UMI and QURAN chapter 17 verse 23 It is 930 pm in Kathmandu, Nepal. I have less than 3 hours to complete what I set out to do for my birthday today. I have walked for more than an hour. Read a good book. See new places and meet new people and the final one, to write something meaningful. I feel writing about my Umi (mother) is most ideal, fitting or as the Malays would put it, “paling kena pada tempatnya’. After all it was, she who gave birth to me 55 years ago. We tend to think our birthdays are about us. In truth, it is also about our parents. “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”. Quran 17:23 My Umi turns 81 years old this year. As our parents get older Quran 17:23 gets more and more relevant. It is definitely for me. Parents get more challenging. Ditto Umi. It is understandable, she has been a very independent person all her life. Ever always not wanting us to help, in the kitchen, organizing her belongings, cleaning the plates, carrying her bags, etc. If we are going out or going for a trip, she wants to be part of the team – she must also carry the bags or groceries or whatever things for the trip. Everyone must play their part, including her. If there were activities, she wants to participate. If we go out and eat a few times, she will insist that she must pay for a meal. And most time Umi does not listen. She wants it her way. Many times, when she insists “tak mau kacau anak-anak” actually the opposite is true. By not allowing us to help, it will actually make it harder for us. I am sure anyone of you who are lucky to have elderly parents or grandparents know for sure what I am talking about. Sometimes, I ‘geram nak mampus’. She moves with a walker, and she still wants to carry her own bag. She will ask you if you want something (to eat, to drink, or whatsoever…) a million times even we have said no nicely, a million times back. We tell her she can just sit and relax but she insists she wants to wash the plates. We hire a part time maid when we go back to Penang, and she will tell the lady not to come the next week as soon as we leave for KL or my sisters to the US. "Tak payah buat kueh raya, nak buat jugak". And, the list goes on. But the Quran sets very high standards. Not even a tiny weensy little slight minor rebuke is acceptable. Nay, the Quran ask us to “speak to them a noble word”!!! Honestly, while most days I do okay, but there are days that I failed. Especially when I am tired. I will snipe back, ‘awat Umi tak nak dengak cakap’ (Translation - Why don’t you listen, mother). Although these days I manage to dilute it with a humorous tone, but still, it is not to the Quran’s standard. My wish is, from 55 onward I do much better. This is something we all need to pay serious attention to. If one reads the verse carefully, you will notice that to be good to parents, is second to believing in God. Peace. Anas Zubedy Kathmandu, Nepal.