Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal



His voice would wake me in the night, sometimes his low recitation, sometimes his deep sobs in duah.

The sound of the front door would wake me at Fajr, as he would leave every morning to go to pray his fard in the Masjid.

On the way back into the house, he would shovel the snow from the walk so I wouldn’t slip on the way to the car to drive the boys to school, and the driveway so i could back out easily, and he would clean the snow from the car so I wouldn’t have to.

He would help me bathe the boys and get them dressed for school every morning.  Sometimes he would fry their eggs and toast instead, sometimes both.

He would keep the babies asleep in his bed for me so I wouldn’t have to bring them for the morning drive.

He would do all the grocery shopping, even buying my clothes and personal stuff.  He would always check the flyers to see what’s on sale where.  He would always buy in bulk so we would never run out.

He used to buy his first wife and I the exact same dresses sometimes, and we would wear them when company came over just to make fun of him.

He made me learn how to cook beside her even though I hated it!  Now I can cook Indian food.  Then he taught me how to cook better Indian food.

He would love to buy new gadgets and appliances for us so cooking and cleaning would be easier.

He would help us by vacuuming and sometimes doing the laundry (even when I would freak out and tell him to stop mixing the colors, or mashing them back into the basket and making everything wrinkly).  He even moved the washer and dryer up to the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to carry the laundry up and down the stairs.

He used to fix everything within a day or so.  Sometimes within a week, sometimes within a season… ugh, sometimes when I finally began to fix it myself!

He would change the oil before I would take a trip to visit my daughter 2 hours away.  He would always fill the fluids, fuel the car twice a week and top the air in the tires.  I would never have to worry about it.

He would make sure the boys’ clothes fit, and would bring home new clothes regularly, sometimes toys too.

He didn’t let us watch too much tv.

He would make sure everyone prayed at the athan.

He would fast every Monday, but he would never berate me because I didn’t.

He would fight with me just to keep the fire in the marriage.

He would cry when I cried.

He would divide his time between his work, his home and his Masjid.

When he would kid around with the young brothers at the mosque late at night and I would call him to complain, he would run and make the takbir and begin to pray his sunnah so that the brothers could tell me he was praying and couldn’t come to the phone (and they didn’t have to lie, lol).

He would ask me to help him with his english when he would write the khutbah or his resume.  He would ask me to explain newspaper articles and book exerps, and then he would tell me, “My father, he told me to never take the advice from the woman.  If she get it right first time, she will lead you in wrong way next time, so don’t encourage her.” just to make me nuts!

He would tease me and tell me that I was wasting my time reading books about space or the environment, or history (just to make me nuts!), but then he would repeat what I had taught him to his friends when I wasn’t around.

He would take me swimming in my burqa, he would take me to play tennis in my burqa, and he bought me a bicycle with a baby trailer and he would pull it behind his bicycle.  We would ride around on the bicycle paths (in my burqa) with Tayyab and Tashy on their bikes too.

He would bring along his rollerblades and when we would stop at a playground, he would put them on and try to be cool, (and look like a total fob).

He would take us to Canada’s Wonderland, Ontario Place, Niagra Falls and the Butterfly Musuem every summer.  He would always take Tayyab and Tashy fishing and camping.

He would refuse to call his toes anything but feet fingers.  He would call his big toe his thumb just cause he knows it makes me nuts!

He would never speak to me when he was angry at me.

He would buy me chocolate when I was angry at him, (he would even buy me chocolate when he was angry at me).

He would tell me he was sorry for hurting me when he was wrong.

After 6 months in prison, he told me he is proud of me.

He thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world (all 250 lbs of me!)

He calls me his houri (beautiful virgin of paradise).

He makes dua for me every night.  Even in prison.  And Allah has granted his duas Masha’Allah, and has made it so easy for me, Alhamdulillah.

The first thing he said to me on his first prison phone call home after his arrest: “The rent paid already, and the insurance money is in the account, but you make sure you pay the bills before they charge you interest.  You must take the car to the mechanic, I’m thinking something wrong with the axle…”

He needs me and he’s not afraid to tell me so.

He’s my husband, my amir, my love, my best friend… my hero.