on her, was buried the day after Maymunah. Even more people came. They moved the men outside and the women took up 2 huge rooms. On the last day, this kind and generous family slaughtered 6 lambs. Two were taken to the Haram and distributed to the poor in the name of my daughters, 3 were served to the people who had come to give condolences, and one she sent to our house, all cooked with rice, etc. so that we would not have to cook for quite some time. That night her legs were really hurting as she has arthritis and should not stand for long periods, but she did all the cooking herself.

It has been four years this month (it is now 5 years October) since that time and I still marvel and feel grateful for their generosity – not only of money and time, but of physical effort. Her husband did much to help mine with all of the things that he had to do at that time. I constantly thank Allah that we had them for neighbors and that He sent us many good people at that time.


I spoke to her today; she lives in Sharjah now since politically speaking, they are no longer welcome here as they once had been. They were here for about 23 years and just left in June. She was crying because all her family is in Baghdad, Mosul, Samurai, all areas that are being bombed. She is so afraid that her sisters will be harmed. Not knowing or hearing what’s going on is as difficult as actually suffering a loss. She said she had been reading Qur’an and crying all day. She used to tell us about the things they did to people in her country if they practiced their religion. She and her family cannot return there because they would be jailed and eventually killed for leaving and not returning and for their deen.

She was my neighbor, she didn’t look at my nationality or my skin and I didn’t look at hers. We were just sisters. I happened to be born in America and she happened to be born in Iraq. Qadr Allah. Please pray from my friend, Omm ‘Omar, her family, and the Muslims who are being oppressed in her country, whether from within or from without. Please pray for yourselves and for Muslims all over the world. Sometimes we get very caught up in our own lives and figure that we can’t do anything for Muslims being killed in xxxxxxia, or xxxxovo or xxxxxistan, and so our duas are all about ourselves. I have been guilty of that as well. Let us pray for the Ummah and do whatever we can to be better Muslims ourselves and to raise up even better and stronger Muslims — our children. Please pray for my duaghters as well and remember that the good that you pray for is asked to be returned to you by the angels.

Omm Rafiq
Friday, December 18, 1998 7:06 PM

Update: January 22, 2012
News reached us via one of Umm ‘Omar’s sons that she died at the end of December of last year. May Allah have mercy on her and grant her entry into Paradise amongst Ahli Jannah.

Rabbana, grant us the good of this life, the good of the next life and protect us from the Fire.

Allahumma,I seek refuge in You from knowledge that does not benefit, from a heart that is not subdued, from a supplication that is not answered, and from a soul that is not satisfied.

Allahumma, aj’al khaira ‘amrina awakhiriha, wa khaira ‘amaalina
khawatimaha, wa khaira ayyamina yaum nalqaka.

O Allah, let our last days be the best days of our life and our last deeds be the best of our deeds, and let the best day

Omm Rafiq

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